JAN MARTENSE SCHENCK HOUSE East 63rd Street, South of Avenue V

The Canarsie indians deeded a small island in Jamaica Bay to John TILTON Jr. and Samuel SPICER on 13 May 1664. After a grist mill was erected on it, the island was called Mollen Eijlantie (Mill Island). TILTON and SPICER sold it to Elbert Elbertsen STOOTHOFF who sold half of it with half of the mill to Jan MARTENSE SCHENCK on 29 December 1675. . Jan MARTENSE SCHENCK had arrived at New Amsterdam in De Valckener on 28 June 1650 with his brother Roelof and his sister Annetje. In 1660, he was granted ten morgens of land in Amersfoort. (A morgen was about 2.1 acres.) In 1672, Jan MARTENSE married Jannetje Stevense van VOORHEES. Family tradition says that he built their house close to the mill shortly after his purchase. It still stands on its original site. Although it has been slightly altered, the house has the earmarks.of an early Dutch dwelling. It is set close to the ground. It has the steeply pitched roof so similar to old farmhouses in Holland but not found in Kings County. Its overshot or apron is a later addition. Within is a central hall that has a room opening from each side. Both rooms have massive oak rafters resting in large braces and a fireplace occupying the outer side wall. A garret is above the rooms and the hall. Sometime after it was built an ell was added to the house and in 1791 a stone storehouse was constructed behind the ell. In his will dated 26 January 1688-1689, Jan MARTENSE SCHENCK left "the old land with ye small Island and mill and dependencies thereon" to his son Marten Jansen who was born in 1675. Marten married Cornelia WESSELEN, widow of Domine LUPARDUS, 2 December 1703 and on 13 December 1705, their son John was born. John, who was called Captain John in his later life, married Femmetie HEGEMAN 15 November 1728. He was the next owner of the property. On 15 April 1784, his heirs sold it for £2300 to Joris MARTENSE of Flatbush, who evidently bought it as an investment for he neither lived in the house nor ran the mill but rented both. On 20 June 1791, a pot of gold was found buried near the mill. On 13 August 1799, John SCHENCK, who was the miller at the time, died of yellow fever. Joris MARTENSE'S daughter Susan, wife of Patrick CATON, inherited the property. She left it to her daughter Margaret who married General Philip S. CROOKE. For years, the property was known as Crooke's Mill and Crooke's Island. Finally the mill was swept out of existence. The house with a small piece of land descended to Franklin CROOKE who owned it in 1909. Later it was sold to the Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific Company. the present owner. A pamphlet entitled "David BALDWIN, or The Miller's Son" was published in 1833. It is the story of a young man whose father, Abijah BALDWIN, ran the mill. On its first page is a picture of the old SCHENCK house and the mill as they looked in 1833. NOTE: The house was moved into the Brooklyn Museum. Article can be found here: http://www.go-brooklyn.com/html/issues/_vol28/28_26/schenckhouse.html Next Chapter..Nicholaes SCHENCK DUTCH Houses..Index Main Return to TOWN Index Main Return to BROOKLYN Index Main