GRAVESEND 1645In 1643, there arrived in New Amsterdam Lady Deborah MOODY with her son Sir Henry and some followers who had fled from New England because she and the authorities had differed on the subject of infant baptism. To rid himself of these, self-invited guests, Director-General William KIEFT gave them a tract of land on Long Island on which to settle and make their homes. He named it "s'Gravensande", some say in memory of his home on the Maas River in Holland. Others claim it was so-called, meaning "the Count's beach", for Sir Henry. But still others claim it was because Lady Deborah came from Gravesend in England. When they were beginning to build, the English were attacked by Indians who were on the warpath because of KIEFT's unjust treatment, and after several attacks, they were forced to abandon their land and seek safety in Amersfoort. When peace was restored in 1645, they went back to s'Gravensande and laid out a carefully planned town. Their patent, received in December, 1645, included Coney Island and two smaller islands. Tradition tells that Sir Henry predicted that s'Gravensande in time would be the world's greatest seaport. After, New Netherland was surrendered to the English, the town was called Gravesend and was made the seat of justice for the West Riding of Yorkshire. Its first public building, "the sessions house," was erected in 1667. This was sold to the citizens of the town when Flatbush was made the county seat and in it were held the services of the Dutch Reformed Church which was organized about 1690.
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