Leffert Pieterse

In 1660, fifteen-year old Leffert Pieterse (1645-1704) arrived in New Amsterdam with his parents and three younger siblings. Within two years, his father and two of his siblings had died and his mother had remarried. No historical record remains describing how Leffert dealt with this personal hardship. But within a decade, he had married and started a family, acquired significant land and property, and emerged as one of the most prominent citizens of the small town of Flatbush.

By 1675, Leffert owned significant livestock, two horses, and 17 of land. In 1687, he purchased fifty-eight acres of land in Flatbush, upon which the would be built. By 1692, he was constable of Flatbush. At the time of his death in 1704, Leffert Pieterse was one of the largest landowners in Kings County.

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A Dutch measurement of land, a morgen is roughly equivalent to two acres. Morgen means “morning” in Dutch. It signifies the amount of land that could be tilled by one man and one plow in one morning.
The original Lefferts homestead stood somewhere near present-day Flatbush Avenue and Maple Street. It burned down during the American Revolution. The family rebuilt it circa 1783 at 563 Flatbush Avenue. The house was relocated to Prospect Park in 1918, and is today a public site.