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Francis V. Morrell's Recollections of Old Williamsburgh

Call Number



circa 1915, inclusive


Morrell, Francis Vandervoort


0.1 Linear Feet in one folder

Language of Materials

Materials in English.


Francis V. Morrell's manuscript "Recollections of Old Williamsburgh" (circa 1915) contains colorful descriptions of the social, economic, geographic, and built environments of the city of Williamsburgh (now Williamsburg, Brooklyn) during the mid-nineteenth century. Morrell's memoir includes entries on various residents of Williamsburgh, especially in the context of their occupations as druggist, school teacher, etc.

Biographical / Historical

Francis Vandervoort Morrell (1844-1922) grew up in the city of Williamsburgh (now Williamsburg, Brooklyn); his written manuscript herein describes the people and places of his childhood. Morrell's father, by the same name, was a wealthy man of Williamsburgh. While he spent some years in the insurance industry, Morrell's interest in genealogy led him to compile numerous genealogies later in life, such as The ancestry and posterity of Cornelius Henry Tiebout of Brooklyn (1910), and the Genealogy of the Meserole family of Greenpoint (1915).


This manuscript is in one folder, in one manuscript box, in the order imposed by the creator.

Scope and Contents

Francis V. Morrell's manuscript "Recollections of Old Williamsburgh" describes the social, economic, geographic, and built environments of old Williamsburgh, Brooklyn during the mid-nineteenth century. This memoir-like document is organized around 24 separate topics, including Williamsburgh Village, Williamsburgh City, schools, ferries, shipyards, storekeepers and businessmen, and a cannon named Old Sal. Morrell's recollections describe in detail the layout of the financial area of Williamsburgh, centered around Woodhull Street and City Hall; as well as surrounding villages such as Bedford and Bushwick. Also included herein are many detailed descriptions of townspeople, some of whom were non-white residents of the city, such as "Happy Jack," a middle-aged African American man whose moving services were often called upon by the people of Williamsburgh and whose "whistle could be heard at all times." Also included herein is an illustrated entry for "The Fountain Inn," the principal meeting place of the city for political and leisurely activities. Morrell outlines the layout of the streets of Williamsburgh along with many of the prominent businesses on Grand, 2nd, 4th, and Woodhull Streets. Numerous descriptions are included of storekeepers in Williamsburgh, highlighting their specialties and location, such as Atwater, the druggist who sold Morrell and his childhood friends molasses peppermint sticks. Among the other townspeople described in this manuscript are Jonathan S. Burr, Richard Laycroft, Noah Waterbury, and Honey in the Comb. Entries for the Williamsburgh Gazette and the Bushwick Church are also included. Morrell also includes a rough list, based on a published pamphlet, of townspeople whose homes had the highest value.

Conditions Governing Access

Open to researchers without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Material in this collection is in the public domain.

Collection processed by

Robyn Hjermstad

About this Guide

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on 2023-08-21 11:09:06 +0000.
Using Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language: English

Processing Information

Manuscript processed by Robyn Hjermstad in December 2010.


Brooklyn Historical Society


Box: A0001, Folder: 1973.084 (1 folder) (Material Type: Text)
Center for Brooklyn History
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn, NY 11201