A History of the City of Brooklyn and Kings County, New York
At the time of his death, in 1885, Mr. Ostrander had completed considerable MS. for a history of the City of Brooklyn and Kings County; had prepared many chronological notes with a view to fuller writing, and had accumulated a mass of material in the form of transcripts, references, newspaper and other reports. It was his own understanding that a first volume of a proposed two-volume history might be regarded as well in hand, and that the wherewithal for the remaining chapters was advanced toward completion.
At the outset of his undertaking the editor met the embarrassment of not finding any outline which might reveal the precise form in which the author intended to cast his work. Mr. Ostrander worked with a definite idea, but did not formulate this idea in writing, and only the completed expressions of this idea remained for the guidance of the editor. It became apparent that the author intended to rearrange and extend the matter for the earlier chapters. This matter was preserved in the form of a series of articles published in the Brooklyn "Eagle," during 1879-80, covering the period from the discovery by Hudson to the beginning of the Revolution. The degree of attention which these articles attracted induced Mr. Ostrander to extend the series far beyond the range he originally in tended to give to them. As a result these articles were not precisely consecutive, nor was the matter so ordered as to adapt itself to book chapters without material changes. Without knowing the author's design in de tail, it was exceedingly difficult to effect these changes save upon lines which the natural symmetry of such a work seemed to suggest, and the editor has had no hesitation in so rearranging the material, and in changing such features of the narrative as had been temporarily essential to serial publication.
For the middle period, extending from the opening of the Revolution to the time of the consolidation of Brooklyn, Williamsburgh, and Bushwick, the author left a full narrative, and considerable collateral material. Beyond this point the chapters were in an unfinished sketch. In putting together the elements of this part of the work, the editor has been actuated by a wish to follow, so far as it might be apparent, the author's aim and plan. Possibly there is no occasion to offer apology for those passages in the body of the work, and particularly in the last chapter on modern Brooklyn, in which the editor has carried the narrative beyond the date of Mr. Ostrander's death. The few instances in which this occurs are obviously justified by the exigencies of the work. Nor should there be need for any defense on the part of the editor for the proportions of different elements of the work as now presented. No two historical writers would agree as to essential proportions in such a matter, and, without consultation with the author, no editor could hope to do more than compromise between such intent as appeared in unfinished work before him, and such ideal as to himself seemed wise.
Both author and editor have incurred obligations to Stiles's histories of Brooklyn and Kings County; to the "Notes" of Furman; Field's "Historic Scenes"; the Collections of the Long Island Historical Society; the his tories of Thompson and Prime, and to other authorities to whom acknowledgment is offered in the notes and in the body of the work. The editor is indebted to the excellent almanacs of the "Eagle" and of the "Citizen"; to the "Brooklyn Compendium," compiled by John Dykeman, Jr., and published by order of the Common Council in 1870; to the recent compilation, "The Eagle and Brooklyn," edited by Henry W. B. Howard and Arthur N. Jervis; and to various local reports and publications which do not call for enumeration here.
Table of Contents
THE REGION OF BROOKLYN AT THE TIME OF THE DISCOVERY 1
DISCOVERY AND FIRST SETTLEMENTS 16
THE INDIANS AND THE EARLY SETTLERS 42
THE BEGINNINGS OF BREUCKELEN 1643-1647 53
DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE UNDER THE DUTCH 1647-1664 69
KINGS COUNTY AFTER THE ENGLISH CONQUEST 1665-1700 106
BROOKLYN BEFORE THE REVOLUTION 1701-1775 157
KINGS COUNTY DURING THE REVOLUTION 1775-1783 211
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Table of Contents
BROOKLYN AFTER THE REVOLUTION 1784-1810 1
BROOKLYN VILLAGE 1811-1833 47
THE CITY OF BROOKLYN 1834-1860 80
THE PERIOD OF THE CIVIL WAR 1861-1865 117
BROOKLYN AFTER THE WAR 1866-1876 132
THE MODERN CITY 1877-1893 167
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During the whole period of the Revolution Brooklyn had been peculiarly disturbed. More than any other of the county towns, it had been distracted and prostrated. Farms had been pillaged and the property of exiled Whigs given over to Tory friends of the Governor. Military occupation naturally resulted in great damage to property. "Farmers were despoiled of their cattle, horses, swine, poultry, vegetables, and of almost every necessary article of subsistence, except their grain, which fortunately had been housed before the invasion. Their houses were also plundered of every article which the cupidity of a lawless soldiery deemed worthy of possession, and much furniture was wantonly destroyed. At the close of this year s campaign, De Heister, the Hessian general, returned to Europe with a shipload of plundered property." While the other towns were receiving pay for the board of prisoners, and thus being justified in maintain- ing their crops, Brooklyn remained a garrison town until the end.
After the evacuation, Brooklyn's farmers and tradesmen at once turned their attention to the restoration of the orderly conditions existing before the war. It also became necessary to reorganize the local government. In April, 1784, was held the first town meeting since April, 1776. Jacob Sharpe was chosen town clerk, and Leffert Lefferts, the previous clerk, was called upon to produce the town records. The result of this demand has already been described in the reference to the missing records.