Henry Reed Stiles.

A history of the city of Brooklyn : including the old town and village of Brooklyn, the town of Bushwick, and the village and city of Williamsburgh (Volume 1) online

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Online LibraryHenry Reed StilesA history of the city of Brooklyn : including the old town and village of Brooklyn, the town of Bushwick, and the village and city of Williamsburgh (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 49)
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974.702 M '






L 3 1833 01152 2932




N. Y.













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


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




E»OBi7IM. Cot-Printer.







1 %\m |aps



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

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


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

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

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

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




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

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

3. Map of Brf.uckelen Settlements in 1646 47

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

5. The Schermerhorn House, at Gowanus 52

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

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

8. Autograph of Carel de Bevois 117

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

10. portrarr and autograph of rev. bernardus freeman 183

11. Autograph of Rev. John Arondeus 184

12. Autograph of Rev. Vlncentius Antonldes 185

13. Portrait of Rev. Ulpianus Van Sinderen 187

14. Portrait of Rev. Peter Lowe 192

15. The Old Brooklyn Church and Duffleld House* 193

16. View of Brookland in 1766-67 217

17. Map of the Battle of Brooklyn 251

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



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

19. Bedford Corners, in 177G 267

20. Map of Bedford Corners, in 1776 267

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

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

23. Map of Brookland Ferry in 1766-67 311

24. Brooklyn Fort 315

85. IIkssian Camp-Hut (Sectional View) 320

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

27. Map of TnE Wallabout, during the Revolution 333

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

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

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

81. Tin: Tomb of TnE Martyrs in 1839 373

32. The Present Appearance of the Tomb 376

33. Brooklyn in 1798 379

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



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

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



The Early Settlers and Patents of Breuckelen.

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


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

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


Ecclesiastical History of Breuckelen, 1628-1664.

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


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


Civil History of Breuckelen, 1664-1674.

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


Ecclesiastical History of Breuckelen, 1664-1803.

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



Civil History of Brookland, 1675-1775.

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


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

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


Brooklyn during the Revolution.

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


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

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

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


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

Online LibraryHenry Reed StilesA history of the city of Brooklyn : including the old town and village of Brooklyn, the town of Bushwick, and the village and city of Williamsburgh (Volume 1) → online text (page 1 of 49)