LEFFERTS HOUSE In Prospect Park facing Flatbush Avenue

On 23 August 1776, three days before the battle of Long Island, General John SULLIVAN in command of the American forces on the Island wrote to Washington in New York: This afternoon the enemy formed, and attempted to 'pass the road to Bedford. A smart fire between them and the Riflemen ensued. The officer sent for a reinforcement which I ordered immediately. A number of Musketry came to the assistance of the Riflemen, whose fires, with that of our field pieces, caused a retreat of the enemy. Our men followed them to the house of Judge LEFFERTS (where a number had taken lodging) drove them out, and burnt the house and a number of other buildings contiguous. This house was the most northerly dwelling in Flatbush on the east side of the highway. A few days previous to its burning, the LEFFERTS family had left the town in order to escape the long-anticipated invasion of Kings County by the English. On their return after the battle, the younger members of the family salvaged as much lumber and hardware from their burnt home as was possible and later erected the house shown in the picture on the site of their former one. This remained in the family until 1918 when it was given to the City of New York and moved to Prospect Park not far from the Willink Entrance. It is in the care of the Fort Greene Chapter, N.S. D.A.R. and is open to the public as a museum. The Judge mentioned in SULLIVAN's letter was John LEFFERTS (b.16 March 1719 - d.20 0ctober 1776), a man prominent in the life of his community. He was a delegate to the Provincial Congress, was the town clerk at one time and a judge of the Sessions and Common Pleas. Physically he was six feet four inches tall and so strong that he is said to have lifted in his arms an obstinate mule and carried it to the spot where he wanted it. He inherited his house and farm from his father Pieter LEFFERTS. His mother was Eytie (Ida) SUYDAM and he married Sara MARTENSE. Pieter LEFFERTS (b.18 May 1680 - d.13 March 1774) was the son of Leffert PIETERSE who arrived in New Netherland in 1660 from Haughwout or Hauweit in North Holland with his parents Pieter Janse and Femmetje HERMENS. He, Leffert PIETERSE, settled in Flatbush where he was assessed for a farm in 1675. He married Abagail, daughter of Auke Janse VAN NUYSE, prior to 2 June 1676. He took the oath of allegiance in Flatbush and died there 19 July 1748. His children were : Altien, Auke, Pieter, Rachel, Jan, Jacobus, Isaac, Abraham, Madalina, Antien, Abagail, Leffert and Benjamin. Pieter Lefferts' farm, it had probably belonged to his father before him, lay in the Steenraap. Some distance northeast of the house which he built upon it was a field of clayey soil that was used for the making of bricks and coarse pottery. The site was called the Steenbakkery (brick kiln). In time, the part from which the clay was dug filled with water and formed a large pond on which the young people of the town for generations skated in winter. As late as the 1890s, the locality was called the Steenbakkery and Steemer by the Flatbush descendants of the Dutch settlers. Next Chapter..VANDERVEER - CORTELYOU HOUSE DUTCH Houses..Index Main Return to TOWN Index Main Return to BROOKLYN Index Main