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Whitney Mansion and Mill
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Location of Mill 1964
The site of the colonial tidewater mill, 1964.
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Re: Location of Mill 1964--Gerritsen
Gerritsen Mill, Beach, and Creek were not named for Wolphert Gerretse. Wolphert's last name was Couwenhoven. The Gerritsen's who owned the Mill and lived on the Beach for almost 300 years were the descendants of Gerrit Remmersen. Dutch children of this era took the first name of their father for their surname. Gerrit's sons Rem and Samuel used the surname Gerritsen. Rem moved to Cape May, New Jersey, and died there. Samuel Gerritsen lived in Gravesend and Samuel owned the Tide Mill. Hugh Gerritsen held title to some land in this area in 1645. His relationship to Samuel Gerritsen, if any, is not proven. Documented proof of the passing of the Tide Mill exists in the land record's of Kings County. The Mill passed from Samuel Gerritsen (1671-1763) to his son Johannes (1716-1766). In the New York Surrogate's office, Liber 25, page 232, is the will of Johannes Gerritsen, miller, of Gravesend, who gave to his son, Samuel Gerritsen, all his real and personal estate, subject to certain legacies, which he (Samuel) was to pay. In this will he names his widow, Jannetie, and a daughter, Ida. His executors are named as his brother-in-law Michiel Vandervoort, and Rem Williamson and his cousin Jacobus Rider. The date of this will is December 20th, 1765. Johannes first wife and mother of Samuel was deceased. Her maiden name was Elizabeth Vandervoort (Michiel was her brother). Ida was the daughter of Jannetie Williams Gerritsen. Samuel Gerritsen, of Gravesend, recorded his will in the Kings County Surrogate's office, in Libel 2, probated in 1822. In this will he leaves the grist mill and farm to his son, John S., and names daughters, Jane and Elizabeth. He appoints his son-in-law, John Lott, and grandson, Van Brunt Magaw, executors. Van Brunt Magaw was born September 7th, 1783; died March 18th, 1831. He was a son of Colonel Robert Magaw, an officer of distinction in the Reyolution, and Marritje, daughter of Colonel Rutgert Van Brunt. Van Brunt Magaw, married November 2nd, 1811, Adriana, daughter of Louwrens Voorhees and Jannetie,his wife, daughter of Samuel Gerritsen. This Samuel Gerritsen (grandson of the elder Samuel, born 1671) was the miller during the Revolutionary War,who dumped the grind stones into the Harbor rather than to mill for the British! John S. Gerritsen continued to operate the Tide Mill. The will of John S. Gerritsen, miller, of Gravesend, was probated September 2nd, 1864, and is recorded in Libel 28. He leaves his farm, meadows and mill to his son, Samuel J. Gerritsen, and another farm which he had bought of the Stillwells, to his other son, Simon C. Gerritsen. Samuel J. Gerritsen'S will was recorded on October 31st, 1876, and was made May 4th of the same year. He leaves all his property, both real and personal, to his two daughters, Mary C., widow of Abraham Ditmas Polhemus, and Helen B., wife of Stephen H. Herriman, both of Brooklyn. In 1899, the estate was sold to the Honorable William C. Whitney, who rebuilt, laid out, refitted and restored the premises, making one of the most magnificent country seats around New York. On his death his son, Harry Payne Whitney, came into possession of the properly.
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