William S. (William Smith) Pelletreau.

Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and family history of New York (Volume 1) online

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citizen. Born and reared in a land of lil)erty, he always was
loyai to the institutions of his adopted country, lie was (piiet
and reserved in his habits, and was highly respected by his
neighbors and friends. He took an active interest in the mnterial
growth and develo[)me]it of Willinnisbuig, now a part of Brook-
lyn. He was a member of the board of directors of the W'illiams-
burgh Fire Insurance C'omxiany, and was also instiuniciital in
the establishment of the Williamsbui-g ferries. He was one of
the organizers and founders of the "Societie (ienei'ale Suisse."
He passed away April 9, 187f).

Francis Du Bois married Klzii'e Leulia. who bore iiiiii four
children, three of whom attained yeai's of niatuiit}': Francis,


who at i)rc'seiit resides in I'aris; George AV., of this i-eview; and
Lucy, unmarried, died April 'i:\, 1903. The mother of the afore-
mentioned children died March 20, 1876. Both parents were
regular attendants (»!' tlie Bedford Avenue Reformed Church in

(leorge W. Du IJois was horn at the family homestead in
Brooklyn, ^larch lo, 1830. Pie ac(iuired his early mental train-
ing in the schools of the Kastern District, Brooklyn, and then
entered the Polytechnic Institute, which he attended for some
time, and then entered his father's office at o6 Maiden Lane,
New Voi-k. Here he aiMpiired a thorough knowledge of the
various details of the trade, domestic as well as the importation
of fine vSwiss watches and jewelry. He took an active interest-
in the material welfare of the neighborhood, and for a number
of years was a director of the Lafayette Fire Insurance Com-
pany of Brookl\n. He closely emulated the policies and prin-
ciples established l)y his father, and in every way proved himself
a most worthy scion of a wortliy sire. In 1870 he purchased a
house and grounds at Elm Place, next to the residence of his
father-in-law, Rev. E. S. Porter, both places now belonging to
Mrs. Du Bois. He spent the latter years of his life at the family
homestead in the Xineteenth ward, Brooklyn, where he passed
away, March 14, 1887. During his l)rief and useful career he
had traveled considerably both in the United States and in
Euro})e, where he had a wide circle of friends. He was a chris-
tian gentleman, a regular and staunch supporter of the Bed-
ford Avenue Reformed Cliurch, a member of the Consistory
and a teacher in the Sunday school. His untimely death was
monrned 1.)y a large number of friends in trade circles as well
as in the neigh1)orhood of his home. At the time of his death it
was justly said that he was an upright man, a good citizen, a lov-
ina: husband and an indulgent father.


George AV. Du Bois was married in Brooklyn by Kev. El-
bert Stothoff Porter, I). 1)., l)eoeml)er lU, 1874-, to Miss Susan
Kntlihoiie Porter, l)oi-n Jnne 1, 1853, daughter of Pev. Elbert
Stotliolf and Eliza Kittle (Wynkoop) Porter. Of this marriage
were born three children: 1. Francis Elbert, of whom a sketch
appears elsewhere in this work. '1. Susan Porter, l)orn Septem-
ber 7, 1876. 3. Lucy Elzire, born June 15, 1879, died at \^evay,
Switzerland, February 3, 1884. The motber of the aforemen-
tioned children survives her worthy husband and resides in TjCX-
ington avenue, New York City. She is a member of the Plen-
drick Hudson Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revo-
lution, also her daughter, Susan Porter Du Bois, is a member
of the same chapter. Mrs. Du Bois is a consistent member of the
South Keformed church. She is a manager of the Woman's
Board of Foreign Missions of the Keformed Chnicli in Amer-
ica, and of the Settlement of Christodora House at Xo. 117
Avenue B, New York City.

The armorial bearings of the ancient house of Du Bois are
thus described: Bois (du) de Dunilac-Neufchatel (An. "Jl Sept.
1855). D'azur a trois fasces d'or (du Bois) ; an fr.-cp d'or. di.
de trois pals d'azur (du Terraux). L'ecru horde d'or. Ccp
cour. C. ; un lion iss. d'or tenant de ses ]jattes une banniere anx
amies du fr.-(p S. : deux lions d'or.


Rev. Dr. Elbert S. T^orter was born in the town of HillsI)oro.
New Jersey, Octolier 23, 1820. His early studies were at a
select school at Ovid, Seneca county, New York, where he was
sent at six years of age, and at a school in the city of New
York kept Ity the father of the late distinguished lawyer. James
T. Brady. When lietween eleven and twelve he went into a stoi-c
at Millstone, New York, for one yeai'. Aftci' this be attcndt'd


tlie Academy at Sonu'rville, Xew Jerspy, where he spent three
years. He entered the soi)liomore class of Princeton College in
his sixteenth year, and was graduated three years later, in 1839.
He studied law for a short time, but did not seek admission to
tlie l)ar. He was graduated in theolog^■ at the Theological Sem-
inary at Xew Brunswick in 1842. In the same year he was
licensed by the classis of Xew Brunswick, and in the following
year was installed at Chatham, in Columbia county, Xew York,
as pastor of a small missionary congregation. This point is now
known as Chatham on the Harlem railroad, and the junction of
the Boston and Albany railroad. At the date of Dr. Porter's
going there it was a small settlement of a poor and to a con-
siderable extent vicious population. Filled with zeal in the
ministerial work, he commenced his labors and met with great
success. He remained seven years and built up one of the most
fionrishing of the country churches of the Reformed denomina-
ti:)ii. Fie next accepted a call to his present church, then know;i
as the F"'irst Eeformed Dutch Chui'ch in Williamsburgh, of which
he became the pastor Xovember 1, 1S41>. and has now officiated
fur many years.

The history of tins church is very interesting. Its growth
show-^ the wdudei-ful changes which seventy-five years have pro-
duced in the entire section now included in the city of Brooklyn.
In tlie first year of the Inst century. Brooklyn contained only
three thousand and two hundred and ninety-eight inhabitants,
:rid in l*^-']! was erected into a cit>" with a ])0])ulation of about
t\v(iit\-f()ur tlionsand. It then had but one l\eformed Dutch
chnrcli, where.TS now there are a numl>er of them. In the year
1S17 a fei-ry was established lietween the lOot of Grand street,
Xew Voi-k. and the foot of what afterward liecame (Irand street,
Willii'in-'ungh. Tiinr to that i)eriod the inhabitants crossed
the river by sail or paddle boats. The ferry soon contributed


to tlie establisliment of a considerable settlement along the shore
from (Jrnnt to North Second street, throngh which ran the tiii'n-
pike to Xewtown. A village charter was ohtaiiicil in 1S-J7, when
the po])ulation ammnited to ahoiit fiftei^ii hnndi'cd. At that date
the shore from Wallabont Bay to Xewtown Cieek was dotted
with comfortable farm honses, occnpied by the old Dntch fami-
lies. AVilliam^l)iirgli became a city -lannary 1, 1852, and it was
coiisolidatcil with IJi'ooklyii and [)nshwi('k unchM- one charter,
•lanuary 1. IS."),'). At the date of tlie consolidation Williams-
bnrgh liad a popnlation of abont lifty thonsand, and IJrooklyn
aJiout one hmidred and twenty thonsand. The entire population
at this time is abcut fonr hundred thousand.

The church in Williamslnirgh grew out of the First Ke-
formed Dntch Churcli of Rushwick. On the 2Stli of September,
1828. the cornerstone of a church edifice was laid on a site which
is now on the corner of Fourth and South Second streets. It
was dedicated on the 2rith of July, 1829, the Rev. Dr. Broadhead,
of Xew York, ))reacliing the sermon. The congregation was or-
ganized as a seijarate church l)y the classis of Long Island on the
1st of X'ovember, 182!). hnmediately after its organization the
church received into it< service the Rev. James Demarest. who
for the tii'st six months sei'ved in the capacity of a missionary,
and was supported in part by the Board of Domestic Missions.
( >n the tirst Sabbath of his labors he preached to sixteen peo])le,
on the second to eighteen, and on the third to twenty-foui'. At
that date the building was remote from the village, which was
forming around and above the foot of (Iraud street. Fourth
street was then but a fai'uu'r's lane - -rougli, uneven with boul-
ders and studded here and thei-e witli stumps oi- with ti-ees of the
oi'iginal forest. Flagged sidewalks and pavements as yet there
were none. Rev. Mr. Demarest labored as missionary and pas-
tor foi- nine vears and nine months, when he resigned. The pas-


torate was next filled l)y the Key. William H. Van Doren, who
remained nntil the sprint'; of 184!), abont ten years. In the
spring' of the same year imi)ortant improvements of the ehureh
edifice wei'e completed. The installation of Dr. Porter took
place on the third Snnday of Deeemlier, 1849, and his ministry
has l)een the most noted in the history of the ehni'cli. In ]841>
Williamsjinrgh was still a small place. The streets were nn-
lighted by niglit save only when the moon relieved the dark-
ness. Since then every one of the local institutions has been
established, sncli as ))anks, markets, libraries and associations
for pnhlic beneficence. The clmrches were few and their mem-
bershii) not large.

From an early date the First Church contributed its mem-
bers and its means to found other churches. The First Presby-
terian Church of AVilliamsburgh grew out of it; in 1848 twenty-
three members were dismissed to form the churcli at (Treen})oint ;
in 18.")! several were dismissed to aid in the organization of the
South Bushwick Church, and in 18,14 members were dismissed
to f(mnd the Lee Avenue Churcb. For several years contribu-
tions were made to the salaries of the ministei's of both the last
named churches. In 1855 a Mission Sunday school was estab-
lished in Ninth street, which has since been maintained in great
vigor and efficiency at an exi)ense of never less than five hundred
dollars per annum. The church has repeatedly given its assist-
ance, ]>ecuniarily and otherwise, in other practical efforts of
religious usefulness.

In 1854 the si)ire of the church was })rostrated by a tornado.
Subsequently the edifice was enlarged and improved at a cost of
about five thousand dollars in all. fn 18()0 a contract was made
for the purchase of a new site for a new edifice, when the war
arrested furthei- movements. In July, 1866, the church on
Fourth street was sold to the Central l)ai)tist congregation, and


in SepteinlxT, ]S(J7, the fouiidatioiis of a new edifice were coiii-
meneed on the site purdiased in ISGU. This site consists of seven
lots, fonr on Bedford avenue and three on Clymer street, one
of the most select and liiijlily impi'oved neighhorhodds of the city
at that time. Tlie cornerstone was laid in July, 1868, and the
completed church was dedicated in October, 1869, and cost, with
a chapel adjoining, one hundred and thirty thousand dollars.
The building is in the Ht)manes(jiie style of architecture, and is
one hundred and ten feet long (exclusive of the chapel) by
seventy feet wide. The whole front on Bedford avenue, includ-
ing towers, is eighty-two feet. On the northwest corner tliere
is a tower ninety-eight feet liigh. and on the opposite corner
is a large turret seventy-eight feet high. The basement is built
of Belleville stone and the walls above the basement are faced
up with Philadelphia pressed brick, and trimmed with Dorchest-
er stone. The audience room is eiglity-seven feet ]>y sixty-seven
in the clear. The windows are filled witli enriched glass. The
first floor is seated with walnut pews of the most approved pafc-
tei-n. There are galleries on three sides having liandsome 0})en-
work fronts made of walnut and butternut woods. These are
unlike most galleries in that they are constructed with one level
floor the entire width, in place of the usual style with platforms
graded one above the other. This level gallery is divided into
s]iaces of about eight by eight feet each, with light 0{)en 1)alustar
railings, carpeted the same as the first floor, each space furnished
with walnut upholstered cliairs and a small center table, thus
making the gallery the most attractive portion of the iiouse.
These spaces have been I'ented for an aggregate sum of tliree
thousand dollars. The building is pi'ovided with a new system
of ventilation. The walls and ceilings are richly tinted with deli-
cate hues. The cliurch seats fifteen hundi'ed and the chapel ac-
commodates six hundi-ed. Three hundred and twentv-five dollars


l)reminin was ))ai(l for the choice of tlie first pew at the sale of
them. Taken as a wliole, this is one of the most elegant and
connnodious edifices of the kind to Ite found in the Tnited States.

During the day of dedication three imposing and largely
attended services took place in the church. Dr. Porter preached
the ])rincipal sermon, the Kev. Dr. De Witt delivered an address
and the dedication sentences and jirayer. and Chancellor Isaac
Fen-is delivered an affecting and approin-iate address to the
congregation. There are now about foui- hundred memljers and
each of the two Sunday scliools has about two hundred schohirs.

Dr. Porter received his degree of Doctor of Divinity from
Rutgers College, New Bnuiswick, in 1S54. For fourteen years
he was the editor of the "Christian Intelligencer," the organ of
the reformed denomination. His career as an editor was bril-
liant in the extreme, and when lie resigned this position both the
religious and secular press united in an expression of the highest
regard for his character and talents. Besides his editorial writ-
ings he has {)ulilished in serial form a "Hisfory of the Reformed
Dutch Clauvh in the Ignited States," the "Pastor's Guide," and
other small volumes and various occasional sermons. One of
these latter is a "Historical Discourse," delivered on the final
services in the old church, and is of much value fiH)m its
historical information. Dr. I'orter was the president of the
first General Synod held after the name of the denomination
was changed from the Reformed Church to the Reformed Churcli
of North America. He had a beautiful farm of sixty acres at
Claverack, in Columljia county, which was well managed and
made jU'ofitable by the jicrso!! in charge.

\)v. I^)rter had an equally ])roportioned figure of the aver-
aue liei<4lit. He had a (juiet plain appearam-e, but his whole
manner assured you that he Avas a man of l)oth dignity and force
of character. His head was long with a sharp chin, but much


fullness in the upper poi'tion. The features were prominent and
expressive. His liead and face proclaimed thi-ee distinctive
and strong- (jualities in him. In the first phice, he was a thor-
ouulily conscientious man in the performance of every duty in
life; second, he was strong in his own self-reliance; and third,
his mind was clear, comprehensive and practical on all occasions
and on all subjects, lie was never found wanting' in any place
that dnt_\- called liini and in the chni-ch and everywhere he was
one of those who naturally take the position of a leader and
examiile to other men. In his conversation, in his cahnness and
metliod, which, after all, was not unmixed with caution, you
obtained a \ ivid insight into the moral and physical power which
was inljorn in him. He was not demonstrative or presumptuous,
l)ut (piiet. unobtrusive and modest. Agreeable, cordial and f i-ank
in his manners, they were not of a kind to draw any special atten-
tion ui)on him. But when work was to be done, when cool, prac-
tical judgment was wanted, when a champion and a hero were re-
(piired, tlien he came to the front with his strong neiwe, bis will-
ing mind and hands and his brn\e and lu)peful heart.

His work in the ministrx' stands nobly conspicuous in the
religious record of his times for its fidelity and success. It has
not l)een a work of show and boastfulness, but one which will
spe:dv t'lrongh all denominational history for its usefulness to
the chuich and the community. His sermons excelled in both
leariiing and literary ability. He wi'ote in an elegant, compact
and foi'cilile -^tyle of coniposition. showing the ready pen a.nd
enlarged and Inilliant mental poweis. Whatevci' he displaced
ai)peared in thought and argument which were pi'culi:u-'\- bis
own. There \\as no seeming effort and no disjibiN'. but bis jilcas-
ant How of tender language and bis logical and seiisihl," \-ii'ws
never fai'ed to arrest a.ll ears.

Kev. HIbert S. Porter served as chaplain of the Forty-.sev-


eiitli Regiment of Brooklyn. New York, ^'ol^nteel•s, under Col-
onel Jeremiah ^leserole. Kev. Fill)ert S. Poi-ter died Febi'uai-y
:16, 188S.

Kev. Elljert S. Porter married, 1845, Eliza Kittle Wyn-
koo]), daughter of Eev. Peter Sylvester and Margaret (Gosman)
Wynkoop, and of this marriage were born six cliildren: Mar-
garet, died in infancy; ^lary Joanna, Sylvester Wynkoop, Susan
Pathhone. Eliza (rosman, and Elhert StothotT, who became a
minister of the gospel. The mother of these children, Eliza
Kittle Wynkoop Porter, died October 7, 1889.


During the eleventh century, the first recorded owner of
land of Etendone (a place of some note i)rior to the Concjuest)
was Susnualo, of English origin and founder of the ancient fam-
ily of Sirlai. The most remote ancestor being Saswalo, Castel-
lan of Lisle, Flanders, etc., 1000, 1039, who founded the Abbey
of Palempian — his son, Robert, had Roger I, whose grandson
went to crusade 1096 and from his brother, Hugh, descended the
renowned "Castellans of Lisle."

Sasnalo or Sigewalo II was a witness to a charter of Bald-
win, Bishop of Tourney 1087; appears in the history of the
Normans. The Shirley family bearing the arms of Ridel descend
from him. Descendants of Bathet or Baset, duke of the Loire,
wlio accom})anied Ouilly Basset and Normanville in 912 have
married in the family; also Thomas, sixth Baron of (Jroby, mar-
ried Elizabeth, tirst and co-heir of Sir Baldwin Frevile, Lord
of Tamworth, in right of his wife — he d. 35th of Henry VI;
their descendants are known as Ferrars of Tamworth, Anne of
the eleventh generation brought Tamworth Castle, in nuirriage
to Ro])ert Shirley, the fourteenth Baron of Ferrars, of Chartley,
who bv the marriage of John Devereux to Cecil Bourchier

Rufus G. Shirley.


brought the Baronies of Bonr and Loraine, in the eiglit in-evicnis

The manor is in Jjower Eatington, a town ahout niid-
way between the Vale of Kedhorse and tlie plains of Eve-
sham, betwixt the villages of Hawford and Butlers-Marston,
four miles distant from Stratford-on-Avon. The cliureh and
manor-house are l)uilt on the uortheastern hank of the river
Stour, the dividing line between the counties of Warwick and
Worcester and the parishes of Eatington and Tredington.

His son Fulcher held land there; dead IKi!) (Temp. lienry
11). The grandson, Sewallis de Scyrle, l^ord of Eatington, living
1192, married Matilda, daughter of Ridel of Haloughton, county
Berb., living MiVl. (3-^ Kich. 1.) They had Henry, Lord of

Eatington, 1205, married , and their son. Sir

Sewallis de Eatington, Knt., living 1251 (Temp. Henry III),
mari-ied Isabel, daughter of Robert Meysnyll, of "Dalby in the
Wttulds in Leicestershire." Their only son. Sir James de
Eatendon, living 1278 ((>7 Edward 1), l)eing Lord of Sirlai,
county Derby (Temp. Henry ITI), adopted the name Shirley
(derived from the Saxon and signifying a clear place) ; married
Agnes de Waunton.

Their first son, Sir Bali)h Shirley, Knt., Lord of Eatington,
ob. i;>2(i, sheriff of Derby and Xottingham 1271), had the custody
of Salo)), Stafford and Slirewsl)ury Castle, 12i)S; govei'uor of
Horston Castle, county of l)(>rby, l.")15; nuirried Margaret,
daughter and coheir of W'altei' de Waldershef; constituted in
the 5th of Edward II, govei'nor of tln' (Vistle of Honor, of High
Peak, in Derbyshire; and their son, Thomas Shii-ley, Knt., !>ord
of I'atington, dead \'MV.\ (.■)5-;!() Ldward 111), manied [sabell,
daughter of Kalph Bassett, of Drayton, and sister of the last

Their onl\' son, Sii- Hugh Sliirlc\. Lord of Eatington, !\ras-


ter of the King's Hawks, Cliief Warden of Hingliani, Ferrers
Park, county Nortliani])ton. and ("onstalile of Donnington Castle
1399. slain ex pariv rcf/is, in the battle of Shrewsbury, July 12,
140;!; married Beatrice, daughter of Sir Peter Braose. of AVis-
ton, in Sussex, and tenth in descent from AVilliam de P)raose,
Lord of tlie Castle of Bramber. lOSo-li.

Their son. Ralph Shirley, Kiit., of Katington, married Joan
(Joyce), daughter of Thomas Bassett, of Brailesford, county
of Derby, Es(i., and Alargaret Mering, and ninth in descent
from Ealph Bassett (Temp. Henry I).

Their son, Palph Shirley. l{ls(j., T;ord of Eatington, ol). l-l()(),
sheriff of Xottinghani and Derliy, mari-ied Alargaret, daughter
of Thomas Staunton, of "Staunton Harolde," 1423, and twelfth
in descent from Alan de Lecha, who held a land grant before
1141. Their son, John Shirley, 1'jS(|., Lord of Eatington, oh.
1486 (Temp. Henry VTI), married Elianor, daughter of Lord
Hugh AVilloughby, of Aliddleton, county of Warwick, Knt.
Their first son. Sir Paljih Sliii'lcy, Knt., of Banneret 14.^7. ob.
January 6, 1516, l)uried in the chapel of St. Katharine, within
the abbey church of (ierondon, married, fourth wife, Jane,
eldest daughter of Sir Kobert Sheffield, of Chilwell, county of
Xottinghani, Knt. Their only son, Francis Shirley, of Stau.iton
Harolde, Esq., Lord of Eatington, n. January I'd, l.")!."), ob. Au-
gust, 1570-1, married 1585. Dorothy, daughter of his guardian.
Sir John (Jift'ord, of Chillington, county Staft'oi'd, Knt, (wichnv
of John Congreve, of Streeton, Staffordshire, England). They
resided at Alanoi- of Brailesford, Derbyshire (Temp. P]dward
VI). "Indenture of the 22nd of March, 8th Eliz. 1566"— "the
now mancion bowse of Francis Shirley of Staunton Harolde" —
"it liad two turrets and gothick gates at its entrance impressive
and gloomy in ai)i)earance. " Their eldest son, John Shirleyj
Es([., boi-n at Staunton Harolde, 15H5 (27 Henry AJll), "in


stnu'ted in liis youth" "in all manner of good litcratni'e. virtue
and military discipline, hy the most knowing- and excellent mas-
ters, of his time in which he profited so much, that he drew ad-
miration, fi-oni all that ever saw liim; who all praised him, for
the sweet candor of his life and rar<^ acnteiiess of liis wit";
ob. Septeml)er iL', loTO, married, loofj, dane, daughter of
Thomas, Lord Lovett, of Astwell, county Northampton, and
thirteenth in descent from William Lovett, of Rhyston.

Tlieii' son, Sir (Jeorge Shirley, Bart., Lord of Eatington,
n. April '2'A, l.").")<), ob. Apiil '27. 1()L'2, buried at Breedon, on the
Hill, county Leicester, mairied, L").^?, Frances, daughter of
Henry, Lord Berkeley, ob. December L'!l, ITjOf).

Tlieir eldest son. Sir Henry Shirley, Bart., Lord of Eating-
ton, n. 15SS. ob. Fel)ruary 8, 1632, married, August 1, 1651, Lady
Dorothy, youngest daughter of Sir Kobert Devereux, second
P^arl of Ks-ex. and "favorite of (,j)neen Elizabeth and great-
great-gi'anddaughter of the Honorable AValter Devereux, of the
Kings most noble order of ye garter, knight viconte Hereford
Lord Ferrers of Thartley" (and T^ady Mary, daughter of Lord
Thomas, >hir(|nis Doi-sett). and eighteenth in descent from John
de Ebroicis. At the Lord l)e])uties coming to London, he sol-
emnly caused my Lords' (Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex)
"Patent of Eai-I Marshall of the conntrey of F. femes (Feney)
"to be red and published and imested my Lord in his office and
"it is greatlie to be thought that my lord shall have com'odtie
"by that conntrey— but that I I'eferre to fui'ther trial I Fxitvs
"ecta"; from original lettei' in jjossession of Loi'd Bagot.

Their <on. Sir Kobert Shirley. I'art.. Lord of Eatington,
n. 1625, ob. Xovember Ki 1 ().!(), married. 1(i4(i, Katharine, daugh-
ter (d' Sir [lum)»hrey Okeover. of ( )keover. county Stafford. Esc].,
ob. Xovember L'-!. 1()72. Above the entrance to the beautiful
church of Ilolv Trinitv at Staunton Hai'old is a tablet of white

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Online LibraryWilliam S. (William Smith) PelletreauHistoric homes and institutions and genealogical and family history of New York (Volume 1) → online text (page 14 of 26)