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Dense thickets covered hundreds of acres of bog and lowland extending from the Wallabout to Newton Creek, running through the central part of the town of Bushwick. The region was known as Cripplebush fom the fact that the scrub-oak or cripplebush dominated here. The land had apparently been covered by forest whose trees had been destoyed in some way and these bushes had taken their places. Narrow trails led over morasses known to the Indians and the wild beasts, but they were treacherous to the white men.Bewtween the cripplebush & East River was the site which was to become the original village of Williamsburgh. During the 7 years of British occupation the thickets were wiped out, soldiers having used the wood for fuel. So when the war ended the sites for orchards & vegetable gardens were ready & waiting. This section became the 3rd Ward of Williamsburgh and later the 15th & 16th Wards of Bklyn. The Bushwick denizens were farmers, gardeners, their produce had to be conveyed to the city markets across the river. Every ferry established on the Williamsburgh shore led to a public market in New YorkC. Williamsburgh was started when the Grand St market, known as CORLEARS Hook Market was established in a crude form. For about 140 years the site of the later Williamsburgh was known as the Bushwick Shore & the Bushwick town people called it, The Strand. There was a little hamlet near the shore in the days of the Revolutioary War. James HAZARD who lived across the river on CORLEARS Hook, operated since 1797 a rowboat ferry between his place and the TITUS farm on the Bushwick shore. He soon became actively engaged in starting a settlement here in partnership with Thomas MORRELL. About 1800 another New Yorker, Richard M. WOODHULL, purchased 13 acres of the Charles TITUS farm and laid out a settlement upon this tract in 1802. The tract was surveyed by Col. Jonathan WILLIAMS, U.S. Engineer, a grand-nephew to Benjamin FRANKLIN and a friend to WOODHULL. WOODHULL applied the name Williamsburgh to the development in honor of his friend. In 1805 he added 5 acres of the Francis J. TITUS farm near Driggs Ave, this section became the 14th Ward. Thomas MORRELL bought the Folkert TITUS farm of 18 acres and laid out Grand St. through the center of the farm up to Roebling St. Together with James HAZARD he had laid out a settlement on his tract which he called Yorkton. WOODHULL had difficulties finacing his enterprise and in 1811 his rights, title, and interest in the Williamsburgh development were sold by the sherriff in favor of one ROOSEVELT. James Homer MAXWELL, WOODHULL'S son-in-law, became the purchaser of Williamsburgh, but he, not having the means to continue the title, it again passed under the sherriff's hammer. WOODHULL had established a ferry from the foot of Metropolitan, Williamsburgh to Rivington, New YorkC. MORRELL had started another ferry running from LORRELL'S Point at the foot of the new street (Grand) in Yorkton, to Grand St. in New YorkC. The road of the Bushwick Bridge Co. came to the shore at WOODHULL'S ferry. MORRELL'S ferry gradually became the preferred one of the public, but the name Williamsburgh Ferry had come into common use and it stuck. Both settlements were now combined under the name and MORRELL seems to have been in control in 1814. In 1827 the village of Williamsburgh was incorporated. It consisted of 23 farms, 10 extending to the river shore. Besides the farm houses a few buildings were standing on the road leadung to the ferry. On the northside were the ropewalks of LUTHER & PITTMAN. The Cripplebush Lane was the only rode leading to Bklyn. The first village trustees in 1827 were : Noah WATERBURY John MILLER Abraham MESEROLE Lewis SANFORD Thomas T. MORRELL. The TITUS farmhouse on the Folkert TITUS farm, standing on the north east corner of South First St., and known as Charles' Fountain Inn, became the headquarters of the village politics. The TITUS family had purchased the land prior to 1758 from Issac MESSEROLE. In 1830 John LUTHER erected upon land given by the MORRELL family for a term of years a small frame building which stood gable end to Kent Ave just north of Grand Street., for a village Hall. The Board of Trustees held their meetings in the upper part, where was also the office of the Justice of the Peace. The lower floor was a food mart. Nearly the whole of Williamsburgh was owned by the MESSEROLE, BOERUM, REMSEN, TITUS, VANDERVOORT, TROUTMAN, WYCKOFF families. The Kijkuit or Keikout was the high bluff along the line of Fourth St. The names means look-out. The blockhouse was erected here on this bluff because the site commandered an excellant view of the East River., as well as surrounding lands, in times of danger of attacks from Indians. The MESSEROLE farm in this section was called the Keitout farm, 107 acres of land, between the East River & Roebling St. & between Broadway & No. 1st St. Jean MESSEROLE came from France in 1663, he is known as the first owner. He built his home upon the Keikout bluff and most likely formed the westerly wing of the later MILLER homestead. Jean MESEROLE died in 1695,the farm remained undivided until the death of John MESEROLE 3rd in 1756, his heirs sold some of the land. A part came into the possession of Charles TITUS in 1785 and he left it in 1802 to his son Charles. The son sold it to Justus THOMPSON and he sold abt 6 acres to Noah WATERBURY. The 25 acres remaining passed under foreclosure to General Jeremiah JOHNSON who sold it in 1825 to Garrett & Grover C. FURMAN. The old MILLER homestead was demolished in 1853 when the bluff was leveled, the earth was dug down some 60' and the Keikout bacame a thing of the past. In 1828 the BERRY, DEVOE, & Van COTT farms were bought & laid out in building lots. In 1834 the 13th & 14th Wards were divided into lots, in 1836 real estate in Williamsburgh commanded higher prices than it did nearly a half centry before. With the Village limits extended in 1835, 72 streets, 13 of them were opened and regulated, the majority being dirt roads and 4 were paved with cobblestones, taken from the farm fences which had been removed for the opening of the streets. In 1837, 10 stores and taverns & 59 stables and barns. In 1819 the only building on the shore was the WATERBURY Distillery on North Second St. & the American House at the foot of Grand St. However there were buildings east of Kent Ave. David DUNHAM, a New York merchant, purchased at a sherriff's sale, James Homer MAXWELL'S right, title, & interest in Williamsburgh, when they were sold on execution in favor of James J. ROOSEVELT in 1818. DUNHAM shared his purchase with JUDAH & Samuel OSBORN. His son establishes the first steamferry from New York to Williamsburgh. In 1835 South 7th & So. 8th were the only streets opened south of Grand, running from the river, the entire south side had 5 or 6 buildings all told. In 1861 the 13th Ward from Grand St. to Division & from the river to Union Ave. was nearly all built up, gardens were above Roebling St. The 14th Ward was not made beyond No. 5th St., a house scattered here and there. The 15th Ward remained as of old, outside the CONSELYEA Estate, which was left of the SKILLMAN farm, the Methodist burying ground was here bounded by the Union Ave. & Lorimer St, Devoe & Powers. The Swamp in 1840's was along Siegel & Morell St., lots could be bought for $100.00 ea. In the early 1860's the swamp was filled in and the grade of the streets was raised. Irish town lay between Metropolitan, Meeker, Bushwick, & Union Ave., including the "green" which was bounded by Lorimer & Jane Sts., & Union & Skillman Ave. The 8 houses on the Green were occupied by : HOBBY, PALMER, COLEMAN, MARSH, STEVENS, MEYER, TOUSON, TOLAND families abt the early 1850's. The Green Rangers at Old SMULLEN'S Tavern on the Green joined the Scott Life Gurads of the Fourth Regiment when the Civil War broke out. The "swimming pool" at Baby Hollow & McCARUNCH'S Skating Rink were on the northside. Back to EASTERN DISTRICT Main Back to TOWN Main Page Back to STREETS Main Back to BROOKLYN Main