Handwritten Reminiscence of Revolutionary-Era Brooklyn and New York, Ca 1845

Manuscript document, approx. 8 x 10 in., 37pp, "Montauk Point Sept. 17. 1845." Primarily reminiscences of Revolutionary War-era Long Island, most prominently in Kings County (present-day Brooklyn), as well as military events as they unfolded in the wider New York city area. Signed in two places "Jeremiah Johnson," indicating the manuscript may have been written by General Jeremiah Johnson (1768-1852), noted in A History of the City of Brooklyn as "Brooklyn's first and foremost citizen." Document includes references to some of the most prominent families in Brooklyn, to British and American military figures, as well as to what the author describes as "the last public sale of human Flesh in the town of Brooklyn."

Jeremiah Johnson was Brooklyn's third mayor and held the elected position of town supervisor for forty years. He recorded his experience of the Revolutionary War in a personal narrative titled "Recollections of Brooklyn and New York, in 1776: from a Note-book of Gen. Jeremiah Johnson, of the Wallabout, L.I." which was published in Naval Magazine in 1836. More detailed research is necessary to determine the extent to which these recollections mirror Johnson's 1836 version, however, it does not appear to be an exact replication of the earlier history. This narrative begins in 1773 with the death of Heletie Rappelys [Hilletje Rappelje, widow of Jeronimus Rappelje] at the age of 93 years, and the sale of her slave servants at a public auction, an event which was witnessed by the author and "considered odious and disgraceful at the time...." From there the narrative continues with descriptions of the war years relating the service of Lt. Col. Nicholas Cowenhoven and other Kings County militiamen as well as references to Loyalists. The manuscript concludes with a series of brief anecdotes with titles such as "Guides of Spies," "Target Shooting," "The Jockey Club," and "Administration of Justice."

Document contains some edits in pencil from an unknown hand, possibly added at a later date, including pages crossed out in entirety. Original ink handwriting remains entirely legible beneath pencil edits. 


Good condition overall given age, with first page noticeably more worn and toned than other pages.

Estimate: $2,000 - $3,000
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