Lost in Brooklyn, A Louisa Van Velsor Whitman Letter

In a letter written in June 1870, Louisa Van Velsor Whitman proposes to walk to a funeral. From her home on Portland Avenue, she walks to Myrtle Avenue. The funeral is being held at the residence of one Richard Hunt, who died in late-May.

Where does Richard Hunt live? Well, the wording is not clear. It could be “slonter st” or “danter st” or “slanter st” or something like that. It may be shortened. Who is Richard Hunt. Well, according to census death records on Ancestry.com, a Richard Hunt died in May 1870, a butcher. And according to the 1860 census, a Richard Hunt in New York (Ward 17, District 1) had five children ranging in age from 7 to 20. Presumably by ten years later all could be married, if it’s the same Richard Hunt. I can find no death notice for Richard Hunt from late May in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. He does not appear to be on grave sites, probably because according to Louisa he was buried at his residence.

My query is, can anyone propose a Brooklyn street name near the corner of Myrtle and Portland (Washington Park) that might be within hopeful walking distance of a rather frail elderly woman? one that it is anywhere close to “slonter” or “danter” or “slanter”

By the way, it may not be a contemporary Brooklyn street name. You can see a zoomable map at the http://www.geographicus.com/P/AntiqueMap/Brooklyn-bishop-1868. It’s in the sector numbered 12, near the Navy Yard. You can look up the Richard Hunts (if you like in the Brooklyn City Directories).

Answering My Own Question

Today I noticed that the Brooklyn Directory (1871) has a chart of the changes that have been made in the Street and Avenue Directory (pgs. 467-688 in PDF). One change may provide a clue to our mystery. Duffield Street was renamed Stanton Street in 1871. Deerfield Street is about 7 blocks from Washington Square Park and so at least seems possible as a street to which Louisa Van Velsor Whitman would have considered walking. This seems promising because A) Duffield/Stanton is close enough to Myrtle and Washington Squart Park, B) Stanton is very close to “slonter” or “slanter” if the first “t” is not crossed, which led me to suspect that second letter was an “l” instead of what I now suspect, a “t.” C), C) A June 1870 letter might reflect changes in street names before they were published in the 1871 directory. With these clues to go on, it’s time to see if I can make this into a rock-solid annotation. Perhaps the Duffield-Stanton street name change will be in the Eagle, and perhaps I can find the death notice of Richard Hunt.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s