Saturday, August 14, 2010

Brooklyn Memories: A Glance backwards, 60 years Ago (7))

(Continued from Page: 6)

The subject has grown on our hands, beyond the limits of the space at our disposal, and we shall dismiss the remaining topics more briefly. In the year 1800 there were eight grist mills in Brooklyn township, which were turned by the tide of the East River. There were also some small manufactories of cable, cordage and twine; and a patent floor cloth manufactory was established in 1797, and its owner writes to Mr. Kirk to deny a report that it had suspended; we hope it lived until its founder died a millionaire. Our historian has a strong appeal to his fellow citizens on the subject of manufactories, and entreats them to rouse from their inaction, and not be content with being the "wheel-barrow men of New York."

After adverting to the small beginnings of the great cities of the old World, he winds up with the following eloquent but somewhat incomprehensible peroration:

Why on fancy's wings may we not anticipate the same fascinating prospects in Olympia where the heavy wagon teeming with the rich produce of the field, shall drag heavily on the pavement. When the bleached canvass shall waft our immense produce to distant countries, and return with the luxuries of the East where the early academicals bell shall summon the drowsy student to prayer, while the arts and sciences glow with the inexpressible energies of new inventions and discoveries. The Corinthian capitol shall yield to the caster designs of her artists, and gravitation be discovered the mere chimera of fancy. The lover of genius shall pry open the innermost caverns of truth, and the science of pure intelligence burst in full splendor upon the mind.

A lodge room was erected on the corner of James and Main street in 1798; this was the only society then in the county.

"The fire companies are rather associations allowed by law, than societies. The acts have not limited their duration, although the members may change every year. The first fire engine, for the use of the freeholders and inhabitants, was established in the year 1768; and an act of the Colonial Legislature was passed, investing them with certain privileges. It is, without doubt, as useful an institution as towns can possess. There are two fire engines here, which the inhabitants keep in excellent repair, and fully answer the purposes intended. The privileges of these companies have lately been extended."

Besides these there were two volunteer military companies, and a powder house and arsenal was about this year established.

From what follows the reader will make his own deductions. We shall take leave of the writer here, first, however, introducing Mrs. Eagles, a lady the writer enumerates as among the curiosities of the township.

Curiosities: Mrs. Eagles, the widow of Jacob Eagles, and who has now two children to support, is called the American Heroine, from this circumstance. At the battle of Long Island, when the British landed here, in the beginning of the American war, her husband was killed in action. She immediately went into the field, put on his regimentals, seized his gun, bayonet and ear touch box, and swore that she would fight for her country, her husband, and her sex, which she did, and it is said, killed many of the enemy.

It is said that the great road leading through this Township to Flatbush, was originally an Indian foot path, although not an Indian is now to be found in the place. it is also said that a considerable part of this Township was originally sold by an Indian to a Dutchman for a jack knife. Flints, which the Indians use for their arrows, have been ploughed out of the ground. The wreck of the English prison ship, "the Jersey," is still to be seen at the Wallabout, and many thousand skeletons are said to lay near her, under the sand. The tulip tree is a great curiosity, being thirty feet round at the lower circumference of a frustum, five feet high, and twenty feet at the upper circumference. It is said that many years ago it was brought from the woods in their pocket, and transplanted there. Many traces are to be seen where attempts have been made to dig for money. The report obtains that Captain Kidd buried money in Olympia some years ago: the roots of the tulip tree, the little fort, and other p laces are evidences of the fact. A sacramental table is to be seen in the Dutch Church, which was brought out with the original settlers.

To be continued: A Glance Backwards 60 Years Ago (8)

Source of Information: Brooklyn Daily Eagle 5/14/1860

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