THE SOCIAL HISTORY OF FLATBUSH
by Gertrude Lefferts Vanderbilt
The Rev THOMAS M STRONG, D D, for nearly forty years beloved
pastor of the Reformed Church, Flatbush, collected, as far as practicable,
facts pertaining to the early settlement of the town. These facts were in the
first instance brought before the public in the form of lectures delivered
before the Flatbush Literary Association.
Subsequently, at the request of his friends, these lectures were collected
in a volume entitled "THE HISTORY OF THE TOWN OF FLATBUSH," and published in 1842.
Since the publication of this interesting volume, there have been great changes
in this little town. The day is probably not far distant when it will become a part
of the adjoining city of Brooklyn; then all traces of its village life and its
individuality as a Dutch settlement will be lost.
In all love and respect for the memory of Dr Strong, I have taken up the pen
which he laid down not so much in continuation of his subject as to give
it from a different standpoint. As a woman, I have inclined to the social side
of life, and have endeavored to record the changes which time has made among the
people in their homes and at the fireside.
I have undertaken this as a pleasant task, bringing to the work at least so
much of fitness for it as may be caused by familiarity with those changes, and a
knowledge of the traditions, customs, and manners of the Dutch.
At an early period all the families in this county were united through marriage
and intermarriage, thus forming one large family circle. I have assumed with greater
confidence the preparation of this work because, as I do not address the great world
beyond, I may, for that reason, escape unfriendly criticism; these simple annals being
only intended for this family circle of the descendants of the Dutch settlers,
who alone can find an interest in the record.
GERTRUDE L VANDERBILT
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