Part #8 of 12
Their Island, Homes, Cemetery and Early Genealogy in Queens County, NY by permission of its author, an 11th generation Abraham Rijcken vanLent descendant, Edgar Alan Nutt.
By a patent of July 22, 1686, New York attorney John Tuder obtained a large tract of land for which he had applied on March 18, 1686, and which apparently was the last remaining land in Newtown that had not previously been granted.
It was bounded easterly by the Armen Bouwerie and therefore presumably by the homestead farm of immigrant Abraham Rycken.
Within two years Tuder sold it, with Abraham buying a one-third part of it on November 2, 1688. Earlier in the year his father had died and left the homestead farm to him.
It is not clear who the two purchasers were of the other one-third parts of the Tuder Patent but one part was included in the farm of which the house was the later Lent-Rapelye Homestead, with Jacobus Siboutsen the likely purchaser, while the other farm possibly was on the Bowery Bay Road, next southerly of the homestead farm under consdideration, of which the purchaser may have been an unidentified Wyckoff.
Abraham greatly expanded his holdings by his acquisition of the third of the Tuder Patent land but there is no indication that he built upon it.
On November 10, 1733, thirteen years before his death in his ninety-first year, he divided his estate between sons Abraham and Andrew with Andrew receiving the earlier discussed Mansion farm and Abraham receiving the one-third Tuder Patent farm.
At some point, probably long before being given the latter, Abraham settled on it and erected a modest farm house described by James Riker1 in 1852 as “the tenement which he erected (and which) yet remains, and forms the centre room of the house standing on these premises.”
Abraham died on February 23, 1770, and specified in his will that his real estate was to be sold if his heirs could not otherwise agree among themselves as to a division, and in accordance with that provision his son Jacobus on May 1, 1770, bought al1 or at least the portion of the one-third share of the Tuder Patent that included the house.
For an undetermined period during the Revolution the house was taken over by the British army, Jacobus and his family were temporarily dispossessed, and the house was used by Col. Abijah Willard. who was Chief of the British Commissary Department. Apparently by that time the house had been much enlarged.
Jacobus died on August 26, 1809, and left his property to his only-surviving son, Daniel, who had been living there except during 1795 and 1797. In January of 1827, eight years after his first wife had died and four years before he remarried, Daniel sold the house and farm to Charles Rapelye and removed to New York.
The latter was a son of Isaac and Jane (Debevoise) Rapelye and possessed the Tuder Patent homestead for seven years at the most before dying on January 1, 1834.
In 1852 the property was still undivided and possessed by Charles’ four children: David P., Isaac C., Catherine M. and Lavinia P.
The Tuder Patent farm was owned by at least four generations of Rikers and the homestead was occupied by three of those four, not counting the children of the fourth.
As indicated by the original house having been incorporated within a much larger one as a result of various changes and additions, by its having been important enough to be used by a high British officer, and by its having been large enough to accomodate a family consisting of as many as two adults and eight children, the house may well have been impressive, whether or not on the scale of the Riker Mansion.
However no picture or representaion of it of any sort has been located. It was still standing in 1899 although whether inhabited and if so by whom, possibly by descendants of one of the above-named children of Charles Rapelye, is not presently known. No doubt the Tuder Patent homestead was torn down or otherwise destroyed in the subsequent century and has simce been replaced by modern buildings.
Southerly from the Tuder Patent homstead and at the bottom and just westerly off of the Bowery Bay Road was the house named Oak Hill.
Its early history has not been found, and there is no certainty that it originally was a Riker house, quite possibly it was not.
Indeed it appears to have been close to the southern extremity of the Tuder Patent and may have been within a one third part bought by someone other than Abraham and one of the Siboutsens.
Aside from such speculation, however, Andrew owned and occupied Oak Hill in the late seventeen hundreds and early eighteen hundreds.
He died at sea in 1817 and the property eventually devolved to his daughter Margaret Moore who was born in 1811 and who in 1834 married John Clewes Jackson.
The latter’s daughter. Mary married John Lawrence Riker, Jr, such that the property returned to the family, and in 1891 their daughter Margaret M. married Jonathan Amory Haskell.
Margaret gained possession of the property and in about 1910 had the house moved by water to the Haskells’ new 240 acre estate in Middletown, New Jersey, where they also built a forty-four room mansion.
The property upon which Oak Hill had stood was sold and in the nineteen- twenties became the site of the William Cullen Bryant High School.
No description or picture of Oak Hill, whether before or after its removal to New Jersey, has been located . . .
[Webmaster note: However, according to the Middletown, N.J., long-time resident writing on a blog in 2001, "Whipporwill Valley Road and Cooper Road are very old, dark, foreboding dirt roads that outline the former 700-acre Haskell estate. In the opinion of many residents, this is one of the largest and most precious pieces of open space left. Church-going Christians, the Haskells were best known for their wealth and their abundant charity. . .
The transport of Oak Hill must have been a sight to behold: several miles across land either to Bowery Bay and down the East River through Hellgate or a longer land move directly to the East River, down past the Statue of Liberty, through the Narrows, across the lower New York Bay to the New Jersey shore, perhaps at Port Monmouth, and then five or more miles over land to its new site in Middletown.
Big enough and significant enough to be called an estate it nevertheless was small enough to be transported on such a journey.
Rikers Island's role in NY correction history warrants our providing material on its "pre-Correction" background that is so bound up with Rikers family history. Bishop Nutt's book serves as an excellent vehicle for doing that. His approach is not exclusively or narrowly genealogical. More than simply tracing lineage, he places his family history in wider chronological and geographic contexts through which his exhaustive research tracked it, thus reflecting much other history -- of the island, county, city and country.
Strictly genealogical citations, notes, and codes in the printed book have been reduced or dropped in these excerpts. This presentation includes a book print copy information page.
NYCHS retains and reserves all rights to images of photos it took during the June 5, 2005 homestead tour and the September 1998 Samuel Perry Center dedication and their captions as well as captions of inserted images not taken from the printed book.