WYCKOFF - BENNETT HOUSE 1662 East 22nd Street

The most beautiful example of Dutch colonial architecture in Brooklyn is the WYCKOFF-BENNETT house which is thought to have heen built about 1766 for that was the date cut on a beam in its old barn. Originally the house faced the south but about 1900 was moved to its present position. On its ground floor is a wide central hall that has a heavy horizontally divided door at both its front and rear entrances. The front door has in it the two original thick bluish green windows, called bull's-eyes, through which light filters into the hall. Years ago, one of the pair in the back door was broken; then it and its mate were discarded and replaced with modern green glass. A handsome brass knocker adorns the front door. But most of the hardware in the house is iron, typically Dutch, and of the eighteenth century. So carefully was it wrought that Albert H. SONN used one of its latches for an illustration in his "Early American Wrought Iron." There are two rooms on either side of the hall and from it a narrow flight of steps, built between walls, leads to the second storey where five goodly sized rooms open into a large hall. The dormers, which let light into the upper chambers, are modern. In the west chamber are the original windows that were cut in the outer wall until it came in contact with the roof. This carried them only a short distance above the floor but they did admit light and air into what would otherwise have been a dark and airless room. Downstairs, to the right of the hall is the best parlor. This has its fireplace wall entirely of wood. On each side of the fireplace is a closet with interestingly scalloped shelves. The closet doors are carefully panelled, and the overmantel is a beautiful example of eighteenth century woodwork. Formerly the fireplace was faced with mulberry and white tiles depicting such Bible scenes as Lazarus gathering crumbs from the rich man's table and Jacob wrestling with the angel. In an extension on the northern end of the house are the kitchen and a room that in earlier days was used for a milk room. This had an earthen floor and was furnished with benches on which stood the pans of milk that were brought in after each milking. In this room, too, was hung the fresh meat after the farmer had butchered or which a neighbor sent as a gift when he butchered. The kitchen has wide exposed beams to which are fastened small forks of trees on which the guns rested in a time when it was necessary to keep firearms close at hand. During the Revolution, Hessian officers were quartered in the house. At least one of them amused himself by scratching on the four-by-seven windowpanes with a diamond. Two of these panes are carefully preserved by the owners of the house. One says, "Toepfer Capt of Regt de Ditfurth." The other has the inscription, "MBach Lieutenant v Hessen Hanau Artilerie." The house belonged to Henry and Abraham WYCKOFF until about 1835 when it with 100 acres "more or less" of meadows, woodland, and pew 62 in the Reformed Church of Gravesend was sold to Cornelius W. BENNETT (b. 3 December 1776 - d. September 1852) who married, on 3 April 1800, Ann VAN BRUNT (b. 1 January 1781 ­ d. 3 May 1859). Their portmits now adorn the entrance hall. Their son William (b. 11 May 1823 - d. 7 September 1903) married Gertrude Ann, daughter of Elias A. RYDER on 16 October 1844. He inherited the property, sold the farm about 1890, but kept the house and modernized it. Edward BENNETT, a son, now owns the house and lives in it with his wife who was Nellie May RYDER. Mrs. BENNETT is a writer who specializes in ballads about Long Island's early Dutchmen. Their daughter is a well-known Brooklyn poet Gertrude RYDER BENNETT, who wrote "Etched In Words." ** William Adriaense BENNET, an English cooper, arrived in New Netherland prior to or as early as 1636, the year in which he and Jacques BENTYN bought 930 acres of land bordering on upper New York Bay from the Indians. The tract was named Gowanus in honor of Gowane the Indian who grew corn on it. On 26 December 1639 BENNET bought BENTYN's interest in it. He married Mary BADYE or THOMAS, widow of William BRENDENBENT, and lived on the property. He had six children. He died prior to 1644. His son Willem WILLEMSE married Geertruyt VAN MULLEN of Meurs on 9 April 1660 and joined the Breuckelen Church in 1661. He was on the Brooklyn assessment rolls of 1675, 1676, and 1683. He died prior to 1686. Willem WILLEMSE's son, Jan WILLEMSE (baptized 7 January 1663-died after 1739) married for his second wife Altje WYNANTS of the Wallabout. He was a member of the Brooklyn Church in 1677 and took the oath of allegiance in Brooklyn as a native in 1687. His son Jan Janse BENNET was baptized 29 March 1696 and married Anna ________. His will was probated 8 March 1744. He had a son Wynant who married Geertje, daughter of Jacobus EMANS. Wynant and Geertje had a son Wynant. Wynant Jr. (b. February 1740 - d. 31 March 1816) married Jemina, daughter of Cornelis VAN DUYN of New Utrecht, in August 1773. They were the parents of Cornelius W. BENNETT who bought the WYCKOFF house and farm. ** Transcribers Note: New York Times July 24, 1982 Gertrude R.B. Williams, 81; A Brooklyn Poet and Author Gertrude Ryder Bennett Williams, a poet and author who published poetry for many years under the name Gertrude Ryder Bennett, died July 14 at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn. She was 81 years old and had spent her life in the Wyckoff-Bennett family homestead in the Gravesend section. Mrs. Williams was the wife of the Rev. Frank Curtis Williams, retired pastor of the South Reformed Church of Brooklyn. Her husband is the only survivor. One of her books: Turning Back the Clock in Gravesend: Background of the Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead. For a Recent PHOTO of WYCKOFF - BENNETT HOUSE Next Chapter..BROOKLYN DUTCH Houses..Index Main Return to TOWN Index Main Return to BROOKLYN Index Main