Friday, December 12, 2014


This table belonged to my grandmother, Eliza Halsey, born in 1803. It was given to my grandfather, Captain Harry Halsey, born also at Watermill in 1803. My grandmother’s maiden name was also Halsey. They were married January 21, 1828. Grandfather and his two brothers, Jesse and Edward (grandfather of Frank Burnett) and his sister Elizabeth (grandmother of Marian O’Connor) were taken to New York by their widowed mother where the two boys learned the mason’s trade. Eventually they built many of the houses in Greenwich Village, in one of which on Grove Street (house still standing) my father, Charles Henry, was born October 10, 1830.

Grandfather built many of the stores on what is now Canal Street, then a development in the northern suburbs. One of these stores, built for “an old Dutchman,” so pleased the owner that he took Grandfather into his new furniture shop and told him to pick out a piece of furniture for his wife. This table was his selection. Then the “Dutchman” told him to pick another piece, and that little stand with the two drawers that “Babbie” left to Abbie (Van Allen) was selected. Then the “Dutchman” said “that is not enough, take something big,” and he pointed to the big mahogany bureau that now belongs to Ibbie (Elizabeth White Adams) and said, “how would you like that?” Then the three pieces were delivered to the house on Grove street while the “Dutchman” took Grandfather into a tobacconist’s shop and told him to pick out some cigars. Grandfather took two of his favorite brand and said “Thank you.” The “Dutchman” said, “Hold your hat,” and he dumped the contents of the box into the hat.

My father, Charles Henry, told me this story years ago.

--Jesse Halsey

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