BROOKLYN'S LARGE ESTATES What Has Become of the Old Farm Lands of the City of Brooklyn?

There are no large estates in Brooklyn at all comparable with the Astor or Rhinelander or Trinity Church estates in New York, though some New York families, like the SCHERMERHORNS, still own large plots of ground over here, said a well known conveyancer of Brooklyn real estate a few days ago. The only leasehold we have in Brooklyn, is the Cornelius HEANEY estate, the income of which is for the support of the Catholic Orphan Asylum Society. This estate is on Amity and Congress streets and extends from Court street to the river. It is managed by the Brooklyn Benevolent Society. Cornelius HEANEY, the legatee, it is said, was a partner of John Jacob Astor in the fur business. He is buried in St. Paul's Church, corner of Court and Congress streets. His name is gratefully remembered by the poor Catholic children and widows of Brooklyn, to whom presents are yearly made of shoes and fuel. A curious feature of the will under which this estate is managed by the Brooklyn Benevolent Society is that although the proceeds are applied for the benefit of persons of the Catholic faith, only laymen are eligible for office in the society. The MACOMBER estate, lying between Fulton street, and DeKalb avenue and Gold street and Hudson avenue, is still held intact as an estate, owing to the fact that it is in litigation among the heirs. It has been in the family over fifty years. Some of the old Brooklyn families were the: COWENHOVENS, LEFFERTSES, POLHEMUSES, CORTELYOUS, SPADERS, NOSTRANDS, HUNTERS, JOHNSONS, DENTONS, UNDERHILLS, LITCHFIELDS, CLARKS, MEEKERS, MESEROLES, DELMONICOS, VANDERVOORTS, LOTTS RAPELYEAS and BOERUMS. All of these names are familiar to Brooklynites, of the present day, owing to the streets which have been named after them. The MESEROLES, BOERUMS, REMSENS, TITUSES, VANDERVOORTS, TROUTMANS and WYCKOFFS owned nearly the whole of Williamsburg. Greenpoint was principally the property of Samuel J. TILDEN and D.C. and A.C. KINGSLAND, late mayor of New York. Nearly the whole of that part of Brooklyn formerly known as the village of Brooklyn was owned by the Josiah COMFORT and Josiah SANDS estates, extending from the river to Tillary street, and from Fulton street to the Navy Yard. The representatives of the SANDS family have long since moved to New York. This land originally belonged to the RAPELYEA family and was taken by the government at the time of the Revolution. The RAPELYEAS being attainted for treason and the property subsequently sold to the SANDS family. That section of Brooklyn known as the Heights belonged principally to Jacob and John HICKS. The late Admiral Silas STRINGHAM married one of the HICKS children and built and occupied, up to the time of his death, the house which was subsequently occupied by Henry Ward BEECHER and in which Mr. BEECHER died, corner of Hicks and Clark streets. Other owners on the Heights were the HICKS, MIDDAGH, PIERREPONT and LIVINGSTON families, all well known in Brooklyn yet. The LEFFERTSES own probably the largest tract of land now within the City of Brooklyn. It is situated in the old Village of Bedford, and lies between Bedford, Howard, Hopkinson and Lexington avenues. In 1828 this property was divided among the heirs of John LEFFERTS, eight in number, of whom Leffert LEFFERTS, the Judge of the County of Kings, was probably the best known. Judge LEFFERTS has a tract of eighty-five acres, which was not sold until about 1878. It lay between Bedford avenue and Lewis avenue and Madison and Halsey streets, and was sold under partition. He had devised the property to his daughter, Mrs James Carson BREVOORT, for life, and at her death to her children. If she had no children the property would go to the children of her brother John. His son Henry married Miss SCHERMERHORN, of New York. There was no issue of this marriage, and he subsequently became divorced from her and is now married to a daughter of John LEFFERTS, of Flatbush, by whom he has had children, who will eventually become very wealthy from the proceeds of the sale of this property, and will inherit whatever estate is left unsold. The proceeds of that which has been sold have been deposited in the Brooklyn Trust Company, and the estate is gradually being turned into money. A recent noteworthy sale of a portion of this estate was the block bounded by Bedford avenue, Brevoort place, Atlantic and Franklin avenues. On that block situated the old LEFFERTS homestead, which has since been torn down, and Harry BREVOORT has just built a $100,000 residence on Brevoort place, corner of Bedford place. He is Mrs. BREVOORT's child, Judge LEFFERTS' grandchild, and will inherit all the proceeds of the old LEFFERTS estate. He has two children. Probably their is no estate in Brooklyn which is increasing more rapidly in value than the ALDRICH estate. This was made up originally of over a thousand different wood lots bought from a number of different farm owners, among whom were, SACKMAN, RADDE, and BADDEMACHER, lying between Broadway and Atlantic avenue, and extending from Howard avenue to the city line. About 1850 Stephen ALDRICH purchased this property and his family still own a considerable portion of it, though they have been gradually selling off, and have built a large building on Broadway, New York, called ALDRICH Court. The policy of the management of this estate has been, when a purchaser comes along, to sell the land, and get a good price for it, make a builder's loan on the property, and secure a good investment for their money, while the improvement of the land they have thus sold renders the remaining property more valuable. The HUNT estate at Bay Ridge is made up of land belonging originally to the BERGENS and MARTINS. This is being gradually cut up and sold off like the ALDRICH estate. Nearly the whole of South Brooklyn at one time belonged to the BERGEN family, beginning at Wyckoff street and extending clear out to the city line at Sixtieth street. Jacob BERGEN's farm was first broken up in 1830. Nearly the whole of Garrett and John BERGEN's land is now included in Greenwood Cemetery. All of the original Brooklyn BERGEN family retain possession of the lands that they inherited. The major portion has been sold, but considerable is held by members of the BERGEN family. Colonel LITCHFIELD, who died recently, will be remembered owing to the fact that for many years after the City of Brooklyn had condemned the Prospect Park lands, he still occupied the old Litchfield mansion, which was situated within the park boundaries, and paid rent to the city for the property. The LITCHFIELD estate was made up very largely of the farms of Jacques and Adrian CORTELYOU, who inherited it from their father Adrian V. CORTELYOU. The POLHEMUSES owned large tracts on both sides of the CORTELYOUS. Most of these lands were laid out as lots between 1830 and 1850. Mr. BENSON, late president of the Brooklyn Gas Light Company, who has bought the whole of Montauk Point on Long Island, bought a number of these farms away back in 1835, and made money by laying the farms out in lots. A tract of land that is rapidly being improved now is what was formerly known as Jackson Hollow. It lies between Flushing and Gates avenues and Grand avenue and Schenck street. The property was in litigation for many years, and has only lately been opened for improvement by having the titles straightened out. Jackson Hollow took its name from Samuel JACKSON, who made a deed of this property to his son John for life, and at John's death to his children. Before the death of John, however, the property was partitioned. Subsequent to the partition two of the children died. This gave the survivors different interests, and some neglected to pay their taxes and got into money difficulties in one way or another, so that nearly the whole of the farm was tied up and neglected, and squatters settled on the property. The old LOTT farm, lying between Bedford and Stuyvesant avenues and Hancock and Fulton streets, was bought by Charles C. BETTS, for a number of years president of the Brooklyn City Railroad, from his mother in law, Mrs. LOTT, wife of Daniel LOTT and daughter of Lambert SUYDAM; and Mr. BETTS continued to hold this farm until his death in 1883, and the property was partitioned among his children in 1883. Upon it some of the finest residences in Brooklyn have been erected. His heirs are probably as large property owners as there are in Brooklyn, and have become millionaires. Jacob RYERSON and Leffert LEFFERTS both owned considerable property lying between Stuyvesant and Saratoga avenues and Bainbridge street on Fulton street. Judge Nathaniel H. CLEMENT, of the City Court of Brooklyn, and Water Registrar E. J. O'FLYNN have made considerable purchases of this property, and realized largely from the increased values resulting from the building of the Fulton street elevated road. The RAPELYEA farm contained originally about 200 acres, and a good part of the farm is now owned by some of the heirs. A large part of the estate of Henry BOERUM has also remained in the possession of that family. Some of the RAPELYEAS and BOERUMS still have their homesteads on the estates. The RAPELYEA and BOERUM plots lie between Park avenue and Hancock street and Nostrand and Marcy avenues. John P. MARTIN is said to be the largest taxpayer in the City of Brooklyn. His property consists principally of storehouses, including the well known MARTIN Stores. William H. BEARD is also a very large taxpayer, and owns the Eric Basin and a large portion of Red Hook, part of which has been recently sold to the Anchor steamship line. James LYNCH bought up most of Judge LEFFERTS farm, and has also bought large portions of ex-Mayor Kingsland's land at Greenpoint, where the new park is to be built. He has also purchased between five and six hundred acres of land at Bath Beach from the BENSONS, VAN NOSTRANDS and others which he has laid out in villa plots and called Bensonhurst. E.F. LINTON has also made considerable money in the Twenty-sixth Ward buying up old farm lands, laying them out into building lots and erecting buildings. The Rev. Hugh HAND, pastor of the Catholic Church of the Presentation, bought a block of land bounded by Bergen street, St. Mark's, Rockaway and Saratoga avenues, on which he has erected a temporary church edifice, and he is now engaged in collecting funds to build a large stone church, parochial residence and school house. Brooklyn Eagle 3 June 1889 Thanks to:Sybagram PEOPLE Index Main Page

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