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Guide to Francis V. Morrell's Recollections of Old Williamsburgh 1973.084

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Brooklyn Historical Society

Collection processed by Robyn Hjermstad

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on May 01, 2012
English using Describing Archives: A Content Standard

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.

Arrangement note

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