Skip to main content
^'^. *"^'' .n'^^
^"^ ' , , -* .\
iS ^ rCv - ■■■■ '.-. - rP
, ,v •* \\
, , , *^. ♦ .-, X o
■- ■& °^.
'J" . %:•
a\ ~ 0^ *q,^
■■^-i, " ■• »
TOWN OF FLATBUSH,
KINGS COUNTY, LONG-ISLAND,
BY THOMAS M. STEONG, D. D.,
PASTOR OF THE EEFORMED DUTCH CHURCH, OF FLATBUSH.
PUBLISHED BY REQUEST.
THOMAS R. MERCEIN, JR., PRINTER,
240 Pearl street, cor. Burling-slip.
This History was prepared as a part of a course of
Lectures by the " Flatbush Literary Association,"
during the winter of 1841-2. In yielding to the request
which has been made to him from several sources to have
it published, the author would remark, that he has made
some additions and corrections in it since it was delivered.
His object has been to make it as copious and authentic as
practicable. He has aimed more at fulness and accuracy
of detail than at ornament or display of composition. The
great difficulty in accomplishing a work of this nature,
arises from the fact, that the early history of the town is
wrapped up in manuscripts written in the Dutch language,
and many of them too in a very small and cramped char-
acter. These but few can decipher and translate. The
author has happily been favored with the assistance of
two gentlemen of Flatbush, who have aided him very
materially in this particular. Several papers of impor-
tance relating to the civil and ecclesiastical history of
the Town, have been translated by them for the purpose
of furthering this work. To these gentlemen, John C.
Vanderveer and Jeremiah Lott, Esq^s., the author would
return his grateful acknowledgments. The latter gentle-
man, in addition to several translations and other docu-
ments, has also kindly furnished the draft of the map which
accompanies the volume. Assistance has also been derived
from " Smith's History of New- York," " Thompson's
History of Long-Island," and " Furman's Notes, &c., of
the Town of Brooklyn." Besides these sources of informa-
tion. General Jeremiah Johnson, of Brooklyn, and several
elderly persons living in the village of Flatbush, have
been consulted. From these individuals important facts
relative to the scenes which took place during the
revolutionary war and the times immediately preceding
and following that great event, have been obtained. The
plan of the work now presented to the public, embraces
five divisions : The Civil — the Ecclesiastical — the Literary
History of the Town — the incidents which transpired
therein during the war, which resulted in our American
Independence, and a description of some of the changes
or improvements which have been introduced in more
modem times. The author is conscious that in regard to
the earlier history of Flatbush, there is much that is de-
fective — arising from the want of sufficient sources of in-
formation. These will not probably be fully supplied
until the return and publication of the report of Romeyn
Brodhead, Esq., who is now in Holland as a Commission-
er from the State of New- York, to collect information
relative to the settlement and early History of this
State. He has already obtained possession of a great
amount of valuable facts, which will throw much light
upon both the early civil and ecclesiastical affairs, not
only of the Dynasty of New-Netherlands generally — but
particularly of the west end of Long-Island. When this
work shall appear, it will supply all that is defective in
the present volume, as far as relates to the early history
of the town. In the mean time, trusting to the candor and
generosity of the public to receive with favor, an attempt
to regain and preserve the facts connected with the
history of one of the oldest towns in the state, consent has
been given to the publication of this work.
Flatbush, L. L, April 4, 1842.
■■ East end
Corntr^latbushfence : \.
iV^^-^r UTRECHT / \
Long-Island was discovered in the year 1609, by
Henry Hudson. He was an Englishman by birth, but
was engaged by the East India Company of Holland to
discover a passage to the East Indies in a westerly direc-
tion from Europe. He had been employed in the same
service by the English, and had failed in his enterprise,
and been dismissed from their employ. Upon which he was
engaged by the Dutch, and fitted out with a vessel called
the Half Moon. After coasting in his third voyage as far
south as Virginia, he turned to the north again and saw
for the first time the highlands of Neversink. On the 3d
of September 1609, he entered the great bay between
Sandy Hook, Staten-Island and Amboy. He observed
among other things, that the waters swarmed with fish
and some of very large size. On the 4th, he sent his
men on shore, and relates that he found the soil of white
sand and a vast number of plum trees loaded with fruit,
and many of them covered with grape vines of different
kinds. The natives are represented in general as mani-
festing all friendship, when Hudson first landed among
them. But on one occasion shortly after his arrival, their
bad feelings were from some cause not stated, excited.
Hudson sent out a boat under command of one Colman
to catch fish, and the Indians attacked the men. One of
the arrows which they discharged, headed with a sharp
flint stone, struck Colman in the throat and mortally
wounded him. The sailors not being able to defend
themselves, hastened back to the ship, carrying poor
Colman dying with them. His body was taken on
shore after his death and buried on the island which
is now called Coney Island — a corruption of the origi-
nal name Colman, which was given it by Hudson and
his company, in commemoration of him who was buried
there, and who was the commander of the boat which
bore the first Europeans through the passage so famil-
iarly known to us all as the Narrows. De Laet, a Dutch
historian, says, that at this time the natives were clothed
in the skins of elks, foxes and other animals. Their
canoes were made of the bodies of trees; their arms,
bows and arrows with sharp points of stone fixed to
them. They had no houses, he says, but slept under
the blue heavens: some on mats made of brush or bul-
rushes, and some upon leaves of trees. Hudson passed up
the river which still bears his name, and left it to others
to discover that the land on which he had touched, was
an island. This was done by Adrian Block, in 1614. He
sailed from New- Amsterdam, now New- York, through the
sound to Cape Cod, and visited the intermediate coasts
and islands. He appears to have been the first who ascer-
tained that Long-Island was separate from the main land.
Long-Island at this time, bore the name of Matiouwakey
or Meitowah and Sewanhachey — the last of which, means
the isle or land of shells, and was no doubt given to it
in consequence of large quantities of seewant or shell
money, being manufactured here.
The objects of the Dutch being at first chiefly of a
mercantile character, but few settlements were made in
the country by them. The first was established on an
island near the present site of Albany, in the year 1614,
where they built a fort, which in honor of their sovereign,
they called Fort Orange. It was not however, till the
year 1624, that any settlement was made on Manhattan
Island. In that year Fort Amsterdam was built and the
foundation laid for the city of New- Amsterdam, now New-
York. The resources of the country and the prospect of
a very lucrative trade with the natives in fur being made
known in Holland, soon induced many to emigrate to this
new country. The object of the first settlers evidently
was trade. But as it soon became known that lands equal
in fertility to those of Holland were to be found here, and
advantages of no ordinary character were offered to the
agriculturist, many families were induced to leave their
father land and settle in this <;ountry. The first settle-
ment on the west end of Long-Island, appears to have
been made as early as 1625, in which year, according to
a family record in the hands of General Johnson of Brook-
lyn, the first child of George Jansen De Rapalje, was
born at the Wallaboght — and it is the tradition among the
Dutch, that this was the first white child that was born on
the island. It is however not probable, that many emi-
grants had yet arrived from Holland with the object of
cultivating the soil, as the earliest deed for land in the
town of Brooklyn, is a grant to Abraham Rycken, in 1638,
and the earliest deed on record, is a grant to Thomas
Besker, in the year 1639 ; and the earliest grant for lands
in Kings County that has been discovered, was in 1636.
The first purchase from the Indians on Long-Island that
has been discovered, was in the year 1635; and the earli-
est deed for land to individuals, was from these Indians
to Jacobus Van Corlear, for the tract subsequently called
Corlear^s Flats. The description of this tract in the deed.
is as follows: — "The middlemost of the three flats to
them belonging, called Castoleeuw, on the island by them
called Sewanhackey, between the bay of the North-river
and East-river of the New-Netherlands, extending in
length from a certain kill coming up from the sea, mostly
northerly till into the woods, and a breadth of a certain
valeye eastward also to the woods." About the same
time, a deed was given by the same Indians, to Andries
Hedden and Wolphert Garritsen, for what is called the
Little Flats; and another to Wouter Van Twiller the
Director, for what has since been denominated Twil-
ler's Flats. The deed is dated June 6th, 1636. These
three latter tracts lie partly in Flatbush and partly in
Flatlands. It is not improbable, however, that consid-
erable settlements were made before any formal grants
or Patents of lands were obtained. It was soon ascer-
tained that the lands in and about Flatlands, were level
and free from woods. This was a strong inducement
to settlers who came from the level country of Holland,
and who had no domestic animals for the plough, to oc-
cupy this part of the island. It is believed that as early
as the year 1630, a settlement was effected in that town,
which was then called New-Amersfort, after Amersfort, a
town in the province of Utrecht, in Holland, from which
probably some, if not most of the earlier settlers came.
It also received the name oi De Baije, or the Bay. In
1634, this town appears to have contained quite a num-
ber of inhabitants.
But about this time, the Dutchmen found that the
plain clear land was not so strong and productive as that
which bore heavy timber; this induced many of them to
seek a settlement somewhat farther to the north — and
from the best account it would appear that about the year
1634, the settlement of Flatbush commenced. It then
comprised a tract of woodland bounded on the north by
the Hills, on the south by Flatlands, and extending east
and west in one continual forest. This tract was evident-
ly purchased by the governor of the colony, or by the first
settlers, from the native Indian proprietors, but the
amount of consideration paid cannot now be ascertained.
At the time of the purchase, it was heavily covered with
timber, (consisting principally of hickory and white and
black oak,) with the exception of two small parcels which
were clear and destitute of trees, lying to the east of the
town, then called by the names of Corlaer's and Twiller's
Flats, and another on the south of the town adjoining
Flatlands, called the Little Flats. The land thus described,
from its being principally covered with timber, and from
its peculiar location, having the hills on the north and
Flatlands on the south, was appropriately called by the
first settlers, by the name of Midwout, or Middlewoods.
The first settlements in the town were made along an
Indian path leading from the Hills to New-Amersfort,
which is now the present highway or street through the
village of Flatbush. All subsequent settlements were
principally confined to the same path, and will readily
account for the crooked direction of the present road.
The first settlers were intent upon making agriculture
their principal means of subsistence. In order therefore
to concentrate their dwellings as much as possible, so as
to protect their families from Indian intrusions or other
depredations, and to form a village of farmers, they de-
termined to lay out their farms in narrow oblongs front-
ing on both sides of the path above mentioned. The
farms were accordingly laid out into forty-eight lots or
tracts of land, extending six hundred Dutch rods on each
side of the Indian path, and having severally an average
width of about twenty-seven rods. The lots or farms on
the east side of the path, were all laid out in a direction
running east and west : while those on the west side there-
of, had a south-westerly inclination so as to correspond
with the direction of the Hills adjoining the north-west-
erly side of the town. An allotment was then made be-
tween the several proprietors of mostly two lots or more
a piece, and for the support of the gospel among them
according to their own religious faith, the most central
and eligible lots were reserved and set apart for their
church. The distribution among the proprietors, was
probably made by lot, which appears to have been the
almost invariable practice of the Dutch in dividing the
lands which they patented. A considerable portion of
wood-lands lying on the west, north and east sides of the
towns, together with Corker's and Twiller^s Flats, were
left in common and remained for years undivided.
There can be no doubt that the existing governor in
order to secure the inhabitants of Midwout in the quiet
possession of their purchase from the native Indian pro-
prietors, confirmed the same to them by his Ground Brief
or Letters Patent. But when this was granted cannot
now be ascertained with entire certainty. In the year
1684, twenty years after the surrender of the Colony
to the English, an order was issued by the Governor
and Council, commanding all the inhabitants of the
Dutch towns in the provinces of New- York and New-
Jersey to bring their Dutch Patents and Indian Deeds
into the Secretary's Office in New- York. This order
was no doubt complied with by this as well as the other
Dutch towns on Long-Island, and thus the original
patent with those of the other towns, except Gravesend,
(which being settled chiefly by English emigrants, was
favored by the Governor,) was destroyed or sent to Eng-
land. The object of this arrangement was to cause the
towns to take out new Patents, and thus not only ac-
knowledge the English government, but increase the reve-
nue of the English Governor. It is probable however,
that the first patent obtained from the Dutch Governor
was only for that part of Flatbush which goes imder
the name of the old town, which was granted about the
year 1651 or 1652. The original proprietors according
to H. C. Murphy, Esq., of Brooklyn, were Jan Snedecor
Arent Van Hatten, one of the Burgomasters of New-
Amsterdam, Johannes Megapolensis, one of the ministers
of the same city, and others. On the 20th day of June,
in the year 1656, a Ground Brief or Patent was granted
by Governor Stuyvesant to the " indwellers and inhab-
itants of Midwout," for the Canarsee Meadows, which
are therein described as " a parcel of meadow ground, or
valley, lying on the east north-east of the Canarsee Indian
planting lands." This is the only original Dutch Patent
of any part of the town which has been discovered.
These meadow lands lying at Canarsee, appear to have
been divided and an allotment made of them among the
proprietors about the time of obtaining this Patent, or
very shortly after, as in some of the Ground Briefs to
individuals mention is made of certain portions of these
meadow lands as appertaining to the farm, and they are
designated by particular numbers.
Subsequently to the allotments made by, and between
the inhabitants of Midwout, of the several parcels of land
to them respectively allotted, many were desirous to have
written titles to their lands ; and for this purpose applied
to, and obtained from Governor Stuyvesant, Letters Pa-
tent to secure them in their possession. These Patents to
individuals bear different dates, and some as late as within
a year or two previous to the surrender of the country to
the English. Some of them were recorded in the town
books, even several years after the surrender.
Flatbush appears to have increased in the number of
its inhabitants very rapidly after its first settlement ; for
as early as the year 1658, it was the seat of Justice for
the County, and a market town. At that time the public
officers of the county, the Minister, Sheriff, Secretary or
Clerk, as well as a public School-Master resided in it.
The courts were held here, and the general business of
this section of Long Island was transacted here. Four
years previous to this, viz : in the year 1654, the order of
the Governor was issued for building the first church.
But this we shall more particularly allude to when we
come to speak of the ecclesiastical history of the town.
Governor Stuyvesant the last of the Dutch Governors,
was unquestionably a brave and an honest man. But va-
rious causes of discontent arose previous to, and during
his administration, which called for the remonstrance of
the people. The laws were imperfect, and many of them
not at all adapted to the times. The voice of the people
was not had in the choice of magistrates, nor in the enact-
ment of the statutes, by which they were to be governed.
Causes of Justice were too frequently decided from mere
wantonness and caprice, and the Governor and Council
appeared indisposed to remedy many existing evils in the
administration of civil and criminal jurisprudence. The
sense of public insecurity in time, produced a spirit of
general discontent, and the people with great unanimity
resolved to state their grievances to the Governor, and
respectfully demand redress. Accordingly the Burgo-
masters of New Amsterdam, called upon the several
Dutch Towns to send delegates to a convention to be held
in that city on the 26th. of November, 1653. At this
convention delegates appeared from Flatbush as well as
from the other towns. The convention adjourned to the
11th. of December following, when after mutual consulta-
tion, and discussion of various matters, they adopted a
remonstrance, which in an able but respectful manner
set forth their grievances. This ancient document is in-
teresting as showing that at that early day the people
had intelligence enough to understand their rights and
know the legitimate objects of civil government. The
remonstrance was signed by all the members of the con-
vention. The delegates from Flatbush whose names are
attached to it were " Elbert Elbertson, and Thomas
Spicer." The Governor and Council gave no formal an-
swer to the remonstrance of the deputies, but entered one
on their minutes, in which they denied the right of Flat-
bush and of BrookljTQ and Flatlands to send delegates,
and protested against the meeting, although it had been
called at the request of the Governor himself. Entertain-
ing a just sense of the responsibility attached to them, the
deputies made another but ineffectual attempt to obtain
a recognition of their rights. On the 13th of December
1653, they presented another remonstrance, in which they
declared, that if they could not obtain a redress of their
grievances from the Governor and Council, they would be
under the necessity of appealing to their superiors, the
States General. This so irritated Governor Stuyvesant
that he ordered them "to disperse, and not to assemble
again upon such a business."
In 1654, it appears that the country was much infested
with robbers. The inhabitants of this and the neighbor-
ing towns were much annoyed by their depredations. To
guard themselves against these, the magistrates of Mid-
wout united with those of Brooklyn and Amersfort in
forming a military volunteer company against " robbers
and pirates," as they expressed themselves. This com-
pany was formed on the 7th, of April, 1654, and deter-
mined that there should be a military officer in each
town, called a Sergeant, as well as a public patrole in each
village. On the day following the organization of the
company, the Governor issued his proclamation against
certain robbers, whom he states " had been banished from
New-England, and were wandering about on Long-
In 1655, a large body of Northern Indians, made a de-
scent on Staten Island, and massacreed sixty-seven per-
sons; after which, they crossed to Long-Island and in-
vested Gravesend, which was relieved by a party of sol-
diers from New-Amsterdam. To guard against similar
attacks, as well as to defend themselves from the en-
croachments of their neighboring Indians, the inhabitants
of Flatbush were ordered by Governor Stuyvesant in
1656, to enclose their village with palisadoes. These forti-
fications were required to be kept up under the English
government, as will appear by the following record of the
court of Sessions for the West Riding of Yorkshire, upon
Long Island, December 15th, 1675. " The Town of Flat-
bush having neglected the making of ffortifications, the
court take notis of it, and reffer the censure to ye Gover-
nor." It is further ascertained from traditionary infor-
mation, that the first church was fenced in with strong
pallisadoes, and that the early settlers went out in the day
time to cultivate their farms, and returned in the evening
and lodged within the enclosure during the night time
for their safety and mutual protection; and that this
practice continued until there was a sufficient number
of substantial dwellings erected, so as to render the pre-
In the original Dutch Patent of the town, there was
some reserve of quit rent to be paid to the Governor. But
as the Patent cannot be found, the amount, or the kind of
this quit rent cannot be ascertained. But on the 6th of
June, 1656, Governor Stuyvesant issued a peremptory
order, prohibiting the inhabitants of Flatbush, as well as
those of Brooklyn and Flatlands, from removing their
crops of grain from the fields until the tythes reserved by
their Patents had either been taken or commuted for.
It is not distinctly known to what branches of agricul-
ture our early Dutch ancestors devoted themselves. But
as for a considerable time they had to cultivate the
ground without the aid of animals, and chiefly by the hoe
and spade, it is probable that they turned their attention
to that which would yield the most profit from the small-
est piece of ground. There is reason to believe that in
common with some other places, on the west end of Long-
Island, tobacco was raised in considerable quantities in
this town during its early settlement. For in addition to
that consumed in the Colony, shipments of this article
were made from New- Amsterdam to Holland. As early
as 1643, a grant for a tobacco plantation at the Walla-
bought was made. Tobacco became too, at an early day
a standard of value for lands and other property: And
in 1638, an Act was passed, commonly called the Tobacco
Statute, in which, mention is made of the high estima-
tion in which the tobacco shipped from New-Netherlands
was held in the European market, and various regula-
tions are prescribed relative to the manner in which it
shall be cultivated, inspected, and sold. We have no
doubt that the inhabitants of Midwout early engaged
in the production of this article. (See Thompson's His-
tory of Long-Island for the Tobacco Statute, page 177.)
Great attention too was paid to the raising of Barley.
Vast quantities of malt liquors were made in ]N'ew-
Amsterdam, and of consequence, a ready market was
there found for this article. It became in some subse-
quent years almost the staple of this part of Long-
Island; so much so, that 20,000 bushels of Barley were
annually sold from Flatbush alone.
Van der Donk, in his History of New-Netherlands,
which was published in 1655, also states that much atten-
tion was paid by the Dutch agriculturalists to the culti-
vation of the best vegetables and fruits of various kinds ;
and a great variety of beautiful flowers.
Nothing of very special interest occurred in Flatbush,
from the date which we have last mentioned, until the
period of the surrender of the country to the English,
which took place in the year 1664. The number of the
inhabitants in the town, appears to have increased quite
rapidly up to this time, when it is supposed it contained
a larger population than at the conclusion of the revolu-
tionary war, in 1783.
We will be pardoned for digressing here for a few mo-
ments, for the purpose of narrating the manner, and some
of the terms and conditions, on which the surrender of the
country was made to the English authorities. King
Charles, by Letters Patent, granted to his brother, James,
the Duke of York, his heirs and assigns, Long-Island, all
Hudsons' River, and all lands from the west side of Con-
necticut River to the east side of Delaware Bay, together
with all royalties and right of government. This em-
braced all the countries then governed by the Dutch.
Soon after the grant of this Patent, King Charles de-
spatched a small force, for the purpose of subduing the
country. The Dutch inhabitants were apprized of the
designs of the English, by the vigilance of Governor
Stuyvesant, who had received information, that an expe-
dition was preparing against them, consisting of three
vessels, of forty or fifty guns each, having on board about
three hundred soldiers, and laying at Plymouth in Eng-
land, waiting for a fair wind. The Dutch authorities
were called together, by their Governor, and they ordered
the fort to be put in the best state of defence. As soon as
the vessels arrived in the outer harbor of New- York, which
was in August, 1664, Governor Stuyvesant sent a polite
note to the English commander, dated, August 19th, 1664,
desiring the reason of their approach and continuance in
the harbor without giving the Dutch notice. This letter
was sent by John Declyer, one of the chief council, the
Eev. John Megapolensis, minister, Paul Lunden Vander
Grilft and Mr. Samuel Megapolensis, doctor of physic.
On the next day. Col. Eichard Nicolls, who was the
commander of the expedition, and was clothed with the
powers of Governor, sent an answer, and demanded a sur-
render of the country. In this document he informed
Governor Stuyvesant, that he had been sent out by the
King of England, for the maintainance of his unquestion-
able rights, and that he had been commanded to demand
the surrender of the country, and in his name he now re-
quired such surrender. He however assured him, that
every Dutch inhabitant who should readily submit to the
King of England, should be secured in his estate, life and
liberty. He despatched the summons by four persons,
through whom he expected to receive an answer. These
persons were George Cartwright, one of his Majesty's
commissioners in America, Captain Robert Needham,
Captain Edward Groves and Mr. Thomas Delavall.
Governor Stuyvesant promised an answer the next
morning, and in the mean time convened the council and
Burgomasters. He was, unquestionably a brave soldier,
and had lost a leg in the service of his country, and was
desirous to defend the place by all the means in his
power. He therefore refused both to the inhabitants and
the Burgomasters a sight of the summons, lest the easy
terms proposed might induce them to capitulate. The
inhabitants were called together at the Staatds House,
and informed of the Governor's refusal. On the 2d day
of September, 1664, the Burgomasters came in coun-
cil, and demanded to see the summons, which the Gov-
ernor then in a fit of anger tore to pieces. But not-
withstanding the yielding disposition of the inhabitants
to the British commissioners, which arose, no doubt, from
a growing discontent with the Dutch government, which
had existed for several years in the country, Governor
Stuyvesant resolved upon a vigorous resistance, and sent
to the English commander a long letter, vindicating the
justice of the Dutch claims to the territory which they
While the Governor and council were contending with
the Burgomasters and people, in the city of New-Amster-
dam, the English commissioners published a proclama-
tion in the country, encouraging the inhabitants to sub-
mit, and promising them all the privileges of British sub-
jects. Many, on discovering from Governor Stuyvesant's
letter, which was then likewise published, that he was
averse to the surrender, being fearful of the impending
storm, resolved to join the strongest party, and began to
beat up for volunteers, particularly on Long-Island.
The Governor being thus invaded by a foreign foe,
and threatened to be deserted by those on whose friend-
ship he had depended, perceiving that resistance would
only occasion a wanton effusion of blood, agreed to
appoint six distinguished citizens on his part, who, in
conjunction with an equal number of British commis-
sioners should conclude a treaty for the surrender of
The commissioners on the part of the Dutch were
John D. Deckar,
Oleffe Stevens Van Kortlandt,
On the part of the English, they were
This treaty was agreed upon. It consisted of twenty-
three articles, of which it is sufficient to give the outlines
of some of the most prominent. The Staats General, or
the Dutch West India Company were to enjoy all farms
and houses except those in the forts, and had liberty
within six months to transport all arms and ammunition
which belonged to them. The people might remain free
denizens, and occupy or dispose of their lands, houses and
goods, as they pleased. They were to enjoy free liberty
of conscience, and retain their own customs respecting
their inheritances. No judgment which had passed any
of the courts of judicature could be called in question,
and all previous differences respecting contracts, were to
be determined according to the manner of the Dutch. No
Dutchman nor Dutch ships could be pressed to serve in
war against any nation whatever, and no soldiers quar-
tered on the inhabitants. Inferior civil officers might
continue to fill their stations till the customary time of a
new election, and the inhabitants were entitled to choose
deputies, who should have free voices in all public affairs.
The soldiers were to march out with the honors of war,
and each of them who chose to remain in the country was
entitled to fifty acres of land. The Articles were ap-
proved by Colonel Richard NicoUs, on the 7th, of Sep-
tember, and on the 9th, of September, 1664, by Governor
About the time of the surrender of the country to the
Duke of York, there appears to have been a considerable
contest as to the boundary line between the towns of Mid-
wout and New-Amersfort, which was attended with fre-
quent collisions, and particularly so, in the mowing and
ingathering of hay on the Canarsee meadows. This even-
tually led to an application to Governor Richard Nicolls
for the settlement of the subject in controversy, between
the contending parties. Governor Nicolls in the year
1666 appointed arbitrators to view and settle the matters
in difference between them. The arbitrators thus ap-
pointed, accordingly met, for the purpose of viewing the
premises and issuing the differences between these towns
on the 17th, of October, 1666. They were accompanied
by many of the inhabitants, and after a careful survey,
a designated line was agreed upon. The line thus con-
sented to was designated by marked trees, wherever prac-
tic able, and in other instances, by prominent stakes, or a
fence set np between the two towns. In the Canarsee
meadows, which were esteemed valuable at that time, it
was described with greater precision, and was designated
by an instrument similar to the mariners compass, and
was to run according to the terms of Governor Stuyve-
sant's Patent, granted to Midwout, in 1656, from the
woodland to the mouth of the kill or creek, (now called
the first creek, or Vanderveer's mill creek,) with an East
line half a point northerly, without variation of compass.
The award and determination of the arbitrators was
made to Governor Nicolls, in accordance to the above
arrangement, and the line being marked, and staked out,
in conformity thereto, the award received his approbation
and sanction, on the 20th, day of April, 1667.
This controversy being thus happily terminated, and
the southern boundary of the town permanently fixed,
the inhabitants of Flatbush, in the year 1667, applied to
Governor Nicolls for a confirmatory grant, to secure them
in their possessions, as he was required to do, by virtue,
and in pursuance of the Articles of capitulation. On the
11th, of October, in the year 1667, the Governor granted
letters patent, to the freeholders and inhabitants of Mid-
wout, alias Flatbush, of which, the following is a con-
"Eichard Nicolls, Esq. &c. Whereas there is a cer-
tain town within this government, known by the name of
Midwout, alias Flatbush, &c. now for a confirmation, &c.
Know ye that I have given, ratified, confirmed and grant-
ed unto Mr. Johannes Megapolensis, one of the ministers
of this city, Mr. Cornelius Van Ruyven, one of the jus-
tices of the peace, Adrian Hegeman, Jan Snediger, Jan
Stryker, Frans Barents Pastor, Jacob Stryker, and Cor-
nelius Janse Bougaert, at Patentees, for, and on behalf,
of themselves and associates, 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 na-
tive Indian proprietors or others, within the bounds and
limits hereafter set forth and expressed, viz: That is to
say: The said town is bounded to the south by the Hills,
to the north by the fence lately sett between them and
the town of Amersfort, alias Flatlands: Beginning at a
certain tree, standing upon the Little Flats, marked by
order and determination of several arbitrators, appointed
by me, to view and issue the differences between the two
towns, concerning the same, which accordingly they did,
upon the 17th, day of October, 1666, and to the east and
west by the common woodlands, including two Flats,
heretofore called by the names of Corlers and Twillers
Flats, which lye to the east of the town: As also a par-
cel of meadow ground or valley on the east northeast
side of the Canarsee planting land, and having to the
south the meadow ground belonging to Amersfort, alias
Flatlands, according to the division made by an east line
running half a point northerly, between them, without
variation of the compass, and so to go to the mouth of
the Creek or Kill; which said meadows were upon the
20th, of April last, by common consent staked out, and
by my approbation allowed of: All which said tracts and
parcels of land, meadow ground, &c. Dated, October,
The first settlers of Midwout, or Flatbush, were a hardy
body of farmers, inured to labor, and acquainted more
or less, with some mechanical trade. This was calculated
to promote their domestic comfort, to render themselves
useful to one another, and make them quite independent
of extraneous aid. It is worthy of remark, that it was a
general rule for every parent to cause his sons to be in-
structed in some useful mechanical business, although in-
tended for farmers, and that this practice was invariably
continued until the commencement of the revolutionary
war. In the original subdivision of the town amongst
the different proprietors, it will be perceived, as above
stated, that the allotments of land were made only for
those who intended to obtain the means of subsistence by
the cultivation of the earth. There was therefore no pro-
vision as yet made for mechanics, who might desire to
make a permanent residence here. Upon the introduction
of a few mechanics, it was perceived that from the ability
and employments of the inhabitants generally, there was
but little prospect of their being able to support them-
selves, and their families in any comfortable way, without
the cultivation of some land, at least for family subsist-
ence. The attention of the inhabitants was directed to
this subject, and the church lands were thereupon divided
into suitable and convenient parcels, so as to accommo-
date the mechanics, and let to them for low and reason-
able rents. A tract of woodland was also purchased and
patented, lying to the east of the town and north of what
is called Flatlands Neck, expressly for the benefit of
the mechanics, and appropriately called Keuters Hook,
or Mechanics Hook. The inhabitants of the town were
at, and about that time, divided into two classes,
called Keuters or mechanics, and Boers, or Farmers;
and this distinction was kept up for years afterwards.
The date of the Patent of Keuters Hook cannot now
be ascertained with precision, but was probably not
very long after the surrender of the country to the
About this time the court was removed from Flatbush
to Gravesend. This was no doubt, in consequence of the
latter town being chiefly settled by English emigrants,
and the authorities were disposed from this circumstance
to favor them. The first records of the court, now in the
Clerk's office of the county, are dated at Gravesend, in
the years 1668.— 69.
Shortly after the surrender of the colony to the Eng-
lish, the towns of Brooklyn, Bushwick, Midwout, or Flat-
bush, Amersford, or Flatlands, and New-Utrecht, were
formed into a separate district, for certain purposes, by
the name of the " Five Dutch Towns." For these towns a
Secretary or Clerk, was specially appointed, whose duties
appear to have been confined to the taking acknowledg-
ments of transports and marriage settlements, and proof
of wills, &c. In 1674, this office was held by " Nicasius
De Sille, in the absence of Sr. Ffrancis De Brugh." He
was succeeded in the year 1675, by Machiel Hainelle, who
had been schoolmaster in Flatbush during the previous
year. In the acknowledgments which he took, he styles
himself " Clerk." In the same year the court of Sessions
for the West Riding of Yorkshire,* which then sat in
Gravesend, after setting forth the appointment of Hainelle,
and calling him " Secretary," declared, " It is the opinion
of the court, that for what publique or private business
he shall doe, he ought to have reasonable satisfacon."
New Lots, which was originally called Ostwout, or
East-Woods, on account of its lying east of Midwout or
* The West Riding was composed of the towns of Brooklyn, Bush-
wich, Flatbush, Flatlands, New-Utrecht and Gravesend, together with
Staten Island and Newtown.
the Old Town of Flatbush, was no doubt purchased and
procured from the native Indian proprietors, by the in-
habitants of Midwout. But at what particular time can-
not be distinctly ascertained. It was probably not far
from the period when the Patent of Governor Nicolls was
granted, which was in 1667. It was a tract of woodland
covered with the same description of timber as that of
Midwout. Its situation was also somewhat similar, hav-
ing the Hills on the north, the Bay, which was then called
the Sea, on the south, and extending easterly to the
bounds of Jamaica. An extensive tract of meadows was
included in these limits, lying in front of the upland, and
extending to the Bay. All this land appears to have been
subdivided in the same manner, as Midwout, or the Old
Town of Flatbush, and the church also received its share
in such allotment, with the inhabitants of the town. The
meadow was, without doubt, also subdivided about the
same time, and similarly allotted, as the upland. This
opinion appears to be confirmed by the fact, that the first
conveyances of land recorded in the town records always
include one or more parcels of meadow therewith. The
meadows must also have been esteemed valuable, on ac-
count of producing spontaneously an annual crop of hay,
and that, without previous labor or tillage. This tract of
country generally was called the New Lands, and princi-
pally settled by the inhabitants of Midwout, or the Old
Town, and afterwards assumed the name of the New-
Lots. The Patent for this was obtained under the ad-
ministration of Sir, Edmond Andros, the second English
Governor, to which we shall advert presently.
In the year 1665, a meeting of delegates from the sev-
eral towns on Long-Island, was held at Hempstead, for
the purpose of adjusting any conflicting claims to lands.
and settling the boundaries of the several towns, and of
receiving and acknowledging the code of laws, which had
been prepared by the Duke of York, for the government
of the Colony, commonly called the " Dukes Laws." At
this meeting the Governor himself attended, and the dele-
gates were so much gratified with his manners, and the
liberal views which he professed on the occasion, that they
drew up, and signed an address to His Royal Highness,
the Duke of York, full of gTatitude and loyalty, but at
which, as soon as their constituents found that they were
to have no voice in the selection of magistrates, or a share
in legislation, they manifested their disapprobation, and
censured the deputies with so much severity, that the
civil authorities thought it necessary to interfere. And
accordingly, at a court of Assize, held in October, 1666, it
was resolved that whoever thereafter should detract, or
speak against any of the deputies, signing the address to
His Royal Highness, at the general meeting at Hemp-
stead, should be presented to the next court of Sessions:
and if the justices should see cause, they should thence be
bound over to the Assizes, there to answer for the slander
by plaint or information.
The delegates who attended this convention from Flat-
bush, and signed the address, were John Stryker and
Hendrick Gucksen. It is not necessary here to give any
summary of the Dukes Laws, which were then promul-
gated, and continued to be the law of the land until Octo-
ber, 1683. There are in them many quite curious provi-
sions. There was nothing in them peculiar to any town,
except the fixing the mark by which horses were to be
branded. Each town was required to have a marking or
flesh brand for this purpose. The town mark for Flat-
bush was the letter O.
It is probable that at this assembly, which fixed the
bounds of the several towns, the names of many of them
were altered. The town of Rutsdorpe, was called Jamaica,
Amersfort was chang-ed to Flatlands, Middleburgh to
JSTewtown, and Midwout to Flatbush, or Flakkebos, that
is, Flat Woods. This name was given to it from its being
situated on an apparently level plain, and surrounded on
almost every side by woods. But it is here proper to re-
mark, that the ground in and about Flatbush, is far from
being a deal level. It is an inclined plane gradually ex-
tending and lessening in inclination to its southern boun-
dary. Hence, here are no stagnant pools or marshes, but
all surplus water from rains and storms, passes off grad-
ually, but yet in a very short period to the ocean. This
renders the situation of the town healthful, and hence it
has seldom if ever, been visited with any prevailing epi-
The tract of country now comprising the town of Flat-
bush as we have stated, was originally obtained by pur-
chase from the Canarsee Indians, who were the true and
original owners. The first Dutch settlers of the town, in
their various purchases of the Indian proprietors, dealt
fairly and honorably with them. They did not drive them
from their possessions by force, but gave what was then
esteemed by themselves to be a valuable consideration, for
their lands. This integrity and uprightness of conduct,
secured a lasting friendship with the Canarsee Indians,
which continued till the total extinction of that Tribe.
These purchases were confirmed to the inhabitants of Flat-
bush by sundry Patents, issued to them by the Dutch and
The inhabitants continued in the peaceable enjoyment
of these premises thus obtained, without any claim, hin-
drance or molestation, from any person or persons, until
the year 1670, when Eskemoppas, Sachem of Rockaway,
and his two brothers, laid claim to the same, as the true
Indian owners and proprietors thereof. There can be no
doubt, that this claim was ill founded, but the Dutch in-
habitants of the town for the purpose of quieting the title
to their possessions, consented to take a conveyance from
him and his two brothers, for which they paid a valuable
consideration, which is set forth in a schedule subjoined
to their deed. It may be gratifying to some to know the
terms of this purchase, and the contents of this ancient
document. The Deed is as follows : — " To all christian
people to whom this present writing shall come: Eske-
moppas, Sachem of Rockaway, upon Long Island, Kinna-
rimas and Ahawaham, his brothers, send greeting : Where-
as they the said Sachem, Eskemoppas and his two broth-
ers, aforementioned, do lay claim to the land now in the
tenure and occupation of the inhabitants of Midwout,
alias Elatbush, as well as to other lands thereto adjacent,
as the right born Indian owners, and proprietors thereof:
Know ye, that for, and in consideration of certain sums
of seewant, a certain sum of Avampum and divers other
goods (hereinafter specified,) unto the said Sachem, and
his brothers, in hand paid, and received, from Adrian
Hegeman, Jacob Str;^d\er, Hendrich Jorise and Jan Han-
sen, for and on behalf of themselves and the rest of
the inhabitants of Midwout, alias Elatbush, the receipt
whereof they do hereby acknowledge, and themselves to be
fully satisfied and paid : Have given, granted, contracted
and sold, and by these presents, freely and absolutely do
give, grant, bargain and sell, unto the said Adrian Hege-
man, Jacob Stryker, Hendrick Jorise and Jan Hansen,
for and in behalf of themselves and the inhabitants afore-
said, their heirs aud successors: All that parcel and tract
of land where the said town of Midwont stands, together
with all the lands lying therein, stretching on the east side
to the limits of Newtown and Jamaica, on the south side
to the meadow ground and limits of Amersfort; on the
west side to the bounds of Gravesend and New-Utrecht,
and on the north side along the Hills; that is to say, all
those lands within the limits aforementioned that have
not been already purchased by any of the inhabitants of
the town aforementioned, nor is granted to any in their
respective Patents. And also excepting such meadow
or valley in the possession of the said inhabitants and
in their Patent particularly set forth. To have and to
hold, all the said parcel and tract of land and premises
together with all and singular, every thing thereunto be-
longing, or in any wise appertaining, as before mentioned,
together with the said valley or meadow ground, unto the
said Adrian Hegeman, Jacob Stryker, Hendrick Jorise
and Jan Hansen, for, and on behalf of the inhabitants
aforesaid, their heirs and successors, to the proper use
and behalf of the said inhabitants, their heirs and suc-
cessors forever. In witness whereof, the parties to these
presents have hereunto set their hands and seals, this
20th, day of April, in the 22d, year of his Majesty's
Reign, in the year of our Lord, 1670.
ESKEMOPPAS, ^ mark, (seal.)
KINNARIMAS, ^ mark, (seal.)
AHAWAHAM, -f mark, (seal.)
Signed and delivered
in the presence of
Cornelius Van Ruyven.
Recorded the day and year within written.
Per Mathias Nicolls, Secretary.
The payment agreed upon for the purchase herein men-
tioned, was as follows: viz:
10 Fathoms of black seewant or (wampum.)
10 Fathoms of white seewant or (wampum.)
5 Match coats of Duffells.
2 Gunners sight guns.
6 Double handfulls of Powder, (gispen bunches of
5 Bars of Lead.
2 Secret aprons of Duff ells, (Cuppas of Duffell.)
1 Half fat or half barrell of Strong Beer.
3 Cans of Brandy.
All the above particulars were received by the Sachem,
and his two brothers, in the presence of the persons under
written, as witnesses hereof.
Jacob Van Cortlandt, ") ct j t j
^ . -_ , _^ f Supposed Judges or
ieunis Jacob Hay, > t x- r .i -r,
^- 1 ^ T , 1 Justices oi the Peace,
iidward Carlisle. J
Acknowledged before me, the Sachem and his two
brothers, and the goods delivered in my presence, the day
and year within written.
It was one of the provisions of the Duke's Laws, that
no purchase of land from the Indians should be valid
without a licence from the Governor to make such pur-
chase, and the purchaser was required to bring the Sachem
or right owner, before tlie Governor, to confess satisfac-
tion. It was in accordance with this provision, that not
only Justices were appointed to superintend the above
purchase, but the Sachem and his brothers appeared be-
fore Governor Lovelace, and in his presence the payments
were made, and the purchase concluded. The provisions
relative to purchases from the Indians, to which we have
alluded, were subsequently adopted, and embodied in a
specific act, by the first Colonial Assembly, which met in
the year 1683, under Governor Dongan.
So much of the land thus acquired as the inhabitants of
Flatbush had occasion for, they took up, enclosed, and
improved. The rest was left in common, until by the in-
crease of their population it should be needed. They re-
mained thus in quiet possession of all their lands until the
year 1675, when Captain Richard Betts laid claim to a
certain parcel or tract, lying in the New Lots, for which
he said he had obtained a deed from the Indians, of prior
date to the one just recited, given in the year 1663. We
are not able to locate precisely the premises thus called
in question. The matter was tried at the court of Ses-
sions, held in Gravesend, for that year, when the deed of
Mr, Betts was allowed, and a verdict given in his favor.
But an appeal was taken by the inhabitants of the town,
to the General Court of Assizes, which was holden in the
same year, 1675, in the city of New- York. Hereupon
a full and fair hearing of the case, the verdict rendered at
the court of Sessions was set aside, and the court ordered,
as follows : — " That the land shall lye in common to
fflatbush, and the townes adjacent, as it heretofore hath
been, and that the towns who have the beneffit of the com-
onage shall pay their equall proportion of the purchase
money to the Indyans and costs of this suite."
It was probably in consequence of this suit, that the in-
habitants of Flatbush sought and obtained a separate pa-
tent for that part of the town called New-Lots. This was
granted by Gov. Edmond Andros on the 25th day of
March, in the year 1677, to Arian Lamberse and others, to
the number of thirty-seven persons. This Patent we have
not been able to procure. It was probably granted on con-
dition of the payment of a certain quit rent to the Gov-
ernor, which opinion is confirmed from the fact, that com-
plaint was subsequently made to the court of Sessions,
held at Gravesend, against the constable of New Lots, for
not taking up and paying over the same, upon which
diverse orders were passed by the court relating thereto.
About the time of the settlement of New Lots, several of
the inhabitants of Midwout, or Flatbush, also removed to
New-Jersey, and formed settlements on the Earitan and
Milstone rivers, and also in the county of Monmouth, then
called Neversink. Their numerous descendents now oc-
cupy these and other different parts of New-Jersey.
Shortly after this period, it would appear from some
records of the Court of Sessions, held at Gravesend, that
there was some dissatisfaction between the towns of Flat-
bush and Flatlands, relative to their boundary line. It
was fixed under the administration of Governor Nicolls,
in the year 1666. But another award and agreement on
the subject was made, bearing date the 11th day of May,
1677. What the precise terms of this agreement were, we
are unable to tell, as we have not been able to find the
document. But not long after, it appears from the follow-
ing extracts, from the records of the court, that the town
of Flatlands complained of some trespass committed by the
inhabitants of the town of Flatbush. At the session of the
court held June 1679, we find the following record. " The
inhabitants of fflatlands, complayning that the inhabitants
of Flatbush have trespassed upon the land belonging to
fflatlands aforesaid, contrary to an award made and agreed
upon between both towns, and an order of court punctual-
ly to observe the same, which being proved by the con-
stable, and one of the oversees of Flatlands, aforesaid, and
they not appearing to answer the complaint, and for their
contempt in not observing the said award and order of
court. The court orders that the said inhabitants shall
pay as a fine to the publique, the sum of ten pounds, and
to observe the said order of court. They also complayn,
that the inhabitants of Flatbush have chopt of the marke
of a tree, &c. To be deferred to the next court of Ses-
sions, and they to have notice of it to answer the same."
In December of the same year, (1679,) is the following
record on the same subject. " The inhabitants of Flat-
lands complain of the inhabitants of Flatbush, for tres-
passing on their lands, contrary to an award made and
agreed upon as hath formerly been made appear, and the
said inhabitants of Flatbush fined the last court, the sum
of ten pounds, for not observing the said award and agree-
ment. Severall debates arising about running the line,
the court being satisfyed the inhabitants of Flatbush com-
mitted a trespass upon the inhabitants of Flatlands, doe
order that the said fine shall be forthwith paid, or else
execucon to issue forth for the same. The defendants
moved for an appeal, which is granted."
We might here introduce several somewhat curious ex-
tracts from the minutes of the court of Sessions, relative
to the town. We will simply present the following:
In 1681, it is recorded, " The court doe order, that John
Gerritson Van Marken, shall deliver up to the constable
and overseers of Flatbush, all the books and writings be-
longing to the town aforesaid, which, if he shall refuse to
deliver, that then the constable of the said town is hereby-
ordered and empowered to take them from the said
In the same year, " There being a strange man in the
custody of the constable of Flatbush, and no person lay-
ing claim to him, the court order ye man shall be ap-
praised and sold, and if any person shall hereafter lay
lawful claim to him, and desire to have him again, he
paying what lawful charges are out upon him, may have
In the same year, (1681,) is the following : " At the re-
quest of some of the inhabitants of Flatbush, this court
doe order, that the constable of the town give speedy no-
tice to the inhabitants, that they forthwith fence their
cornfields, and after legal warning given, any pei-son shall
be found defective herein, that then said person or per-
sons, so offending, shall be proceeded against, according
to law, and to be complained against at the next Sessions."
In 1682, is the following : " Upon the complaint of the
constable of Flatbush, that there are severall persons in
the said town, who doe refuse to pay there minister. The
court doe order, that such persons who shall refuse to pay
their said minister, it shall be taken from them by dis-
tress." From the general prevalence of the voluntary
principle at the present day, in the support of the gospel,
and the abolishing of the unholy union of church and
state, we look almost with wonder at such provisions and
In the year 1683, there is another record relative to
an alleged trespass by the inhabitants of Flatbush, upon
the town of Flatlands, of nearly the same import with the
one which we have quoted above, but we need not recite it.
In 1685, in an action between Derick Storm, and the
inhabitants of Flatbush, it is recorded, "An agreement
read between Storm and Joseph Hegeman, Cornelius Ber-
rian, John Stryker, William Guilliamsen, and others, in
behalf of ye town of Fflatbush, nppon which. Storm
prayed a sallarry, may be allowed him, for serving the
town as schoolmaster to their children. Ordered that
Court Steephens and Symou Jansen, examine ye accounts,
and agreement between them, and these partys to stand to
In the same year, Theodoras Polhemus, for refusing to
stand constable for Flatbush, although legally elected,
was by the court fined five pounds to the public.
On the 7th, of November, 1685, at the session of the
second colonial assembly, held under the administration
of Governor Dongan, an act was passed for removing the
court of Sessions of Kings county, from Gravesend to
Flatbush. The cause for this, stated in the preamble of the
act, is the inconvenience to which the inhabitants of the
county are subjected, in travelling so far as Gravesend.
Flatbush is about the geographical centre of the county of
Kings, and afforded in this respect the most eligible place
for holding the courts and presented the least disadvan-
tages to the inhabitants of the county, who might have ju-
dicial business to attend to. It was thenceforth named as
the seat of justice for the county, and continued such
till the year 1832, when the court-house was destroyed
by fire. A court-house was accordingly erected in Flat-
bush, in 1686, for the accommodation of the county,
on the spot of ground which is still called the court-
house lot. It remained till a larger one was built in
the year 1758, an account of which we shall subsequently
A controversy arose as early as 1678, between Flat-
bush and Brooklyn, relative the boundary line between
the respective towns. The northern boundary of the
town of Flatbush according to their purchase from the In-
dian proprietors and the patent which they had obtained
was described to be by the hills. The inhabitants of
Brooklyn, contended that their right of ownership ex-
tended to the foot of the hills, and that this was the true
and proper boundary line between the two towns, and that
the Indian conveyances to both parties would admit of
this and of no other construction. The inhabitants of
Midwout on the other hand, contended, that such a con-
struction of their northern boundary interfered with their
just rights, and would lead to great embarrassment, doubt
and uncertainty; nay, that from the general surface of
the town of Flatbush, being an inclined plane, gradually
sloping to the south, such a construction would locate
their northern boundary in the town of Flatlands, and
perhaps even in the Bay, or waters edge. In consequence
of this difference, the matter was submitted to the deci-
sion of the Court of Sessions. At a session of that court,
held at Gravesend, on the 18th, of December, 1678, the
subject of difference was, by consent of both towns, re-
ferred to Captain Jaques Cortelyou, and Captain Richard
Stillwell, to decide, and it was ordered that their
" report should be determinative." Messrs. Cortelyou
and Stillwell complied with the requisition of the
court, and five years afterwards submitted the following
" To the Worshipf ull Court of Sessions, now sitting at
Gravesend, June 21st, 1683. These may certifie, that in
obedience to an order from said court, and by consent of
both towns, of Brooklyn and Flatbush, to runn the line be-
twixt the said townes which are we underwritten have
done, and marked the trees betwixt towne and towne, as
wittnesse our hands, the daye and yeare above written,
One of the trees thus marked by these arbitrators was
a large white oak, standing near what is called the Port
Eoad, and mentioned in the Patent granted by Governor
Dongan, as one of the boundaries of the town. This tree
remained till the time of the revolutionary war, when it
was cut down by the Americans, and fallen across the
road for the purpose of intercepting the British. A red
free stone monument, with a proper inscription has sub-
sequently been set up, at and near the stump of this tree,
(which is yet in existence) by General Jeremiah Johnson,
on the part of Brooklyn, and John C. Vanderveer, Esq. on
the part of Flatbush. But unfortunately the stone has
been so defaced by certain persons, who seem to take de-
light in mutilating every thing, that only a few letters of
the inscription can now be decyphered.
The award of Messrs. Cortelyou and Stillwell, relative
to the boundary line, notwithstanding the order of the
court, appears not to have been " determinative." For
in the next year, 1684, the line was run out by Philip
Wells, a surveyor of Staten Island, and Jacobus Cortland,
who were appointed for this purpose, by the two towns.
The certificate of these gentlemen, is in the words fol-
lowing : " To satisffie whom itt may concerne, that I be-
ing with Mr. Jacobus Cortland, about the 20th, day off
November, 1684, imployed by Breuckland and Fflack-
bush, to vew and run out the line betweene the two
townes, to the south of the hills, found that the line run
fFormerly by Capts. Jaques Cortelyou and Mr. Stilwell,
is right and just, which wee both being agreed, give in
our approbation of the same.
PHILIP WELLS, Surveyor:'
Staaten-Island, in the County of Richmond, )
this 4th, day of April, 1687." )
Notwithstanding this, differences continued to exist for
some years subsequently, but at length they have been
amicably settled, upon the following principles, viz : That
the summit of the hills or the first perceptible southerly
declivity of any hill, should be deemed and taken as the
fixed and determined line, and wherever the hills are cut
off or interrupted by an intervening valley or hollow, the
boundary line should extend in the shortest possible direc-
tion, from the summit of one hill to that of the opposite
one. In conformity with this determination, proper
monuments have been placed on the boundary lines, to
prevent, if possible, all future disputes.
At an early period distinctive names were given to the
several parts of the village of Flatbush. The north end
was called Steenraap or Stone Gathering; the south end,
Rustenburgh, or resting place or borough; while the cen-
tre was denominated Dorp, or the Town. The Dutch
words appropriated to either end of the village were ap-
propriate, inasmuch as the ground on the north end of the
town contains many small stones, on, and just below the
surface, while comparatively few of these are found in the
south end, which in consequence is more easy to culti-
vate. In the northern section of the town, on the farm
now in possession of the Widow Lefferts, were erected at
an early period, two brick kilns, one on the back of the
farm, and another near the large pond, not far from the
main road, which from this circumstance has obtained the
name of the Stein Bakerie Pond. At these kilns brick
were burnt for the use of the inhabitants, but only small
remains of them are now to be seen.
On the 12th, day of November, 1685, the inhabitants of
Flatbush applied to, and obtained from Colonel Thomas
Dongan, the fourth English Governor of the Colony of
New- York, a confirmatory Patent for the whole town, in-
cluding the several former grants, or Patents of Midwout,
or Flatbush, the Canarsee Meadows, Keuters Hook and
Oustwout, or New-Lots. This Patent runs thus, to wit :
" Thomas Dongan, Lieutenant Governor and Vice-
Admiral of New- York, &c., under his majesty James the
Second, by the Grace of God, King of England, Scotland,
France and Ireland, Defender of the Faith, &c.. Supreme
Lord and Proprietor of the Colony and Province of New-
York and its dependencies in America. To all to whom
these presents shall come, sendeth Greeting: Whereas,
there is a certain town in Kings County, upon Long-
Island, called and known by the name of Midwout, alias,
Flatbush, the bounds whereof, begin at the mouth of the
Fresh Kill, and so along by a certain Ditch which lies
betwixt Amersf ort and Flatbush Meadows, and so running
along the ditch and fence to a certain white oak marked
tree, and from thence upon a straight line to the western-
most point of a small island of woodland lying before
John Stryker's bridge; and from thence with a straight
line to the northwest hook or comer of the ditch of John
Oakies meadow; and from thence along the said ditch
and fence to the swamp of the Fresh Kill, and so
along the swamp and hollow of the aforesaid Kill to
the land of Keuter's Hook; thence along the same to a
marked white oak tree; from thence with a straight line
to a black oak marked tree standing upon the northeast
side of Twiller's Flats, hawing a small snip of flats upon
the southeast side of the line; and so from thence to a
white oak tree standing to the west side of Moschito Hole
to a small island, leaving a snip of flats in the Flatlands
bounds; and from thence to a certain marked tree or
stump, standing by the highway which goes to Flatlands
upon the Little Flats, about twenty rods from Flatbush
Lots, and so along the fence six hundred Dutch rods, to the
comer of Flatbush fence, and so along the rear of the lots
to a sassafras stump standing in Cornelius Jansen Berrian's
lot of land ; and from thence with a straight line to a cer-
tain old marked tree or stump, standing by the Rush Pond
under the hills, and so along upon the south side of the hill
till it comes to the west end of the Long Hill, and so along
upon the south side of the said hill, till it comes to the
east end of the long hill; and then with a straight line
from the east end of the said long hill, to a marked white
oak tree, standing to the west side of the road, near the
place called the gate or port of hills ; and so from the east
side of the port or gate aforesaid upon the south side of the
main hills, as far as Brooklyn Patent doth extend ; and so
along the said hills to the bounds of Jamaica Patent; and
from thence with a southerly line, to the kill or creek by
the east of the Plunders Neck, and so along the said kill
to the sea, as according to the several deeds or purchases
from the Indian owners, the Patent from Governor Nicolls,
and the award between Brooklyn and the town of Flat-
bush, relation thereunto being had, doth more fully and at
large appear; And, whereas, application to me hath been
made for a confirmation of the aforesaid tract and parcels
of land and premises : Now Know ye, that by virtue of the
commission and authority unto me given by hia majesty,
James the Second, by the Grace of God, of England, Scot-
land, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith,
Supreme Lord and Proprietor of the Province of New-
York, in consideration of the premises and the quit rent
hereinafter reserved, I have given, granted, ratified and
confirmed, and by these presents, do give, grant, ratify and
confirm, unto Cornelius Vanderwyck, John Okie, Joseph
Hegeman, Aries Jansen Vanderbilt, Lafford Pieterson,
William Guilliamsen, Hendrick Williamse, Pieter Wil-
liamse, Arien Ryers, Peter Stryker, John Stryker, John
Remsen, Jacob Hendricks, Derick Vandervleet, Hendrick
Ryck, Okie Johnson, Daniel Polhemus, Peter Lott, Cor-
nelius Vanderveer, Derick Johnson Hooglandt, Denise
Teunis, John Johnson, Ditimus Lewis Jansen, William
Jacobs, Hendrick Hegeman and Garrit Lubbertse, for and
on the behalf of themselves and their associates, all the
freeholders and inhabitants of the said town of Flatbush,
and to their heirs and assigns forever, all the before re-
cited tract and tracts, parcel and parcels, of land and
islands within the said bounds and limits, together with
all and singular, the woods, underwoods, plains, hills,
meadows, pastures, quarries, marshes, waters, lakes, cause-
ways, rivers, beaches, houses, buildings, fishing, hawking,
hunting and fowling, with all liberties, privileges, hered-
itaments and appurtenances to the said tract of land and
premises belonging, or in any wise appertaining : To have
and to hold the said tract of land and premises before
mentioned, and intended to be given, granted and con-
firmed, unto the said Cornelius Vanderwyck, John Okie,
Joseph Hegeman, Aries Jansen Vanderbilt, Lafford Pie-
terson, William Guilliamsen, Hendrick Williamse, Peter
Guilliamsen, Arien Ryers, Peter Stryker, John Stryker,
John Remsen, Jacob Hendricks, Derick Vandervleet,
Hendrick Ryck, Okie Johnson, Daniel Polhemus, Peter
Lott, Cornelius Vanderveer, Derick Johnson Hooglandt,
Denise Tennis, John Johnson, Ditimus Lewis Jansen,
William Jacobs, Hendrick Hegeman, and Garrit Lub-
bertse, the said patentees and their associates, their heirs
and assigns, forever. To be holden of his majesty in free
and common soccage, according to the tenure of East
Greenwick, in the county of Kent, in his majesty's king-
dom of England: Yielding, rendering, and paying there-
for, yearly, and every year, at the city of New- York, unto
his majesty, his heirs or successors, or to his or their
officer or officers, as by him or them shall be appointed to
receive the same, eighteen bushels of good merchantable
wheat, on or before the five and twentieth daj' of March,
yearly and every year.
" In Testimony whereof, I have caused these presents to
be entered upon record, in the Secretary's office in the said
Province, and the seal thereof, have hereunto affixed, and
signed with my hand, this twelfth day of November, in
the first year of his majesty's reign. Anno Domini, 1685.
It will be perceived, that by the above recited Patent
granted by Governor Dongan, to the freeholders and in-
habitants of the town of Midwout alias Flatbush, that the
tenure by which they held their lands is denominated a
tenure " in free and common soccage." The tenures of
lands which were authoratively established in England, in
the reign of William the Conqueror, were principally of
two kinds, according to the services annexed. They were
either denominated tenures by knight service, or tenures
in free and common soccage. The tenures by knight
service, in which the services were occasionally uncertain,
were altogether of a military nature, and esteemed highly
honorable according to the martial spirit of the times.
These tenures however, in addition to the obligation of
fealty and the military services of forty days in a year,
were subject to certain other hard conditions, which we
need not here enumerate, but which gradually rendered
them more and more oppressive and increased the power
of the feudal lords. At length upon the restoration of
Charles the Second, to the crown of Great Britain, the
tenure by knight service with all its grievous incidents,
was abolished by law, and the tenure of land was, for the
most part, turned into free and common soccage, and
every thing oppressive in that tenure was also abolished.
A soccage tenure according to which the town of Mid-
wout, or riatbush, was patented, denotes lands held by a
fixed and determinate service which is not military nor in
the power of the lord to vary at his pleasure. It was the
certainty and specific nature of the service, duty, or ren-
der, which made this species of tenure such a safeguard
against the wanton exactions of the feudal lords, and ren-
dered it of such inestimable value in view of the ancient
English. It was deemed by them a point of the utmost
importance, to change their tenures by knight service, into
tenures by soccage.
All lands granted by Patent by Governor Dongan, and
the other subsequent English governors, were in free and
common soccage, and subject to an annual render or rent
charge, called quit rent. In the Patent of the town of
Midwout, this render or rent charge was fixed at eighteen
bushels of good winter merchantable wheat, to be yielded,
rendered and paid yearly and every year, at the city of
New- York, on or before the 25th, of March, in every year
to the king, his heirs and successors, or to such ofiicer or
officers as he or they should appoint to receive the same.
This render and delivery of wheat, was regularly and an-
nually made by the freeholders and inhabitants of this
town, to an officer residing in the city of New- York, ap-
pointed to receive the same, and styled "the Receiver
General." The quit rent continued to be paid in kind, till
it became more convenient for the inhabitants to pay, and
the crown to receive money, in the place of wheat. The
Receiver General was then authorized and required in
equity and good conscience, to estimate the standard value
of wheat in money. According to his determination, wheat
was valued in money, at four shillings and eight pence a
bushel, New- York currency. This appears to have been the
standard value thereof for years. From this time onward,
the quit rents of the town were regularly paid in money,
according to the then estimated value every year, until
the 25th, day of March, 1762. Why the payments were
not regularly and annually continued, from and after that
time, does not appear. The delay may perhaps be ascribed
to the agitations then existing in the- country, caused by
events which led to the war of the revolution.
Soccage tenures are however considered by Chancellor
Kent, from whose commentaries on American laws, the
above recited account of tenures is taken, as of feudal ex-
traction, and retain some of the leading properties of
feuds. But most of the feudal incidents and consequences
of soccage tenures were expressly abolished in the State of
New- York, shortly after the termination of the revolu-
tionary war, and they are wholly and entirely annihilated
by the Revised Statutes, which took effect on the 1st, of
January, 1830. But soccage lands were not to be deemed
discharged of any rents, certain or other services, inci-
dent or belonging to tenure in soccage, due to the people
of the State (who were considered to stand in the place
of the crown.) Therefore on the 1st, day of April, 1786,
the Legislature of this State passed an Act, entitled " An
Act for the collection and commutation of Quit Rents."
By this act it is provided that it shall and may be lawful
to, and for every person and persons, being citizens of the
United States, who is, or shall be seized of any lands, or
tenements, in this State, charged with an annual quit
rent, to commute for the same, by paying fourteen shil-
lings for every shilling, of such annual quit rent, at any
time on or before the first day of May, 1787, in any public
securities receivable in payment on sales of confiscated
estates, or in any other securities or certificates, issued
or to be issued by the Treasurer of this State, and at the
same rate, such securities and certificates are receivable
in payment for confiscated estates, to the Treasurer of
this State, for the time being, for the use of the people of
this State: and the said Treasurer shall, upon such pay-
ment, give the person making such payment a receipt or
certificate, expressing the sum paid, the annual quit rent
in lieu of which the same is paid, and the land on which
the said annual quit rent was charged or reserved,
and shall enter the same receipt in a book, by him to be
kept for that purpose, which receipt or certificate, or the
entry thereof, shall be a good discharge of such quit rent
In compliance with the provisions of the Act above re-
cited, the inhabitants of the town of Flatbush purchased
public securities, to the amount of £162. 9. 0. which
amount they paid to Gerard Bancker, the Treasurer of
the State, oji the 18th, day of December, 1786, and upon
the payment thereof obtained from him the following re-
ceipt, or certificate.
"Patent granted to the inhabitants of Flatbush, in
Kings County, dated 12th November, 1685, Quit Rent,
eighteen bushels wheat per annum.
Balance due 25th, March, 1765.
From 25th, March, 1765,
to 25th, Decern, 1786.
(Deduct for the period of revolution,) 8
14 years commut.
13 9 a
£162 9 0.
Eeceived, 18th, December, 1786, from Philip Nagle, of
Flatbush, Public Securities, which with the interest
allowed thereon, amount to one hundred and sixty two
pounds, nine shillings, in full, for arrears of Quit Rent,
and commutation, for the future quit rents that would
have arisen on the above described Patent.
GERARD BANCKER, Treasurer^
£162 9 00.
The town of Flatbush upon the payment of the above-
mentioned sum of money, for arrears of quit rent, and
commutation of future quit rents became exhonerated
from all further exactions on the score of such rents.
But to retuni from this digression, to the regular his-
tory of the town of Midwout, which was brought down to
the time in which Governor Dongan administered the
Colonial Government. The woodlands still remained in
common and undivided, because the farms previously al-
lotted, had all along furnished timber sufficient for build-
ing, fuel and other needful purposes. But as these re-
sources began gradually to diminish, it became necessary
as well as dictated by prudence, that some order should
be taken on the partition and division of the common
woodlands. About the year 1700, these lands were sur-
veyed, and laid off in separate allotments or grand divi-
sions, and these were again severally subdivided into
forty-eight smaller allotments, corresponding with the
original division of the town. These smaller allotments
were all laid out in oblong forms with parallel lines, and
usually containing about five acres apiece. Upon the
completion of the survey, the several wood lots were al-
lotted to the inhabitants of the town, in proportion to the
farm lots by them respectively owned, and the church
drew its proportionate share with the several owners.
The meadows had been previously subdivided into sim-
ilar lots, and allotted in like manner, with the exception
of one lot in the Canarsee Meadows, which was set apart
for the use of the schoolmaster, for the time being. Cor-
laer's and Twiller's Flats, so called after the names of
the original purchasers, Anthony Van Corlaer and Wou-
ter Van Twiller, the first Dutch governor, were also
previously subdivided, but not fully alloted, with the ex-
ception of a small tract of woodland lying between, and
adjoining these Flats, which was assigned to some of the
patentees, and a lot reserved for the use of the school.
About the year 1706, an encroachment was made on
the patent of the town of Flatbush, by inhabitants of
^Newtown, and on the 3d day of April, in the same year,
the town unanimously agreed that every patentee should
contribute six shilling to carry on and pay the expenses of
a law suit, in defending the Patent from this encroach-
ment. From this time forth at the annual town meet-
ings, two persons were chosen to guard the interests of
the town in regard to their meets and bounds, as set forth
in their Patent. These were called " Dorps mannen," or
Townsmen, and subsequently Defenders of the Patent.
This controversy appears not to have been satisfactorily
adjusted until the year 1721.
Corlaer's and Twiller's Flats, remained unoccupied un-
til the close of the revolutionary war. They were then
sold by the proprietors and owners, at the rate of sixteen
dollars per acre. The proceeds of the sale of Corlaer's
Flats, were chiefly devoted to the erection of " Erasmus
Hall Academy," while those arising from the sale of
Twiller's Flats, were divided among those who would
not consent to relinquish their right for the benefit of
the academy, in reference to which, chiefly the sales had
been effected. The academy was greatly benefitted by
this sale, but we shall have occasion to speak more at
large upon this, when we come to trace the Literary His-
tory of the town.
On the 12th of November, 1695, the court made an or-
der requiring each of the towns to cause to be immedi-
ately erected, a good pair of stocks, and a good pound,
by which it seems, they were resolved to keep both man
and beast in proper subjection. Whether this order at
the time was strictly complied with on the part of the
town of Flatbush, we know not. But twenty-nine years
after this, on the records of the Board of Supervisors of
the county, under date of the 17th of November, 1724,
there is the following charge.
"To a Stocks for Flatbush, - - £1. 9. 6."
These stocks remained for a number of years. They
were erected in front of the court-house, and many will
remember to have seen them. There was also about
these same premises, a whipping-post, which was used
partly for offenders in the town, and partly for the pun-
ishment of persons convicted of small crimes; for there
was a public whipper, whose fee was fixed for a year, at
three pounds. The fee for whipping one person, was
three shillings. These charges frequently appear on the
Minutes of the Board of Supei^isors. This mode of pun-
ishment was not in that day, considered improper or
cruel, and was resorted to, probably, partly in consequence
of the number of slaves which were then held by the sev-
eral inhabitants, who were kept in subjection and pun-
ished for minor offences, in this summary manner. We
have reason to be thankful that under the benign influ-
ence of mild and wholesome laws, this remnant of the
reign of cruelty and terror has passed away.
As early as the commencement of the eighteenth cen-
tury, if not sooner, a public brewery was established in the
town. The principle of total abstinence from all that can
intoxicate was not then known or practiced, and beer or
malt liquor was the common beverage of the inhabitants,
and continued to be so until the orchards were planted and
came into full bearing, when cider became a substitute.
The brew-house was situated in the southern part of the
town, a little north of the dwelling-house of the late Jacob
Duryee and on the same side of the road. It is presumed
by some that there was also another public brewery in the
north of the town. It is certain, however, that there were
two private ones; one on the lot of the late Peter Stryker
back of the store now occupied by Messrs. Birdsall & Aid-
worth, and another on the property of Kem Vanderbilt,
the proprietor of the farm now in the tenure of Matthew
Clarkson, Esq. The public brewery was divided into four-
teen shares, which were subdivided into halves and per-
chance quarters. These rights were apportioned to the
several farms and considered appurtenant to them, and en-
titled the proprietors to the privilege of brewing in the
establishment. These rights were disposed of by deed or
testamentary devise. A will is in existence dated as late
as 1773, devising the right of the testator in the brewery to
his son; and several wills and deeds of early date are to
be found, containing provisions relative to the same sub-
ject. So important was the right in this establishment at
that time deemed by the proprietors. The public brew-
house continued to stand until after the close of the Amer-
ican Revolution. It was then sold, together with all its fix-
tures, and the proceeds divided among the shareholders.
We may here briefly advert to the style of building, and
domestic habits of the early inhabitants of Flatbush. The
designs of their houses were probably brought from Fa-
derland. They were chiefly built of wood, but some few
of brick, which was manufactured in the place. They
were of one story, either with an overshot-roof, both in
front and rear forming a piazza — or an overshot in front,
and the roof in the rear, extending some distance back un-
til it came within a few feet of the ground. A specimen
of this last style of architecture may be seen in the house
belonging to the heirs of the late Cornelius Antonides,
which is probably the oldest house now standing in the
village. The rooms inside were not ceiled, but above
were the broad heavy oak beams on which the floor of the
upper-part of tbe house was laid. The fire-places usu-
ally were very large, generally extending without jambs in
width sufiicient to accommodate the whole family with a
seat near the fire. The chimneys were very large and
spacious, sufiiciently so to admit their meat to be hung in
them, for the purpose of being smoked, which was the
usual practice. When jambs were added to any fire-
place, they were generally set round with earthen glazed
tiles, which were imported from Holland ornamented with
various scenes, some of which were of a Scriptural char-
acter. Many of these were quite beautiful and gave a
very ornamental appearance to the fireside, as well as
formed the means of much amusement and instruction to
the younger part of the family. The last of these fire-
places thus ornamented was removed when the house of
the late Lefferts Martense was pulled down, to give place
to the spacious mansion now occupied by Judge Garrit
Martense. To many of the houses the barns also were
quite closely connected. This was generally the case with
the Keuters. This style of building corresponded with
the habits of the earlier inhabitants. These were very
simple, unaffected and economical. No people could have
been more independent than they. They brought up
their children in habits of industry. As has been stated
every son was taught some mechanical art, and every
daughter was required to become well acquainted with
all household duties. The farmers burnt their own lime,
tanned their own leather, often made their own shoes
and boots, and attended to much of their own carpenter-
ing, and wheel-wrig'hting. While the males were engaged
in the cultivation of the farms, the females were actively
employed in some industrious avocations in the house.
The spinning-wheel was set in motion in every family
as soon as flax and wool could be prepared in the fall,
and all materials for the clothing of the family, white
as well as colored, were manufactured at home, nor was
she considered a suitable candidate for matrimony who
could not show her stores of domestic linens and other
evidences of industry and economy. So economical were
the females of their time, that they almost invariably
took their spinning-wheels with them when they went to
spend a sociable afternoon with a neighbor. Nor did they
even refuse to help the males in the field during the
harvest, the gathering of corn, and other busy seasons. It
was a very common thing for them to be seen working
side by side with their husbands, fathers and brothers, at
such times. The modern invention of a dirt-cover, as it
would in those days have been esteemed, which we now
call a carpet, was not then known. The floors were regu-
larly scoured and scrubbed, and kept as white and clean
almost as the table. They were sanded with beach sand,
of which every family always had a sufiicient store, it be-
ing the rule to go twice a year to the beach for that then,
indispensable article. It was put on the floor with great
care on certain days, being always laid in small lumps or
heaps, and the members of the family were required very
cautiously to tread between these heaps so as not to dis-
turb the economy of the good housewife. When on the
next day the sand had become dry, it was swept in waves
or some other figures, by the broom being drawn lightly
over it, and was in truth a good specimen of the general
neatness and cleanliness which pervaded the whole prem-
ises. When the first imported carpets were introduced we
know not, but the first rag carpet was made about fifty
years ago. It was wove by Adrian Hegeman for the
widow of George Martense, the mother of the present
Mrs. Catin. Frugality, economy and industry, character-
ised all. They lived chiefly within themselves, and knew
but little of the dangers and diseases incident to luxury
and indolence. And well would it be for the present age,
if instead of ridiculing and despising them they practiced
more of their simple, unaffected, economical habits. For
one I love to dwell upon them, and every thing connected
with them is interesting.
In the early part of this century a murder was com-
mitted in the town, and in fact the only one that we have
any account of. It occurred on the farm now in the ten-
ure of Mrs. Catin. The dwelling-house of the ancestor
of the family of Martense, who possessed a very extensive
tract of land, was situated on the rear of the farm. From
his owning- and cultivating so large a quantity of land,
he was called by way of distinction Martin De Boer,
(Martin the Farmer.) He built a new house on the main
road in front of his farm near the site of the present
dwelling of Mrs. Catin. When he moved to this house
he left in the cellar of his former old dwelling an Indian.
This person it appears had been guilty of killing some
person or persons on Staten Island. In consequence of
this, certain Indians from Staten Island came to Flat-
bush, found him living alone in the cellar of the house
which stood separate from the other dwellings, and mur-
dered him — thus glutting their revenge. During the first
half of the last century, the inhabitants of Flatbush were
chiefly engaged in certain difficulties of an ecclesiastical
character, and during the latter half were occupied with
the troubles growing out of the Revolutionary struggle.
These will be made the subject of more extended notice
hereafter, and we pass them for the present.
The introduction of foreign manures, forms an era in
the agricultural history of the town. For more than a
century the farmers depended entirely upon their barn
yards to furnish the means of enriching their lands, to-
gether with such quantities of shell lime as they could
manufacture for themselves. There was a lime kiln, sit-
uated not far from the place now occupied by the public
pound, at which, large quantities of shells were burnt.
The lime thus procured, was spread upon the ground, and
tended, no doubt, greatly to increase its productiveness.
But a short time previous to the American Revolution, the
attention of the farmers was called to foreign manures,
particularly to ashes. The first that was introduced into
the village was by Jacobus Van Deventer. He brought it
up from Brooklyn, in bags. It was tried and found to an-
swer a good purpose, and then three other persons, viz. John
Lefferts, Cornelius Vanderveer, and Judge Lott, united
with him in carting it from the ferry. It could then be
purchased at a very moderate rate. From that time the
attention of the farmers was more directly turned to the
enriching of their lands, and vast quantities of manures
of various kinds have since been employed, in consequence
of which, the land has been rendered rich and fertile.
In the year 1758 a new court-house was erected in the
town. The first edifice was quite small, and was a dis-
tinct building from the jail. One of these buildings took
fire in the winter of 1757-8 and burnt to the ground, the
other was saved chiefly by throwing snow-balls upon it.
It was however subsequently taken down, and in the new
building which was put up, accommodations were made
for both the court and jail. It was two stories high. The
lower floor was divided by an entry, on the south side of
which was a room for the use of the jailor, and on the
north a room for the confinement of prisoners. The second
story was fitted up in a large room for the accommodation
of the courts of the county. During the Revolutionary
war the British ofl&cers then in the place took out all the
seats in this room and converted it into a ball-room. This
building which cost £448, remained with some repairs, un-
til the year 1792. It being then found inconvenient, too
small, and much out of repair, a new one was erected
which was placed considerably farther back on the lot.
and was of much larger dimensions. It was of two
stories, and planned in general after the model of the
old one. This plan was drawn by Mr. James Robinson,
and is called, in the minutes of the Board of Supervisors
" the wooden plan," from the fact probably that the erec-
tion was to be a frame building. John Vanderbilt, Jo-
hannes E. Lott and Charles Doughty, Esqs., were first
appointed the Commissioners to superintend the build-
ing of this court-house and jail. Mr. Vanderbilt having
resigned the appointment, Rutgert Van Brunt, was after-
wards commissioned in his place. The old building was
then sold at public auction. It was purchased by Michael
Van Cleef, for the sum of seventy-one pounds. The tim-
ber was afterwards bought by the Rev. Martinus Schoon-
maker, and used in building the house lately occupied by
his son, Stephen Schoonmaker. The court-house and jail
was completed in the year 1793. It was a very respectable
looking frame building, surmounted by a small cupola.
The jail, however, was not very secure; several escapes
were made from it, although it was often repaired and
strengthened. On the 30th of November, 1832, it took
fire from some unknown cause, and was burnt to the
ground, and from that time Flatbush ceased to be the
county town, and the courts and all judicial business,
were removed to Brooklyn.
The ancient government of the town of Flatbush was
similar to that of all the towns under the administration
of the Dutch authority. In the infancy of the settlements,
the Governor appointed magistrates in the several vil-
lages, with more or less power, as he judged proper. Usu-
ally these public ofiicers were a scout or constable, a clerk
and an assessor, all of which, were appointed by the Gov-
ernor. The duties of these ofiicers consisted in preserving
the peace, and regulating the police of the town. They
appear also to have had power to give judgment in some
cases of judicial proceedings. In consequence of a defi-
ciency in the records of the town, we are not able to give
the names of those who held these offices during the
dynasty of New-ISTetherlands. After the surrender of the
colony to the English, in 1664, and the adoption of the
Dukes Laws, some alterations were made in the number
and character of the town officers. It was then ordered,
that in addition to a clerk, each town should elect one con-
stable and eight overseers. The duties of the constable
were laid down with great particularity. They were to
hold town courts, with the overseers, and with them to
make assessments, &c. to whip or punish offenders, raise
the hue and cry after murderers, manslayers, thieves, rob-
bers, burglars : and also apprehend without warrant, such
as were overtaken with drink, swearing, sabbath-breaking,
vagrant persons, or night walkers, " provided they be
taken in the manner, either by the sighte of the constable,
or by present informacon from others; as alsoe to make
searche for all such persons, either on ye sabbath daye,
or other, when there shall bee occation, in all houses li-
censed to sell beere or wine, or any other suspected or dis-
ordered places, and these to apprehend and keepe in safe
custody, till opportunity serv'^es, to bring them before the
next justice of ye peace, for further examinacon." The
constable was chosen out of the number of overseers,
whose term of service had expired.
The list of the constables will be given subsequently.
The overseers were appointed in the following manner,
according to the provisions of the Dukes Laws. " Over-
seers shall be eight in number, men of good fame and life,
chosen by the plurality of voiyes of the freeholders in
each towne, whereof foure shall remaine in their office two
yeares successively, and foure shall be changed for new
ones, every yeare; which election shall preceed the elec-
tion of constables, in point of time, in regard the con-
stable for the yeare ensuing, is to bee chosen out of that
number which are dismist from their office of overseers,"
The following is a summary of the duties of the overseers,
as stated by Judge Furman, in his notes on Brooklyn.
They were authorized together with the constable, to hold
town courts, for the trial of causes under £5. On the death
of any person, they were to repair with the constable to the
house of the deceased, and inquire after the manner of his
death, and of his will and testament; and if no will was
found, the constable, in the presence of the overseers, was,
within forty-eight hours, to search after the estate of the
deceased, and to deliver an account of the same, in writ-
ing, under oath, to the next justice of the peace. They to-
gether with the constable, made all assessments. If any
overseer died during his term, the rest of the overseers by
a major vote, made choice of another in his place : and if
the person so chosen, refuse to serve, he forfeited the sum
of £10. towards defraying the town charges. They were to
settle the bounds of the town, within twelve months after
the bounds were granted. They had the power of regu-
lating fences. They were authorized, together with the
constable, to make choice of two out of the eight over-
seers, of church affairs. They and the constable were fre-
quently to admonish the inhabitants, "to instruct their
children and servants, in matters of religion, and the lawes
of the country." They, with the constable, appointed an
officer " to record every man's particular marke, and see
each man's horse and colt branded." The constable and
two of the overseers, were to pay the value of an Indian
coat for each wolf killed; and they were to cause the
wolf's head to be " nayled over the door of the constable,
their to remaine, as also to cut of both the eares, in token
that the head is bought and paid for."
The following is the most complete list of the overseers
of Flatbush that could be obtained.
1675. Simon Hansen, and John Roloffson.
1676. Arian Ryers, and Garrit Sneger.
1679. Joseph Hegeman, and Derick Jansen Van Vleet.
1680. Barent Claas, Cornelius Berrian, and Joseph
1681. Cornelius Berrian, Rinier Aertsen, Barthold
Claases and Jan Remsen.
1682. Rynier Aeartsen, Jan Jansen, Jan Remsen and
1683. Aris Janse, Jan Aeartsen, Jan Jansen, and
In the year 1683, the " overseers," were changed to
" commissioners." The act regulating their appointment,
and prescribing particularly their duties, was passed by
the first General Assembly of this Colonj^ November 1st,
1683. It is not necessary to recite the provisions of this
act. The only list that we have been able to obtain of the
commissioners appointed under this act, in the town of
Flatbush, is the following:
1684. Adrian Ryersen, Cornelius Baronson and John
1685. Stoffle Probasco, and Joseph Hegeman.
1686. Arian Ryers and Pieter Stryker.
1687. Aris Janse, and Stoffle Probasco.
1688. Pieter Stryker, and Cornelius Bardulph.
The constables, overseers and commissioners, were
sworn before the court of Sessions, before they entered
upon the discharge of the duties of their respective
The office of " Commissioner " continued until the first
Tuesday of April, 1703, when " Supervisors " were elected
for the several towns of Kings County. The first meeting
of this board, was held on the first Tuesday in October, of
the same year. It is probable, that at first they kept no
minutes of their proceedings, as the first record is that of
a meeting which took place at the court-house in Flat-
bush, on the first Tuesday in October, in the year 1714.
The Supervisor who then attended from Flatbush, was
Ryck Hendrickson. The board at this, their first recorded
meeting, made choice of Samuel Garretson, of Gravesend,
as their Clerk, and John Vanderbilt, of Flatbush, as
Treasurer of the county. At that time, the ordinary and
contingent expenses of the county, (including the per
diem compensation of the two members of the Colonial
Assembly from the county, for their attendance during
the year 1703.) amounted to only £71. 0. 6. or $177.56.
This sum was apportioned among the several towns in the
county in the following manner.
Brooklyn, £19. 9. 3.
Flatbush, 15. 1. 6.
New-Utrecht 9. 18. 9.
Flatlands, 8. 14. 9.
Bushwick, 9. 3. 0.
Gravesend, 8. 13. 3.
£71. 0. 6.— $177.56.
The following is a list of the Supervisors of the town
of Flatbush, from the year 1703, to the present time.
[, 1703 to
Jacob Hendrick Eyck,
Aris Jansen Vanderbilt,
Lieut. Philip Nagle,
John Van Kerk,
John Van Kerk,
Johannes Lott, Jun.
Johannes Lott, Jun.
Johannes J. Lott,
1787 to April
John C. Vanderveer,
1832 to Feby.
1839 to Apl.
The following is a list of the Town Clerks of the town
of Flatbush, from the year 1659, to the year 1842.
1659 to 1771
Francays De Bruynne,
Jan Gerrit Van Marckje,
Johannes Van Eklen,
Jeremias Van Der Bilt,
Petrus Van Steenbergh,
John Van Der Bilt,
John C. Vanderveer,
John A. Lott,
The following is the most complete list of the Con-
stables of the town of Flatbush, that could be obtained
from the year 1669, to the year 1842.
Cornelius Jansen Be
Jacob Van Der Boergh,
Jacob Van Der Boergh,
John Van Der Veer,
John Bennet, Dep.
1718 to 1719.
Garret Van Duyn,
Jeremias Van Der Bilt,
Cornelius Van Cleeff,
William Merrill, From
William Allgeo, "
William Merrill, "
Michael Van Cleeff, "
Rem Hegeman, "
William Allgeo, "
Suydam Hegeman, "
From among the inhabitants of the town of Flatbush,
the county have selected at different times many indi-
viduals to fill their county offices, as well as to represent
them in the legislative assemblies of the country. From
the year 1714, at which date the first minutes of the
Board of Supervisors of the county commence, till the
year 1840, the treasurers of the county were, with one
exception, residents in the town of Flatbush. The fol-
lowing is a list of the individuals who have served in this
responsible office: —
John Vanderbilt, of Flatbush, from October, 1714, to
Peter Lefferts, of Flatbush, from October, 1737, to Oc-
Jeremias Vanderbilt, of Flatbush, from October, 1772,
to May, 1786.
Philip Nagel, of Flatbush, from May, 1786, to June,
Johannes J. Lott, of Flatbush, from June, 1792, to De-
Hendrick J. Lott, of Flatlands, from December, 1806,
to October, 1811.
John Lefferts, of Flatbush, from October, 1811, to Sep-
John C. Vanderveer, of Flatbush, from September,
1813, to August, 1837.
John A. Lott, of Flatbush, from August, 1837, to
John Skillman, of Brooklyn, from August, 1840, to
The following is a specimen of the usual Minute of
the Board of Supervisors, in the former part of the last
century, relative to auditing the accounts of their Treas-
urer. It is full, unique and characteristic of the age.
" The Supervisors have examined their Treasurer and
called in their warrants, and have taken the reckonings
of their Treasurer, John Vanderbilt, and found that he
had done as an honest man, and he is acquitted of all
reckonings concerning the Supervisors, and is in Cassa
or money, the sum of £00. 06. 4."
The following is a list of the Clerks of the Board of
Supervisors, from 1714 to 1842.
1714 to 1715, Samuel Garritson, Gravesend.
1715 to 1724, J. M. Sperling, Flatbush.
1724 to 1725, Adrian Hegeman, "
1725 to 1727, J. M. Sperling, "
1727 to 1752, Adrian Hegeman, "
1752 to 1775, Simon Boerum, Brooklyn.
1775 to 1782, Johannes Lott, Flatbush.
1782 to 1784, Johannes J. Lott, "
1784 to 1785, Nicholas Couwenhoven, New-Utrecht.
1785 to 1801, Jacob Sharpe, Jr., Brooklyn.
1801 to 1842, Jeremiah Lott, Flatbush.
Among the Judges of this county anterior to the Amer-
ican Revolution, we find the following from Flatbush.
Cornelius Sebring, from 1715 to 1718.
Peter Stryker, from
Daniel Polhemus, "
Kyck Suydam, "
Johannes Lott, "
Abraham Lott, "
John Lefferts, "
Englebert Lott and )
Jeremiah Vanderbilt, i
1777 to 1780.
After the Revolution, the second first Judge of the
county, was Johannes E. Lott, of this town. He re-
mained upon the bench about six years. Beside these
several associate judges of the court, have from time to
time been taken from Flatbush, which we need not name.
But among those who have represented this county in
the Legislative Assemblies of the country, we find many
who were inhabitants of Flatbush. In the Colonial as-
semblies, w^ho met at different periods, from 1683 to 1775,
we notice the following names.
Johannes Van Ecklen, from
Henry Filkin, "
Cornelius Sebring, "
Gerardus Beekman, "
Cornelius Sebring, "
Johannes Lott, "
Abraham Lott, "
Dominicus Vanderveer, "
Among the Deputies from the county of Kings, who
met in the city of New-York, in convention, April 10th,
1775, for the purpose of choosing delegates to the first
Continental congress, was John Vanderbilt, who from his
being subsequently a member of the Senate of the State,
was called Senator John, to distinguish him from Judge
John Vanderbilt. Among the delegates chosen by this
convention, to represent this county in that congress,
were no less than three from this town, viz: Johannes
Lott, John Lefferts, and John Vanderbilt. These dele-
gates convened at New- York, on the 22d, of May, 1775,
and continued to meet at different places, from time to
time, till the adoption of the Constitution of the State, in
April, 1777. John Lefferts of this town, was also a mem-
ber of the Provential Congress, from this county, which
met on the 30th, day of June, 1776. His son Peter
Lefferts, whose widow still survives, was one of the two
delegates from this county, to the convention which met
at Poughkeepsie, on the 27th, day of June, 1778, to adopt
the constitution of the United States. He was subse-
quently also a member of the Senate of this State, in
which he appeared in a suit made entirely of homespun
cloth, but of so fine a texture and finish, that it attracted
special notice. His son, John Lefferts, whose widow is
still spared to us, was a member of Congress, from this
district, and also a delegate to the convention of 1821,
which met for amending the constitution of the State.
Several persons have been selected from this town to
represent the county of Kings, in the Assembly of the
State, since the Revolution.
In 1784 Johannes E. Lott,
" 1785-6 John Vanderbilt,
" 1787-8 Cornelius Wyckoff,
" 1789-91 Aquila Giles,
" 1793 Aquila Giles,
" 1802 John C. Vanderveer,
" 1811 to 1813 John C. Vanderveer,
" 1814 Jeremiah Lott,
In 1815 Teunis Schenck,
" 1816 & 1817 Eichard Fish,
" 1819 & 1820 Teunis Schenck,
" 1821 & 1822 Jeremiah Lott,
" 1829 John Wyckoff,
" 1839 Jeremiah Lott,
" 1842 John A. Lott.
Statement of the population of the Town of Flatbush,
including New-Lots, from the year 1810, to the year
Statement of the aggregate valuations of real and per-
sonal estates, in the Town of Flatbush, including New-
Lots, as revised and corrected by the Board of Supervis-
ors of the county of Kings, from the year 1817, to 1841,
Thus have we sketched some of the leading facts, re-
lating to the civil history of the town of Flatbush. We
cannot but mark the good hand of providence in all. He
has favored the spot with health ; rendered its soil fertile ;
and prospered its inhabitants. The latter have steadily
pursued the even tenor of their way, and while they have
enjoyed liberally the gifts of a benificent providence,
have advanced in wealth and solid comforts. While in
other sections of our country, the lands possessed by the
original proprietors, have passed from their descendants;
here, but few farms comparatively, have changed hands;
the spirit of roving not having been cherished. Most of
the farms are still in the possession of the descendants of
the first patentees and proprietors. Numerous families
in the town too, can trace back their genealogy to the
early settlement of the place. May they continue to emu-
late the virtues of their fathers, and go on in the enjoy-
ment of the good land which God has given them, thank-
ing Him, that " the lines have fallen to them in pleasant
places, and that they enjoy so goodly a heritage."
In commencing the Ecclesiastical History of Flatbush,
it is proper to premise, that as all the early settlers of this
and the neighboring- towns, came from Holland, they were
united in one religious faith. They all professed the doc-
trines, and order, which were established by the national
Synod, which met at Dordrecht, in the year 1618-19.
This Synod was summoned by the authority of the Staats
General of Holland, and was attended by the most emi-
nent divines of the United Provinces, and deputies from
the reformed churches of England, Scotland, Switzerland,
Bremen and other places. Seldom, if ever, has a more
learned, pious and venerable assembly convened. The
early-inhabitants of the west end of Long Island, received
as the symbols of their faith, the Belgic Confession, the
Heidleburgh Catechism, and the Canons of this Synod.
But as there was no ecclesiastical organization in this
country, at that time, they were placed under the over-
sight and authority of the Classis of Amsterdam, to
whom the interests of all the Dutch and German churches
in America were confided. A standing committee was
appointed by this Classis, called the committee ad exteras
and sometimes ad res maritimas to whom the affairs of
these churches were referred, during the intervals of ses-
sion by the Classis. This committee managed all the
correspondence with these churches, provided them with
ministers, and gave them such counsel as they needed.
This arrangement continued until the year 1772, when
the organization of the present Reformed Dutch Church,
in this country took place, and independent Classes and
Synods were established, on the model of the church in
Holland. On Long-Island, each town had its own con-
sistory, or bench of church officers; but all the churches
in Kings county were combined, and constituted one
charge, for the period of about one hundred and fifty
years. Their ministers were colleagues; preached in turn
in all the churches, and drew their salaries in certain
fixed proportions from the several congregations. The
place of their residence was Flatbush.
Reformed Dutch Church of Flatbush.
Although it is known that the inhabitants of Long-
Island had among them the ordinances of the gospel at a
very early date, yet the first account of building a church,
is not till the year 1654. On the 15th of December, of
that year, Governor Stuyvesant issued an order appoint-
ing the Rev. Mr. Megapolensis, who was one of the
ministers of New- Amsterdam ; John Snedicor and John
Stryker, commissioners to build a church at Midwout.
On the 13th of October, in the same year, it appears that
an order was passed by the Governor, who seems to have
exercised a controlling power in ecclesiastical as well as
civil and military affairs, permitting the Rev. Johannes
Theodorus Polhemus, a minister of the Reformed Church
of Holland, to preach at Midwout and Amersfort, (or
Flatlands.) The spot selected for the building of the
church, was the site now occupied by the present build-
ing. The order of the Governor, directed that it should
be sixty, or sixty-five feet long, twenty-eight feet broad,
and from twelve to fourteen feet under the beams; that
it should be built in the form of a cross, and that the rear
should be reserved for the ministers dwelling. It is most
probable that this building, which was the first church
erected in the county, was of wood, and that it was com-
menced, if not completed, in the succeeding year. For on
the 9th of February, 1655, the Governor ordered the in-
habitants of Brooklyn and Amersfort, which were then
connected together, with Flatbush, as one pastoral charge,
and continued so for a number of years, to assist the peo-
ple of Midwout in cutting timber to build their house of
worship. The entries in the Deacons book of the church
of Flatbush, of collections taken up on the Sabbath com-
mence on the first Sabbath of January, 1655, and these
entries are regularly continued, at intervals of seven days,
from that time forward. From this, it is evident that di-
vine service was statedly performed on every Sabbath
after that period, in Flatbush. How long previously to
this time this was the case, cannot be ascertained. !N"or
is there any record by which it can be known, when the
first Consistory was ordained and the church organized.
But it appears from subsequent minutes, that until the
year 1681, the Consistory consisted of only two Elders
and two Deacons.
In September, 1660, those who had the charge of erect-
ing the building, reported that it had cost 4,637 guild-
ers, or about $1,800. Of this sum, a very considerable
amount was collected by voluntary subscription, in New-
Amsterdam, Fort Orange, (now Albany,) and in the dif-
ferent settlements on Long-Island. An account of these
several subscriptions, is still preserved in the records of
the Eeformed Dutch Church of Flatbush. It is as
follows : —
" To the building received."
From Fort Orange,
E. (India probably,) Company,
the first preaching, (collection
The Hon. Fiscal, or Attorney
Also, in addition.
Hempstead, by bequest.
To aid in liquidating the debt which still remained upon
the building, the Governor himself, contributed 400 guild-
ers, leaving still a balance of 800 against the church.
From the Dutch Records in the office of the Secretary
of State at Albany, we gather the following facts. " On
the 6th, of August, 1655, the Governor ordered the Sheriff,
to convene the inhabitants of Brooklyn, Flatbush and
Flatlands, for the purpose of inquiring whether they
were satisfied with their minister, and if they were sat-
isfied, what sallary they would pay him. The Sheriff
reported, that they approved of their minister, and would
pay him a sum equal to $416.66 per year. This was ap-
proved as a good call, and accepted." The minister
concerning whom this order was made, was the Rev. Jo-
hannes Theodorus Polhemus, who was the first Pastor of
these churches. "February, 8th, 1656, the above towns
applied to the Governor for an order to raise money by a
tax, to pay their minister, Granted." "December, 20th,
1659, the E-ev. J. Polhemus represented to the Governor
that his church wanted painting, to preserve it, and re-
quested assistance from the Governor. Reply, — this re-
quest shall be transmitted to the directors by the first
opportunity." " September 18th, 1660, the minister peti-
tioned for windows for his church, Ordered that one
window be furnished him."
It having been reported, that the church was indebted
to the amount of 624 guilders, it was ordered to be sat-
isfied out of the treasury, as soon as funds should be re-
ceived. On the 15th of March, 1656, an ordinance was
passed by the Governor, on petition, regulating the times
and places of public worship on the sabbath. It was
directed that the morning service for Brooklyn, Flatbush
and Flatlands, should be held at Midwout, or Flatbush,
and the afternoon service alternately, at Brooklyn and
Flatlands. The first church at Flatlands was ordered to
be erected in the year 1662, and that at Brooklyn, in the
year 1666. The Rev. Mr. Polhemus the first pastor, was
at this time quite advanced in life, and unable to perform
the services appertaining to so extended a charge. In con-
sequence of this, on application to Governor Stuyvesant,
permission was granted to the church of Brooklyn, to call
another minister. A request to this effect was sent to
Holland, and on the 16th, of February, 1660, a call upon
the Rev. Henry Solyns, or Henricus Selwyn, was approved
by the Classis of Amsterdam, and an honorable dismis-
sion given to Mr. Solyns, wishing him a safe and prosper-
ous journey by land, and by water, to his congregation,
in the New-Netherlands. He was installed in the church
at Brooklyn, on the 3d, of September, 1660, in the pres-
ence of the Fiscal and Burgomaster Krigier, by the order
of Governor Stuyvesant. His salary was six hundred
guilders per annum, equal to a little rising two hundred
Although nothing certainly is known of the services of
Mr. Solyns, in Flatbush, it is probable, from the infirmities
of Mr. Polhemus, and the friendship which existed between
them, that occasionally, at least, he must have preached
in Flatbush; although he was regarded as more especially
the minister of the church of Brooklyn, and received as
such, from the Rev. J. Polhemus, on the 12th, of Septem-
ber, 1660, a list of his members, containing thirty-seven
names. Mr. Solyns was a man of more than ordinary tal-
ents and learning. This was soon discovered, and in the
year 1662, an arrangement was made, by which he
preached at the Governor's house, on his " Bowerie," or
Farm, on Sunday afternoons. His ministry at this time,
in this country however, was of short continuance ; for on
the 22d, of July, 1664, he took leave of his congregation,
and sailed in the ship Beaver, for Holland. He subse-
quently returned to this country, and was pastor of the
Dutch church, in New- York, from 1682, to 1700. He was
a man of classical taste and learning, and highly esteemed
in his day. He prefixed a Latin poem to Cotton Mather's
" Magnalia Christi Americana," bearing date, October,
After the departure of Mr. Solyns, the churches were
left to such ser^dces as the Rev. Mr. Polhemus, in his old
age could confer upon them. He appears however to
have been assisted at this period by the Rev. Johannes
Megapolensis, one of the ministers of the city of New-
Amsterdam. This arrangement continued till the year
1676, on the 8th, of June, in which year, Mr. Polhemus
died. Application was then made to the Classis of Am-
sterdam, for another minister, by whom the Eev. Casparus
Van Zuren who had been settled at Gouderack, was sent
out. He was installed on the 6th, of September, 1677. It
is probable, that about this time, the church of New-
Utrecht was organized, and received into the combination :
for the first election of Elders and Deacons in this church,
took place in the month of October, 1677. The record in
the hand writing of the Eev. Mr. Van Zuren, under date
1677, which gives the account of the change of Elders
and Deacons in the several churches of Brooklyn, Amers-
fort, Elatbush and ISTew-Utrecht contains the following
minute relative to the last named church "At New-
Utrecht, while there has never heretofore been an election
of Elders and Deacons, the assembled congregation have
now chosen for Elders Jan Gysbertse and Mainderd
Courtes; for deacons, Auris Williamse Brower and Jan
Hanse, and this has all taken place in the beginning of
October, and they have been ordained about the same time
and at the same place."
In the year 1681, the Consistory of the church of Elat-
bush was enlarged, by the addition of one Elder and one
Deacon, chosen from among the members at New-Lots.
None of the consistories of the churches on the island as
yet, consisted of more than two Elders and two Deacons,
and this appears to have been the case for some years sub-
sequent to this period, with the exception of the church of
Flatbush. The minute relative to the enlargement of the
Consistory of the church of Flatbush is as follows :
" N. B. In consequence of the increase of the com-
municants and housekeepers, at Oostwoud, together with
that of the children (where for the instruction and edifi-
cation of the young and aged, a schoolmaster is required.)
It is unanimously ordained and approved of by the Hon-
orable Consistory of Midwoud, that at Oostwoud, under
the jurisdiction of Midwoud, there ought to be chosen an
Elder and a Deacon, who shall be members of the Con-
sistory of Midwoud, to have the oversight of the members
of Oostwoud, in particular and over those of Midwoud in
general, and in matters of importance, whenever the mem-
bers of the Consistory are assembled, they must always be
requested to meet with them to obtain their advice as well
as that of others. And to that end, are chosen for Elder,
William Jacobse Van Boerum; for Deacon, Rem Rem-
sen. Concluded in Consistory of Midwoud, on the 6th of
January, 1681. The above elected persons having been
several times proclaimed, were ordained at Midwoud, on
the 30th, of January."
Little is known with regard to the Rev. Mr. Van Zu-
ren's ministry or character. He appears to have been a
man of great industry and system. He has left the most
copious minutes of the services which he performed. In
addition to the lists of the members of the churches, and
the records of baptisms and marriages, he has noted the
times and places of administering the Lord's Supper, to-
gether with the texts of scripture from which he preached,
and the election of new Elders and Deacons in the sev-
eral churches in each year, together with the time of their
induction into their respective offices. His record of bap-
tisms commences on the 16th of September, 1677, and of
marriages on the 29th of September, 1677. He continued
to serve these congregations till the year 1685, when he
received a call from his former church in Holland, and
returned to his native land. He was succeeded by the
Rev. Rudolphus Varick in the same year. He continued
till the year 1694, when the Rev. Wilhemus Lupandus
was called, who officiated until the time of his death,
which occurred in the year 1701 or 2. Of these two gen-
tlemen nothing now is known.
In tlie year 1698, a subscription was taken up for the
purpose of erecting a new church. This subscription,
which was confined to the inhabitants of the old town and
New-Lots, amounts to 15,728 guilders and 5 stivers, which
reckoning a guilder at forty cents, is equal to $6,291.20.
The precise time at which the church was built, is not
known; but it was no doubt during that year or the
one that succeeded. The committee to whom the erec-
tion of the church was entrusted, were. Captain Daniel
Polhemus, Captain Aries Vanderbilt, Adrian Kyers, Kem
Eemsen, and Kem Aertson. This building, which was lo-
cated on the spot on which the first church stood, was a
stone edifice, fronting the east, with a large arched
double door in the centre, having a steep four-sided roof
coming nearly together at the top, on which was erected
a small steeple. The building was wider in front than in
depth, being about sixty-five north and south, and about
fifty feet east and west. The roof rested on the walls,
and was partly supported by them, and partly by two large
oak columns, standing in a line within the building, in a
northerly and southerly direction, and at a suitable dis-
tance from each other. The two columns supported a plate
in the centre of a lofty arched planked ceiling, the north
and south ends of which, rested on the wall, in conse-
quence of which, the north and south walls of the build-
ing were considerable higher than those of the east and
west. There were two large and broad braces extending
from each colunm to the plate. The roof appeared to be
badly constructed. Its pressure on the walls was so great,
that in process of time, the upper part of the north-
erly wall was pressed out more than a foot over the foun-
dation, and the four braces attached to the columns within
the building, were considerably bent from the weight and
pressure above. The pulpit was placed in the centre of
the west side of the building, fronting the door, having
the Elders bench on the right, and the Deacons bench on
the left. The male part of the congregation were seated in
a continuous pew, all along the wall, which was divided
into twenty apartments, with a sufficient number of doors
for entrance: each person having one or more seats, in
one or the other of these apartments. The residue of the
interior of the building, was for the accommodation of
the female part of the congregation, who were seated on
chairs. These were arranged into seven different rows, or
blocks, and every family had one or more chairs in some
one of these blocks. This interior arrangement of the
seats, was called by the significant Dutch term " De Ges-
toeltens." Each chair was marked on the back by a num-
ber, or by the name of the family or person to whom it
belonged. The windows of this church were formed of
small panes of glass ; and those on either side of the pul-
pit, were painted, or ornamented and set in lead.
It is probable that about the year 1698, when the first
church was pulled down, in which as we have seen, there
was accommodation for the minister and his family, the
first parsonage house was built. This is the south part of
the present building now occupied by L. L. Van Kleeck,
Esq. which has undergone so many important improve-
ments under his hands.
About the time of the building of this second church,
a certain paper was drawn up and adopted, entitled
" Articles, Laws and Ordinances, by which the church of
Flatbush shall be governed and occupied, by the in-
habitants and builders." This document contains certain
provisions: — 1st. Concerning the occupancy and posses-
sion of the seats. 2d. Concerning the tenure of the seats
whenever tlie owners remove; and 3d. Concerning inter-
ments in the church. These provisions are all wise and
prudent, but some of them appear at the present day
somewhat curious. We shall only extract from this docu-
ment, the articles concerning " interments in the church."
They are as follows: —
" 1. Those who are inclined to be interred within the
church, are required to pay for an adult corps of sixteen
years and upwards, £4; for a corps under sixteen years,
to six years of age, £3 ; and for a child of six years and
under, £2; and this shall be paid to the Church Masters,
for the profit of the church.
" 2. Those who are inclined to be permitted to be in-
terred in the church, are required to pay the expense of
every person: for a corps of sixteen years and upwards,
the sum of 27 guilders : for one under sixteen years to six
years, 22 guilders: for a child of six years and under, 19
guilders, for the profit of the schoolmaster, for the time
being, who shall be required to see that the graves are to
be dug so deep that two coffins can be placed therein, one
above the other, and that the grave for the under coffin is
seven feet deep, and that he shall remove all dirt out of
From this time, the practice of burying under the body
of the church, became quite general. All the ministers
who died after this date, (1701,) during the standing of
that church, were interred under the building; and this
indeed was the case with all whose friends could afford to
pay the extra expense connected with this privilege; and
this accounts for the fact, that the grave yard now con-
tains so few tomb stones of ancient date. Vast numbers
of human bones were dug up when the earth was removed
for the foundation of the steeple to the present church.
These were all carefully preserved, and subsequently
again buried. In front of the church, and under it have
been interred the bodies of nearly three or four genera-
At the time of the building of this church, the Rev. W.
Lupardus, was pastor. After his death, which occurred
towards the close of the year 1701, or in the commence-
ment of the year 1702, the congregations of the county
made an effort to call the Rev. Bernardus Freeman, then
pastor of the Reformed Dutch Church of Schenectady.
Three men were chosen in each of the four towns, of
Flatbush, Brooklyn, Flatlands and New-Utrecht, for the
purpose of prosecuting this call, in accordance with the
provisions of the government, which then exercised con-
trol over the church. An application was made to Lord
Cornbury, the then. Governor of the Colony, for permis-
sion to call Mr. Freeman. This request was, on the 23d
of October, 1702, denied by the Governor; and the four
congregations were directed to send to Holland for a min-
ister, in conformity with their previous custom. It would
appear that another effort was made to obtain the Rev.
Mr. Freeman, in the year 1703. On the 27th of April, in
that year. Lord Cornbury, issued a warrant granting full
liberty to call Mr. Freeman. The congregation of
Schenectady, however, remonstrated against the proceed-
ing, and sent a petition to Governor Cornbury, requesting
that the calling of Mr. Freeman should be interdicted.
But this petition was denied by Lord Cornbury in an or-
der issued by him bearing date June 24th, 1703. A call
was accordingly presented to the Rev. Mr. Freeman, who
in a letter dated August 2d, 1703, consents to accept the
same, provided certain conditions which he names are
complied with. On the 19th of August, 1703, these con-
ditions were acceded to by the congregation of Flatbush.
Previously however to this, it would appear that certain
difficulties had arisen relative to this matter. Some, if
not all, the persons who had been deputed from the sev-
eral congregations to call the Rev. Mr. Freeman, for some
cause which does not appear, became disaffected towards
him. In consequence of this, they did not comply with
the instructions which they had received — but not only
neglected to answer the letter of Mr. Freeman, informing
him that the congregation had complied with his stipula-
tions, but addressed a letter to the Consistory of Schenec-
tady, stating that the most part of the congregation were
in favor of sending to Holland for a minister— but that
only some " stiff heads," as they term them, had enjoined
them to make a call upon Dom. Freeman. Eventually, Mr.
Freeman visited the island himself, and having ascertained
the true state of things, consented to accept the call. The
matter, however, appears to have been in agitation for
more than two years before he came. For he was not
installed until the year 1705. This took place by procla-
mation of the Governor, in the church at New-Utrecht, in
November of that year. The service was performed on
the occasion, by the Rev. Mr. Dubois. In the mean time,
however, the disaffected persons wrote a letter to the
Classis of Amsterdam, bearing date, December 10th, 1703,
requesting that a minister should be sent out to these
churches from Holland. This letter was received by the
Classis of Amsterdam, on the 2d, June, 1704, and on the
6th, of October, 1704, they commissioned the Rev. Yin-
centius Antonides, to proceed to America, for the purpose
of becoming the pastor of the church of Flatbush, and of
the Dutch churches adjoining. He was at the time pastor
of the church of Bergen, in Friesland. In their letter to
the churches, the Classis of Amsterdam, speak of him as
a man of great learning, and of fine talents. He arrived
in this country, and in connection with the Rev. Mr. Free-
man, entered upon his duties in the year 1705. But a very
unhappy controversy, which had its origin previously to
his arrival, continued to agitate the churches. We need
not enter into the particulars of it. It is sufficient to
state that the contest was so warm between the friends of
these respective ministers, that the civil authority had to
interfere, and one or two orders were passed on the sub-
ject, by Lord Cornbury, the Governor. Some of these are
curious, as exhibiting the powers which the Governor and
his council exercised in the affairs of the church. These
differences continued to agitate these several congrega-
tions, until the year 1714, when they were harmoniously
reconciled. On the 27th, of December, in that year, a
meeting was held in Flatbush, composed of delegates from
the churches of Flatbush, Brooklyn, Flatlands, New-
TJtrecht, Bushwick and New-Jamaica, (as it is called in
the document which gives the account of this meeting,)
or the Reformed Dutch congregation of Queens County,
which was then about being organized, and was supplied
by the ministers from this county. This meeting was as-
sembled in good friendship, as they state in the pream-
ble to their transactions. They all agreed to lay aside
their differences, and to receive the Rev. Messrs. Free-
man and Antonides, as their pastors and teachers. They
fixed the proportion of salary, to be raised by the several
churches for their support, and the times and places of
administering the Lord's Supper and of preaching. In
regard to the communion, it was agreed, that Bushwick,
Brooklyn and Flatbush, should commune together; Flat-
lands, Gravesend and New-Utrecht, together ; and the con-
gregation of Queens County, should form another com-
munion. In regard to preaching, it was agreed, that one
minister should preach on one Sabbath in Bushwick, and
the other in New-Utrecht; that on the next Sabbath, one
in Brooklyn, and the other in Flatlands; and the third
Sabbath, one in Flatbush and the other in Jamaica, and
thus on in regular rotation. From this time forth, for a
number of years the churches enjoyed peace.
The unhappy controversy to which we have alluded,
was, by Him, who causes the wrath of man to praise
Him, overruled for good. For, from that time forward,
the churches of the county enjoyed the services of two
ministers of the gospel who in addition to their pulpit
exercises, performed all the usual parochial duties; such
as visiting the sick, catechising the youth, pastoral visita-
tion of families, and the like. All of which, had hereto-
fore been attended to by one individual, who from the
extent of the charge, could not possibly have rendered all
the services which were needful and proper.
To accommodate these pastors, it became necessary to
provide another parsonage. Accordingly, in the year
1711, the congregations purchased of Johannes Johnson,
the house owned by Mr. John H. Hess, and recently
occupied by Mr. Michael Schoonmaker. Deeds for this
property, in proportion to their several rights were given
to the respective Dutch congregations in the county; this
church being entitled to the fourth equal part. This
building was used as a parsonage, until the year 1809,
when it was sold, an account of which will be subse-
quently given. In this and the other parsonage adjoining
the church, the Eev. Mr. Freeman, and the Rev. Mr. An-
tonides were accommodated, but we are not able to tell in
which house they severally resided.
Both these ministers appear to have been men of more
than ordinary acquirements and talent. The Eev. Mr.
Freeman, was a very learned divine. He wrote and pub-
lished several works. Among others, one entitled, " Trial
of Grace," or the " Ballance," containing a series of
sermons ; and another, entitled, " Apothems," which has
been translated from the original Dutch, by General Jere-
miah Johnson. The latter work discovers a vast amount
of learning, and a mind of the deepest research. It is a
treasure of truth.
In the year 1737, a meeting of ministers was held in
New- York, for the purpose of taking measures to organize
a Csetus or Assembly of Ministers and Elders, subordinate
to the Classis of Amsterdam, with powers somewhat sim-
ilar to those now exercised by the Classes of the Reformed
Dutch Church, in this country. At this meeting the Rev.
Mr. Freeman attended, on behalf of the churches on
Long-Island. A plan was adopted for the organization
of such a body, and was submitted to the churches, for
their approbation. On the 27th, of April, 1738, the meet-
ing again convened, in the city of New- York, for the
purpose of hearing the reports on this subject. At this
meeting the churches on Long-Island were represented by
the Rev. Mr. Freeman, and the Elders Peter Nevius and
Dirk Brinkerhoff. The plan having been approved by the
churches generally, it was now ratified and adopted, and
immediately sent over to the Classis of Amsterdam, for
their approval. But for some cause not known, the ap-
probation of the Classis did not reach this country until
the year 1746. It was brought over by the Rev. Mr. Van
Sinderen, of whom we shall presently speak.
Mr. Freeman died in the year 1741. He was succeeded
by the Rev. Johannes Arondeus, in the year 1742, who
was the colleague of the Eev. V. Antonides till the year
1744, when the latter died.
On the death of Eev. Mr. Antonides, the Kev. Ulpianus
Van Sinderen was called. He came from Holland, and
entered upon his duties, in 1746, and continued to serve
the congregation in connection with the Eev. Mr. Aron-
deus until the year 1754, when Mr. Arondeus was called
to his final account.
Mr. Van Sinderen was the hearer of the letter from the
Classis of Amsterdam, containing their approbation of
the plan of the Csetus which had been agreed upon in the
meeting, held in New- York, in the year 1738. Shortly
after his arrival in this country, a meeting was called to
receive this letter. This meeting was held in the city of
New- York, in the month of May, 1747. The Eev. Mr.
Van Sinderen, is named first among the six ministers who
attended this meeting. Little more was done at this time
than receive the letter of concurrence in the plan from the
Classis of Amsterdam, and appoint the second Tuesday of
the following September, for the meeting of the first
Caetus, to be held in the city of New- York, under this new
plan. On that day, the representatives of the churches
met in Caetus, and organized the first judicatory (if it
can be so called) higher than a consistory, that was es-
tablished in the Dutch Church in America. The Eev.
Mr. Van Sinderen attended as a member of this body.
The plan was however opposed by several ministers, and
churches, and eventually gave rise to very serious trou-
bles, which it would be inappropriate here to narrate in
Mr. Van Sinderen, though a man of talents, was quite
eccentric in his manners. He was short in stature, but
Tlunigh endowed with learning, he appears to have
been detieient in sound judgment. He was too much in
the habit of introducing the occurrences of the week pre-
vious in his sermons, on the Sabbath, and often would al-
lude to very trifling circumstances. Some amusing an-
ecdotes, are told of him, relating to this practice. On one
occasion, a good old Elder, who had borne with the Do-
minie in this particular, till his patience was exhausted,
very injudiciously, under the excitement of his feelings,
rose in his seat, during divine service, and interrupted
Mr. Van Sinderen, by saying, they had called him to
preach the gospel, and not to detail to them such matters.
The Dominie, indignant at being iBtopped 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."
After the death of the Rev. Mr. Arondeus, the Rev.
Anthony Curtenius was called. He commenced his min-
istry in this i^lace in the year 1755. But in the succeed-
ing year, on the 19th, of October, he died, being in his
About this time, or probably, a little while before, this
church was greatly agitated, in common with the whole
Reformed Dutch denomination, with what was called the
Csetus and Conferentie differences. This was a contest
which excited great warmth. It related principally to the
question of the right of ordination, and the exercise of
church authority. The Csetus party contended that in con-
sequence of the inconvenience of sending to Holland for
ministers, and the increase of the churches in this coun-
try, it should be exercised by the ministers of the church,
already in America, and that for this purpose, there
should be a regular organization of the churches into
Classes, and Synods, as was the case in Holland, to whom
should appertain all the rights and privileges belonging
to such ecclesiastical bodies, in the mother country. The
Conferentie party, on the other hand, maintained that all
ministers should be ordained in Holland, and sent forth
under the authority of the Classis of Amsterdam, or by
their permission. The controversy was a very unhappy
one, and continued to trouble the churches until the year
1772. This congregation was not exempt from the gen-
eral difficulties. So divided and embittered against each
other were many on this subject, that the different par-
ties would not worship together, nor even speak to each
other. Sometimes they would 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
each other in their waggons, 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.
In August, 1759, the Kev. Johannes Casparus Kubel,
was called, who continued as colleague with the Rev. Mr.
Van Sinderen, until the year of his death.
The old or second church, which we have above de-
scribed, continued without material change until about
two years previous to the war of the American Revolution,
when it was thought necessary to remodel or improve the
seats, by introducing pews. Consequently, on the 6th of
October, 1774, the church masters prepared a subscription
paper, detailing the plan by which this desirable object
should be accomplished. This paper was signed by every
male adult person of the congregation who had an interest
in the church. This document exhibits in a striking man-
ner, the wisdom, foresight, sound discretion and piety of
the men of that day. In this too, as well as in almost every
other public ecclesiastical document, they refer to the ar-
ticles of their faith, as established in the National Synod
of Dordrecht, in the year 1618, 1619. The assent of the
whole congregation having been thus prudently obtained,
they commenced in the year 1775 to remodel the seats.
The chairs were removed, and sixty-four pews, containing
six seats each, were introduced. The work having been
completed on the 28th, day of September, in the same
year, the pews were drawn for, by the members of the con-
gregation, and assigned to the respective owners by lot,
and a record of the same accordingly made. The expense
incurred by this improvement, amounted to £290.16.9. or
$727.09, of which sum, the respective pew holders paid
£190.4.6. equal to $475.56. John Bennan, Thomas Lane,
Isaac Martense, Adrian Martense and Vincent Antonides,
were the carpenters who performed the work, and the
painting was done by William Post. There were two gal-
leries along the easterly side of the church, divided by the
door; the one was occupied by the whites, and the other
by coloured persons. The benches below, under these gal-
leries were free, and usually occupied by non-residents.
On each side of the church were two windows, and one
upper window in each of the ends, at the north and south.
These were all provided with shutters. The bell rope hung
down in the centre of the church, was easy of access, and
often used to give alarms, during the revolutionary war.
Here were two benches with backs, one called the " Ye-
f rows Bench," and the other the " Blue Bench." The for-
mer, was for the accommodation of the minister's wife and
family and the other was let out to other individuals, and
from its position, was regarded as an honorable seat.
Boards on which the first Psalm to be sung was noted, were
hung upon the walls of the church, for the benefit of such
as were not present when it was announced. The Dea-
cons were furnished with long rods, at the ends of which,
were velvet bags, in which to take up the collection, and
they usually stood for a few moments with their poles in
their hands in front of the pulpit, till the minister briefly
reminded the congregation of their duty to the poor.
The Rev. Messrs. Van Sinderen and Rubel, continued
to officiate in the church, until the close of the revolu-
tionary war, in 1783. With regard to these individuals,
several unpleasant difficulties arose in the five congrega-
tions of the county, who were under their pastoral charge,
— and as their residence, as that of all the previous min-
isters had been, was at Flatbush, the inhabitants of this
town took a warm and active interest in these differences.
The particulars of these, it would not be edifying to re-
late. In regard to politics, which during the revolution-
ary struggle, was a matter of deep interest; the Rev. Mr.
Van Sinderen appears to have been in favor of the Ameri-
can cause, and the Rev. Mr. Rubel, strongly opposed to
it. On a fast day which was ordered to be kept by the
Provincial Congress, the latter preached in Flatbush,
from the text, " honor the king ; " when among other
things, he said, " people could do as well without a head
as without a king." This gave great offence to those who
were in favor of throwing off the British yoke.
At the close of the war, in June 1784, at the request of
the united Consistory, the Rev. Mr. Van Sinderen re-
signed his charge, and on the 12th of July, in the same
year, was declared Emeritus and a certain salary voted to
him as such, which was regularly paid him, until the day
of his death, which occurred on the 23d of July, 1796.
He was interred in the grave yard at Flatlands, to which
place he had removed some few years previously. The
Rev. Mr. Ruble, was for certain causes, which it is not
necessary to mention, deposed from the office of the sa-
cred ministry, by the Synod of the Reformed Dutch
Church, in the early part of the year 1784. He remained
under this censure, till the time of his death, which took
place in 1799. His remains lie interred in the public
cemetery of the Reformed Dutch Church of Flatbush.
In the year 1785, a call was made on the Rev. Marti-
nus Schoonmaker, then officiating at Gravesend and Har-
leam. He having accepted the call, the congregation of
Gravesend was admitted formally into the combination.
On the 28th of October, 1787, the Rev. Peter Lowe,
a native of Ulster County, who had completed his theo-
logical studies under the Rev. Dr. Livingston, was in-
stalled colleague pastor with Mr. Schoonmaker. These
two continued to preach alternately in the old church,
until it was taken down, in the year 1794. All the ser-
vices of the above named ministers, were performed in
the Dutch language, until the 10th of April, 1792, when
it was resolved that the service in the afternoon, in the
congregations of Brooklyn, Flatbush and New-Utrecht,
should be held in the English language, on such days as
the Rev. Mr. Lowe should preach in those places.
In the year 1785, the church became incorporated. As
this introduced an important change in the management
of the fiscal concerns, it may be proper here to pre-
sent the following statement, of the manner in which the
temporalities of the church had been previously admin-
istered, and the steps taken to obtain the incorporation.
The landed estate and general financial interests of the
Church of Flatbush, from the time of its organization,
were entrusted to the care and management of Church
Masters, similar to the mode and usage practised by the
Reformed churches in Holland. The Church Masters
were three in number, elected by the " Gemeente," or as-
sembled congregation, out of the Consistory, and held
their offices for two years, corresponding with the oflScial
term of the Elders and Deacons. When the Church
Masters were first chosen, they were divided into two
classes, and the seat of the member of the first class be-
came vacant at the expiration of the first year, and the
seats of the two members of the second class, at the ex-
piration of the second year, so that thereafter, one or the
other members of each class might be annually chosen.
They were required to render an annual statement of
their receipts and expenditures, and the correctness of the
accounts of the retiring Church Master, or Church Mas-
ters, as the case might be, was always certified on the
church books. The temporalities belonging to the church,
and consisting of real and personal estate, appear to have
been prudently and judiciously managed and preserved
by the Church Masters thus chosen, down to the close of
the year, 1784, a period of nearly one hundred and seventy
years. The last Church Masters, were John Yanderbilt,
Isaac Snediker and Johannes E. Lott, whose accounts
were examined by the Trustees of the church, and by
them found satisfactory: whereupon the following cer-
tificate was entered upon the church books. " John Van-
derbilt, Isaac Snediker and Johannes E, Lott, Church
Masters, having come together, and rendered an account
of their receipts and expenditures to the Trustees who are
chosen in their place, and the Church Masters have been
found faithful in their trust, are thanked by us, the
underwritten Trustees, for their services."
On the 6th day of April, in the year 1784, the Legis-
lature of the State of New- York, passed an Act, entitled
"An Act to enable all religious denominations in this
State, to appoint Trustees, who should be a Body Corpo-
rate, for the purpose of taking care of the temporalities
of their respective congregations, and for other purposes
therein mentioned." As the revolutionary war was now
just closed, and peace again restored, the inhabitants of
the town of Flatbush, at once saw the advantages which
their church might derive from this Act authorizing the
incorporation of religious societies. Accordingly, on Sun-
day the 26th day of December, 1784, public notice was
given by the Rev. Martinus Schoonmaker, the minister of
the church, by a publication therein, immediately after
divine service, and before the congregation was dismissed,
notifying all male persons who statedly worshiped in the
said church, to meet therein, on the 17th day of January,
then next ensuing, at one o'clock in the afternoon of the
same day, for the purpose of electing Trustees to take
care of the temporalities of the said church, pursuant to
the provisions of the above-mentioned Act. The same no-
tification was again made, in the said church, by the same
minister, on the 2d day of Januarys 1785, in manner afore-
said. In pursuance of which notifications, the male per-
sons who statedly worshiped in the said church, accord-
ingly met at the time and place appointed, and in the
presence of Jeremias Van Der Bilt and Joris Martense,
Elders and Judges of the election, did then, and there, by
plurality of voices, elect Philip Nagel, Cornelius Wyckoff,
Hendrick Suydam, Peter Lefferts and John R. Vander-
bilt. Trustees to take care of the temporalities of the said
church, pursuant to the directions in the said Act men-
tioned and prescribed. The style, name and title, by
which the said Trustees and their successors should for-
ever thereafter be called, known and distinguished, was
designated to be, " The Trustees of the Reformed Protes-
tant Dutch Church of Flatbush." These proceedings were
all certified under the hands and seals, of Jeremias Van-
derbilt and Joris Martense, the above-named Elders and
Judges of the election, and duly acknowledged and re-
corded in the Clerk's office of the County of Kings, on the
said 17th day of January, 1785. Upon the organization
of the Board of Trustees, Philip Nagel was appointed
their Treasurer, and they made a record of all the real
and personal estate belonging to the church.
The church of Flatbush continued under the above-
mentioned Act, providing for the incorporation of relig-
ious societies generally, until the 19th day of December,
1804. Some few years anterior to this time, the Legislature
of the State, passed a special Act providing for the incor-
poration of the Reformed Dutch Churches, and therein
designated who should be the Trustees of every Dutch
church, and the manner of their appointment. By this
Act, it is provided that the minister or ministers, and el-
ders and deacons, and if during any time there be no min-
ister, then the elders and deacons during such time, of
every Reformed Protestant Dutch Church or congrega-
tion, now, or hereafter to be established in this State, and
elected according to the rules and usages of such churches
within this State, shall be the Trustees for every such
church or congregation. The Act then prescribes the
mode in which the Trustees and their successors shall be-
come a body corporate, and the name or title of such in-
corporation. In the same Act, further provision is made
that it shall be lawful for the Trustees of any Eefonned
Protestant Dutch Church or congregation, elected by
virtue of any former law of this State, by writing under
their hands and seals, duly proved and acknowledged, and
also recorded in the office of the clerk of the county, to
declare their will, not to continue any longer a body cor-
porate under such former law, and thereupon such body
corporate shall cease, and all the estate, real and personal
held by them, shall pass and be vested in the Trustees of
the church or congregation made a body corporate, in the
manner provided for the Dutch churches.
Under the provisions of the Act last above-mentioned,
John Hegeman, Johannes E. Lott, Court Van Brunt and
Andrew Suydam, " The Trustees of the Eeformed
Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush," elected accord-
ing to the provisions of the Act, entitled " An Act to en-
able all religious denominations in this State, to appoint
Trustees, who shall be a body corporate, for the purpose
of taking care of the temporalities of their respective con-
gregations, and for other purposes therein mentioned,"
Passed April 6th, 1784, did on the 19th day of December,
1804, by a certificate executed under their hands and
seals, certify and declare, that they would not continue
any longer a body corporate, under the said recited Act;
which certificate was duly proved, acknowledged and re-
corded, as the Act requires. On the same day, (Decem-
ber 19th 1804,) Martinus Schoonmaker and Peter Lowe,
ministers, Peter Stryker, John Williamson, Johannes E.
Lott and Hendrick H. Suydam, Elders, and Joseph Hege-
man, Cornelius Stryker and Lawrence Voorhees, Deacons
elected according to the rules and usages of the Eeformed
Protestant Dutch Church of Flatbush, did by a certifi-
cate, executed under their hands and seals, also certify
and declare, that they and their successors, forever should
be known and distinguished as a body corporate, by virtue
of the Act entitled " An Act, to provide for the incorpo-
ration of religious societies." Passed March 27th, 1801,
(see Kevised Laws of the State of New-York, by Kent
and Kadcliff, vol. 1, page 336,) by the name or title of
" The Trustees of the Eeformed Protestant Dutch
Church of the Town of Flatbush, in Kings County."
This certificate was also duly proved and acknowledged,
and recorded in the Clerk's office, of the County of Kings.
And the minister or ministers. Elders and Deacons of the
church, have ever since been continued, under the pro-
visions of the last mentioned Act, as a body corporate, by
the name or title expressed and set forth in the original
certificate now remaining of record.
On the 19th of August, 1793, the inhabitants of the
town of Flatbush, assembled in public meeting at the
church, and having again declared their adherence to the
doctrines and order of the Dutch Church, as ratified by
the National Synod, held at Dordrecht, unanimously re-
solved to erect a new house for public worship. Certain
conditions and stipulations were agree upon, and a build-
ing conunittee, consisting of the Trustees of the church,
then five in number, and five Commissioners were ap-
pointed to carry their design into execution. The names
of these Trustees and Commissioners, were Cornelius
Vanderveer, John Bennem, Johannes J. Lott, Peter Stry-
ker, John Vanderveer, John Vanderbilt, Hendrick H.
Suydam, Johannes E. Lott, John Williamson and Adrian
Martense. This committee immediately proceeded to their
work. They engaged Thomas Fardon as the architect and
master builder, and Simeon Back, Frederic Cleaveland,
Abijah Baldwin, Gideon Seaman, and other carpenters
under him. The master mason was John Sanford, who
was assisted by his two brothers and others under him.
The painting of the church, when completed, was done
by Matthew Hall, the father of George Hall, the first
Mayor of the city of Brooklyn. This edifice, which is
the one now standing, was three years in building. It
was commenced in December, 1793, and finished in De-
cember, 1796. It is most substantially built — all the
stones of the former church being placed in its founda-
tion, which is at least six feet broad. Most of the stones
for the walls, were quarried at Hurlgate. They were
brought by water to Gowanus and Denton's mill, by Jere-
miah Van Dyke, from whence they were carted to Flat-
bush, by the inhabitants. The brown stone which forms
the three upper courses just above the foundation, were
broken out of the Brooklyn woods. The brick around the
doors and windows, which by the way, is almost the only
matter of bad taste about the building, came from Hol-
land, as ballast, in one of the ships belonging to the Hon-
orable John Vanderbilt.
The cost of this edifice was £4873. 7. 7. equal to
$12,183, 44. exclusive of the labor and cartage performed
by the members of the congregation, which was an item
of very considerable amount. On the 6th day of De-
cember, 1796, the pews in the church amounted to ninety-
seven, exclusive of those reserved for the Elders and
Deacons, the Pastor, the Justice of the peace, and a few
for strangers, were sold at public auction, for the aggre-
gate sum of £2013. 7. 9. equal to $5,033, 47. which did
not meet the expense of the building by more than $7,000.
A suitable register of the pews was then made, and of
their respective owners. At the completion of the church,
in the year 1796, a fine bell, imported expressly from
Holland, was presented for its use, by the Honorable John
Vanderbilt, for which a vote of thanks was passed by the
Consistory, a copy of which was ordered to be transmitted
to the liberal donor. The vessel in which this bell was
shipped, was captured by the British, on her passage to
this country, and carried into Halifax, — and from the fact
that the bell had on it, this inscription, " Presented to the
Reformed Dutch Church of Flatbush, by John Vander-
bilt," it was presumed that both vessel and cargo, be-
longed to a Holland merchant, and she was on the point of
being condemned, when Mr. Charles Clarkson, the son-in-
law of Mr. Vanderbilt, went to Halifax and testified that
he was a citizen of the United States. It is something of
a remarkable fact, that the second or third time that this
bell was used, was on the occasion of the funeral of this
noble spirited man. Although we shall have occasion
hereafter to mention this distinguished individual, we
trust we shall be pardoned for here stopping for a mo-
ment, to render the tribute of respect to his memory. He
was a man of great nobleness of mind, of liberal views,
and of enlarged public spirit. He died on the 18th of
November, 1796, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. His
monumental stone, bears the following testimony to his
worth. "He was a merchant of distinguished probity — a
real patriot — an affectionate relative — a sincere friend,
and a worthy man. Blessed with afiluence, he displayed
a spirit of munificence in promoting the interests of his
country, of religion and virtue. The moderation and con-
ciliatory disposition which accompanied and conducted
his virtues, secured him through life, an esteem almost
unrivalled, and rendered his death, a great loss to the
public, and to his family irreparable."
The church after its completion, was dedicated to the
service of Almighty God, in the month of January, 1797.
The Rev. Martinus Schoonmaker, preached a sermon in
the Dutch language, on that interesting occasion, and the
Rev. Peter Lowe, preached in English in the afternoon of
the same day.
The combination between the six congregations of the
county, to which we have alluded, continued until the
year 1805, when the church of Brooklyn, called the Rev.
Selah S. Woodhull, as their pastor exclusively. In the
year 1808, the churches of Flatbush and Flatlands, united
in a call upon the Rev. Peter Lowe, to become their
pastor, which was accepted, and he continued in that
relation, until the time of his death, which occurred on
the 10th day of June, 1818. He was much beloved by
the people of his charge; a man of fervent piety and of
active usefulness. His death was that of the triumphant
Christian. His remains lie interred in the public ceme-
tery of this church.
In the fall of the year 1818, the churches of Flat-
bush and Flatlands, made a call on the Rev. Walter Mon-
teith, who was installed their pastor in the year 1819.
He continued his connection with this people only for
a little more than a year, — for on the 13th of April,
1820, he resigned his charge, having accepted a call to
the Presbyterian Church in Schenectady. After the
resignation of the Rev. Mr. Monteith, the congregations
remained vacant for upwards of two years. In the month
of May, 1822, a call was made out by the church of Flat-
bush alone, on the present pastor, which was accepted
by him, in August of that year, and on the 17th day of
November ensuing, (1822,) he was installed by the
Classis of Long-Island. The combination between the six
Dutch churches in the county, was not however finally
dissolved, until the death of the Rev. Martinus Schoon-
maker, which took place on the 20th day of May, 1824,
when he was at the advanced age of eighty-seven years.
This venerable man was eminent for his faithful per-
formance of duty, and his devotion to his Master's work.
He continued to preach until within a few months of his
death, — after having served the people of his charge for
nearly forty years, he was gathered to his fathers, and
his end was peace.
In the year 1830, measures were first taken for the
erection of the Consistory Room of the Reformed Dutch
Church of Flatbush. The want of accommodation for
religious services, other than those on the Sabbath, and
particularly of a suitable place in which to hold the Sab-
bath Schools, had been long felt; one of the school rooms
in the Academy, had h^ttn used for the former purpose,
and the church for the latter. But neither was such as
circumstances called for. Arrangements were accord-
ingly made for the erection of a separate building, which
was completed in 1831, at the expense of $1,195.82. To
meet this, a voluntary subscription, amounting to about
$600, was taken up among the members of the congrega-
tion, and the balance was paid by a donation from the
Ladies' Sewing Society, and by the Consistory, who con-
tributed nearly $400.
During the winter of 1836-37, some important im-
provements were made in the interior of the Reformed
Dutch Church in Flatbush. We need not particularly
specify them, as they are all well known to the present
inhabitants. The pews on the ground floor, were all re-
modelled, and rendered more comfortable, and a gallery
was erected across the east end of the church.
Reformed Dutch Church at New-Lots.
In the year 1823, measures were taken for the erec-
tion of a church edifice in New-Lots. The building was
commenced in that year, and finished in the succeeding
spring. It was dedicated to the service of Almighty God,
in July 1824, on which occasion the Rev. John Alburtis,'
then a minister of the Presbyterian Church, officiated!
During the period when the building was erecting, efforts
were made to have that part of the congregation of Tlat-
bush organised into a separate church. But they had
been ineffectual. On the 12th of August 1824, however,
the Classis of Long-Island resolved that they should be-
come a distinct congregation, and took measures accord-
ingly, to organize them into a church, which took place
m the latter part of that month, the late Rev. David
S. Bogart, by order of the Classis, officiating on the oc-
casion. During the succeeding winter, they united with
the church of Flatlands in making out a call upon the
Rev. William Crookshank, a licentiate from the The-
ological Seminary at New-Brunswick, who in February
1825, was ordained by the Classis, and installed pastor of
the churches of i^ew-Lots and Flatlands. He continued
his connection with this people, for a little more than ten
years. In April 1835, he resigned his charge and re-
moved to the village of Newburgh. On the 22d of March
1836, the Rev. J. Abeel Baldwin, having accepted their
call, was installed pastor of these churches, who is still
officiating among them with much acceptance and use-
Episcopal Church at Flatbush.
In June 1836, incipient steps were taken to organize an
Episcopal Church in Flatbush. The first service pre-
paratory to this, was held by the Rev. Dr. Cutler of
Brooklyn, in the Consistory Room of the Reformed Dutch
Church, which had been offered for the occasion, by the
Consistory. In reference to this enterprize, although it
was the first attempt to introduce the services of another
denomination of Christians in the town, the kindest feel-
ings were entertained and expressed, and such facilities
were afforded to further it as Christian courtesy dictated,
on behalf of the officers and members of the Reformed
Dutch Church. On the 11th of July, 1836, the following
persons were chosen to constitute the first Vestry, viz :
Matthew Clarkson and Robert J. Crommelin, Wardens;
David Johnson, James Mowatt, George Cornell, C. Du-
rand, Charles Waldron, A. Norrie, William H. Story and
Samuel Richards, Jr., Vestrymen.
The corner stone of the church was laid in accordance
with the forms and provisions of the Protestant Episcopal
Church, on the 13th day of August, 1836, by the Right
Rev. B. T. Onderdonk, Bishop of the Diocese of ISTew-
York, when it was named the " St. Paul's Church of Flat-
bush." An address was delivered on the occasion, by the
Rev. Benjamin C. Cutler, D. D. The building, which
will well compare with any of its size, for beauty, neat-
ness and symmetry, was finished in the fall of the same
year. The cost of this edifice, including certain improve-
ments around the church, and the organ, was $8,480. To
meet this, a subscription was taken from sundry indi-
viduals, amounting to $2,398. The balance, which was
$6,082, was generously contributed by Matthew Clark-
On the 23d of December, 1836, the Rev. Thomas S.
Brittain, was chosen the first rector. The church was
consecrated to the service of Almighty God, by the Bishop
of the Diocese, on the 29th day of December, in the same
year. The instrument of donation was read by the Rev.
Mr. Brlttain, the rector, and the instrument of consecra-
tion, by the Rev. John F. Messenger, assistant. From
that time forth, services were regularly held in the church
on every Sunday; the Rev. Mr. Brittain the rector, offi-
ciating in the afternoon, and the Rev. Mr. Messenger,
the assistant, in the morning. On September 1st, 1837,
the Rev. Mr. Messenger resigned, and on the 3d of the
same month, the Rev. James Coghlan commenced offici-
ating in his place. The Rev. Mr. Brittain resigned his
rectorship, on the 29th of March, 1838, and on the 6th
day of April, in the same year, the Rev. Mr. Coghlan
succeeded as rector. He continued to officiate as such,
until the fall of the succeeding year, when, in conse-
quence of his removal to England, he resigned. This
took place on the 21st of October, 1839. On the 30th of
March, 1840, the Rev. William Barlow, the present
worthy rector, was elected to that office, with whose ex-
cellencies of mind and character, the inhabitants of the
town are well acquainted.*
Reformed Dutch Church at East New- York.
In the year 1838, a new Reformed Dutch Church was
built at East New- York, a settlement of some consider-
able extent, which has grown up in the north west part of
New-Lots, bordering on the turnpike. This church was
dedicated to the service of God, in the spring of the suc-
ceeding year, and in the month of May, of that year, 1839,
the Rev. William H. Campbell, was installed as their
pastor. He continued his connection with them until the
* The Rev. Mr. Barlow, resigned his rectorship, on or about the
1st of April, 1842.
fall of 1841, when he removed to Albany, to take charge
of the Third Reformed Dutch Church of that city.
Thus, in the good providence of God, have churches
been multiplied within the bounds of the town of Flat-
bush, "f wenty years ago there was but one edifice for
the accommodation of all the community. Now we have
four respectable churches, besides a building which a few
years ago was put up in the woods, between this and New-
Lots, for the use of the colored population, particularly
of the Methodist denomination. Would, that while these
facilities for divine worship are afforded, and the various
ministers in our bounds are from Sabbath to Sabbath
proclaiming the unsearchable riches of Christ, all our in-
habitants may become wise unto salvation.
No principle was more deeply engraved upon the heart
of the Hollander than that " the church and the school
must be maintained ; " a principle of the soundest wisdom,
and of the most practical utility. For, without education,
morality and religion, there can be no foundation for so-
cial order and prosperity. These are the great safeguards
of the community, and where these are fostered and en-
couraged, we have reason to expect not only intelligence
and virtue, but a due respect to the laws of the land, and
to all the rights and privileges of those who are associated
in any one community. Accordingly, the early Dutch
settlers in Flatbush, imbued with the principle which has
just been mentioned, soon after their settlement, took
measures for the education of their children, and the
maintenance of suitable schools. Among the first records
of the town, we find notice of the employment of a school-
master. Much care seems to have been taken, not only in
the selection, but in the agreements formed with the teach-
ers of their children. The first schoolmaster of whom we
have any knowledge, was Adrian Hegeman. He was one
of the original proprietors of the town, and was the owner
of the farm lying immediately north of the property now
in the tenure of Mr. Isaac Cortelyou. He was the ances-
tor of the widow of the late Peter Lefferts, and probably
of the whole family of Hegemans, now living. He was
engaged as schoolmaster from 1659, to 1671.
From the records of the town, it appears that the
schoolmaster acted as Town Clerk, and as the rates of
tuition were low, previously to the American revolution,
the offices of sexton, and " Foresinger," or chorister, of
the church, were conferred upon him, with a view to in-
crease his emoluments. He received all interment fees,
for infants and adults, according to a scale of established
prices, and for his services as chorister, he was paid an
annual salary by the Consistory of the church. The
chorister, in addition to his duty of taking the lead in
setting and singing the Psalms and Hymns, was also re-
quired to ring the bell for all public services, to read the
commandments at the commencement of the morning
worship, and the Apostles creed, in the afternoon. These
latter services were all performed in the Dutch language,
and uniformly continued so until about the year 1790,
at the time when Mr. Gabriel Ellison, the first English
schoolmaster left the village.
The following is a list of the schoolmasters of the town
of Flatbush, from the year 1659, to the year 1802, when
the village school was removed into the Academy.
Adrian Hegeman, from 1659 to 1671.
Jacop Joosten, "
Francays De Burynne, "
Michael Hainelle, "
Jan Gerrit Van Marckje, "
Derick Storm, "
Jan Tiebout, "
Johannes Van Eckkellen, "
Johannes Schenck, ''
Jan Gancell, '
1719 to 1741.
Petnis Van Steenburgh,
Specific and very particular agreements were made
with these several schoolmasters, which are entered at
large, upon the town records. It may be interesting to
present one or two of these, to show the duties which these
persons formerly were required to perform, and the man-
ner in which they were to instruct the children. The fol-
lowing is a translation of the agreement made with Jo-
hannes Van Eckkelen, who commenced his duties as
schoolmaster, in Platbush, in the year 1682.
" Johannes Van Eckkelen, a young man from New- Al-
bany, is hereby called and accepted, on the first day of Oc-
tober, 1681, with the advice and consent of the Honorable
Magistrates, to perform the duties heretofore required of
Jan Thibaud, in manner following: (1.) He shall serve the
Church and School, according to the existing ordinances,
in the same manner, as they have been heretofore per-
formed by the above named Jan Thibaud, and as hereun-
der written. — (2.) This contract shall take effect, from the
first day of October, Inst, and continue to the first day of
May next, for the purpose of making a trial of each other
in the mean time. — (3.) For the performance of the above
duties, he shall be entitled to receive the sum of 234 guild-
ers, in grain, valued in Seewant, with the other privileges
appertaining to the calling, during the time specified.
AETICLES OF AGKEEMENT
JOHANNES VAN ECKKELEN.
Accepted Schoolmaster and Chorister of Flathush.
School Service.— I. The school shall begin at eight
o'clock, and go out at eleven; and in the afternoon shall
begin at one o'clock, and end at four. The bell shall be
rung when the school commences.*
II. When the school begins, one of the children shall
read the morning prayer, as it stands in the catechism,
and close with the prayer before dinner; in the afternoon
it shall begin with the prayer after dinner, and end with
the evening prayer. The evening school shall begin with
the Lord's prayer, and close by singing a psalm.
III. He shall instruct the children on every Wednesday
and Saturday, in the common prayers, and the questions
and answers in the catechism, to enable them to repeat
them the better on Sunday before the afternoon service,
or on Monday, when they shall be catechised before the
congregation. Upon all such occasions, the schoolmaster
shall be present, and shall require the children to be
friendly in their appearance and encourage them to an-
swer freely and distinctly.
IV. He shall be required to keep his school nine
months in succession, from September to June, in each
* The bell used on these occasions was the church bell. The prac-
tice of ringing this bell at the opening of the school continued till the
year 1794, when the second church was taken down. The church
bell was also used by the Academy, for nearly ten years.
year, in case it should be concluded upon to retain his
services for a year or more, or without limitation ; and he
shall then be required to be regulated by these articles,
and to perform the same duties which his predecessor,
Jan Thibaud, above named, was required to perform. In
every particular therefore, he shall be required to keep
school, according to this seven months agreement, and
shall always be present himself.
Church Service. — I. He shall keep the church clean,
and ring the bell three times before the people assemble
to attend the preaching and catechising. Also before the
sermon is commenced, he shall read a chapter out of the
Holy Scriptures, and that, between the second and third
ringing of the bell. After the third ringing he shall read
the ten commandments, and the twelve articles of our
faith, and then take the lead in singing. In the afternoon
after the third ringing of the bell, he shall read a short
chapter, or one of the Psalms of David, as the congrega-
tion are assembling; and before divine service commences,
shall introduce it, by the singing of a Psalm or Hymn.
11. — When the minister shall preach at Brooklyn, or
New-Utrecht, he shall be required to read twice before the
congregation, from the book commonly used for that pur-
pose. In the afternoon he shall also read a sermon on the
explanation of the catechism, according to the usage and
practice approved of by the minister. The children as
usual, shall recite their questions and answers out of the
catechism, on Sunday, and he shall instruct them therein.
He, as chorister, shall not be required to perform these
duties, whenever divine service shall be performed in
Flatlands, as it would be unsuitable, and prevent many
from attending there.
III. — For the administration of Holy Baptism, he shall
provide a basin with water, for which he shall be entitled
to receive from the parents, or witnesses, twelve styvers.
He shall, at the expense of the church, provide bread and
wine, for the celebration of the Holy Supper; He shall be
in duty bound promptly to furnish the minister with the
name of the child to be baptized, and with the names of
the parents and witnesses. And he shall also serve as
messenger for the consistory.
IV. — ^He shall give the funeral invitations, dig the
grave, and toll the bell, for which service he shall receive
for a person of fifteen years and upwards, twelve guild-
ers, and for one under that age, eight guilders. If he
should be required to give invitations beyond the limits
of the town, he shall be entitled to three additional guild-
ers, for the invitation of every other town, and if he
should be required to cross the river, and go to New-
York, he shall receive four guilders.
School Money. — He shall receive from those who at-
tend the day school, for a speller or reader, three guilders
a quarter, and for a writer four guilders. From those
who attend evening school, for a speller or reader, four
guilders, and for a writer, six guilders shall be given.
Salary. — In addition to the above, his salary shall con-
sist of four hundred guilders, in grain, valued in See-
want, to be delivered at Brooklyn Ferry, and for his
services from October to May, as above stated, a sum of
two hundred and thirty-four guilders, in the same kind,
with the dwelling house, barn, pasture lot, and meadows,
to the school appertaining. The same to take effect from
the first day of October, Instant.
Done and agreed upon in Consistory, under the inspec-
tion of the Honorable Constable and Overseers, the 8th,
of October, 1682.
Constable and Overseers. The Consistory.
Cornelius Berrian, Casparus Van Zuren, Minister,
Kynier Aertsen, Adriaen Keyerse,
Jan Remsen, Cornelis Barent Vandewyck.
I agree to the above articles, and promise to perform
them according to the best of my ability.
JOHANNES VAN ECKKELEN."
Many of the provisions of this agreement are calculated
at this day to excite a smile. But in one particular it is
to be admired. It shows how careful and exact our fore-
fathers were, in embuing the minds of the young and
rising generation, with a reverence for the God of their
existence, and with a knowledge of the principles of our
holy religion. These are matters which we cannot too
sacredly guard. Mere secular knowledge is not a safe-
guard to personal virtue, nor to the security of the State.
Sound education consists not simply in the cultivation of
the mind, but in the infusion of moral and religious prin-
ciples. Without the latter, it is but a frail support of the
great temple of liberty and independence. But when
moral principles are inculcated in connection with intel-
lectual light, we may hope to see the youth growing up in
virtue and proving ornaments in their day, and supports
to the church and the state. Such was the deep rooted
sentiment of the early Dutch settlers, and was transmitted
by them to their immediate descendants. And hence the
careful provisions in all their agreements with their
schoolmasters. At that time religious instruction could be
introduced in the schools without any difficulty, as all the
community were of one faith— All adhering to the Belgic
Confession, the articles of the Synod of Dort, and the
Catechisms of the Keformed Dutch Church. Such a
mode of instruction however, from the present state of
society, and the multiplication of religious sects, cannot
now be pursued. But we deprecate the day, when the
Bible shall be excluded from our common schools, and no
care taken to instill into the minds of the young, sound
moral principles, the principles of the religion of Christ.
We have presented an agreement formed with a school-
master, in the year 1682. We now give one made in the
year 1773, nearly one hundred years after, with Anthony
Welp, the last teacher of the Dutch language. As will
be seen, it contains many of the provisions of the former,
and is based in general, upon the same principles.
"In Kings County,
" Flathush, August 18, 1773.
" The undersigned, Philippus Nagel, Johannes Ditmars
and Cornelius Vanderveer, Jr., being authorized by the
town of Flatbush, to call a schoohnaster for the same
town, have agreed with Mr. Anthony Welp, to keep school
in the following manner.
"First the school shall begin and end in a Christian-
like manner: At 8 o'clock in the morning it shall begin
with the morning prayer, and end at 11 o'clock, with
"1st. For dinner. At 1 o'clock in the afternoon, it
shall begin with the prayer after meat, and at 4 o'clock in
the afternoon, end with the evening prayer.
"2d. The above named schoolmaster shall teach chil-
dren and adult persons, low dutch and english spelling
and reading, and also cyphering to all who may desire or
request such instruction.
"3d. The above named schoolmaster shall have for the
instruction of every child or person, in low dutch spelling,
reading and writing, the sum of four shillings : for those
who are instructed in english spelling, reading and writ-
ing, the sum of five shillings: and for those who are in-
structed in cyphering, the sum of six shillings: and that
for three months instruction : and also a load of firewood
shall be brought for each scholar, every nine months, for
the use of the school.
"4th. The above schoolmaster shall keep school five
days in every week: once in each week in the afternoon,
the scholars shall learn the questions and answers in
Borges Catechism: or the questions and answers in the
Heidleburgh Catechism, with the scripture texts thereto
belonging, or as it may be desired by the scholar or by his
guardian, for any other day in the week, so as to be most
beneficial to the one instructed.
" 5th. The above named schoolmaster shall occupy the
school-house, with the appurtenances thereto belonging,
in the same manner as the same was occupied by the
schoolmaster, Petrus Van Steenburgh. Also, the above
named schoolmaster shall be yearly paid by the Worthy
Consistory, the sum of four pounds, to attend to the
church services, such as reading and singing ; and for the
interment of the dead, the above named schoolmaster
shall be entitled to receive so much as is customary in the
above named town.
" 6th, and Lastly. The above agreement shall be obli-
gatory for such length of time as the present schoolmas-
ter shall render his services amongst us. But if it should
so happen that the town should not require the services
of the above named schoolmaster, any longer after the ex-
piration of one year: in such case the schoolmaster shall
have three months notice thereof, from the above author-
ized persons, or from such persons as may be thereto ap-
pointed. And if the above named schoolmaster should
desire to discontinue his services, he shall in like manner
give the town three months previous notice of his in-
For the mutual performance of this agreement, we
have signed this with our hands.
N. B, The above sums of money mentioned in the
Third Article, shall be paid by those who send the schol-
ars to school.
GOES. V. D. VEER, Junr.
We have not been able to gather any information rel-
ative to the character or attainments of these early school-
masters. Nor have we met with any of their literary pro-
ductions. We cannot, however, refrain in this place, from
presenting the following rare specimen of poetic profi-
ciency, which we find on the title page of the first Minute
Book of the Board of Supervisors of the Gounty of Kings.
It was composed by J. M. Sperling of Flatbush, who was
chosen clerk of the board, in the year 1716.
"My loving Friends of this County See,
That you hereby may Regulated Bee —
Fear God and Keep the Law with Love of one accord
And be Obdient to our Soveraigne Lord
Then you will meet with Men that Sees
That Doth according to Law by Words and Deeds
Imploy'd the same within your Port
That is my advice now in short — "
The school-house referred to in the agreements which
we have presented, was located on a triangular lot of
ground situated on the east side of the main street, di-
rectly opposite to the old parsonage and present Consist-
ory Room, on the site now occupied by the store of Mr.
Michael Schoonmaker & Son. There were three distinct
buildings joined together, and evidently erected at differ-
ent periods of time. The most eastern, which was proba-
bly the first erected in the town, was built of stone, and
stood about sixty feet from the street, being one story
high. The second was composed of wood, more elevated
than the first, having a steep roof in front, and a long
sloping roof in the rear, reaching so near the ground as to
admit of only a small window behind. The third was
also a frame building, of more modern date, the gable end
of which fronted the street, and stood on a line with it,
but built in the same style as the last — the roofs exactly
corresponding with each other, and although it was
probably erected fifty years subsequently, still the same
model was tenaciously adhered to. The whole fronted to
the south, with the gable end, as we have said, to the
road, having two rooms in front and two small rooms in
the rear, and in more modern times the east end of the
building served as a kitchen. The westerly front room
was always used as the school-room, and the small room
in the rear of it, (usually called the " prison," from the
fact that unruly boys were occasionally confined in it,) was
also used for school purposes, when the number of schol-
ars was too great to be accommodated in tlie front school-
room. The residue of the building, with the kitchen and
barn, was occupied by the schoolmaster and his family.
The village school was kept in this building until about
the year 1803. In the year 1805, the old school-house was
sold to Bateman Lloyd, Esq., who took it down, and with
the timber and other materials of it, built a store on his
own premises, a few feet north of his dwelling-house.
The building erected with these materials, continued to
be kept as a dry-goods and grocery store, until the year
1825, when it was removed and converted into a barn,
now on the premises owned and occupied by Dr. Zabris-
kie. After the school-house was removed, the lot on
which it stood, laid in common for some time. During
the last war with Great Britain, the government erected
a gun house upon the north west angle of the lot, suffi-
ciently large to hold two heavy field pieces. About the
same time, the store now owned by Mr. Michael Schoon-
maker, was built upon part of the premises, and in the
year 1823, the present parsonage house was erected on the
southern portion of it, which embraces all the ground
commonly called the school lot.
The first person who taught English, was Petrus Van
Steenburgh. He was schoolmaster from the year 1762,
to 1773. At what time precisely he commenced teaching
English we cannot tell. But he had at the same time, as
well as his successor, pupils in both the Dutch and Eng-
lish language. And as all the scholars were in the habit
of speaking Dutch, it required some little management
on the part of the worthy school-master to make his
pupils who were learning English use that language en-
tirely. His rule was that no scholar who was instructed
in English should speak a Dutch word in school, and if
lie did so he should be punished. In order to detect these
persons, he had a pewter token about the size of a dollar,
which was given to the one who first spoke a Dutch word
after the school was opened. He gave it to the next one
whom he heard speak Dutch, and so it passed from one
to another; but the boy in whose possession the token
was found at the close of the school, appears to have been
the scapegoat for the whole, for he was severely ferruled
upon his hand by the faithful Petrus Van Steenburgh,
who took great delight in finding the successful operation
of his most ingenious device to detect the unhappy wight
who spoke a Dutch word.
The first select Classical school, which was opened in
this town, was commenced by one John Copp. His school
was held at first in a small house lately belonging to
Judge Garrit Martense, which stood on the lot now occu-
pied by Mr. Seymour, and which has been cut in two, and
converted into barns and stables. From this he removed
and taught in the south room of the house of Cornelius
Antonides. At what date he opened his school, cannot be
ascertained with precision. An advertisement over his
name is found in " the New-York Journal, or General
Advertiser," published by John Holt, under the date of
July, 4th, 1774. In this, he states, that " he has for some-
time kept a grammar school in Flatbush." In this adver-
tisement he " proposes " (to use his own words,) " to teach
the Latin and Greek languages and Arithmetic in the cor-
rectest and best manner, besides reading, writing, and
principles of English Grammar." His terms were $50 a
year for boarding; and tuition not to exceed $15 yearly.
He refers to the Rev. Dr. Cooper, President of Kings
(now Columbia) College, to the Hon. William Axtell,
who then resided in Flatbush, and to Andrew Elliott,
Collector of His Majesty's Customs in New- York. He
adds — " Dr. Cooper proposes to visit the school quarterly,
when the scholars will be examined."
This school of Mr. Copp appears to have been well
patronised. Many of the most respectable and influential
inhabitants of New-York entrusted their children to his
care. Henry Remsen, the late President of the Manhat-
tan Company, was one of his scholars, besides many others.
This school was broken up by the war of the American
Revolution, and Mr. Copp afterwards joined the army.
During the period of the struggle for American Inde-
pendence, the school in Flatbush was taught by Mr. Ga-
briel Ellison. He was an Englishman by birth, and was
the first teacher who taught English exclusively. He had
been a considerable time among the Indians in Canada
— and although a man of eccentric habits, was a good
schoolmaster, in proof of which, we may remark, that in
addition to village scholars, he had many others from
Brooklyn and other places. In order to entitle him to re-
ceive all the emoluments which his predecessors had en-
joyed, it was indispensably necessary that he should
acquire a knowledge of the Dutch, so as to enable him to
perform the duties of sexton and chorister in that lan-
guage. This he readily undertook, and although he com-
mitted many blunders in the onset, yet by diligence and
perseverance, he overcome his many difficulties, and was
soon fully inducted into the offices of sexton and chor-
ister. These offices he held until he left the village
school, about 1790, and performed them generally to the
satisfaction of the inhabitants.
Many incidents of quite an amusing character, are re-
lated of him during his residence here. We will mention
one or two. As sexton, it was his duty to ring the bell
and give alarms during the revolutionary war. The vil-
lage was often disturbed during that period, and Mr.
Ellison, from his office, and from his living near the
church, usually warned the inhabitants by ringing the
bell. On one occasion an alarm was sounded in the night
time. Ellison not being able to find his small clothes,
(for pantaloons were not known in those days,) seized his
wife's calimanco petticoat, which he hastily drew on, and
ran to the church, where he was found dressed in this
style, pulling away like a lusty fellow at the bell rope.
Such a sight must have put to flight all the fears of the
inhabitants, and turned the scene of alarm into one of
During part of the time that Ellison was chorister of
the church, the Rev. Mr. Van Sinderen, was pastor of the
church. The Domine was preaching on a certain occa-
sion in the Dutch language, on the subject of the con-
version of the Philippian Jailor, and as he was a man of
somewhat eccentric habits, he made frequent digressions
from his subject. During his discourse at this time, he
said he would stake a wager that there was not one man
in the church who knew the English of the Dutch word,
" Stoohivaarder." This bet was several times repeated
by the Domine. At length Ellison, who in virtue of his
office of chorister, occupied the front seat in the Deacons
pew, thinking himself the best English scholar present,
bawled out with a loud voice. "Jailor sir J' Mr. Van
Sinderen feeling somewhat mortified at this unexpected
reply, (for he wished to have given the answer himself,)
looked down upon Ellison with some degree of scorn, and
said to him, " you must never talk when I preach."
•A " if * '
'Not long after the peace, measures were taken for the
founding a respectable Academy in the town of Flatbush.
The projectors of the enterprize were the Rev. Dr. John
H. Livingston, who then residing in Flatbush, and Sena-
tor John Vanderbilt. The latter was a man of great pub-
lic spirit, and of large and liberal views. He took an ac-
tive part in accomplishing the noble design, and soon ob-
tained the active co-operation of several other distin-
guished persons. At length, in the year 1786, Jacob Lef-
ferts, Joris Martense, Peter Lefferts, Johannes E. Lott,
Cornelius Vanderveer, John Vanderbilt, William B. Gif-
ford, Peter Cornell, Matthew Clarkson,Aquila Giles, John
J. Vanderbilt and Garrit Martense, inhabitants of the
town of Flatbush, associated together, and took the neces-
sary measures, for the erection of a large and commodious
building, for an academy. A subscription paper was cir-
culated in the village, and handed to some friends in the
city of I^ew-York, by which the sum of £915. was raised
towards the object. This subscription is as follows.
" Whereas, this county experiences the greatest incon-
venience, from the want of a Public School being erected,
in which, the English, Latin and Greek Languages, with
other branches of learning, usual in Academies are taught,
and considering the preceding regulations and proposals
for erecting the same, in the township of Flatbush, highly
beneficial and honorable to said county: We the under-
written, agree to pay towards erecting the same, such sum
as is annexed to our names, the one half on the first day of
April next, the other half on the first day of August fol-
lowing, and we further take the liberty to solicit from the
friends of Literature, in New- York, their encouragement.
to enable us to carry into execution this laudable attempt.
Kings County, Flatbush, February 22d, 1786.
William B. Gifford,
George Clinton, for any
place in Kings Co.
Johannes E. Lott,
Robert R. Livingston,
John Sloss Hobart,
John H. Livingston,
D. C. Verplanck,
During that year, 1786, the building which was one
hundred feet in front, and thirty-six feet in depth, was
erected. We need not here give any particular description
of it, as the inhabitants are all familiar with its appear-
ance. The expense incurred in the completing of this
edifice amounted to $6250. The money obtained by vol-
untary subscription, was first applied, but proved to be
insufficient to defray the expenditures. The founders and
benefactors of the Institution then turned their attention
to another source. There was at that time a considerable
tract of land lying east of the village, belonging to the in-
habitants of Flatbush, and held by them in common. This
is what was called Twillers and Corlear Flats. The pro-
prietors of the town held rights in these Flats, which were
specified in their deeds, but no one could locate his par-
ticular part. It was held in common, and hence consent
was obtained for the sale and disposition of the same.
The founders of the Academy held proportionate rights in
these commons, and agreed that their respective propor-
tions should be applied towards paying the debt they had
contracted. These Flats, as we have heretofore stated,
were sold at the rate of $16, an acre. The proceeds of the
sale of Corlears Flats chiefly were devoted to the benefit
of the Academy. The whole amount by which the Acad-
emy was benefited by this sale was about $1500. The
residue of the amount of sales was divided among those
inhabitants of the town who would not relinquish their
right in favor of the Academy.
As things were now in a considerable state of for-
wardness, and the building ready for its intended pur-
poses, the founders above named, the more fully to carry
their designs into effect, did, on the 18th day of May,
1787, make application to the Board of Eegents of the
University of the State of :N'ew-York, that the Academy
erected by them, might be incorporated by that Honor-
able Body, and become subject to their visitation. On
the 20th, of November, 1787, a charter of incorporation
was granted to John Vanderbilt, Walter Minto, Peter
Lefferts, Johannes E. Lott, Aquila Giles, Cornelius Van-
derveer, George Martense, Jacob Lefferts, William B.
GiflPord, Hendrick Suydam, John J. Vanderbilt, Martinus
Schoonmaker, Philip Nagel, Peter Cornell, John H. Liv-
ingston, James Wilson, Samuel Provost, John Mason and
Comfort Sands, as Trustees of the said Academy, by the
name and style of " The Trustees of Erasmus Hall, in
Kings County." The name given to the Academy was
in honor of Desiderius Erasmus, of Holland, the distin-
guished patron of literature, in the 16th, Century. Only
two academies had been incorporated by the Eegents
previously to this, so that it is the third oldest Academy
in the State.
It may be proper to state, that James Wilson, Samuel
Provost, John Mason and Comfort Sands, four of the
Trustees named in the Charter of Incorporation, in conse-
quence of not living in the town, never attended any of
the meetings of the Board, and their places becoming va-
cant, the Rev. Peter Lowe, Garrit Martense, Peter Stryker
and Cornelius Bergen were elected members of the Board.
The seminary was, from its commencement, opposed by
many of the inhabitants of Flatbush, who entertained a
strong and decided attachment to the village school, and
consequently their influence and means had a great tend-
ency to retard the rise and progress of Erasmus Hall.
Several amusing anecdotes might be told touching this.
Some were disposed to ascribe all their misfortunes to the
erection of the Academy. One worthy old gentleman,
when unloading some bags, unfortunately slipped, and fell
from his waggon. He rose greatly incensed, and cried
out, " that Academy will never do."
The Trustees of the Institution however, though labor-
ing under a heavy debt, and incumbered by various diffi-
culties, w^ere assiduous in their duty. They devised a
system of instruction, rules and regulations by which the
Hall should be governed, and employed the ablest and
best teachers in the different departments of instruction.
This last measure however, while it lessened the spirit of
opposition, consumed the whole income of the institution,
as all was annually expended in paying the salaries of
these teachers and other expenses incidental to all literary
establishments. The debt of the Hall, notwithstanding
the most persevering exertions on the part of the Trustees,
amounted still to $1,250. The Trustees by farther volun-
tary contributions, reduced somewhat this amount, so
that on the 12th of September, 1789, it was $1,064.94.
On the 17th day of June, 1794, application was made to
the Trustees, for the purchase of the remaining part of
the commons which had not been disposed of at the first
sale. The proposals were accepted, and the conveyances
accordingly executed. With the money arising from this
sale, the debt of the Hall was reduced to $900. In this
situation it remained till the year 1808, when a donation
of $100, was granted by the Eegents of the University
to the Trustees of Erasmus Hall, and the same was ap-
plied, in conjunction with other exertions of the Trustees,
towards discharging the debt, and on the 13th of May,
1809, it was reduced to $668. It remained nearly at this
amount, till the year 1825, when the debt was entirely
At a session of the General Synod of the Reformed
Dutch Church, held at Albany, in June 1794, they re-
solved to locate their Divinity Hall in Flatbush. Their
professor of divinity, the Rev. Dr. Livingston, had pre-
viously resided here, and had given instruction to such
students in theology as put themselves under his charge.
It is to be regretted that the General Synod of the church
ever removed their Theological School from this place, and
located it in New-Jersey. Had it been continued in Flat-
bush, Erasmus Hall would long ere this, have grown into
a flourishing college, under the auspices of the State of
New- York, and the literary as well as theological inter-
ests of the Keformed Dutch Church, have been prospered
in a far higher degree than they have yet been.
The Rev. John 11. Livingston, D. D., who then resided
during the summer seasons, in the house now owned by
Dr. Vanderveer, was appointed the First Principal of the
Hall. The office at that time, was chiefly honorary, as
he performed no part of the instruction in the Academy,
and so it continued to be as late as the year 1814. Mr.
James Todd, was chosen the First Classical, and Joseph
Turner, the First English teacher. Very shortly after-
wards, John Gibson, Edward Shepherd, John Terhune,
Albert Oblenis and Michael Schoonmaker, were employed
in succession, as assistant teachers. In the year 1792,
Mr. Todd resigned, and the Trustees appointed Peter
Wilson, afterwards known as Dr. Wilson, then Professor
of Languages in Columbia College, the first or chief
teacher in the Hall. During the period of the adminis-
tration of this distinguished linguist, the Academy flour-
ished rapidly. A large number of young men from the
city of New- York, not only, but from Georgia, North
and South Carolina, Virginia and the West-Indies were
sent here to be educated, most of whom, boarded in the
respective families of the town. Among these, some have
been quite distinguished in the several professions, both
in church and state. We may mention the following:
William A. Duer, now President of Columbia College.
John Duer, one of the revisers of the Revised Statutes
of this state.
John Berrian, late Attorney General of the United
States, and now a member of the Senate.
Henry Jackson, Secretary of Legation to France, un-
der the Hon. Mr. Crawford.
George M. Troup, for several terms Governor of
John Hunter, now a member of the Senate of New-
Rev. Jno. Blair Linn, the eloquent minister of the Re-
formed Dutch Church, of New- York, and a distinguished
Rev. Jno. H. Meyers, pastor of the church of Schenec-
Rev. Jacob Schoonmaker, D. D., pastor of the church
Rev. Peter Labagh, pastor of the church of Harlingen,
Rev. Peter Van Pelt, D. D., pastor of the church of
Rev. Philip Duryee, D. D., pastor of the church of
English Neighborhood, N. J.
Morris Miller, formerly member of Congress and First
Judge of Oneida County.
We might enlarge this list to a considerable extent, but
On the 28th of November, 1792, the Rev. Dr. Living-
ston resigned the office of Principal of the Hall. His let-
ter was received by the board, on the 5th of December in
that year, and at a subsequent meeting held on the 8th of
the same month, an answer was agreed upon, which re-
flects the highest credit upon the heads and hearts of the
Trustees. In it a most flattering, but entirely just tribute,
is paid to the general character of Dr. Livingston, and
especially to his zealous efforts in behalf of the Academy.
Teachers of suitable qualifications were from time to
time employed, to assist in the instruction of the pupils in
the English and French languages. These we need not
enumerate. On the 29th of June 1797, Dr. Wilson hav-
ing been again called to the professorship of languages in
Columbia College, resigned his post as chief teacher in
the Academy. He appears, however, to have retained
nominally, the office of Principal, until December 14th,
1804, and during this interval, attended the semi-annual
examinations, exercised a watchfulness over the institu-
tion, and lent his aid in the procuring of suitable teach-
ers. At his resignation, in 1797, he presented to the
Trustees, the sum of £25, to be appropriated towards de-
fraying the debts of the Hall. Mr. Albert Oblenis, was
appointed First teacher, in the place of Dr. Wilson. He
continued his connection with the institution, until the
year 1806. In the year 1797, an attempt was made on
behalf of the Trustees to obtain from the Legislature of
the State the privilege of raising the sum of £1,200 by
Lottery, with the view of liquidating their debt. A sim-
ilar effort was made in the year 1809, but no law was
passed by the Legislature for the purpose, and the project
An arrangement having been effected by exchange of
property, by which the Trustees of the Reformed Dutch
Church of Flatbush came in possession of the lot of land
on which the academy is erected, they, on the 29th day of
December, in the year 1797, executed a lease of the same
in perpetuity to the Trustees of Erasmus Hall, for a cer-
tain consideration, which is named in the instrument.
Dr. Wilson finding it inconvenient to hold the office of
Principal of the Hall, resigned the same in the year 1804.
His letter of resignation was received at a meeting of the
board, held February 9th, 1805, when his resignation was
accepted, and the Rev. Peter Lowe appointed Principal.
A most respectful letter was addressed to Dr. Wilson on
the part of the Trustees, and their acknowledgments ten-
dered to him for his faithful services in the institution.
A little previous to this, viz., in the year 1803, the vil-
lage school was removed into the academy, and Mr.
Patrick Noon the last schoolmaster who was employed
in the old school house was discharged. From that time
to the present, being a period of about thirty-nine years,
the children of the village have been regularly taught in
The instruction in the Academy after the resignation
of Dr. Wilson, continued to be conducted by Messrs.
Oblenis and Schoonmaker. The latter gentleman* resigned
in 1805, and was succeeded by Mr. Richard Fish. Adrian
Hegeman, Cornelius Van Cleef and John Wyckoff, were
assistant teachers about the same period. In the month
of September, 1806, Mr. Oblenis resigned the office of
First teacher. He was succeeded by Mr. Joab Cooper,
who has since become extensively known as the editor of
an edition of Virgil. He continued his connection with
the Hall, for about two years; when upon his resigna-
tion, Mr. Valentine Derry was appointed First teacher.
In August 1809, Mr. Derry resigned, and was succeeded
by Mr. Richard Whyte Thompson, who had charge of
the institution for the next five years. Mr. Thompson
was a man eminently qualified for this station. He was
a thorough classical scholar, and possessed of eminent
gifts for instruction. Under him the Academy rose again
to considerable eminence, and many were taught by him
who are now ornaments in the several professions. Dur-
ing his connection with the Academy, a number of assist-
ant teachers were in succession employed. They were
John Brannon, Edward Cassidy, Ava Neal, Nicholas
Morris, Adrian Hegeman, and some others. Mr. Thomp-
son resigned his situation as First teacher, in December,
1814. From this time forward, for a number of years.
there were numerous changes in this department. Will'
iam Thayre was appointed in December 1814. He was
succeeded in 1815, by William Ironside. In 1816, Mr.
Joab Cooper was again temporally employed; and in
1817, Mr. Andrew Craig took charge of the institution.
Mr. Craig resigned his situation in June 1819, in conse-
quence of the feeble state of his health. On accepting
his resignation, the board adopted the following minute:
" In consequence of the high opinion entertained by the
board in the talents and usefulness of Mr. Craig, as the
able instructor of youth, and the valuable member of so-
ciety, his resignation was accepted by the board with sen-
timents of extreme regret."
In August 1819, the Rev. Joseph Penney was chosen
Principal of the Hall. He was associated with the Rev.
John Mulligan. These gentlemen continued their con-
nection with the Academy until the year 1821, when upon
their resignation they were succeeded by the Rev. Timothy
Clowes, D. D. He remained but about two years.
In May 1823, the institution passed into the hands of
Mr. Jonathan W. Kellogg, who continued to have charge
of it till May 1834. During this period the Academy
flourished. A large number of pupils from abroad were
boarded in the Hall, and the Board of Trustees in 1825,
were enabled to liquidate entirely the remains of the debt,
under which the Academy had labored from its founda-
tion. Upon his taking charge of the institution, Mr. Kel-
logg divided the English, or common school department,
into male and female, and employed separate instructors
for each. Previously to this, the boys and girls were asso-
ciated in one room, and taught by one teacher. The sep-
aration introduced by Mr. Kellogg, and which was a very
great improvement, has continued to this day. Not only
separate and distinct apartments, but separate entrances
have been provided for the males and females. The first
Instructress under this new arrangement, was Miss Maria
Jones. She was succeeded in 1829, by Miss Julia De
Forest. She remained but about one year. Mrs. W. W.
Maltby then taught for about six months, and was suc-
ceeded in 1831, by Miss Almira Meach, who taught for
two years. A short time previous to Mr. Kellogg's leav-
ing the institution. Miss Rudd had charge of the female
department, assisted by Miss Ely. The male assistants
under Mr. Kellogg, were Jonathan B. Kidder, John Frey,
Theodore Morrell, William Allgeo, William H. Campbell,
Isaac Grier, J. W. Thompson, J. J. Prentice and some
others. We need not specify the precise times, during
which these gentlemen taught. Miss Geib, Miss Philo-
mela RoUa, Miss Emma Gillingham, and some others,
were employed in giving instruction in music.
During the period in which Mr. Kellogg had charge of
the Academy, many improvements were made to the build-
ing and grounds. In the former, in addition to a front
piazza, a full suit of dormitories was finished in the attic,
besides other important changes. The campus, which was
bare of trees and shrubbery, excepting two rows of decay-
ing poplars extending in a diagonal direction, from the
corners of the building to the road, was greatly improved.
The heart, which lies in front of the entrance, was laid out
and planted with flowers and shrubs. Besides the Balm of
Gilead, in the centre of the heart, many ornamental forest
trees, consisting of the tulip, the button ball and the sugar
maple, together with a line of flowering shrubs, all around
the front and sides, were set out. In addition to these, a
row of button-ball trees was planted on the front walk.
All these are now in a flourishing condition, and have
added very greatly to the appearance of the Hall.
In the winter of 1826-7, an additional wing, of fifty feet
in depth and twenty-five in width, was added to the main
building, for the accommodation of the schools. The cost
of this was $1500, but in the course of about four or five
years, this new debt was also paid. In May, 1834, the
Rev. William H. Campbell, who had opened a select school
in the village the previous year, took charge of the Insti-
tution. Though his superior qualifications as a teacher
are well known, it is due to him, to say that while he gave
the highest satisfaction to his employers, he infused a de-
sire in the bosoms of parents in the village, to give their
children a liberal education, to a degree that had never
before existed. During his connection with the Academy,
the standard of education in the town was much raised.
In consequence of feeling that it was his duty to return
to the ministry, which he had been forced to leave, in
consequence of impaired health, he resigned his office as
Principal of the Hall, and left it in the spring of 1839.
He had employed, as his assistants, John W. Thompson,
James Campbell, C. B. Raymond, John Mc Alpin, John
Skellie, Mark Hopkins Beecher, Jacob Gillet, Ambrose
Leet; and as instructresses in the female department
Anna F. Vose and Laura Mc Elwaine.
On the 20th, of January, 1835, the Regents of the Uni-
versity determined to establish a department for the in-
struction of common school teachers in Erasmus Hall, in
conformity with the provisions of an act of the Legis-
lature, which had passed the previous session, which au-
thorised the Regents to endow a department of this char-
acter, in some one academy in each of the eight senatorial
districts of the State. Erasmus Hall was chosen for the
Southern District. The Trustees on the 10th, of Feb-
ruary, 1835, agreed to accept the trust, and made all the
necessary arrangements to carry out the views of the Leg-
islature and of the Regents. It was soon found however,
that in consequence of the high price of boarding in and
about the city of ITew-York, the department would not be
furnished with pupils. Only one or two applications were
made, and the Trustees perceiving that it would be im-
practicable to maintain such a department, with any de-
gree of success, in the Southern District, did, on the 31st,
of December, 1836, resign the trust; upon which, the
Regents transferred the department for this district to the
Salem Academy in Washington County. Mr. Campbell
was succeeded as Principal, in May, 1839, by the Rev. Dr.
Penney, late President of Hamilton College. He however
continued in the Institution, as classical teacher for nine
months longer. In addition to him. Dr. Penney employed
Mr. Beecher, Mr. Rowle, Mr. Davenport, Mr. Willis and
Mr. StoothoflF. The females were taught chiefly by Miss
Mc Ilwaine and Miss Palmer. Dr. Penney continued in
charge of the Hall until November, 1841, when James
Ferguson, A. M. the present worthy incumbent, entered
upon his duties, whose character and assistants are well
Attached to Erasmus Hall, is a library, philosophical
and chemical apparatus, and a mineralogical cabinet.
The latter is not large, but yet contains a goodly variety
of specimens. The apparatus, both philosophical and
chemical, is not in a very good state of repair. Some of
the articles are comparatively new, and in good order.
But the greater part are quite old and need to be replaced
by others. The library has gradually increased until it
has attained a very respectable size. It was commenced
together with the philosophical apparatus, by a liberal
donation from the board of Regents of the University of
the State, in the year 1791. By the prudent and efficient
management of the Trustees, the library has been fostered
and gradually enlarged, until at present it numbers fif-
teen hundred and thirty-four volumes, and is the second
academical library in size in the State. It is in general
also well selected. It contains most of the standard au-
thors in English Literature, and for history, will compare
with any library of its size in the country. It affords not
only the means of recreation to the pupils, but of sound
and useful knowledge. The whole arrangements of the
Hall, indeed, are now such, and have in fact almost al-
ways been as to furnish to all who are connected with it,
the opportunity of obtaining a good, substantial educa-
tion, sufficient indeed, to give the promise of high stand-
ing to those who may engage in any of the learned pro-
fessions, and of usefulness and respectability, to such as
may pursue the ordinary avocations of life. It is unques-
tionably an institution of pre-eminent value to the village,
and in fact, to all the surrounding country. We trust it
will ever continue to flourish as one of the brightest orna-
ments of the town, and be a healthful fountain from
which shall flow forth many streams to fertilize and bless
both the church and the State.
Since the establishment of the Academy, several pri-
vate schools have from time to time been set up in the
village. Some of these were of a high classical character,
and were for a season flourishing. But we need not now
Connected with the literary history of the town, it is
proper to state that about the year 1807, a very large
printing-office was established in the village, by Mr. Isaac
Eiley. This was located in the present elegant lawn of
Matthew Clarkson, Esq. The edifice was planned by-
Pope, the celebrated architect, and was put up at great
cost. The establishment of Mr. Riley was very extensive.
In connection with his printing-office he had a large bind-
ery, at the head of which was Mr. James Olmstead. The
printing department was superintended by Mr. Charles
Wiley. In conducting the whole establishment, a large
number of hands, male and female, were employed. It
continued in operation for about seven years. The house
was subsequently taken down, removed to Brooklyn, and
rebuilt on the Heights opposite the city of New-York,
where it is still standing.
Some men of high literary attainment have been edu-
cated in this place, and the remains of Richard Alsop one
of the poets of America, lie entombed in the public ceme-
tery. None of the inhabitants of the town, however, have
devoted themselves exclusively to literary pursuits, and
of course we cannot boast of any distinguished author.
It is due to the memory of Mr. Alsop that we state the cir-
cumstances of his death in this place. He came to Flat-
bush in August 1815, to visit his sister, the wife of Mr.
Riley. He had retired on a certain day to his room in
the house now occupied by Mrs. Schoonmaker, and was
subsequently found dead sitting in a chair by the window.
It is presumed he had been struck with apoplexy. The
tomb-stone which marks the place where his remains lie
interred, bears the following inscription: — "In memory
of Richard Alsop, Esq., of Middletown, Conn. Distin-
guished by genius and poetical talents, respected for in-
tegrity, and beloved for his amiable simplicity of charac-
ter. He died suddenly, when on a visit to this place, on
the 20th of August, 1815, aged fifty-four years."
We would now turn back your attention to the era of
the great struggle for American Independence. As the
battle of Long-Island, which was the first contest in
which the two great annies met, occurred in and about
Flatbush, and as from that period it was the scene of
more or less interest during the revolutionary war, it is
proper that we should devote a separate space to this part
of the history of the town.
After the commencement of hostilities in the year 1776,
the city of New-York in consideration of the advantages
which from its location it would afford, was selected by
the British as the first grand point to be obtained. The
city was then in the possession of the Americans, under
the command of General Washington, in person. In the
latter part of June, 1776, the first division of the British
army landed on Staten-Island, and was followed about
the middle of July, by the grand armament under Lord
Howe, consisting of six ships of the line, thirty frigates
with smaller vessels, and a great number of transports,
victuallers and ships with stores of ordnance. Lord Howe
at that time, first attempted by what he conceived to be
conciliatory measures, to bring back the American Colo-
nies to their allegiance to King George. We need not
detail these, as they are not immediately connected with
our subject. We cannot, however, omit to notice, that on
the 14th of July, he sent a flag to New- York, with a let-
ter under the superscription of " George Washington,
Esq.," Indignant that Lord Howe had not recognised
his rank and title and his connection with the American
Congress, Washington, very properly, refused to receive
the letter, for which he was applauded by Congress as an
act of becoming dignity. On the 20th of July, Lord
Howe attempted a second time to open a correspondence
with General Washington. He sent another letter by the
hands of Adjutant General Patterson, addressed to
'■ George Washington, &c. &c. &c." The General treated
the Adjutant with all politeness, but notwithstanding all
he could say, Washington refused to receive the letter,
telling him, " it is true the et ceteras imply every thing,
but it is no less true, they imply any thing." A noble
answer to this repeated insult to himself and his coun-
try, and a clear presage of the practical wisdom, courage
and firmness of him to whom America, under God, had
committed her cause.
Not knowing at what point the British might make
their first attack, Washington sought to fortify the city
and obstruct the passage into the harbor of New- York.
He also threw up certain fortifications in Brooklyn and
Flatbush, to guard the approach to the city, by Long-
Island. His army at this time, amounted to 17,225, of
whom only 10,514, were fit for duty. These too, he says,
in one of his letters, were little other than raw troops, and
much scattered, some being fifteen miles apart. It soon
became evident that the British meditated a landing on
Long-Island. Troops were accordingly thrown over from
the city of New- York, and extended in different posts
from the highlands near the Narrows, to Wallaboght Bay.
The command of all these posts had been entrusted to
General Greene, who had studiously made himself ac-
quainted with the location of all the surrounding country,
so as to be able to defend the American army not only,
but take all advantages which the various defiles would
afford to attack the British. But unfortunately only a few
days before the battle, General Greene was taken very
sick, and the command devolved on General Putnam, who
although one of the bravest of the brave, was not suffi-
ciently acquainted with the face of the counti-y. Put-
nam had two brigadiers under him. General Sullivan, who
had command of the troops not immediately within the
lines, and General Lord Stirling, who was stationed in
and about Gowanus Bay and the Narrows. To prevent
property falling into the hands of the British, an order
was issued commanding the farmers on the west end of
Long-Island, to drive away their cattle and take their
grain which had just been harvested, from their barns and
stack it in the fields, that it might be the more readily
destroyed. Accordingly, all the cattle in Flatbush and
the towns adjacent, were driven first as far east as the
woods, in and about New-Lots, and subsequently into
Queens County. Some of these were recovered, but great
numbers of them were lost; the American Government,
however, made honorable reparation for all such losses.
The grain also, in conformity with the order, was
taken out of the barns and put on stacks. Some of
these were subsequently set on fire by the American
army on their retreat, to prevent their falling into the
hands of the British; but a few of these stacks of grain
were saved, particularly those in the southern section of
An entrenchment was thrown up in Flatbush across
the road leading through the village, a little south of the
present residence of Judge Martense. It was in the form
of something like a half moon, lying diagonally across
the road, and extending on the land of Lefferts Martense
on the west, and of Isaac Cortelyou on the east — ^having
a ditch of sufficient depth on the north. A small redoubt
on which a few pieces of artillery were mounted, was
also put up at the Valley-Grove, to guard the passage
through the port road, and by the direct route to
Brooklyn. Here stood a large white oak tree, mentioned
in the patent of Governor Dongan, as one of the bound-
ary lines of the town of Flatbush. This was cut down
and thrown across the road; and in consequence of the
then dense woods on the south, and the swamp on the
north, it formed a very considerable abattis. The late
Mr. Simon Voris assisted in cutting down this tree.
During this time, preparations were making by the
British, to effect a landing on Long-Island. They were
frequently visited by persons from the shore and surround-
ing towns, who no doubt gave them every information con-
cerning the positions of the American army, and furnished
materials for a draft of the whole adjacent country; for
they were well acquainted with the position of the hills,
and the three roads or defiles by which they could be
passed. On the 22d day of August, a landing was effected
by the British troops at Bath, under cover of the guns of
their fleet, without opposition. Gen. Howe established his
headquarters at New-Utrecht. The American troops who
were stationed along the coast, consisting of a regiment
of Pennsylvanians under Col. Hand, retired to Flatbush,
with the view of guarding the principal pass to Brooklyn.
Lord Cornwallis pushed on immediately with the reserve
and some other forces to the same place, but finding the
Americans strongly entrenched, and the pass through by
the port or Valley Grove defended, in compliance with
his orders he did not risk any attack. In the meantime
the inhabitants of the town had generally forsaken it. We
who have been so long accustomed to the sweets of peace
know but little of the consternation occasioned by an ap-
proaching invading army. The inhabitants had reason to
apprehend that should they remain at home they would
be cruelly treated, and perhaps massacred. They were
regarded as rebels, to whom but little quarter would be
shown. Hence as expeditiously as possible after the land-
ing of the British troops, the inhabitants of the village
either sent or carried off the females and children, pro-
viding them with what little furniture and conveniences
they could. Some were sent to ISTew- Jersey, but the
greater proportion took refuge in Queens County. It was
a scene of great confusion, and of no ordinary distress.
Compelled to leave their homes and the greater part of
their property, and not knowing what might befal their
persons or their families, they committed themselves to
the good providence of their God. Some had not gone
far before they saw the smoke ascending from the neigh-
borhood of their farms, and knew not but their dwellings
were already in flames. With one family, indeed, this was
the case. The American riflemen, on the approach of the
British towards the evening of the 22d, set fire to many
of the stacks of grain, particularly in the northern part
of the town, and also fired the house of Peter Lefferts.
Other houses in that section of the village were also burnt,
but not at that time, of which we shall presently speak.
The main body of the American troops stationed in about
Flatbush, then retired to the woods on the north of the
town. The Britisli army then under command of Lord
Cornwallis, took post at Flatbush. They encamped in a
diagonal direction across the village. Their tents extended
from the little lane over the farms of Hendrick Vander-
veer, of J. C. Bergen, of Jacobus Vandeventer, and so on,
in a northeasterly line towards the road leading to New-
Lots. The main body however, were on the south of the
church and west of the main street. They soon possessed
themselves of the intrenchment which had been thrown
up by the Americans, in the north of the village. To de-
fend themselves against an expected attack from the
American troops, who, from the woods, kept up a scattered
firing, they knocked out large port holes in the house of
Adrian Hegeman, which stood on the spot where Mrs.
Cynthia Lefferts is now living. This house was built of
stone, and the object of making the holes in the wall, was
to enable them to fire their cannon at the Americans un-
der cover. The house of Mr. Lefferts Martense, on the
opposite side of the road, was also taken possession of, and
prepared as a sort of fortification. It was built of wood,
fronting south, and having a roof on the north side, which
extended to within a few feet of the ground. In this roof
they cut many holes, through which they could discharge
their muskets. Still farther to defend themselves, or
rather to render their firing upon the Americans more ef-
fective, they set fire to the houses which stood between
them and the woods, and from behind which, often the
American riflemen would discharge their guns, to the no
small annoyance and injury of the British. These houses
were those of Jeremiah Vanderbilt and Leffert Lefferts, on
the west, and Evert Hegeman, on the east side of the road.
On what day these were burnt we know not, but they were
destroyed by the British, probably on the second or third
day after their encampment in this place.
On the first or second evening of their arrival in Flat-
bush, a drunken revel took place among the British.
In rifling the houses, they were directed by John Rubel,
to a quantity of wine, which had been left in the house
of Mr. David Clarkson, who lived in the dwelling now
occupied by Mr. J. C. Bergen. Mr. Clarkson was a
strong whig, and after they had vented their spite at him,
and his principles, by destroying his furniture, and abus-
ing his premises in a shameful manner, their attention
was called, under the direction of their guide, to his
wines. These, the greater part of which were specially
imported and were very choice, Mr. Clarkson had bottled
and stored away in an upper apartment, in the wing of
his house, and had built up a partition to conceal them.
Bubel had seen this, and was well acquainted with the
store thus concealed, and being friendly to the British
cause, he gave them information of the fact, and actually
guided and assisted them on the occasion. The wine and
other liquor was of course procured, and the officers and
men indulged freely in the use of it. The back piazza
and yard of Mr. Clarkson's house, exhibited a complete
drunken frolic. Had the Americans indeed been aware of
the situation of the British at this time, a very serious
check might have been put to their advance, if not their
whole plan subverted.
The Hessian troops under General de Heister, having
landed on the 25th, were sent forward on the same day to
Flatbush, to compose the centre of the army. The plan
of attack was now fixed. The right wing of the English
army was committed to Major General Grant, and was de-
signed to operate against the left wing of the Americans,
under Lord Stirling. The centre was committed to Gen-
eral de Heister, and was to attempt the pass defended by
General Sullivan, at the Port, while the left wing of the
British under General Clinton and Lords Percy and Corn-
wallis, were, by a circuitous route to reach the right wing
of the American army, which was under command of Colo-
nel Miles, and stationed a little to the eastward of Bed-
ford, on the Jamaica road. The principal hope of success
was upon this wing. The plan was well laid, and proved
successful. It was, that while General Grant and the Hes-
sians of General De Heister should disquiet and divert
the Americans on the right and in the centre, the left wing
should surprise them by a circuitous route, and thus fall
upon them in the flank and rear. The English hoped that
as this post was the most distant from the centre of the
army, the advanced guards would there be found more
feeble, and perhaps more negligent, and that at all events,
they would not be able to defend themselves against a
force so superior, as this right wing of the English, was
very numerous and entirely composed of select troops. Nor
did they judge incorrectly. In order to put this plan thus
wisely formed, into execution, on the evening of the 26th,
of August, about 9 o'clock. General Clinton commanding
the van guard, which consisted of light infantry: Lord
Percy the centre, where were found the grenadiers, the ar-
tillery and cavalry, and Lord Cornwallis the rear guard,
followed by the baggage, some regiments of infantry
and of heavy artillery, moved from Flatbush, with ad-
mirable silence and order towards Flatlands. 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. With such silence and
order did this large body of men move, being covered by
the darkness of the night. They were on this occasion aided
by certain guides, who conducted them till they reached
the point of attack. These were ;N'******* '^***^Ht****^
J**** W*^****, and J******* j^***** It has been said
in defence of the conduct of these persons, that they were
forced to act in this capacity, and that their lives were at
stake. This may all be, but their agency on this occa-
sion was most disastrous to the American cause. The
■British had as we have intimated, drafts of the country.
They marched to Flatlands village, then took the road
leading to Flatlands neck, and came out at Shoemakers
Bridge. Here N. W. their chief guide at this place, was
expressly cautioned, that if he led them wrong he would
be shot. He appears to have conducted them from this
spot across the fields to what is now called Howard's.
They arrived two hours before day, on the morning of the
27th, within half a mile of the Jamaica road. Colonel
Miles, of Pennsylvania, who had charge of the right wing
of the American army this night, performed his service
with but little exactness, and did not perceive the ap-
proach of the enemy. They had marched several miles,
and were now in fact two miles in the rear of his guard,
without his being knowing to the fact. I^or had General
Sullivan, who had charge of all the troops in advance
of the camp at Brooklyn, any advice of what was pass-
ing in this quarter. One of his patrols, on horseback, had
been fallen in with by General Clinton during the night,
and made prisoners. But though disappointed in not
hearing from this patrol. General Sullivan neglected to
send out fresh scouts, probably expecting that the Eng-
lish would direct their principal efforts against the right
wing, under Lord Sterling, as that was nearest to their
head quarters. Thus he suffered the American army to
be surprised, and almost before the battle commenced, the
fate of the day determined. General Clinton having
halted for a few hours, and refreshed his troops, and
learning from the prisoners whom he took, that the road
to Jamaica was not guarded, hastened to avail himself of
the circumstance, and occupied it by a rapid movement.
Without loss of time, he immediately bore to his left,
towards Bedford, and seized an important defile, which
the Americans had left unguarded. From this moment
the success of the day was decided in favor of the Eng-
lish. Lord Percy came up with his corps, and the entire
column descended by the village of Bedford, into the
more level ground, which lay between the hills and the
camp of the Americans.
In the mean time. General Grant, in order to divert the
Americans from the events which took place upon the
route through Flatlands, and the attack to be made on
their left wing, endeavored to disquiet them on his right.
Accordingly, about midnight, as if he meant to force his
way through, he put himself in motion and attacked the
militia of New- York and Pennsylvania, who were sta-
tioned along the Gowanus road. They at first gave way,
but General Parsons, who had command of them, having
arrived, and having occupied an eminence, renewed the
combat, and maintained his position until Brigadier Gen-
eral Lord Stirling came to his assistance with fifteen hun-
dred men. The action was extremely animated, and vic-
tory favored neither the one side nor the other. But it
was all in vain, as in fact, the choice of the British army
were already in the rear of the American troops on the
left. As soon as firing was heard from the right wing of
the English, under General Clinton, who, as we have
stated, had now gained possession of Bedford, which was
not long after the break of day, on the 27th, General De
Heister with his Hessian troops, moved forward with the
centre of the army from Flatbusli, and commenced an at-
tack upon the line in command of General Sullivan. The
attack was valiantly sustained by General Sullivan, in
person, but they soon found that their situation was very
critical, for General Clinton fell upon their left flank, and
they now discovered to their great surprise, that they were
in fact surrounded by the enemy. As soon as they were
apprised of their danger, they sounded a retreat, and re-
tired in good order towards their camp, bringing off their
artillery. But the royal troops, under General Clinton,
who occupied the ground on their rear, charged them
furiously. They were compelled to throw themselves back
into the neighboring woods, lying between Flatbush and
Brooklyn. Here they met again with the Hessians, who
repulsed them upon the English, and thus they were
driven several times by the one against the other, with
great loss. They continued for some time in this desper-
ate situation, till at length, several regiments animated
by an heroic valor, opened their way through the midst
of the enemy, and gained the camp of General Putnam,
at Brooklyn: some few escaped through the woods, but
the remainder, together with their commander. General
Sullivan, were made prisoners.
The left wing and centre of the Americans being dis-
comfited, the English, to secure a complete victory, made
a rapid movement against the rear of the right wing,
which in ignorance of what had befallen the other corps,
was engaged w^ith General Grant. As soon as they re-
ceived the intelligence of this disaster, they retired. But
now they encountered the English, who had cut off their
retreat. They had been engaged from 8 o'clock in the
morning, until 2 o'clock in the afternoon, in maintaining
their post and charging the enemy. On ascertaining their
perilous situation, they were greatly disconcerted. Some
of these brave men betook themselves to the woods. But
a large number of them endeavored to make their way to
the camp at Brooklyn, through the marshes and mill-
ponds of Gowanus Cove. Unfortunately many of them
were here drowned or perished in the mud: a very small
number only escaped the hot pursuit of the victors, and
reached the camp in safety. Lord Stirling himself, who
had charge of this wing, was taken prisoner. Almost the
entire regiment of Maryland, under Colonel Smallwood,
consisting of young men of the best families in that prov-
ince, was cut to pieces. No less than two hundred and
fifty nine men of this regiment were destroyed.
The fate of the battle was now decided. The total loss
of the Americans in killed, wounded and prisoners, ac-
cording to Dr. Gordon, was about fifteen hundred, but
some have estimated the loss as high as three thousand.
Among the prisoners, besides the two Generals whom
we have mentioned, were many ofiicers of high rank.
The unfortunate issue of this battle, was doubtless to be
ascribed in part to the illness of General Greene. He
had superintended the erection of the works, and was
thoroughly acquainted with the ground. In hope of his
recovery. General Washington had deferred sending over
a successor, till the urgency of affairs rendered it abso-
lutely necessary, and then General Putnam took the com-
mand, without any previous knowledge of the posts be-
yond the lines which had been fortified, or of the passes
by which the enemy could make their approach. Nor had
he the time to acquire this knowledge before the action.
Had General Greene been on the ground, all the roads
or passes would have been so secured and defended as
that the royal army in attempting or gaining them,
would have been so crippled as to have been arrested with
regard to all future successful operations. General Sulli-
van was also too inattentive and confident. He exercised
no watchfulness over the tories and royalists, who were
around him, but suffered them to go back and forth as
they pleased. One of the American Chaplains, fearing
that the British would make a circuitous march and take
to the Jamaica road, asked him whether he had suffi-
ciently guarded that pass, when Sullivan replied, in his
vain confidence, " Yes : so that an angel cannot force it ; "
and yet to his neglect in this particular, the whole disas-
ters of the day are to be attributed.
The British after this victory encamped in front of the
American lines, and on the 28th, and 29th, frequent skir-
mishes occurred between the two armies. At length, on
the 29th, Washington, at the suggestion of General Mif-
flin, who had been on Long-Island, and knew the situa-
tion of the troops, called a council of war, and a retreat
was agreed upon, General Mifflin offering to command
the rear. This was a wise council, inasmuch, as in front
of the army was a numerous and victorious enemy, with a
formidable train of artillery. The British fleet indicated
an intention to pass up the East River, and cut off all hope
of a retreat. The troops at Brooklyn were lying without
shelter from heavy rains, and were moreover, fatigued and
dispirited. This difficult movement was effected with
great skill and judgment, and with complete success. We
should be glad had we time, to narrate all the circum-
stances connected with it. But we can only give a very
general account of it. After dark, on the evening of the
29th, orders were received and communicated to the several
regiments, to hold themselves in readiness for an attack
upon the enemy, to take place in the course of the night.
This excited much speculation among the officers, who
knew not the immediate design, and no little concern
among the soldiers, whose arms were much injured from
exposure to the rain. The embarkation of the troops was
committed to General Mc Dougal. It was to commence
at 8 o'clock, in the evening, but a strong north east wind
and a rapid tide, caused a delay of several hours. At 11
o'clock, the wind sprung up from the south west, which
greatly favoured the enterprize, as it enabled them to use
the sail boats, which they had, as well as the barges.
Providence further interposed in favor of the retreating
army, by sending a thick fog about 2 o'clock in the morn-
ing, (August 30th,) which hung over Long-Island, while
on New- York side, it was clear. The fog and wind con-
tinued to favor the retreat till the whole army, nine thou-
sand in number, with all the field artillery, such heavy
ordnance as was of most value, ammunition, provisions,
horses, cattle, &c, were safely over. The water was so re-
markably smooth as to admit of the row boats being
loaded within a few inches of the gunnel. General Wash-
ington, though often entreated, would not leave the Island
till General Mifflin with his covering party, left the lines
at about 6 o'clock on the morning of the 30th. The se-
crecy and skill, with which the whole movement was ef-
fected, may be conceived, from the fact that the enemy
were so nigh, that the sound of their pickaxes and shovels
were distinctly heard by the Americans. Only about half
an hour after the lines were finally abandoned, the fog
cleared off, and the British were seen taking possession of
the American works. Four boats were on the river, three
half way over, full of troops: the fourth, within reach
of the enemies fire from the shore, was compelled to
return. But she had only three men in her, who had tar-
ried behind to plunder. The whole army was safely
landed on the north side of the river, and never was there
a retreat better conducted, or a more signal interposition
of a kind providence. Had not the wind changed, not
more than half of the army could possibly have crossed,
and the remainder must have fallen, with all the artillery
and stores, into the hands of the English. And had it
not been for the fog, their movements would all have been
discovered in time, greatly to have discomfited them.
But we must now return to Flatbush. Here, after the
battle, were many American prisoners. Lord Cornwallis
appears to have established himself for a little while at
least, in the place. Among the prisoners taken previous to,
and during the battle, was Cornelius Vanderveer, the father
of the present John C. Vanderveer, Esq. He was the cap-
tain of the militia of the town of Flatbush. Having sent
off his family to New-Jersey, he attempted to secure his
furniture, while he remained in and about his premises.
He had hid his arms and accoutrements in a thicket, near
the house, and having observed on a certain evening how
the guards and pickets of the British were placed, he went
in the dead of the night, accompanied by a faithful ser-
vant, called Adam, to regain them. They approached the
place where they were concealed, by a circuitous route,
and having possessed himself of his arms, he put them on,
the more easily to carry them. He then proposed to his
colored man, to take a nearer and more direct route back.
But in doing so, he came unexpectedly upon a guard,
which had been placed after dark, in a position of which
he was not aware. The consequence was, that he was
made a prisoner, and being taken with his accoutre-
ments on, and his arms in his hands, he had not much
mercy to expect. He was carried to the captain of the
guard. Here he was told by several, that there was no
hope for him, he must be hung, and they actually put the
rope around his neck. In the morning he was taken to
the church, before Lord Cornwallis, who sent him with
some others, under guard to JSTew-Utrecht, where he was
confined in a barn, with a number of other prisoners.
Here he was in various ways basely treated and insulted.
But while there, a Captain Miller, with whom he had been
on terms of intimacy, happened to pass by, and inquired
of him how he came there, and after being informed of
his case, he said he would try and effect his release. A few
minutes after, a file of soldiers came and took him before
one of General Howe's Aids, by the name of Cuyler, who
was from Albany, who inquired and questioned him about
his situation. He asked him if he would take a protection
and go home on his farm. Captain Vanderveer answered
that he would, provided they would not compel him to
fight against his country. Cuyler replied, with an oath,
that they had fighting men enough, but as he had prom-
ised him a protection, he would give him one. He pre-
sented it to him accordingly, and said he might go to the
rebels again, for what he cared. Captain Vanderveer took
the protection and remained on his farm, but was abused
and robbed by the Hessians, who paid no respect to his
protection, and took the last shirt he had from his back,
so that he was compelled to walk about with an old great
coat, which he found, to cover his nakedness, until he
could get other clothes. His faithful colored man Adam,
continued with him all the while.
Flatbush was now in the hands of the British, and con-
tinued within their lines until the close of the war. During
the short tarry of the army in the village, they committed
many depredations. They pillaged the houses and de-
stroyed as much property as they well could. It was sad
indeed to the inhabitants to witness this on re-visiting
their homes. As soon as the British had taken possession
of New- York, and the army had left the Island, the in-
habitants of Flatbush began to return. Some were absent
only a few days, but others did not reach their homes
until nearly mid-winter. The scene presented to the view
of those who came back soon after the battle, was distress-
ing indeed. The place where the encampment had been,
was strewed with feathers, straw, papers and pieces of
furniture, which had been taken from the houses. In the
street, which was grown over with high grass, in conse-
quence of the frequent rains, which occurred at that time,
and the interruption of nearly all travelling, were to be
seen, in addition other things, skins of hogs, which had
been slain, and heads of cattle, with their horns on them,
presenting a frightful picture of the haste and waste
which had characterized the army. On visiting their
houses, they found the greater part of their furniture
broken and almost every thing valuable about their prem-
ises injured. So wanton had been the waste, that feather
beds had not only been ripped up, and the contents scat-
tered, but in some instances the feathers had been emptied
into wells. The best rooms in the houses had been used
as stables for the horses, while the drawers in their cup-
boards and bureaus had served as mangers and feeding
troughs. As we may well suppose, the whole town exhib-
ited a scene of wide spread desolation.
On their return the males were obliged to take the oath
of allegiance to the British crown. This most of them did.
It was administered in the church. It may be here asked,
why did they not join the American army and fight in be-
half of the country. The answer to this question is found
in the fact, that all their property — their families and
their homes were in the hands of the British. By return-
ing and submitting to their authority, they would be able
to preserve these from destruction; whereas, had they
connected themselves with the American army, no doubt
every thing they had on the earth would have been swept
from them, a sacrifice which we believe few, if any, made
during that eventful struggle. But we are not to sup-
pose that there were no friends of the American cause at
that time, and during the war, in Flatbush. We shall
presently see that in a most important way they aided in
achieving our national independence.
After the battle on Long-Island, the church and the old
school-house were used for the accommodation of the pris-
oners and the sick. Three private houses were also em-
ployed as hospitals. The house now occupied by Mr. J.
C. Bergen, the house belonging to the heirs of Cornelius
Antonides, and the dwelling of Mr. Rem Vanderbilt. In
this latter house, in which Mr. Seymour now resides, and
which then stood on the opposite side of the road, the
wounded American officers were brought. The principal
hospital for the soldiers was the old school-house. Many
of these wounded prisoners appear soon to have died; for
when one individual returned, who was absent but thir-
teen days, she counted twenty-eight new graves in the
churchyard, and it is probable that most of these con-
tained more than one body.
After the capture of Fort Washington, which took place
in November of this same year, (1776,) a great number
more prisoners were brought to Flatbush, and billetted on
the inhabitants. It is supposed that no less than four
hundred were kept in the southern towns of Kings County.
The only regiment left in Flatbush after the battle, was
42d Regiment of Highlanders. They however soon re-
moved, and were succeeded by a guard of fifty men under
Lieut. Dalrymple. These continued for some time, when
upon their removal. Col. Axtell, who resided in the house
now owned by Mr. Mowatt, and who was a violent Tory,
collected a company called the Nassau Blues. The com-
mand of this was committed to his nephew Capt. De-
peyster. They appear to have been taken from the lowest
ranks, and were mostly persons of bad moral character.
Col. Axtell wished that they should be united with the
militia of the town, but the militia opposed it, and would
by no means give their consent to such a measure. These
Nassau Blues, from their low and generally miserable
appearance, were nicknamed by the inhabitants the
"Nasty Blues." They were not billetted upon the town,
but had possession chiefly of the court-house. Of so bad
a character were they, that in their blasphemy, they called
themselves "the Holy Ghosters."
After the return of the inhabitants of Flatbush to their
houses, in the fall of 1776, an epidemic broke out among
them, arising as was supposed from the effluvia connected
with the Hessian and British encampment, and which in
consequence was called the camp-fever. It seized great
numbers, and proved fatal to many; and among others,
to some of the most respectable and influential persons in
We should be glad to furnish a list of all the American
prisoners who were billetted in Flatbush during the war,
particularly the names of the officers, but this is impos-
sible. Among the latter were Gen. Silliman, Col. Raw-
lings, Col. Magaw, Col. Miles, Col. Atlee, Col. (after-
wards Gen.) Williams, Col. Barby, Capts. Fitzhugli Ran-
dolph, Bailey, Biles, Patton, the subsequent Postmaster
of Philadelphia, and a number of others. But we cannot
forbear a special notice of Major David Lenox. He was
billetted upon Mr. Bateman Lloyd. During his residence
as a prisoner, he was visited by his brothers Robert and
William, with a view to bring him to abandon the Ameri-
can cause. They tried every motive, and pressed him by
considerations the most tender. The interview was had
under the large linden-tree near the house. On their
leaving him, he was met by the present Mrs. Lloyd, who
observing him to be bathed in tears, asked what was the
cause of his distress. He told her that his brothers had
been endeavoring to prevail with him to forsake the
Americans and join the British. But said he with Ro-
man firmness, " I will never do it."
The circumstances which led to the removal of Major
Lenox from Flatbush, show his noble daring and firmness,
and at the same time the spirit of oppression which distin-
guished the ofiicers of the British army. The news of the
capture of Burgoyne in 1777, having reached the American
prisoners paroled on Long-Island, Major James Hamilton
and Dr. Stewart repaired to Flatbush to celebrate together
with Major Lenox an event so propitious to the cause of
their country, and so congenial to their best hopes and
most sanguine wishes. The night was passed at the festive
board, but their conduct was in no way calculated to of-
fend; no extravagant symptom of exultation was shown,
for boistering mirth would have degraded a feeling of de-
light, silent but sincere. In the morning, a fish-car filled
with shad, passing through the village, Major Lenox asked
the proprietor if he would sell a part of his load : " not to
a rebel scoundrel," he replied, " though he be starving."
The offensive answer was no sooner given than resented.
Major Lenox struck the speaker to the earth. A fray was
the inunediate consequence, in which the American offi-
cers, as might have been expected, were overpowered and
severely beaten. But this was not the last of their suffer-
ings. Charged with an assault and conducted upon the
testimony of their adversary, before General Pigot, Major
Lenox, in a plain unvarnished representation of facts,
stated the provocation, and asked " if it were possible to
have withheld punishment from a rascal, who so wantonly
sought and so richly deserved it." "It is our business,"
replied the General, " to protect and cherish such of your
countrymen as seek our protection. You must submit
therefore to ask pardon for the outrage committed, or take
the consequences that must inevitably follow." " Ask par-
don of that scoundrel," said Lenox, " never " ! " Will you,
sir," said the General to Hamilton : " May I perish if I
do," was the reply. The question was then put to Dr.
Stewart, and answered with equal indignation. " You must
be introduced then," said the irritated General, " to the
Provost Marshall. Mr. Cunningham, they are your pris-
oners, you know your duty." Six months of close and
rigorous confinement in the Provost, (a place of misery,
second only to the celebrated prison ship, Jersey,) was
the consequence of an act, that a generous enemy would
not only have thought just, but commendable.
The American prisoners had the liberty of all the
southern towns. They were required to report themselves
at certain times and places. When the French fleet, un-
der Count De Estaing was expected, and when after their
arrival they laid off the shore, these prisoners went daily
to the top of Vanderbilts hill, to view them. And with
regard to this hill, we may remark, in passing, that Gen-
eral Clinton, once rode down it so rapidly, that his Aids
could not follow him.
Among the prisoners in the county was Capt. William
Marriner. He was quartered on parole, at Mr. Rem Van
Pelt's, at New-Utrecht. In the exercise of his privilege,
he often visited Flatbush. Dr. Van Buren's tavern, the
house now occupied by Durj^ee Wiggins, was a place of
great resort. Here he met among others, with the lead-
ing tories in the place. These were Colonel Axtell, Colo-
nel Matthews, the Mayor of JSTew-York, Major Sherbrook,
Mr. Beach and Major Moncrief. On one occasion, prob-
ably in consequence of the too free use of his sarcastic
wit, he was insulted and ill treated by this clan, particu-
larly by Major Moncrief. After Captain Marriner's ex-
change, in 1780, he determined to visit Flatbush, and
capture, if possible, all these abusive tories, who were
very obnoxious to the American officers. He was a brave
and daring man. For the purpose of carrying his design
into execution, he repaired to New-Brunswick, and pro-
cured a whaleboat, which he manned with twerity two
volunteers. With this he crossed the bay, and landed at
Bath, about half-past nine o'clock in the evening. He
made prisoners of three black men, who were fishing, and
then leaving two persons in charge of his boat, he marched
off with the rest of his party towards Flatbush. On his
way, he stopped at the house of Rem Van Pelt, his old
quarters, and also at his father's, in consequence of
which, these persons were afterwards apprehended and
confined in Provost, in New- York, on suspicion of being
concerned with him. Marriner reached the Flatbush
church without molestation. Here he divided his men into
four squads, assigning a house to each. Each party had a
heavy post, for the purpose of breaking in the doors. The
village was all silence. The houses were all known, and
it was agreed, that when the party detached for Colonel
Axtell, whose dwelling was farthest from the church,
struck his door, each party should do the same at the other
houses. Captain Marriner selected the house of George
Martense, the father of the present Mrs. Catin, where his
friend Major Moncrief quartered for himself. Time was
given for the parties to arrive at their several houses, and
then, at the concerted signal, the doors were all burst
open, nearly at the same time. The first stroke at the
door where Major Moncrief resided, alarmed him, and he
fled to the garret, and hid himself behind the chimney.
" I entered his room," says Marriner, " and finding his bed
warm, I ordered aunt Jannetie to bring a candle. We
ran to the garret and found our prize shivering behind
the large Dutch chimney, with his breeches in his hands.
We took him to the church, our place of rendezvous,
where we put on his small clothes." Mr. or Major Beach,
who resided in the house lately vacated by Mr. Michael
Schoonmaker, was also seized, as well as Colonel Sher-
brook, who lived in the old house belonging to Garret
Martense, Esq. which stood in front of Mr. Seymour's,
and has been divided as we have heretofore stated, and
made into two small bams. But Colonel Axtell and Colo-
nel Matthews, the mayor of New-York, who resided in
the house belonging to Jacobus Vandeventer, which stood
where the dwelling of Judge Lott now stands, escaped, in
consequence of their being that night in New- York. The
several parties having assembled again at the church, they
marched off with their prisoners, unmolested to their boat,
although it was a fine moon-light night, in the middle of
summer. In his account of the matter, Captain Marriner
says, that Dom. Rubell rung the alarm bell, before we
were half a mile from the church, and Dr. Van Samper,
who lived at Mr. Martense's, sung out, " Goedt luck,
Goedt luck: not me, not me." The spirits called from
their sleep by the alarm bell, did not pursue Captain Mar-
riner, and he arrived safe at his boat, and carried his
distinguished prisoners to ISTew-Brunswick. Time will
not permit us to pursue this affair farther, and give an
account of the taking up and imprisoning of certain per-
sons in New-Utrecht, on suspicion of being connected with
Marriner in the enterprize.*
The inhabitants of Flatbush during the war, particu-
larly those who were supposed to be in favor of the Amer-
ican cause were subject to a variety of exactions from the
British authorities. Their property too was often stolen,
cattle were taken from the fields, hogs from their pens,
and horses from their stalls. The hen roosts were fre-
quently robbed, and almost every kind of plundering and
thieving committed. When horses were wanted by the
British for any service, they were seized without cere-
mony. On one occasion. Colonel L***, of Flatlands, at-
tempted to take the horses of Captain Vanderveer, while
he was ploughing with them in the field. The Captain
* In the account heretofore published of this incident, the name of
Major Moncrief does not appear, while Colonel Sherbrook is repre-
sented as the principal object of capture by Marriner. But this is incor-
rect. It was Major Moncrief who had principally insulted him, and
he was the person whom he desired chiefly to take. The account
given above, contains the true statement of the whole affair.
refused to give up his horses, and showed his protection,
and orders from Captain Dalrymple. This so disconcerted
the Colonel, that he was quite enraged, and in a violent
manner exclaimed, " You, Flatbushers are always med-
dling." He went then and seized the horses of Judge
Lott and of Judge Vanderbilt, who had no protection.
During the greater part of the war, a guard was kept
up in the village. For a considerable time this was done
by the militia of the town. The object was, not so much
to watch the prisoners, as to detect sailors and stragglers,
who would leave their vessels off the beach and come
through the village, on their way to New- York, for the
purpose of escaping being taken by the press-gang, who
were coasting on the waters, in and about the city. The
guard detailed for duty consisted usually of seven, of
whom two were sent out on patrol. Several amusing anec-
dotes occurred relative to this guard, but we have not
room to narrate them.
In 1781, a regiment of new recruits, under Colonel Hew-
lett, raised chiefly in Queens County, came to Flatbush
and were billetted on the inhabitants. After these, a
regiment who had been taken prisoners in the West-In-
dies, from Waldeck in Germany, commanded by Colonel
De Horn, were sent to the place, and billetted upon the in-
habitants to a certain extent. They were obliged to find
them quarters, but not provisions. The officers had their
own rooms, and the soldiers generally occupied the kitch-
ens of the houses. This regiment behaved well ; no depre-
dations were committed by them. We cannot refrain
from giving an account of one of them. His name was
Raymond. He was desirous of joining the American
army; for this purpose he deserted, and at great risk, got
on board of an American merchant ship, — unfortunately
for poor Raymond, this ship was soon captured by the
British, and the deserter was sent back to Flatbash to his
regiment. A court-martial was held upon his case, and
he was sentenced to pass through the gantlet, as it was
called, ten times, and each time to be whipped. He was
prepared with bare back accordingly, and the regiment
being arranged in open file, poor Raymond passed with a
file of soldiers before him to prevent his going faster than
such a gait, through the long line, while every man on
either side was required to give him a cut with a whip.
At the end of each turn, a sergeant passed through the
line with a fresh supply of whips, and every soldier drew
from the bunch a new. rod, with which more severely to
punish Raymond. This was enacted ten times — and one
would have supposed that at the end of it, Raymond would
have fallen down dead. His back, as might have been sup-
posed, was dreadfully lacerated, almost every whip draw-
ing blood ; but as if by a miracle, the poor fellow survived,
and eventually got well. But all this whipping did not
drive out of him a love to the American cause. He de-
termined again to desert; but before doing so, wished to
revenge himself by killing his Colonel. But his associ-
ates would not agree with him in this undertaking. He
however, with some few others, eventually deserted and
got safely within the American lines, and on visiting
Philadelphia and making his story known, he was treated
with such signal attention, as almost to compensate him
for his past trials and sufferings.
Among others who were billetted in Flatbush, were the
soldiers who had fought in Canada, in the French war.
Of these nothing particular is told. For accommodating
•these, as well as the regiment of the Waldeckers, no com-
pensation was allowed to the inhabitants. Among the
many troops belonging to the British, who from time to
time were in Flatbush, many were desirous of going over
to the American army, and several desertions took place.
Among others, a Captain Lyman of Boston. He became
involved in debt and sold his commission in the British
service. He was soon greatly reduced in his circumstances,
and had to sleep in the open air under the stacks. The
American prisoners hearing of his situation, made a col-
lection for him — had a suit of coating made for him at the
house of Captain Cornelius Vanderveer, and furnished
him with means to escape beyond the British lines. He
travelled safely towards the east end of the island, passed
over to Connecticut, and eventually joined the Americans.
Near the close of the war, a Saxon regiment, who were
dressed in French clothing, came to Flatbush, and were
quartered upon the inhabitants. Many of these, and in
fact the whole regiment, was desirous of going over to the
American army. One of the soldiers who was billetted
at Captain Vanderveer's, came to the present J. C. Van-
derveer, Esq. one morning very early, before he had left
his bed, and told him their wishes, and offered him money
if he would pilot them. Mr. Vanderveer told him of the
entire impracticability of the enterprize, on account of
the distance of the American lines, and the waters which
they would have to cross. He was induced in consequence
of this, to leave him. But next morning he brought one
of his officers to Mr. Vanderveer, who told the same story
— that the whole regiment were ready to join the Ameri-
cans, and pressed him to guide them. He told them again
that the matter was utterly impossible; that if they at-
tempted it, there was no escaping detection and death,
and accordingly they desisted. But the soldier and some
others did attempt to desert, and were taken and put on
board a man-of-war. After a short time, the whole regi-
ment was removed. The incident is interesting and im-
portant, as showing how popular the cause of the Ameri-
cans was, even with many who were brought here to fight
AMERICAN CAUSE DURING THE WAR OF THE
We now open an interesting chapter in the History of
Flatbush. It relates to the pecuniary aid afforded by this,
in common with some of the other towns in Kings County,
to the advancement of the American cause, during the
struggle which eventuated in our independence. While
from the circumstances in which the inhabitants of this
part of the country were placed, they could not personally
enlist in the army without sacrificing their all; many of
them furnished money, appropriately called the sinews of
war, with which to carry on the contest. This, in view
of the situation of the country at various times during the
revolutionary conflict, was exceedingly important. The
currency of the country consisted chiefly in continental
paper. This had become so much depreciated, that it
was of little value, and it was absolutely essential to the
success of the American cause, that specie should be ob-
tained. It was therefore contrived to borrow money for
the use of the army, from the whigs, on the west end of
Long-Island, who had in their possession large sums of
gold and silver. The agent in effecting these loans, was
Major Hendrick Wyckoff. He was the only son of Mr. Cor-
nelius Wyckoff, of New-Lots, in this town. His father was
a staunch whig, and his son the Major, early enlisted with
all his heart, in the cause of his country. He left Long-
Island with the American army, in September, 1776, and
remained in the service, and virtually an exile from his
home, till the British left the country, in 1783. He was a
confidential friend of Governor George Clinton, and a
brave, discreet and enterprising officer, a man of sterling
integrity and honesty. His country's enemies were his ene-
mies, and her friends his friends. Being well acquainted
with the inhabitants of the west end of Long-Island, and
who among them were true friends of American Independ-
ence, after the plan of obtaining money from them was
suggested, the execution of it was committed to him.
The loaning of money appears to have originated with
Lieutenant Samuel Dodge, who was taken prisoner at
Fort Montgomery, in October, 1777. The officers who
were captured in the Fort at that time, were brought to
New- York, and distributed on parole in Kings County.
Lieutenant Dodge and Captain Gilleland, were quartered
at the house of Mr. Barent Johnson, the father of the
present General Jeremiah Johnson, of Brooklyn. He was
exchanged in the early part of the following November.
On his return, Mr. Johnson, who was a firm and devoted
whig, loaned him a small sum of money, and probably
suggested the idea of obtaining specie in Kings County.
Colonel Ellison, who was a prisoner in New-Utrecht, on
parole, was advised on the subject, and when he was ex-
changed in December, 1777, he obtained a loan of £700,
to the State from Mr. Barent Johnson, which he carried
with him. This was the first loan, for which a simple
private receipt on account was given. Several receipts
of the like import, amounting to $5000, were taken by-
Mr. Johnson before his death in 1782, a noble testimony
to his devotedness to the interests of his country.
The practicability of obtaining money in Kings County
being thus manifest, the whole conducting of the affair
was intrusted to Major Wyckoff. It was an enterprize
attended with imminent danger, and one which required
great skill and secrecy in its execution. The plan usually
pursued by the Major, was to cross the sound from Con-
necticut, and conceal himself at Cow Neck. The house
in which he was usually secreted, was that of Peter On-
derdonk, a warm friend of the American cause. He was
entrusted by Governor Clinton, with blank notes, signed
by him, which the Major was to fill up to certain indi-
viduals, for such sums as he received from them. He had
his agents in this part of Kings County, who obtained
money for him, and took it to him. Judge Cowenhoven of
New-Utrecht, the father-in-law, of Mrs. Catin, was one of
these. He carried to the Major, the chief part of the
money raised for this object, in Flatbush. Major Wyckoff
would occasionally venture himself within the British
lines. He visited his father's house in New-Lots, and in
the winter of the year 1780, he was several days at the
house of Mr. Eemsen, at the Wallaboght, in sight of the
prison ship, Jersey. In the evening they rode out, when
Mr. Eemsen would borrow money, with which they would
return at night. In the day they would count it on a
blanket, and bag it. When the Major had as much as it
was safe to take, Mr. Remsen took him and the cash to
Mr. Onderdonk's, at Cow Neck. In effecting this service
for his country. Major Wyckoff ran many risks of his life.
On one occasion he was concealed for two or more days
and nights in a thicket of briar bushes, from which he
could see the men who were in pursuit of him.
The amount of money loaned to the State by the whig
inhabitants of Flatbush cannot be fully ascertained. We
should be glad to name all who thus favored their coun-
try's cause, but strange to say, no record of these transac-
tions has been made or preserved. We can only mention
such as have come to our knowledge, without design-
ing to cast any reflection upon others. The mother of the
present old Mrs. Lefferts advanced £500, equal to $1250.
On one occasion, when counting out the money to the
person who was about to take it to Major Wyckoff, a Brit-
ish officer entered the house, and she came near being
discovered and apprehended. Captain Cornelius Vander-
veer and Judge Lott, united in advancing on a certain
occasion, a sum of money. What the precise amount was
we know not. But they received the simple note signed
by Governor Clinton. To preserve this voucher, they en-
closed it in a bottle. This being well corked, they buried
it under one of the posts of Mr. Vanderveer's barn. At
the close of the war, they dug up the bottle, but on open-
ing it they found that all the writing on the note was
obliterated, except the signature of George Clinton.
When the State, repaid these loans, this note among oth-
ers, was presented. The Governor inquired into the cause
of its being so defaced, and at first hesitated to honor it.
But on being told the circumstances connected with it, he
honorably discharged it.
Mr. George Martense, the father of Mrs. Catin, probably
advanced the largest amount of money of any individual
in the town. He loaned first and last, £2200, equal to
$5500. This was the more commendable on his part, as
he was regarded by the British as favorable to them. He
had not fled when they entered the town, and they injured
no part of his property. At his house too, the British offi-
cers often visited, and Major Moncrief had his quarters.
All these sums were given in specie, and when the loans,
after the revolution were paid, it was in the same currency.
When Mr. George Martense went for his money, he took
a cart, it is said, and the silver completely filled it.
The process of loaning money continued till the peace.
Many timid whigs ventured as the prospects of the coun-
try brightened, and loaned their money. They knew the
purpose and the danger in aiding the American cause.
To tell was death. A combination in what was esteemed
treasonable acts, bound them strongly together.
It is supposed that before the war terminated, not far
from $200,000, in specie, had been loaned and carried out
of the British lines, by this devoted band. And what is
remarkable, not a single person who aided in this busi-
ness was discovered. It is to be regretted, that a public
record of these transactions, so honorable to the whigs of
Kings County, is not in existence. " I have searched,"
says General Johnson, in a communication to the author,
" the records and public papers, of the war, at Albany,
but no entries of this matter can be found."
Major Wyckoff after the peace engaged in mercantile
business, with Judge Smith (also an exile) under the firm
of Smith and Wyckoff, New- York. He died in the year
1791, at his father's house in New-Lots, being about fifty
years of age. His funeral was attended by a large con-
course of people, desirous of paying their last respects to
a man, who had braved danger and difficulty, in the
service of his country. Among these, were the military
officers of the city of New- York, and his personal friend,
George Clinton, the Governor of the State.
At the close of the war, a liberty pole was erected in
Flatbush. It was near the spot where the present one
stands. The occasion was one of great joy and hilarity.
Materials for the flag having been procured, a party of
ladies assembled at the house of Mr. John C. Vander-
veer, for the purpose of making it. Several yoimg persons
gathered together in the evening, and much dancing and
merriment were indulged in. But it was interrupted by
a sensation of an earthquake, which was then very strongly
felt. The flag however, duly formed, with its stripes and
stars was completed and a time was set for the putting up
of the pole and displaying for the first time in Flatbush,
the American signal. A large concourse assembled on the
occasion. It was celebrated with the firing of cannon,
and other demonstrations of joy. An unfortunate acci-
dent occurred, however, which greatly marred the pleas-
ure of the scene. Mr. Henry Van Beuren, the brother of
Courtland Van Beuren, the father of the present Mrs.
Hasbrook, was severely wounded. He was engaged in
ramming down a charge in the cannon, when from some
cause the piece discharged itself. The ramrod was driven
with great violence from the cannon, and severely lacer-
ated the hand and arm of poor Van Beuren, and also
passed along his thigh and laid open the flesh almost
through its whole extent. The wound was a very dan-
gerous one, and it was feared at the time, that it would
prove fatal. He however, after a very long confinement
The evening of the day on which the liberty pole was
erected, was spent in festivity. A large public ball was
held, the company using for the occasion the court room,
from which the British officers had previously removed
the seats and benches, to render it suitable for similar
amusements on their part; little dreaming that they
whom they regarded as dastardly rebels, would use these
accommodations to celebrate, in the same place the
achievement of their independence from foreign oppres-
. ..M ^r
MODERN CHANGES AND IMPROVEMENTS.
During the period immediately succeeding the termina-
tion of the revolutionary war, no very material events
took place in Flatbush, except the building of the Acad-
emy, the Church and the Court House, all of which we
have already noticed. But presently the attention of the
inhabitants was directed to their side walks and front
fences. The first fences in front of the farms, were formed
of stone, surmounted with earth, on which were planted
shoots of primrose. These were kept properly trimmed,
and when in full growth were very handsome. Lining the
village, almost entirely on both sides, they presented a very
picturesque appearance. This was the case about seventy
or eighty years ago, and had been so, for probably a cen-
tury before. But from some cause, either the severity of the
winter weather, or the ravages of an insect, these prims
all died in one season. Some then took down the stone
foot and substituted ordinary posts and rails. This how-
ever, had but an unsightly aspect. Picket fences were
then resorted to. In front of two farms these had been put
up previously to the war, viz: by Colonel Axtell and Mr.
David Clarkson. One after another of the inhabitants
substituted these in the place of the old stone fence, or the
posts and rails which had been used. And now there is
one continued picket or panel fence on both sides of the
village from one end to the other. The last link in this
chain was completed some four or five years ago.
Locust trees were formerly planted on the side walks
of the village. Some of these, perhaps seventy-five or
one hundred years of age, were standing not many years
since. The last of them stood in front of the premises oc-
cupied by Dr. Vanderveer, and Mr. John C. Bergen, and
were removed when these gentlemen regulated and formed
their side walks. Some few of the more modem of these
locust trees are still standing before the property now in
the possession of the widow Gertrude Stryker, on the walk
of Matthew Clarkson, Esq. and in front of the house be-
longing to the heirs of Cornelius Antonides. As these trees
decayed, which occurred between thirty and forty years
ago, they were succeeded by the Lombardy poplar. Quite
a spirit existed in the place in favor of this tree. They
were planted in great numbers, on either side of the road,
and when they had attained their full growth, they pre-
sented certainly a very beautiful appearance. It was at
this time, about the year 1815, that the author first knew
the village. These trees, on either side, gave it the aspect
of a spacious avenue, or a beautiful vista, indicative of
the comfort, peace and prosperity which generally reigned
within the village. It was soon found, however, that
these trees were infested with a loathsome worm, that
they gave but little shade, and were not durable. The
proprietors generally, removed them, and none are now
left standing, except in front of the dwelling of L. L. Van
Kleeck, Esq. Some planted locust trees again in the place
of these poplars. But these were found to be attacked
with worms, and not to grow with rapidity, or beauty.
Since this a great variety of ornamental forest trees have
been set out, which we need not enumerate. In this con-
nection, we must speak of four venerable trees, three of
which are still in existence. These were English Lindens.
One of them is now standing in front of Mrs. Catin's,
another on the corner of Dr. Zabriskie's, and the third, on
the opposite comer, in front of the house of Mr. Michael
^N'eefus. These were planted very many years ago. The
two last particularly, affording a fine shade, were often
resorted to by the neighbors, in the summer season. Many
a social pipe, and happy hour have been enjoyed under
them. The fourth of these venerable trees, stood in front
of the house which was taken down to make room for the
present dwelling of Judge John A. Lott. This tree was
very large, and very highly prized. About the period of
the American Revolution, a limb of this tree, from some
cause, became broken, and Colonel Matthews, the Mayor
of the City of New- York, who then lived on the premises,
had it leaded up, and it grew again. But after a while
it was split again by the wind. And he actually sent to
New-York for riggers, who bound it up with ropes, and
so preserved it. On one occasion the court of the county
sat under this tree. It was in consequence of the large
number of persons attending, who could not be accommo-
dated in the court house.
The regTilating of the side walks in the village was
commenced about fifteen years ago, by M. Clarkson, Esq.
At a very considerable expense he levelled and gravelled
his walk, and put up a railing in front. Small pieces of
railing before a few doors had been made previously, but
none extended in front of the whole premises. The bene-
fit and the beauty of this improvement were soon seen,
and several others followed the example, so that now we
have a regulated walk through the greater part of the vil-
lage, and a railing or chain in many cases in addition.
Soon after the close of the war of the American Revo-
lution several new houses were put up, some in the place
of those that had been burnt, and some on the sites of
other old dwellings, w^hich were pulled down. Within the
last few years, several beautiful and spacious dwellings
have been erected, and nearly all the houses which were
standing during the Revolutionary war are removed. We
have not space to specify all these buildings, which com-
bine the elegance and conveniences of modern improve-
ment. David Johnson, Esq. erected the first, about fif-
teen years since, when he moved to the village, and put
up the noble edifice in which he resides. Matthew Clark-
son, Esq. a few years afterwards built the magnificent
mansion which now adorns his property, and in which he
lives. The old wretched building formerly owned by Mr.
Van Courtlandt has been succeeded by the two beautiful
houses now occupied by Mr. Prince and Mr. Crommelin.
The very ancient house of Leffert Martense, has given
place to the stately edifice of Judge G. L. Martense. In-
stead of the small uncouth dwelling which formerly stood
upon the very edge of the road, we have the spacious
house now inhabited by Mr. SejTnour, with its Grecian
front, and the comfortable dwelling in which Mr. St. John
resides. The old brick structure belonging to the Stryker
family, which but a few years ago, stood near the corner,
venerable for its age, and bearing upon its front, the fig-
ures 1696, has been removed, to make room for the modest,
but neat cottage of Mrs. Gertrude Stryker. The long
gloomy looking, but time honored house of Barent Van
Deventer, has given place to the conmiodious edifice of
Judge John A. Lott. In the room of the unsightly and
dilapidated hovel of Mr. Jacobus Van Deventer, with its
large duck pond, and falling fences, we have Vernon
avenue, and the nice and tasty building in which Mr.
Beekman resides. The old house of Hendrick Vanderveer,
has been succeeded by the handsome, well finished and
convenient dwelling' of Mr. Samuel G. Lott. And though
the last, not the least, in the north of the village, Mr.
Willink has erected the splendid mansion, into which he
has recently removed, together with its beautiful bam and
stables, surmounted with a cupola, all of which, he has en-
closed with a costly panel fence. In addition to these, to
some other houses Grecian fronts have been added, and
various improvements made, which give to the whole vil-
lage an air of beauty, pleasantness, richness and comfort,
which are surpassed by but few others. A distinguished
gentleman of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania,* on his first visit
to the place, called it a village of palaces. Besides these
more conspicuous houses, many more have been put up in
various parts of the village, some of which too, are beauti-
ful and neat. Quite a considerable settlement has grown
up, a little east of the Academy, and also one in the north
of the village, on which spots a few years ago, not a house
was to be seen. Indeed within the past twelve or fifteen
years, more than sixty new buildings have been put up,
besides those which have been erected in the place of old
ones, which have been removed.
It no doubt will appear strange to some, that a village
so contiguous to the great emporium of our country, and
combining the advantages of health and means of educa-
tion, with the absence of many temptations to the young
should not have grown with more rapidity. But the rea-
son is to be found in the fact that until within a very few
years, not a building lot could be purchased in the town.
* Hon. Robert C. Grier.
The owners of property, living in comfort, and gradually
adding to their estates, felt no inducement to part with
their lands. But of late, some few farms have been pur-
chased, and Flatbush property is now in the market. Had
the village been laid out regularly in streets and building
lots, some thirty or forty years ago, it would we have no
doubt by this time have rivalled some of our largest inland
towns. But notwithstanding the present aspect of neat-
ness and comfort, which it presents, it is susceptible of
still greater improvements. These we trust, will in due
time, be made, and the village become, what it is capable
of being made, the pride and beauty of Long-Island.
We had intended to give some account of the genealogy
of most of the older families of Flatbush. Materials to
a very considerable extent have been collected with this
view, but as they are not sufficiently full, especially in
regard to some families, we deem it proper to waive this
part of our subject.
From a review of the history of their little home which
we have taken, truly the inhabitants of Flatbush have
abundant cause to admire the goodness of that God who
in his benign providence has smiled so graciously and so
constantly upon them. Their cup has overflowed with
blessings, and still the same mercy of the Lord is crown-
ing their families with peace. With adoring gratitude let
us lift up our hearts to his throne and with fulness of love
to him let us show the fervor of our thankfulness by lives
devoted to his glory. Committing to his guardian care,
the interests of our village, and praying his blessings to
rest upon it, let us aim to make it as eminent for moral-
ity, for intelligence, for pure religion, as it is now for
health, beauty and temporal prosperity.
Since the foregoing was in type, we have met with the
following obituary notice of the Eev. Johannes Theo-
dorus Polhemus, the first pastor of the Keformed Dutch
Churches of Flatbush, Brooklyn and Flatlands. It is ex-
tracted from the records of the Church of Brooklyn.
" 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 Church is de-
prived of his pious instructions, godly example and evan-
gelical ministrations, particularly in the administration
of the holy sacrament of the Lord's Supper."
Aeartsen, Jan, 60.
Aeartsen, Rien, 64.
Aeartsen, Rinier, 60.
Aeartsen, Rynier, 60, 114.
Aertson, Rem, 81.
Ahawaham, 30, 31.
Alburtis, Rev. John, 104.
Allgeo, William, 65, 66, 133.
Alsop, Richard, 137.
.Andriesen, Nicholas, 65.
Andres, Sir Edmond, 27, 34.
Antonides, Cornelius, 52, 120,
Antonides, Vicentius, 65, 85, 86,
Antonides, Vincent, 92.
Arondeus, Johannes, 88, 89, 90.
Atlee, Colonel, 156.
Aviky, John, 60.
Axtell, Colonel William, 120, 156,
159, 160, 173.
Back, Simeon, 99.
Bailey, Captain, 157.
Baldwin, Abijah, 99.
Baldwin, Rev. J. Abeel, 104.
Bancker, Gerard, 47, 48.
Barby, Colonel, 157.
Bardulph, Cornelius, 60.
Barentse, Cornelius, 64.
Barlow, Rev. William, 106.
Baronson, Cornelius, 60.
Beach, 159, 160.
Beecher, Mark Hopkins, 134, 135.
Beekman, Gerardus, 68.
Benham, Joseph, 65.
Bennan, John, 92.
Bennem, Jan, 64.
Bennem, John, 99.
Bennet, Jan, 65.
Bennet, John, 64.
Bergen, Cornelius, 126.
Bergen, J. C, 143, 144, 155, 174.
Berrian, Cornelius, 37, 60, 114.
Berrian, Cornelius Jansen, 42, 64.
Berrian, John, 128.
Besker, Thomas, 9.
Betts, Captain Richard, 33.
Betts, Robert, 65.
Biles, Captain, 157.
Birdsall & Aldworth, 51.
Bloch, Adrian, 8.
Bloom, Joris, 65.
Boerum, Jacob, 65.
Boerum, Simon, 67.
Bogart, Rev. David S., 104.
Bougaert, Cornelius Janse, 24.
Brannon, John, 131.
Brinkerhoff, Dirk, 88.
Brittain, Rev. Thomas S., 105,
Brodhead, Romeyn, 4.
Brower, Auris Williamse, 79.
Burr, Aaron, 124.
Campbell, James, 134.
Campbell, Rev. William H., 106,
133, 134, 135.
Carlisle, Edward, 32.
Carr, Robert, 21.
Carteret, George, 21.
Cartwright, George, 20.
Cassidy, Edward, 131.
Catin, Mrs., 54, 55, 160, 168, 175.
Charles II., 18, 19, 45.
Childs, Francis, 124.
Claas, Barent, 60.
Claases, Barthold, 60.
Clairesen, Bartholf, 64.
Clarke, Thomas, 21.
Clarkson, Charles, 101.
Clarkson, David, 144.
Clarkson, Matthew, 51, 105, 123,
124, 137, 175, 176.
Cleaveland, Frederic, 99.
Clinton, General, 145, 146, 147,
Clinton, George, 124.
Clinton, Governor, 167, 168, 169,
Clowes, Rev. Timothy, D.D., 132.
Coghlan, Rev. James, 106.
Colman, 7, 8.
Cooper, Joab, 131, 132.
Cooper, Rev. Dr., 120, 121.
Copp, John, 120, 121.
Cornbury, Lord, 84, 86.
Cornelise, Jan, 62.
Cornell, Cornelius, 62, 64.
Cornell, George, 105.
Cornell, Gilliam, 65.
Cornell, Peter, 123, 124, 126.
Comwallis, Lord, 141, 143, 145,
Cortelyou, Isaac, 63, 108, 141.
Cortelyou, Jacques, 38, 39, 40.
Cortland, Jacobus, 39.
Courtes, Mainderd, 79.
Cousseau, James, 21.
Couwenhoven, Nicholas, 67.
Cowenhoven, Judge, 168.
Craig, Andrew, 132.
Crawford, Hon. Mr., 128.
Crommelin, Mr., 176.
Crommelin, Robert J., 105
Crookshank, Rev. William, 104.
Curtenius, Rev. Anthony, 90.
Cutler, Rev. Benjamin C, D.D.,
Dalrymple, Captain, 162.
Dalrymple, Lieutenant, 156.
Davenport, Jerome Alstyne, 135.
De Boer, Martin, 55.
De Brugh, Sir Francis, 26.
De Bruynne, Francays, 63, 109.
Deckar, John D., 21.
Declyer, John, 19.
De Estaing, Count, 158.
De Forest, Miss Julia, 133.
De Horn, Colonel, 162.
De Laet, 8.
Delavall, Thomas, 20.
Depeyster, Captain, 156.
Derry, Valentine, 131.
De Sille, Nicasius, 26.
Dillon, Patrick, 110.
Ditmarse, Johannes, 62, 65, 115,
Ditmarse, Lawrence, 65.
Ditmarsen, Jan, 64.
Dodge, Lieutenant Samuel, 167.
Dongan, Governor Thomas, 33,
37, 39, 41, 44, 45, 48, 49, 141.
Doughty, Charles, 57.
Doxse, Thomas, 65.
Duane, James, 124,
Dubois, Rev., 85.
Duer, John, 128.
Duer, William, 124.
Duer, William A., 128.
Durand, C, 105.
Duryee, Jacob, 51.
Duryee, Rev. PhiUp, D.D., 129.
Edgar, W., 124.
Elbertson, Elbert, 15.
EUiott, Andrew, 120.
Ellison, Colonel, 167.
Ellison, Gabriel, 109, 110, 121,
Ellsworth, William, 64.
Ely, Miss, 133.
Erasmus, Desideremus, 126.
Erasmus Hall, 50.
Eskemoppas, 30, 31.
Fardon, Thomas, 99.
Ferguson, James, 135.
Filkin, Henry, 68.
Fish, Richard, 70, 131.
Fleming, Sampson, 124.
Fort Orange, 9.
Franklin, Samuel, 124.
Freeman, Bernardus, 84, 85, 86,
Frey, John, 133.
Furman, Judge, 59.
Gancell, Jan, 63, 109.
Garretson, Samuel, 61, 67.
Ganitsen, Wolphert, 10.
Geib, Miss, 133.
Gibson, John, 128.
Gifford, William B., 123, 124,
Giles, Aquilla, 69, 123, 124, 125.
Giles, James, 124.
Gilleland, Captain, 167.
Gillet, Jacob, 134.
Gillingham, Miss Emma, 133.
Gordon, Dr., 149.
Grant, Major General, 144, 145,
Greene, General, 140, 149.
Grier, Isaac, 133.
Grier, Robert C. (Hon.), 177.
Groves, Captain Edward, 20.
Gucksen, Hendrick, 28.
Guilliamsen, Peter, 43.
Guilliamsen, William, 37, 43.
Gysbertse, Jan, 79.
Hainelle, Michael, 26, 63, 109.
Hall, George, 100.
Hall, Matthew, 100.
Hamilton, Alexander, 124.
Hamilton, Major James, 157, 158.
Hand, Colonel, 141.
Hansen, Jan, 30, 31, 79.
Hansen, Simon, 60, 64.
Hash rook, Mrs., 171.
Hay, Teunis Jacob, 32.
Hedden, Andries, 10.
Hegeman, Adriaen, 65.
Hegeman, Adrian, 23, 30, 31, 54,
63, 67, 108, 109, 110, 131, 143.
Hegeman, Benjamin, 62.
Hegeman, Evert, 143.
Hegeman, Hendrick, 43, 44.
Hegeman, John, 98.
Hegeman, Joseph, 37, 43, 60, 64,
Hegeman, Rem, 66.
Hegeman, William, 64.
Heister, General de, 144, 145, 147.
Hendricks, Jacob, 43.
Hendrickson, Jacob, 62.
Hendrickson, Ryck, 61, 62.
Hess, John H., 87.
Hewlett, Colonel, 162.
Hobart, John Sloss, 124.
Holt, John, 120.
Hooglandt, Derik Johnson, 43,
Hough, John, 32.
Howe, General, 141, 143, 153.
Howe, Lord, 138, 139.
Hudson, Henry, Jr., 7.
Hunter, John, 129.
Ironside, William, 132.
Jackson, Henry, 128.
Jacobs, William, 43, 44.
James II., 18, 22, 28, 41.
Janse, Aris, 60.
Jansen, Cornelius, 64.
Jansen, Ditimus Lewis, 43, 44.
Jansen, Jan, 60.
Jansen, Symon, 37.
Jay, John, 124.
Johannes, Minne, 64.
Johnson, Barent, 167.
Johnson, David, 105, 176.
Johnson, General, 167, 170.
Johnson, General Jeremiah, 4, 9,
39, 88, 167.
Johnson, Johannes, 87.
Johnson, John, 43, 44.
Johnson, Mr., 168.
Johnson, Okie, 43.
Jones, Miss Maria, 133.
Joosten, Jacop, 63, 109.
Jorise, Hendrick, 30, 31.
Kellogg, Jonathan W., 132, 133.
Kent, Chancellor, 46.
Kent & Radcliff, 99.
Kidder, Jonathan B., 133.
King, George, 139.
Kinnarimas, 30, 31.
Kip, Hardercus, 64.
Krigier, Burgomaster, 77, 78.
Labagh, Rev. Peter, 129.
Laen, Jan, 65.
Lamberse, Adrian, 34.
Lane, Thomas, 92.
Leet, Ambrose, 134.
Lefferts, Isaac, 65.
Lefferts, Jacob, 123, 124, 125.
Lefferts, John, 56, 63, 66, 68, 69.
Lefferts, Leffert, 65, 143.
Lefferts, Mrs., 169.
Lefferts, Mrs. Cynthia, 143.
Lefferts, Peter, 62, 66, 69, 96,
108, 123, 124, 125, 142.
Lefferts, Widow, 40.
Lenox, Major David, 157, 158.
Linn, Rev. John Blair, 129.
Livingston, Buckholst, 124.
Livingston, Edward, 124.
Livingston, John H., 124, 126,
Livingston, Rev. Dr., 94, 127,
Livingston, Rev. J. H., D.D.,
123, 126, 128.
Livingston, Robert R., 124.
Lloyd, Bateman, 119, 157.
Lloyd, Mrs., 157.
Lloyd, Robert, 157.
Lloyd, William, 157.
Lott, Abraham, 62, 63, 65, 68.
Lott, Englebert, 68.
Lott, Henrick J., 66.
Lott, Jeremiah, 3, 67, 69, 70.
Lott, Johannes, 65, 67, 68, 69.
Lott, Johannes E., 57, 68, 69, 95,
98, 99, 123, 124, 125.
Lott, Johannes J., 63, 66, 67, 99.
Lott, Johannes, Jr., 62.
Lott, Johannes W., 62.
Lott, John A., 64, 67, 70.
Lott, Judge, 56, 160, 162, 169,
Lott, Peter, 43.
Lott, Samuel G., 177.
Lovelace, Francis, 32, 33.
Lovelace, Thomas, 31.
Lowe, Rev. Peter, 94, 98, 102,
Lubbertse, Garrit, 43, 44.
Ludlow, Carey, 124.
Lupardus, Wilhemus, 80, 84.
Luyster, Peter, 65.
Lyman, Captain, 164.
Magaw, Colonel, 156.
Maltby, Mrs. W. W., 133.
Manning, John, 32.
Marriner, Captain, 159, 160, 161.
Martense, Adrian, 92, 99.
Martense, Garrit, 53, 120, 123,
124, 126, 160.
Martense, George, 54, 125, ICO,
Martense, Isaac, 92.
Martense, Joris, 96, 97, 123, 124.
Martense, Judge, 141, 176.
Martense, Lefferts, 53, 141, 143,
Mason, John, 126.
Mather, Cotton, 78.
Matthews, Colonel, 159, 160, 175.
McAlpin, John, 134.
McDougal, General, 151.
McElwaine, Laura, 134, 135.
Meach, Miss Almira, 133.
Megapolensis, Johannes, 13, 19,
23, 74, 78.
Megapolensis, Samuel, 19, 21.
Mercein, Thomas A. W., title
Merrill, William, 65, 66.
Messenger, Rev. John F., 106.
Meyers, Rev. John H., 129.
Mifflin, General, 150, 151.
Miles, Colonel, 145, 146, 156.
Miller, Captain, 153.
Miller, Morris, 129.
Minto, Walter, 125.
Moncrief, Major, 159, 160, 161,
Montieth, Rev. Walter, 102.
Morffee, Aris, 65.
Morrell, Theodore, 133.
Morris, Nicholas, 131.
Mowatt, James, 105.
Mulligan, Rev. John, 132.
Murphy, H. C, 13.
Nagle, Lieutenant Philip, 62.
Nagle, Philip, 48, 62, 63, 66, 68,
90, 96, 97, 98, 124, 126.
Nagle, Philippus, 65, 115, 117.
Neal, Ava, 131.
Needham, Captain Robert, 20.
Neefus, Michael, 175.
Nevius, Peter, 88.
Nicolls, Colonel Richard, 19, 22,
23, 27, 34, 42.
Nicolls, Mathias, 31.
Noon, Patrick, 110, 131.
Norrie, A., 105.
Oakies, John, 41.
Oblenais, Albert, 128, 130, 131.
Okie, John, 43.
Olmstead, James, 137.
Onderdonk, Rev. B. F., 105.
Onderdonk, Peter, 168.
Palmer, Miss, 135.
Parsons, General, 147.
Pastor, Francis Barents, 23.
Patton, Captain, 157.
Penney, Rev. Joseph, 132, 135.
Percy, Lord, 145, 147.
Pieterson, Lafford, 43.
Pigot, General, 158.
Pinchen, John, 21.
Piatt, Richard, 124.
Polhemus, Daniel, 43, 62, 64, 68,
Polhemus, Johannes Theodorus,
74, 76, 77, 78.
Polhemus, Theodorus, 37, 171.
Post, William, 92.
Prentice, J. J., 133.
Prince, Mr., 176.
Probasco, Stoffle, 60.
Provost, Samuel, 126.
:^utnam, General, 140, 148, 149.
Randolph, Captain Fitzhugh,157.
Rapalje, George Jansen De, 9.
Rapelje, Jacob, 63.
Rawlings, Colonel, 156.
Raymond, 162, 163.
Raymond, C. B., 134.
Remsen, Daniel, 62.
Remsen, Henry, 121.
Remsen, Jacob, 65.
Remsen, Jan, 60, 114.
Remsen, John, 43.
Remsen, Jores, 63, 110, 114.
Remsen, Rem, 80, 81.
Reyerse, Adriaen, 114.
Richard, Samuel, Jr., 105.
Riley, Isaac, 137.
Robinson, James, 57.
Rolla, Miss Philomela, 133.
Roloffson, John, 60.
Rubel, Johannes Casparus, 91,
Rubel, John, 144.
Rubell, Dom, 161-
Rubell, John, 110.
Rudd, Miss, 133.
Rutherford, Walter, 124.
Ryck, Hendrick, 43.
Ryck, Jacob Hendrick, 62.
Rycken, Abraham, 9.
Ryers, Adrian, 81.
Ryers, Arian, 43, 60.
Ryerson, Adrian, 60.
St. John, Mr., 176.
Salisbury, Sylvester, 32.
Sands, Comfort, 124, 126.
Sanford, John, 99.
Schenck, Johannes, 63, 109.
Schenck, Teunis, 70.
Schoonmaker, Rev. Jacob, D.D.,
Schoonmaker, Martinus, 57, 94,
96, 98, 101, 102, 126.
Schoonmaker, Michael, 87, 110,
118, 119, 128, 131, 160.
Schoonmaker, Mrs., 137.
Schoonmaker, Stephen, 57.
Seaman, Gideon, 99.
Sebring, Cornelius, 67, 68.
Selwyn, Henricus, 77.
Shepherd, Edward, 12S.
Sherbrook, Colonel, 160, 161.
Sherbrook, Major, 159, 160,
Seymour, 155, 160.
Seymour, Mr., 120, 176.
Sharpe, Jacob, Jr., 67.
Silliman, General, 156.
Skellie, John, 134.
Skillman, John, 67.
Smallwood, Colonel, 149.
Smith, Judge, 170.
Snedecker, Isaac, 65, 95.
Snedicor, John, 74.
Snediger, Jan, 23.
Sneger, Garrit, 60.
Solyns, Henry, 77.
Sperling, J. M., 67, 117.
Spicer, Thomas, 115.
Steenwick, Cornelius, 21.
Steephens, Court, 37.
Sterling, Lord, 144, 146, 147,
Stewart, Dr., 157, 158.
Stillwell, Nicholas, 65.
Stillwell, Richard, 38, 39, 40.
StirHng, General Lord, 140, 147.
Storm, Derick, 37, 63, 109.
Story, William H., 105.
Strong, Thomas M., title page.
Stryker, Cornelius, 98.
Stryker, Garret, 63.
Strj^ker, Jacob, 23, 30, 31, 64.
Stryker, Jan, 23.
Stryker, John, 28, 37, 41, 43,
Stryker, Mrs. Gertrude, 176.
Stryker, Peter, 43, 51, 62, 65, 68,
98, 99, 126.
Stryker, Pieter, 60, 64.
Stuyvesant, Peter, 13, 14, 15, 16,
17, 19, 20, 22, 23, 74, 77, 78.
Sullivan, General, 140, 144, 145,
146, 148, 150.
Suydam, Andrew, 98.
Suydam, Cornelius, 65.
Suydam, Hendrick, 96, 124, 125.
Suydam, Hendrick H., 96, 98,
Suydam, Jacob, 62.
Suydam, Ryck, 62, 68.
Symonsen, Johannes, 65.
Terhune, John, 128.
Teunis, Denise, 43, 44.
Thayre, WilUam, 132.
Thibaud, Jan, 110, 112.
Thompson, John W., 133, 134.
Thompson, Richard Whyte, 131.
Tiebout, Jan, 109.
Todd, James, 128.
Troup, George M., 129.
Turner, Joseph, 128.
Van Beuren, Courtland, 171.
Van Beuren, Henry, 171.
Van Boerum, William Jacobse,
Van Brunt, Court, 98.
Van Brunt, Rutgert, 57.
Van Buren, Dr., 159.
Van Cleef, Cornehus, 65, 131.
Van Cleef, Michael, 57, 66.
Van Corlear, Anthony, 49.
Van Corlear, Jacobus, 9.
Van Cortlandt, Jacob, 32.
Van Cortlandt, Mr., 176.
Vanderbilt, Aries Jansen, 43, 62,
Vanderbilt, Aris, 62.
Vanderbilt, Jeremiah, 68, 143.
Vanderbilt, Jeremias, 62, 66, 96,
Vanderbilt, John, 57, 61, 63, 65,
66, 67, 68, 69, 95, 99, 100,
101, 123, 124, 125.
Vanderbilt, John J., 123, 125.
Vanderbilt, John R., 96.
Vanderbilt, Judge, 162.
Vanderbilt, Rem, 51, 155.
Van Der Boergh, Jacob, 64.
Van der Donk, 18.
Van der Grilft, Paul Lunden, 19.
Vanderveer, Abraham, 63.
Vanderveer, Captain, 153, 161.
Vanderveer, Captain Cornelius,
145, 164, 169.
Vanderveer, Cornelius, 43, 44, 56,
99, 123, 124, 125, 152.
Vanderveer, Cornelius, Jr., 115,
Vanderveer, Dominicus, 62, 68.
Vanderveer, Dr., 128.
Vanderveer, Hendrick, 143.
Vanderveer, Jan, 62.
Vanderveer, J. C, 164.
Vanderveer, John, 62, 64, 99.
Vanderveer, John C, 3, 39, 62,
63, 66, 69, 152, 171.
Vanderventer, Jacobus, 143, 160,
Vandervleet, Derick, 43,
Vanderwyck, Cornelius, 43.
Vander Wyck, Cornelius Berant,
Vandeventer, Barent, 176.
Van De venter, Jacobus, 56.
Van Duyn, Garret, 65.
Van Dyke, Jeremiah, 100.
Van Eckkelen, Johannes, 63, 68,
109, 110, 111, 114.
Van Hatten, Jan Snedecor Arent,
Van Kerk, John, 62.
Van Kleeck, L. L., 82, 174.
Van Kortlandt, Oleffe Stevens,
Van Marckje, Jan Gerrit, 63, 109.
Van Marken, John Gerritson,
Van Pelt, Rem, 159.
Van Pelt, Rev. Peter, D.D., 129.
Van Ruyven, Cornelius, 23, 31.
Van Samper, Dr., 161.
Van Sinderen, Rev. Mr., 88, 122.
Van Sinderen, Rev. Ulpianus, 89,
90, 91, 93.
Van Steenburgh, Petrus, 63, 110,
116, 119, 120.
Van Twiller, Wouter, 10, 49.
Van Vleet, Derick Jansen, 60.
Van Zuren, Casparus, 79, 80, 114.
Varick, Richard, 124.
Varick, Rudolphus, 80.
Verleet, Nicholas, 21.
Verplanck, D. C, 124.
Voorhees, Adriantee, 124.
Voorhees, Lawrence, 98.
Voris, Simon, 141.
Vose, Anna F., 134.
Walderom, Jan, 65.
Waldron, Charles, 105.
Waldron, Johannes, 124.
Washington, General Geo., 138,
139, 149, 150, 151.
Wells, Philip, 39, 40.
Welp, Anthony, 110, 115, 117.
Wiggins, Duryee, 159.
Wilcocks, Wm., 124.
Wiley, Chas., 137.
William the Conqueror, 44.
Williams, General, 157.
Williamse, Hendrick, 42, 43.
Williamse, Pieter, 43.
Williamson, John, 98, 99.
Willys, Samuel, 21.
Wilson, Dr., 128, 129, 130, 131.
Winthrop, Governor, 21.
Woodhull, Rev. Selah S., 102.
Wyckoff, Cornelius, 69, 167.
Wyckoff, John, 63, 70, 131.
WyckoiT, Major, 168, 170.
Wyckoff, Major Hendrick, 167.
Wyckoff, Nicholas, 65.
Zabriskie, Dr., 119, 175.
v^ ^, 1,':.
. ^^•, .V,
^ ^^ ^ — :t^-, ^^. .r— ^,. .>^^ -.-j:-
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS