On 16 June 1636, when Wolphert Gerritsen van COUWENHOVEN and Andries HUDDEN bought the westernmost of the three tracts of flat, fertile land, Jacob VAN CORLAER or CURLER purchased the center one. His property included a neck of land which was given the name of Vriesens Hook. This later was part of Flatlands Neck. Van COUWENHOVEN emigrated with his family from Amersfoort, Utrecht, in the Netherlands in 1630 as the sgperintendent of Kiliaen VAN RENSSELAER'S property of Rennsselaerswyck. . Later, he cultivated a farm on Manhattan Island, but he spent part of his time on his bouwery (or farm) of Achtervelt. He died sometime after 1660. His son Gerret, who was born in 1610, married Altie, daughter of Cornelis Lambertse COOL, and made their home on his father's property where he died about 1645, leaving four young children: Willem, Jan, Neeltje and Marritje. Willem was born in 1636 and was married twice. His first wife was Altie BRINCKERHOFF, his second Jannetje MONTFOORT. On 1 November 1709, he sold to his and Jannetje's son William all of his Flatlands property including part of Vriesens Hook which he had added to his original holdings. Son William, known as Willem Willemse (b.7 March 1686 ­ d. 19 January 1769) married Annetje, daughter of Lucas Stevense VOORHEES, on 5 June 1709. It was probably at that time that he built the house on Vriesens Hook in which they made their home. Their son Gerret (b.11 November 1726 - d.23 September 1777), who married Antje LEFFERTS on 7 May 1748, inherited the property and left the Vriesens Hook farm with its house to his son Peter who was known as Peter KOUWENHOVEN. Peter (b.25 September 1753 - d.27 May 1787) married Lammetie LOTT on 10 May 1777. After his death, Lammetie married John (Johannes), DITMARS, but, on the death of John, returned to her KOUWENHOVEN home, the property of her son Gerret KOUWENHOVEN (b.5 September 1778 - d.8 February 1854) who married Maria BERGEN on 15 December 1805 and who was Supervisor of Flatlands. Gerret's son Cornelius BERGEN KOUWENHOVEN, who was born on 6 March 1818, decided to have a home of his own when he married Mary Ann WILLIAMSON on 6 September 1838. The time for building houses like one's ancestors had passed. A Flatlander's house must be modern, therefore classical in appearance. So, on the northern extremity of his father's Vriesens Hook farm, Cornelius erected a tall stately mansion with pillars two storeys high. He painted it yellow with white trimmings. He put the kitchen in the basement. The only Dutch custom he followed was to face his house to the south. Mary Ann was expecting her first baby so he had to hurry to finish it if the child was to be born in their own home. They moved into the house in December 1839 and their little girl was born 13 January 1840. Other children followed in rapid succession until the birth of a namesake Cornelius BERGEN KOUWENHOVEN (b.2 July 1851 - d.20 February 1943). Cornelius Jr. married Anne J. WERNER and took her to live in his father's home which he later bought from his father's other heirs. Before the William KOUWENHOVEN house was demolished, its lovely old mantel was removed and put in the Cornelius KOUWENHOVEN'S dining-room. Its heavy, bisected front door, precious heirlooms and valuable old papers found a resting place in the newer house. That house has seen many changes. Flatlands Neck Road, including KOUWENHOVEN Place on which it stood, was improved and its name changed to Kings Highway. The driveway to the house was incorporated in the new street and the house moved and turned to face the west. Now it is the home of Miss Grace KOUWENHOVEN who is tenth in descent to live in the locality that Wolphert Gerritsen van COUWENHOVEN settled in 1636. Next Chapter..VAN PELT - WOOLSEY HOUSE DUTCH Houses..Index Main Return to TOWN Index Main Return to BROOKLYN Index Main