Print / View Finding Aid as Single Page

Brooklyn Historical Society logo

Guide to the Peter Schermerhorn papers ARC.089

Brooklyn Historical Society
128 Pierrepont Street
Brooklyn 11201

Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Weatherly Stephan

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on November 07, 2018
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

Biographical note

Peter Schermerhorn (1749-1826), like his father and grandfather, was commander and owner of shipping vessels trading between New York City and Charleston, S.C. He married Elizabeth Bussing on September 11, 1771. From 1776 to 1783, Schermerhorn and his family lived in Hyde Park, N.Y. to protect his vessels from British seizure. Upon his return to New York City, Schermerhorn advertised himself as a shipchandler. In 1808, he and sons Abraham (1783-1850) and Peter (1781-1852) opened a shipping business under the name Peter Schermerhorn and Sons at 243 Water Street in New York City. The Schermerhorn family resided at 68 Broadway in lower Manhattan.

In 1795, Peter and his brother, Simon Schermerhorn, purchased over 150 acres of land near the Gowanus Bay in Brooklyn for use as a family summer home. Upon his father's death, Abraham Schermerhorn inherited this property, which included a farm and house hailed as the oldest house in Brooklyn, built in 1690. Abraham sold the land in 1835; it now makes up a large portion of Green-Wood Cemetery. The modern-day Schermerhorn Street in downtown Brooklyn is located near the site of Abraham and Peter Schermerhorn's ropewalk, used for their shipping business until 1841, when it was destroyed by a fire.


  1. Benardo, Leonard, and Jennifer Weiss. "Schermerhorn Street." In Brooklyn by Name: How the Neighborhoods, Streets, Parks, Bridges, and More Got Their Names, 51. New York: New York University Press, 2006.
  2. Schermerhorn, Richard, Jr. Schermerhorn Genealogy and Family Chronicles. New York: Tobias A. Wright, 1914.