Morrisania

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Read the incredible account of our famililes history here: What’s in a name: Morrisania

Originally, Bronck’s farm, a tract of 274 hectares (680 acres), known as the biblical Emmaus, Bronck’s Land, and then just Broncksland, or simply Bronck’s, covered roughly the area south of today’s 150th Street in the Bronx in what is today Mott Haven. Morrisania was located within Westchester County, which was formed in 1683 under an English charter. For a brief period in the late eighteenth century, Morrisania was one of twenty-one townships within that county. The sparsely settled region became a town because the fourth Lewis Morris hoped that the “healthfulness and salubrity” of the area would persuade tlie federal government to establish the nation’s capital in Morrisania. This effort failed and Morrisania became a part of the town of Westchester. For many decades, Morrisania remained rural, dotted by tie estates of members of the Morris and other families.

The land was part of the original purchase made in 1641 by Danish immigrant Jonas Bronck, the first European to settle in the Bronx and, of course, the namesake
of the borough. Following Bronck’s death, and the dispersion of the few settlers, the tract passed through the hands of successive Dutch traders until 1664, when it came into the possession of Samuel Edsall, (who had also acquired large tract on the North River known as the English Neighborhood) who held it until 1670. He sold it to Captain Richard Morris and Colonel Lewis Morris, at the time merchants of Barbadoes. Four years later, Colonel Morris obtained a royal patent to Bronck’s Land, which afterward became the Manor of Morrisania, the second Lewis (son of Captain Richard), exercising proprietary right.

The English-born Morrises had both been officers in Oliver Cromwell’s army; upon the restoration of Charles II they had moved to Barbados. Richard Morris came to New York in 1668, prior to the land purchase. He died in 1772 and one year later Lewis Morris arrived in New York. Lewis held the land in trust for Richard’s son, Lewis, who inherited 1,920 acres in 1691. The second Lewis Morris became the first lord of the manor of, receiving a royal patent on May 8, 1697. The land descended through several generations of illustrious Morrises, including the fourth Lewis Morris, a signer of the Declaration of Independence.

The first change to the rural aspect of Morrisania occurred in 1828 when Gouverneur Morris II sold a plot on the Harlem River at Third Avenue to Jordan L. Mott who established the first major industrial works ~ the Mott Iron Works — in what would become the Bronx and established a new community that was named for his family; Mott Haven. Jordan Mott was the inventor of a coal -burning iron cooking stove. The initial factory was a small facility on the Harlem River, at Third Avenue and East 134th Street. The firm was incorporated in 1853 and grew rapidly, with buildings erected throughout the area. The company expanded from stove manufacturing into the production of inn, brass, bronze, and nickel-plated goods, including kitchen and bathroom fixtures, stable fittings, gates, statuary, and garden furniture.

-Text taken from the Wikipedia and 1994 NYCLPC Landmark Designation Report

Notable and interesting links about the area Morrisania

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