Red Hook History

If you have ancestors living in Brooklyn in the 1800’s there is a good chance they are living in Red Hook.  This ship building and dock community provided jobs to many poor Irish immigrants including my own ancestors.

The name of Red Hook originates from the Dutch “Roode Hoek” meaning “Red Point” for the Red clay that covered the area.

Street Names

Beard St.

– Irish Immigrant William Beard lived 1806-1886 and created the Erie Basin. The Beard St Warehouse built in 1869 still stands today. Beards son was Colonel William Beard (1839-1893) was one of the wealthiest men in Brooklyn and a big supporter of the republican party.

Coffey St.

– Named after Michael Joseph Coffey (1839- 1907). District leader of the 12th Ward, later became alderman and state senator. Coffey was so popular that supporters called the Twelfth Ward “Coffeyville” an Partition St was renamed Coffey St. in his honor.

Conover St.

– John Conover was an 18th century land owner

Dikeman St.

– One of earliest families to settle in the Hook. Judge John Dikeman (1794-1879) was author of the 1870 manuscript “The Brooklyn Compendium” and the long time oldest surviving member of the Kings county Bar.

Luquer St.

– The “Luqueer” family were a major landowners. Abraham Luqueer (1739-1823) and his son Nicholas was a wealthy Mill owner whose mill stood at Huntington and Hicks streets. They, along with the Van Dyke Brothers controlled good portion of Twelfth Ward.

Richards St.

– Col. Daniel Richards was a leading developer in south Brooklyn in mid 18th century, developed Atlantic Docks and Atlantic Basin as well as Warehouses, factories and first grain elevator in the area.

Van Brunt St.

– The Van Brunt name in Brooklyn extends back to Dutch Slave holding family headed by Rutgert Joesten Van Brunt.  A Century later his descendent, another Rutgert Van Brunt was a member of the New York State Assembly for the years 1783 – 1784.

Van Dyke St.

– Jan Thomasse Van Dyke was an Dutch Settler who settled in Brooklyn in 1640. His descendents Thomas and Nicholas Van Dyke were major property owners until they were both dead in 1834.

Wolcott St.

– Oliver Wolcott, lived from 1726 -1797, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, Delegate to Continental Congress, Brigadier General and Governor of Connecticut. His son, Oliver Walcott Jr. succeeded Alexander Hamilton as secretary of the Treasury.

The Bowery Boys

A great podcast by The Bowery Boys outlines much of Red Hook’s history in this fantastic audio presentation.

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