Why Blog My Weeksville Research?

The Weeksville Heritage Center is a collection of four, wood-frame houses (also known as the Hunterfly Road Houses) tucked sideways inside a city block in Central Brooklyn, New York. The houses have been preserved to tell the story of Weeksville, a black community of landowners formed in the 1830s in what was then rural Kings County, Long Island.   Black …

Gray Family Story Illustrations

Click the arrow to see layers. Turn off the historic map layer to see the present-day streets. View larger map   1849 map via the Brooklyn Historical Society. (BHS catalog description here. Georectified with NYPL Mapwarper.) 1919 map via New York Public Library (find the map in the NYPL Digital Collection here. Georectified map in NYPL Mapwarper here.)  

For Alexandra Bell

Dear Alexandra Bell, I love your work. Here are a couple articles I thought you might find interesting. Every time I look at the “Lost Negro Colony” article I think of you. I’d love to see what you’d do with it. If you ever decide to create a piece using this article, I bet Rob Fields at the Weeksville Heritage …

Bethel AME Church in Morristown, NJ, founded 1843

Here’s what I learned about Weeksville today, January 28, 2018. A descendant of Richard S. Ray contacted me via Ancestry. She’s organizing a reunion of Ray’s descendants in honor of the 175th anniversary of the Bethel AME Church in Morristown, New Jersey. Richard Ray was one of the church’s founding members. I knew several Weeksville families had come to Long …

Brooklyn Deep Podcast (What is Weeksville?)

[THIS PAGE IS IN PROGRESS AS OF 2/1/2018] I created it after a conversation with Weeksville descendant, Vivian Millicent Warfield, to answer some of the questions Mark asked us on the podcast. Vivian Warfield and Aimee VonBokel spoke with Mark Winston-Griffith, Veralyn Williams, and, TK / Tasty Keish / Keisha Dutes. The topic of our conversation: Vivian’s family history in …

1837 Tables of Population for Kings County, Long Island (Brooklyn)

Here’s what I learned about Weeksville today, October 28, 2017: In many cases, Weeksville descendants can trace their ancestry back to the 1830s or earlier: the days when Brooklyn was just one of many villages scattered about Long Island. I’m aware that black residents made up just a small part of the population then, but what did that mean? What …

Sidney Strangor Painter: Weeksville Resident

Here’s what I learned about Weeksville today, August 20, 2017:   Vivian and I spent the last few months looking for the deed to her great-grandfather’s house in Weeksville. Turns out he bought on Marion Street. Does that count as Weeksville? (see map below) We found the deed-abstract at Brooklyn Historical Society.   Map showing 85 Marion Street ca. 1904 …

P.S. 83: Integrated in 1893, but did integration last?

Here’s what I learned about Weeksville today, Friday, August 18, 2017: I knew that people like T. McCants Stewart and Rufus L. Perry Sr. integrated P.S. 83 (Crown Heights, Brooklyn) in 1893. But as Nikole Hannah-Jones has demonstrated, Brooklyn’s schools are separate and unequal today. Q: Were Brooklyn schools more integrated in the past than they are now? How long did P.S. 83 remain integrated? This summer, I …

Rufus L. Perry’s Church: an image and a map

Here’s what I learned about Weeksville today, August 17, 2017: So I knew a bit about Rufus L. Perry, Sr. A clergyman and a respected member of Brooklyn’s black community, he also founded a church. Today I came upon an image of the Messiah Baptist Church, a brief description of the church’s founding, and an address. Image and text from History of …