Saturday, November 20, 2010


In the early 1860s, my great-grandfather, Louis Windmuller, bought seven acres of rural property and on them built a comfortable home in which to raise his growing family. The location was a neighborhood in Newtown, Queens, called Woodside.[1]

Newtown came into existence in 1665 while the Dutch still ruled in New Amsterdam. Occupying an area where hostile Indians and predatory wolf packs had posed threats to European settlers, the new inhabitants of Newtown set out to buy out the former and kill off the latter. Accomplishing both objectives, their farms — worked by enslaved Africans — prospered. By 1689 the town contained 183 free white inhabitants and 93 mostly black slaves and by 1711 these numbers had risen to 839 and 164. During the 17th and most of the 18th centuries, the town extended over most of the area which later became known as Queens County.[2] It was not until 1764 that the county's boundaries were set and before then Newtown was simply part of Nassau, the name given to Long Island in those years.[3] Thereafter the town's extent diminished as Flushing, Jamaica, and Long Island City came into existence on its borders. All the while, the Village of Newtown lay near the town's center, surrounded by other hamlets of similar size. In time these satellites would come to include Laurel Hill, Dutch Kills, Charlottville, Corona, Maspeth, and, finally, the one where Louis Windmuller settled, Woodside.

When Louis Windmuller purchased the land in the 1860s, Woodside had only recently came into existence, having received its name from a journalist whose family estate bore that name and who wrote a series of "Letters from Woodside" for a Brooklyn newspaper.[4] The name comes from the woodlands in and near the property, but, though it suggests verdant parkland — much like a neighboring section called Sunnyside — the area was not uniformly bucolic. Along with prosperous farms and extensive commercial gardens, the area was dotted with pestilential swamps and the forests themselves did not have entirely pleasant associations.[5]

The land he bought belonged to man who shows up on a property map of 1852 as "R. Bragaw." This was undoubtedly Richard Bragaw, member of a large family by that name which had thrived in Woodside and its environs back when the land was still being contested between Dutch settlers and the local Indian tribes. They were a colorful lot, said to be large in body and spirit. Able and energetic, they were quick to take up arms in an area that, throughout most of the Revolutionary War, was occupied by the British.[6]

Unlike their neighbors, the Bragaws were originally neither Dutch nor English, but French. Like most old families, they found that the spelling of their name evolved as it passed over national boundaries. Huguenots from La Rochelle, they had moved to Manheim and then to first Manhattan, then Brooklyn, and finally, in 1675, they set themselves up on land in what was then Mespath, later to be Newtown, and, still later, the Village of Woodside in the Town of Newtown.

An ancestor writes of the archetypical Bragaw, named Bourgon Broucard, that he arrived in Maspeth in 1692 and a year later was there farming 40 acres of a property called "Mill Land".[7] In 1721, Isaac, a son of Bourgon, helped build a school house on his nearby property along the track that led from Hallett's Cove to the west (on the shore of the East River) through to Newtown Village on the east. This building, probably the first school in that part of Long Island, was still standing in 1892. In 1805, Richard Bragaw, father to the man who sold Windmuller his land, deeded the school house and its property for the use of his neighbors.[8]

When Louis Windmuller bought his land from Richard the Bragaw properties extended along much of the old Hallett's Cove track, now called Middleburg Avenue. For a long time this road had been known simply as the causeway. It lay upon high ground connecting school and mill, and on it the population would frequently meet one another in passing to and fro.[9]

I wonder, when Louis Windmuller, moved there, did he know how many of his wife's ancestors lived in the vicinity. William Thorne, the first of her predecessors to land in America, quarrelled with the Puritans of New England and followed Lady Deborah Moody to land held by the Dutch in Gravesend, Nassau, Long Island. He and most of his family eventually farmed in and around Hempstead, but some, notably one of his Mott descendants, bought land in Newtown, and one, Jacob Mott, became a progressive farmer in on land next to Richard Bragaw's farm, down the road from Windmuller's property.[10]

Via his wife, Windmuller was also distantly related to other neighbors.[11] This is not really surprising. There were four dominant faiths: Anglican, Independent, Reformed Dutch, and Quaker. The families who settled in western Long Island in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were not that numerous, they did not move around very much, and they naturally tended to marry within their own churches. This meant that a reasonably small number of family names recur in most genealogies of these folks. Within Annie Windmuller's line, the names Thorne, Lenington, Kissam, Mott, and Van Wyck are common and some of them intermarried with the settled residents of Newtown, including the Townsends, Brinckerhoffs, Burroughses, and Dentons.[12]

At the time of the War of Independence, Bragaws aligned themselves on both sides of the conflict. While Richard, father of the man who sold Windmuller some land, was an ardent Patriot, his cousin Andrew adhered to the Loyalist cause. At the close of the war many Loyalists, now called Tories or worse, fled to Canada. Gradually, some of the exiles returned and it's recorded that Richard and Andrew were thereafter amicable neighbors.[13]

There's much more to be learned about the Bragaws as you can see from the list of sources I've included below. William O'Gorman's quaint historical sketches are a good place to start. The Bragaw section of these sketches has been copied into Francis Skillman's Skillmans of New York (1892 -- in pdf format). The most interesting part of them is really about the British occupation of the Morrell estate during the rebellion. O'Gorman describes the many thousands of troops camped just across the way from the property Windmuller bought: "Ten thousand British troops defiled through the Morrell gate, at that time west of the house, around which, winding and passing north of the barn through the orchard, the steel river of bayonets still flowed, rippling from the inequalities of the ground, until the heights of Shursdorf being ascended each regiment ‘was told off by ‘the steady British sergeant for miles through the woods, to remain for the night." The Sussdorf property was right next to Windmuller's estate and O'Gorman's "heights of Shursdorf" undoubtedly is meant to cover both pieces of land and somewhat more. O'Gorman continues: "The Morrell farm often surrenders to the plow relics of the former camp; Mr. Susdorff [this is closer to the modern spelling of the name] a few years since, rooted up the remains of a broken musket, doubtless buried by some soldier of the occupation. Near the juncture of Betts avenue and the Newtown road, immediately opposite the Kelly mansion, is still to be seen a singular mound of ring form, to which tradition assigns a date coeval ‘with Captain Kidd, but in the absence of positive information we may theorize that a guard may have been stationed there on the junction of the two roads, always an important position to military men. Traces of embankments are said still to be found in those woods." Since the Sussdorf and Windmuller properties were mostly woods and the rest of the area was either swamp or farmland, it's likely O'Gorman's phrase "those woods" refers to the two estates.


This is the house of Richard Bragaw who sold Windmuller the property which he made into his suburban estate. The photo comes from a 1903 article on the destruction of this and other old houses during an expansion of the Long Island Railroad.

{source: "Historic Houses Being Razed to Make Way for the March of Improvement," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 2, 1903}

As it says, this house on Middleburgh Avenue was purchased by William Gosman from John Bragaw. Bragaw had moved into it in the middle of the 18th century and it was, as the 1903 caption indicates, old even then. The photo is also from the same newspaper article as its neighbor above.

{source: "Historic Houses Being Razed to Make Way for the March of Improvement," Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 2, 1903}

Woodside received its name and began its transformation from rural community to New York suburb in the 1850s and '60s when an innovative housing development sprung up and when the Long Island Rail Road Co. built its Flushing Line, making the place a station stop on the way from the western terminus at the 34th St. ferry dock out to Flushing. This early photo shows the LIRR going out island.

{source: Old Queens, N.Y., in early photographs (Courier Dover Publications, 1991)}

Although this photo was taken in 1899 in neighboring Winfield, it conveys a rough idea of the farming countryside that surrounded the Windmuller property when he bought it. Although Woodside was accused of having some "snake-infested swamps and wolf-ridden woodlands," much of the area would actually have looked like this back in the 1860s. Its farmers were proud of the flowers they grew as well as the quality of their fruits and vegetables, dairy produce, and pork which they brought to market.

This photo, taken nearby in 1900, gives an idea of the appearance of much of Windmuller's hillside propery.

{Maurice Woods, 1900. Old Queens in Early Photographs, Seyfried, Asadorian; my source is a forgotten-ny blog post by Christina Wilkinson on St. Saviour’s Church.}



This map from Kelly's Historic Queens shows Newtown's roads of the 17th and 18th centuries. I've marked Richard Bragaw's home and the seven acres he sold to Louis Windmuller. The old road connecting the two was then called the causeway and, in Windmuller's time, Middleburgh Ave.


This map shows Woodside as it was in 1852, before it got the name. I've marked it to show the Windmuller property and that of his nearest neighbor, Adolf Sussdorf, and also marked the home that John Bragaw sold to William Gosman in the 18th century and the home of Richard Bragaw with his school house close at hand. The large area marked "Kelly" is the old Kelly estate which was the first to be "developed" into small lots for suburbanites. The Great Chestnut Tree was a local landmark which died before the end of the 19th century.

{source: Woodside: A Historical Perspective 1652-1994 by Catherine Gregory (Woodside On the Move, 1994), found and (Woodside, by Chrisina Wilkinson)}

This shows Manhattan and Long Island in 1639. Note that west is on top, not north, and thus Long Island is below Manhattan. I've marked the spot where Woodside would eventually come into being and Gravesend where Annie Windmuller's Thorne relatives settled first, after leaving Lynn, Massachusetts — before they moved on to Hempstead.

{Caption: Anonymous, Manhattan on the North River, 1639. Detail showing Dutch settlements on Manhattan and Native longhouse in Brooklyn; source: Library of Congress, Geography and Map Division}

This detail comes from a British map made in 1776. I've shown Manhattan, Newtown, Gravesend, and Hempstead.

{Map of the progress of His Majesty's armies in New York during the late campaign, 1776; source: NYPL Digital Gallery}

I've marked this satellite view to show the Windmuller property.

{source: Google}


Some sources:

Woodside, Queens County, New York: a historical perspective, 1652-1994, by Catherine Gregory (New York, Woodside on the Move, 1994)

Long Island on the New York Parks web site

Maspeth/ Middleburgh/Hastings/Newtown on the New York Parks web site. Excerpt:
1. New Amsterdam
Maspeth/ Middleburgh/Hastings/Newtown

The European settlement of what is today the borough of Queens did not begin auspiciously. Its leader was an English firebrand minister named Francis Doughty, whose preaching — in particular his belief that the descendants of Abraham were entitled to Baptism — became too radical for the Puritans of the Massachusetts Bay colony. When Doughty showed up on the streets of New Amsterdam, director-general Willem Kieft, who was searching desperately for settlers, offered him the chance to start an English town on Long Island, under Dutch protection. Kieft promised Doughty that he would also be free to preach his chosen gospel. In 1642 Doughty brought several families to his new community, called Maspeth.

Kieft was rather generous, granting a "certain parcel of land situate on Long Island…containing…six thousand six hundred and sixty-six Dutch acres or thereabouts, comprehended within four right lines…"-more or less the entire western half of the borough of Queens. But the newcomers had just begun their settlement in earnest when an Indian attack leveled the place in 1643. The survivors limped back to Manhattan, and Rev. Doughty established himself for a time as minister to the English residents of New Amsterdam. Thus ended the original community of Maspeth.

Nine years later, however, another group of English who had moved south from New England tried again on the same land. This time they named the place Middleburgh. With the English takeover of the province of New Netherland in 1664, the name was changed to Hastings. Apparently, however, the residents had long called the place Newtown, as if to make a clear distinction from the earlier, abortive settlement, and so the community was called well into the nineteenth century. If you are looking for Newtown today, however, you won't find it, beyond such references as Newtown Avenue and Newtown Creek (the East River tributary that forms the boundary between the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens). Confusingly enough, however, Maspeth later resurfaced as a name for part of the area within Rev. Doughty's original patent. In 1725, a Judge Sackett built his house in Maspeth, and by the time of the Revolution Maspeth was an industrial center.
The Founding Families of Woodside, Queens, New York on

HISTORY TOPICS: NAMES OF LONG ISLAND CITY. Excerpt: "Woodside Avenue, earlier Hurl Gate Road, earlier Road to Narrow Passage.
Either an Indian trail or one of the first roads built, this was the main road from western Queens to the Village of Newtown. A tongue of dry land between the swamps of "Long Trains Meadow" (towards Jackson Heights), "Wolf Swamp" (towards Maspeth) and Burger's Sluice (along Northern Boulevard.) Strategic point garrisoned by Hessians during the Revolution. The slight hump in the terrain at Woodside Ave. and Northern Blvd. may have been a beaver dam."

Register in alphabetical order, of the early settlers of Kings County, Long Island, N.Y. by Teunis G. Bergen( New York, S. W. Green's sons, printer, 1881). Excerpt: "Broucard, Broulaet, Bourgon, or Bragaw, Broucard, a French Huguenot who emigrated to this country from Manheim in the Palatinate of the Rhine with his w. Catharine Le Febre in 1675. In 1664 he bought and resided on a farm in Bushwick, which he sold in 1688 and removed to Newtown. Previous to this he appears to have resided at Bedford, as per Do. Van Zuuren's lists of R. D. ch. mem. of 1677, on which he is entered as removed from Bedford to Flatbush. Issue: — Maria, m. Myndert Wiltse; Jane, m. Hans Coevert; Catalina; Isaac, baptised Aug. 7, 1676, m. Heyltie; —— John, m. Sarah ——, and settled at Three Mile Run, N. J.; Jacob, settled on the Raritan; Peter, m. Catharine and settled on the Raritan; and Abraham, m. Marytie or Maria, and settled on the Raritan. The N. J. branch of the family write their surname Broka or Brockaer. Made his mark to documents."

Long Island Unveiled: Early Colonial Maps

HISTORY OF QUEENS COUNTY with illustrations, Portraits & Sketches of Prominent Families and Individuals (New York: W.W. Munsell & Co.; 1882)


Prominent Families of New York (BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009)

History of Green Point Transcribed for the Bklyn Pages by Mimi Stevens

Historical guide to the city of New York, City History Club of New York, Frank Bergen Kelly (F. A. Stokes company, 1909)

Ancestors of Walter Edgar Fry

Up The Creek - October 22, 2000 by Frank J. Dmuchowski


A History of the Bragaw Family

Bragaw Genealogy (pdf)

The annals of Newtown, in Queens County, New York; containing its history from its first settlement, together with many interesting facts concerning the adjacent towns by James Riker(New York, D. Fanshaw, 1852). Excerpt: "Several of the citizens of Newtown, namely, Richard Bragaw, George Brinckerhoff, Abraham Devine, and Ludlam Haire, all of whom had been with Gen. Woodhull, driving stock, were also surprised and captured at Hinchman's tavern, Jamaica, and taken from thence to a British prison-ship, where they were urged to enlist, but, by bribing a friend to government, were released."

The Skillmans of New York (pdf) compiled by Francis Skillman, 1892

Sketches of Ancient Newtown; The Bragaws. (pdf); from the Long Island City Star of April 25, 1879; also published in 1886 in the Newtown Register as "OLD NEWTOWN. Selections from the Town Scrap Book, Originally Written by William O'Gorman."

Religion in New Amsterdam by Donna Speer Ristenbatt

The Baptists in New York

Rev. John Moore of Newtown, Long Island, and some of his descendants by James W. Moore (Easton, Pa., Printed for the publisher by the Chemical Publishing Co., 1903)

The New York genealogical and biographical record, Volume 83 (New York, New York Genealogical and Biographical Society, 1870)

Documents and letters intended to illustrate the revolutionary incidents of Queens county: with connecting narratives, explanatory notes, and additions by Henry Onderdonk (Leavitt, Trow and company, 1846)

Proceedings of the annual meeting, Volume 23 (New York State Agricultural Society, 1864)

Newtown Register, Thursday, March 1, 1877 -- "E. T. Bragaw. Esq., of Woodside. is President of the New Stock Exchange recently organized by New York Brokers."

The Jones family of Long Island; descendants of Major Thomas Jones (1665-1726) and allied families (New York, T. A. Wright, 1907)

Descendants of William Thorne & Susannah Booth

The History of the Sackett/Kelly/Howell Estate

Pioneers of Woodside; Story of the Early Residents Of the Lately Famous Long Island Village. Marks of German Influence — Story of the Freedle Family from the Time of the Napoleonic Wars — The Rikers, Kellys, and Howells on the Old Farm. New York Times, August 1, 1897.

Present Day Neighborhood of Woodside

Woodside - The Peopling of New York City

The Kelly Family, in The Founding Families of Woodside, Queens, New York, by Owen Clough

The family of Joris Dircksen Brinckerhoff, 1638 by Roeliff Brinkerhoff and T. Van Wyck Brinkerhoff (R. Brinkerhoff, 1887)

“Woodside of Long Ago," The Woodsider, March 1983



[1] The area of his property may been a bit more than seven acres. Some old sources show that number and others show ten. A good starting point for investigating Woodside is a blog post on forgotten-ny: by Christina Wilkinson.

[2] Early settlers enslaved American Indians, but there were never many and their numbers dwindled as African slavery proved to be more profitable. To learn more about the early history of Newtown, go to James Riker's book: The annals of Newtown, in Queens County, New York; containing its history from its first settlement, together with many interesting facts concerning the adjacent towns by James Riker(New York, D. Fanshaw, 1852) Riker explains that slaves were bought and sold as chattels, but had some rights nonetheless. "They were protected by law. In infancy they were baptized, and at a suitable age were allowed to marry. "

[3] Queens would not become part of New York City until 1870 and until then was in, first, Nassau, and then Long Island.

[4] The journalist was John A. Kelly who wrote "Letters from Woodside" about his experience, growing up on his parents estate in a series of reminiscences written for The Independent Press, in Williamsburg, Brooklyn (See: The Kelly Family, in The Founding Families of Woodside, Queens, New York, by Owen Clough, and The History of the Sackett/Kelly/Howell Estate.)

[5] The woodlands came to be called "Suicide's Paradise" from a custom, it was said, for people to take their own lives in an area called "Snake Woods" (source: an article in the Woodsider, March 1983). One source says the area "was largely comprised of snake-infested swamps and wolf-ridden woodlands."

[6] As for example: "During the Revolutionary War the house was a rendezvous for patriots when hard pressed by the British. Once Richard Bragaw, its owner, was captured by the British and sent to the prison ship Jersey. Later by bribing one of the sentinels he escaped and went back to the aid of the patriots. After the British took possession of that part of Long Island the house was searched almost daily by bands of soldiers in search of rebels or plunder." -- The Sun, Sunday, December 28, 1902: "Old Homesteads Doomed Must Make Way for the Tunnel in Long Island City The Bragaw House On of Them — Built by Descendants of a Huguenot Two Centuries Ago — Its Revolutionary Record — Other Interesting Houses to Go." And also:
The Bragaws! The Bragaws of Dutch Kills; like Ajax of Homer the name by a natural onomatopoeia resounds their physical build and mental stature. Plucky sons of action; in war they will not be neutrals; without demonstration they obey the call to arms and retire from the conflict at its conclusion. Well fitted to endure hardship, this Huguenot race can abandon home without a pang, sustain the hardships of military life, and return without emotion. Daniel T. Bragaw, sergeant 4th N. Y. Cavalry; Townsend Bragaw, 4th N. Y. Calvary; George McAlister Gosman, 15th N. Y. Engineers; E. T. Bragaw, John Goldsmith Bragaw, Edward G. Burnett and John G. Bragaw and brother, sons of Richard P. Bragaw, close an imperfect list of men, all immediate cousins from one family engaged in our great rebellion. -- (Sketches of Ancient Newtown; The Bragaws; From the Long Island City Star of April 25, 1879.)
[7] From a Bragaw descendent:
The Dutch in America had a difficult time handling the French name of Broucard. It is found in more than twenty different variant spellings including, among others, Bergaw, Borcaart, Bragan, Brega, Brocca, Brokaerd, and Burgau. The Christian name Bourgon also gave the scribes trouble, being found as Bergoon, Bergun, Bregu, Brogun, etc. His descendants in New Jersey finally adopted the spelling Brokaw, while those on Long Island called themselves Bragaw.

Bourgon Broucard settled in Brooklyn where he was assessed in 1676 as owning about 11 morgens (about 23 acres) of land and valley and two cows. The following year he was in Midwout, at which time his wife was, transferred from the Dutch Reformed Church of Brooklyn to the French Church in Manhattan by certificate, but her name does not appear in the early French Church records. In 1684, he moved to Cripplebush in Bushwick, L.I., where he bought a farm, and four years later to Dutch Kills, now a part of Long Island City. Here, in 1692, he bought a large estate, which he sold in 1702. In a deed, dated June 21, 1690, he and Hans Tunis Couert "of Bedford in Kings Co.," yeomen, bought land in Maspeth Kills, Newtown, and on July 16, 1693, he bought 19 morgens and 400 rods of land there, called the Mill Land (Queens Co. Deeds, B 2, pp-352-53). On Oct. 30, 1700, a bill was brought before the Assembly for the quieting of title to the lands of "ancient freeholders," including those of "Bergoon Bragan," who were "inhabitants of Hellgate Neck, within the bounds of Newtown, on Long Island." -- The Story As I See It by Dennis Brokaw
[8] See "The Bragaws, Sketches of Ancient Newtown," in Skillmans of New York by Francis Skillman (Jones, 1892) and Bragaw Genealogy (pdf)
William O'Gorman, the Town Clerk of Newtown during the 1880s, wrote a series of historical sketches which he said were taken from Newtown Scrap Books. Three of them relate to the Bragaws. In one he writes:
Richard Bragaw granted the site of the old Dutch Kills School House by deed bearing date 20th December, 1805. An extract can hardly be refused:
Know all men by these presents that I, Richard Bragaw of Newtown, Dutch Kills, in consideration of the good will and affection I have and bear to my neighbors, namely Francis Duryea,. Charles Debevoise. John Debevoise. Johannes De-Witt, Derick Brinckerhoff, Abraham Polhemus. William Payntar, Joseph Goslice, David Miller, James Blackwell, George Van Alst, Isaac Van Alst, James McDonough. William Parcels, John Debevoise, James; Larremore, Richard Bragaw, Abraham Rapelye, Isaac Rapelye, Andrew Bragaw, Daniel Townsend, William March and William Payntar, and also for other divers and good causes and considerations, me, the said Richard Bragaw, hereunto moving, have given, granted and confirmed, and hereby give, grant, and confirm, unto my said neighbors that certain piece of ground on which the School House now stands, to have, hold and enjoy with an addition of three feet on each side of said School House unto my said neighbors, their executors, administrators, and assigns, forever to be applied to the use of a School House, and for no other purpose whatever, with the proviso that I, the said Richard Bragaw, my heirs, administrators, and assigns, am to receive the ashes which shall from time to time be made in said house or in whatever School House may be erected on said ground, etc. In witness whereof, etc.. Richard Bragaw. Elizabeth Bragaw. Signed in the presence of William Gray.
-- Sketches of Ancient Newtown; The Bragaws. (pdf); from the Long Island City Star of April 25, 1879; also published in 1886 in the Newtown Register as "OLD NEWTOWN. Selections from the Town Scrap Book, Originally Written by William O'Gorman."
[9] From William O'Gorman:
The causeway — let us people it again with its neighbors down later generations, even to the times of Richard Bragaw on their wagons going to the mill. Great conversations and profound disquisitions were held thereon. Romantic courtship also has diffused its charms over the Ravine Road, for a comely young widow owned the mill, the cottage and the farm; she too was wayward like her maiden sisterhood of the Kills in preferring strangers whilst she was the widow Polhemus.... But before this period, say May 12, 1776, Richard Bragaw had developed an extraordinary thirst for education under the eye of Professor Gilbert, who kept school precisely where No. 2 now stands. Here he also lived and educated his daughter. The old causeway was not unfaithful, and the two were married. She departed pending the Revolution, leaving her widowed spouse to cross over to the opposite corner and seek consolation from the sympathizing soul of the bright-eyed Catherine Payntar. And still the old mill dam was faithful to the trust reposed in it by young hearts: the pair were married January 21, 1786.... Mindful of the ravine where in childhood he played, and full of the emotional recollections we have touched on, Richard Bragaw granted the site of the old Dutch Kills School House by deed bearing date 20th December, 1805.... The old School House itself was cremated a few years since. Whether or not the heirs of Richard were entitled under the terms of the deed to its ashes the [author] will not aver. W. Gray, the witness, was the teacher. The foundation stones still mark the spot a few yards down the ravine from its brick successor, No. 2. -- Newtown Register, June, 1886; "Old Newtown, Selections from the Town Scrap Book, Originally Written by the Town Clerk." The Town Clerk was William O'Gorman, who served in the 1880s and wrote historical sketches which appeared in the Long Island city Star as well as the Newtown Register.
[10] Jacob Mott 1715-1805 was a grandson of Adam Mott. Born in Essex, England, in a family whose roots can be traced to 1375, he arrived in Boston in 1636. In 1646 he settled in Mespath Kill, which would, much later, beome the Woodside section of Newtown. In 1655 however he was in Hempstead. His first wife was Jane Hulet of Buckingham England. Jane and Adam had eight children, including Joseph. Joseph had a son Jacob. Adam also had a son Richbell by his second wife, Elizabeth Richbell, and Richbell married Elizabeth Thorne in 1696. Elizabeth was daughter of William Thorne, second of that name. This William Thorne was a grandparent, quite a few generations back, of Annie, wife of Louis Windmuller. Jacob Mott was also connnected to Annie Windmuller's Thorne relatives via her Kissam ancestors. It was his Aunt Elizabeth who married John Kissam and he, John, was son of John and Susannah (Thorne) Kissam. Windmuller and Jacob Mott were thus distant cousins in two family lines. Jacob Mott himself became prominent in NY politics and was an alderman, 1804-10, president of the Board when De Witt Clinton was Mayor, and at one time an acting Deputy Mayor. Mott Street in Greenwich Village perpetuates his name in the map of the city. -- Prominent Families of New York (BiblioBazaar, LLC, 2009). Jacob Mott won awards for his skill at farming. (Proceedings of the annual meeting, Volume 23, New York State Agricultural Society, 1864).

[11] Windmuller's neighbors included Samuel B. Townsend, George Brinckerhoff, Jacob J. Burroughs, Joseph Burroughs, Theodore Burroughs, and B. Denton. Samuel B. Townsend was, like Jacob Mott, connected to Annie Windmuller via the Kissams. Anna Mott first married Daniel Kissam II then Jotham Townsend. Samuel B. was very likely a descendant of Jotham. George Brinckerhoff was connected to Annie via Magretia Brinckerhoff who married Theodorus Van Wyck in 1693. Their daughter, Altje Van Wyck married Richard Thorne from whom Annie was directly descended. Jacob, Joseph, and Theodore Burroughs were sons of John Burroughs (m. Sarah Debevoise), himself son of James Burroughs (m. Gessie/Grace Colyer), son of Jeremiah (m. Hannah Way). Jeremiah had a sister Abigail who married Thomas Thorne in 1759. B. Denton there is a likely connection with Phoebe Denton, wife of Richard Thorne (m. 1699). -- I have this from my genealogical research into the Windmuller family.

[12] See Windmuller Family Genealogy

[13] O'Gorman writes: "Richard Bragaw, an uncompromising patriot, at once took sides with his country by joining General Woodhull's Cavalry. He was taken prisoner at Hinchman's Tavern, Jamaica, at the time Woodhull was killed, and sent aboard the "Jersey" prison ship; but his strong constitution baffled the horrors of that floating pandemonium, and he finally made his escape to find his horses and farm stock confiscated and his other property pillaged. His Tory relative, Andrew Bragaw, was suspected of unfriendly feelings, but probably without foundation, for we find both parties on very friendly terms after the proclamation of peace. One fellow named Titus, however, narrowly escaped a bullet from Richard, who encountered this over active Tory near Newtown village." -- "OLD NEWTOWN. Selections from the Town Scrap Book, Originally Written by William O'Gorman," a series of articles published in the Newtown Register in 1886.


Anonymous said...

I just subscribed to your blog. I have Richard Bragaw's Newton Presbyterian Church bible and have been looking for a proper home for it for decades. Do you know a descendant? It has pressed flowers tucked into the pages. The binding is falling apart, but it would be a great thing for his family to have. Please email me at the address I left on my subscription. Thanks, rserre

Jeff said...

Hi, rserre,

Google doesn't give me access to the email address you gave them. I haven't contacted any of the Bragaw family. The only contact information I have is on the Bragaw genealogy page which gives email and snailmail address for Robert Bragaw:
Robert Bragaw, 332 Castlewood Court, Hampton, VA 23669

-- Jeff

Nathan Bragaw said...


I have emailed Jeff with my email address (to avoid spam) and would love to contact your regarding that bible. I am directly descended from Richard Bragaw, and the son of Robert Bragaw (mentioned above). My father has since passed, but I would welcome the opportunity to purchase the bible from you.