The Eastchester Homestead

Lending credence to what I was now calling The Eastchester Pedigree Theory, the Eastchester Homestead (aka The Farm) was  home to four generations of Lawrences. The Lawrence family initially settled in the Queens/Newtown/Long Island area, then a branch moved to Eastchester, in Westchester County. Some of these were our direct ancestors. Here's how the line progressed:

* Isaac Lawrence b. 1719 purchased the Eastchester homestead
m. Charity Fergusen June 6 1738

Isaac's son #8 Joseph Lawrence b. 1754 inherited the homestead
m. Dorothy Crawford 1785

Joseph's son # 5. Daniel b. 1804 inherited the homestead
m. Eliza Purdy b, 1810

Daniel's son Furman Lawrence b. 1837 inherited the homestead

Joseph's son #6. Enoch b. 1806 m. Eliza Vandervoort

Enoch's son Andrew Wilson Lawrence b. 1836 m. Ellen Virginia McCloskey

To summarize the above, Isaac Lawrence (1) married Charity Fergusen, and purchased the family homestead. Their son Joseph (2) inherited the homestead. Joseph married Dorothy Crawford, and their son Daniel (3) inherited the homestead. Daniel married Eliza Purdy, and their son Furman (4) inherited the homestead. Furman Lawrence sold the homestead to St. Andrew's Golf Club in 1895. Daniel's brother Enoch (3) married Eliza vanderVoort, and their son Andrew Wilson Lawrence (4) was my great-great-grandfather.

The Eastchester Census

            The Census of 1880 showed the following persons living in the Eastchester Homestead:
              Furman LAWRENCE b. 1837 age 43 Farmer widowed
              Eliza LAWRENCE Mother age 70 Keeping House
              William C. LAWRENCE Son age 15 At School
              Furman S. LAWRENCE Son age 9 At School

The old Lawrence property at one period embraced nearly five hundred acres. A portion of it was called Virginia from its beautiful appearance. The earliest proprietor of this estate was Isaac Lawrence, Esq. who originially emigrated from Long Island to Eastchester, cir. 1689. The property was passed down through several generations of Lawrences before being sold to St. Andrew's Golf Club in 1895.

         From The New York Times: 1895

Present occupants of the homestead:
Furman LAWRENCE age 58
Eliza LAWRENCE age 85
William age 30
Furman age 24

The St. Andrew's Golf Club practically completed all the preliminary arrangements last week for the purchase of its new golf farm near Mount Hope, Westchester County.

Apart from the beauty of the clubhouse, the Lawrence farm, which will soon be converted into the finest golf course in this country, is a particularly interesting place. It consists of 155 acres, and has been in the possession of the Lawrence family for nearly 175 years,

The place is occupied by the owner, or the late owner of the farm, Furman Lawrence and his wife, and with them also lives Mr, Lawrence's mother, a hale and hearty old lady of eighty-six years of age, but whose memory of old times is very clear. Furman Lawrence and his wife have lived in the house for thirty-two years,.

The land, together with all the territory extending down as far as King's Bridge, originally was a part of the famous Phillipse Manor. His land was confiscated after the Revolution, and a large part of it was purchased by Isaac Lawrence, one of the early settlers on the property.

Isaac Lawrence was at first a tenant of the lord of the manor, Phillipse. His first house was a rude log cabin, near the site of the present house. This house, according to old Mrs. Lawrence, who remembers what her father and mother told her about it, was erected by Isaac 166 years ago, carrying one back to 1729.

Isaac Lawrence was the great-grandfather of Furman Lawrence. His wife was Charity Ferguson. He raised thirteen children - seven sons and six daughters. When he died he left every one a farm.

Joseph Lawrence, the youngest of the thirteen children, getting the farm with the old homestead, He married Dorothy Crawford and during the Revolution she was afraid to live there and went up to her home near Croton. Joseph Lawrence buried his money during the troublous times near where the kitchen now stands, and while digging in a cellar a few years ago Mr. Lawrence found a gold guinea with the date of 1753. When Joseph Lawrence died, the old homestead came to Daniel Lawrence, the father of the present occupant.

The site which seems to be the favored one for the clubhouse is at the top of a gradually ascending hill back of he old house, at the extreme northern end of the grounds. The view from this elevation is simply superb. The hills of Long Island can be seen stretching along for miles, while way down the valley towards the south Yonkers is plainly visible, with its tall water tower looming up prominentl y. A few steps to another part of the hill bring in sight the upper end of the Palisades and a long vista of the picturesque hills towering one above the other, while at a wide curve at their base, a glimpse of the blue waters of the Hudson River is obtained.

A more sightly, glorious spot for a house could not well be imagined.

So "modern times" were pretty well nailed down but the past was still a mystery.  Who preceded Isaac Lawrence? The answer to that would unlock the past. Until then we were able to go back just so far.

No comments:

Post a Comment