BROOKLYN UNION-ARGUS, 8 AUGUST 1882 OLD JOHN ANDERSON
AN INTERESTING CHARACTER AND AN OLD-TIME HOUSE.
A Dwelling that has Withstood Improvements Since Its Erection in 1827- A Pleasant Chat with the Man who Has Occupied it Ever Since It was Built - The Obstacles of Ferry Travel in Those Days - Mr ANDERSON's Recollections- Taxes Then and Now. Standing on a knoll about fifteen feet above the level of Grand street, between Second and Third streets, in the Eastern District, and almost hidden from the view of passing pedestrians, is one of the oldest
residences in that section of the city.On either side are dwellings and stores of modern pattern, built on the level of the street, but the old house referred to, which is the residence of Mr. John ANDERSON, the oldest resident of the Eastern District, probably stands as it was built in 1827.Mr. ANDERSON and his wife occupied it then and do still.The march of time has made no changes in the house, for with the exception of a newly boarded front, no alteration has been made in all that time. It is a specimen of the genuine country farm house on the present day as
it wasof the period when it was erected.It is of frame, two stories high, with a slanting roof.There is a small stoop with three steps leading to it, which end at the front door.On the easterly gable is an encased stairway, with an entrance from the lower andupper floors each.
In the rear is the ususal flat roof portico running from the east to the west end of the house, and supported by a series of pieces of ornamental framework.Clambering in and out of the crevices of this framework, and winding its way upward to the roof, is a thickly-leaved vine.The
flooring is of heavy two-inch plank.In the "garden" in the rear are a few flowers, a bed of beets, a small patch of potatoes and some other farm produce. A FEW STUNTED TREES
of various varieties grow at irregular intervals both in the rear and front of the house.The beds in which the produce grows are kept free of weeds, which everywhere else grow thickly and undisturbed, betokening, as it would seem, the very thoughts of the owner, who, having reached a ripe old age, is anxious only to make a certainty of
sufficient necessaries for the maintenance of himself and wife for a season.Beyond this his thoughts do not extend, and all may go to seed or be choked by weeds for ought he cares.There is one visible surrender to modern mprovements, and that is a hydrant, with faucet and
sink.Even in this there is a sign of a reluctant giving way to the march of improvement, for it stands in the open ar, at the easterly side of the house, unprotected, and as though looked upon as a necessary evil and deemed unworthy of a place beneath the roof of the house. A representative of this paper yesterday afternoon with some difficulty
opened the gate which stands, like the fence, on a level with the street.An old-fashioned latch had first to be raised and then the gate, to open, to be pulled outward.Ascending a flight of wooden steps which are set in the hill, the reporter tapped on the casing of the door, and on the appearance of Mrs. ANDERSON, a motherly appearing
matron, asked it Mr.ANDERSON were at home. "He's about somewhere, I reckon," was the reply, and then, thinking that
she had given the reporter the fullest and most definite answer possible, quickly withdrew. It looked as though Mr. ANDERSON had scented a stranger, for when the reporter, who was endeavoring to decide whether or not Mrs. ANDERSON's
reply was an invitation to leave, turned around, there stood the owner of the place at his very elbow. "HOW LONG HAVE I BEEN HERE? Well, young man, I reckon I came here long before you saw light.Let me see," pulling at a few straggling hairs remaining on his chin, "I came here fifty-five years ago.I don't exactly remember the year." "1827," suggested the reporter. "Come to think that was the year.Benn a good many changed since then
about these here parts.The only house around here was on where Third street is now.We went to the ferry at the foot of Grand stree, where there was no street then, for water.There warnt even a road here. Where North Second street is was the Turnpike.This (waving his hands
about) was all commons then, with stone fences around.I could sit here a week, from one Monday morning to the next, and see nothing but cows, or pigs, or something like that.When I bought this place of Noah WATERBURY there were a few little houses on the Turnpike and a grocery store.We all belonged to Bushwick then, and turned out three times a
year to drill at Flatbush.The militia was ordered out every year three times.William CONSELYEA and Jacob BENNETT are the only captains Ican remember.We had a new captain every year.The old settlers are all
gone now except me, and I don't expect to be here much longer.I'm going into my 78th year.I worked in New York at cabinetmaking when I fist moved here.I used to get up at three o'clock in the morning to get to New York at seven in the winter.Sometimes I didn't get there until ten.There were ALL HORSE BOATS THEN, and they'd stick in the ice and drift up to Blackwell's Island and come
down when the tide changed.I went to work one Monday morning and never got back till the next Sunday.You see the ice was so thick that when night came it was impossible to get across, and after awhile they stopped trying.We tried two or three times and then gave it up.The
day I moved over they had the first steamboat and wanted to take my funiture across.They took one load and got stuck in the ice.The rest came over in the horse boat.The steamboat was no good.It couldn't do the work.When I came here lots like this (35x100) brought from $100 to
$300.My taxes then were 6 or 7 shillings a year. Now they're $100, and I've paid a good deal of money for this place.Wagons couldn't go from here straight to the river when I came because the horses couldn't draw
them up the hill that went to the riverside.We had to drive straight across to the turnpike and then go down.But things are changed now; things are changed now;" saying which Mr.ANDERSON accompanied the reporter to the gate and bade him adieu. I am not related & have no toher info.