Brooklyn Standard Union
July 1905

"Auntie  Van DYKE" Startles Young Generation With Her Sprightness
Reception in her Honor at the Lindcoln Mission

In a humble household on the top floor of the two-story house at 
1308 Atlantic avenue, ther was consternation yesterday morning, 
because "Auntie Van DYKE" had disappeared. She had been living 
for many years with Mrs. Sarah BROWN. When Mrs. BROWN went to 
her room as usual to bid her good morning yesterday, lo and behold, 
"Auntie had disappeared. "Surely she must have been wafted to heaven," 
exclaimed good Mrs. Brown in perturbation. "Auntie" Van DYKE had 
not gone on such a long journey, however, but, unbeknown to the 
household, had taken her cane and hobbled downstairs. "Just to get 
a bit of fresh air," as she explained to a Standard Union reporter 
last night.

"Next Tuesday "Auntie" Van DYKE will celebrate the 114th 
anniversary of the date of her birth and, to all appearances, 
she will live to celebrate many more of them. She has been kept 
indoors nearly all winter owing to it's unusual severity. The 
restraint has made her restless and when yesterday morning the 
sun came out bright and the air warm, she could not resist the 
temptation of going downstairs to get the full benefit of it. 
"Auntie" is colored and wants it to be understood that she comes 
from an old-line family that is many degrees  better than some of 
"dis yere white trash" so much in evidience in recent years.
Long before it was ever supposed that "Auntie" would become 
a centenarian, it was known that she was a very, very old woman, 
but no particular efforts had been made to arrive at the exact 
date of her birth. But as she passed the century mark, the 
question became more then one of idle curiosity and broadened 
out to one of specific interest. A search was instituted and 
in the old CORTELYOU records in New Utrecht it was found that 
she was born March 14, 1791. She was born a slave and the first 
sixty ears of her life were spent in bondage. She declares that 
she remembers seeing George Washington when he visited her master, 
Daniel CORTELYOU at New Utrecht, on which occasion she declares 
that the "Father of his Country" frequently came to her master's 
house, usually on horseback. This was 1798 or 1799.

"Auntie" Van DYKE was sold as a slave to Mr. Cortelyou by his 
sister and in 1812 she was married to a slave named Van DYKE. 
She is the mother of eight children, all of whom were born and 
died in slavery. She said last night..
"We lived on the outskirts of New Utrecht and I remember when 
Fort Hamilton was built. We used to go down there and if you did 
not watch out you would get lost in the woods in those days. 
It was so deep down that some of us did get lost. Like all the 
other slaves, I used to go out into the fields and hoe 
and do general farmwork."

"Auntie" seems to be as bright and active as any woman of 70 years. 
She gets up early every morning with the rest of the family, dresses 
herself, walks about the house and when the weather is good, goes out 
and takes a short walk about the block unattended. She has only one eye 
but the brilliancy of the optic makes up for two. She has no teeth, but 
a fairly good crop of grizzly white hair. She is just now very much 
interested in the preparation of a new dress in which she is to appear 
at the festivities to be held in her honor at the Lincoln Mission, 
1699 Atlantic avenue on Thursday evening. While the recollection of 
scenes in early life down to 1846 are clear, her mind seems almost a 
blank on events that occurred subsequently. She recollects little or 
nothing of the Civil War, when she was in her seventies and it is with 
some difficultly that she recalls events of recent date.

Transcriber :
Nancy E Lutz