In 1643, English Anabaptist Lady Deborah Moody, along with a group of English colonists from Massachusetts, arrived in New Amsterdam to seek out religious freedom. At the time, Director Williem Kieft of the Dutch West India Company needed people to settle and defend the land in Brooklyn he had recently stolen from the local Lenape tribe. Kieft granted a land patent for Moody and her group to establish the area, thus founding what is now the Brooklyn Neighborhood of Gravesend. By settling here, Moody became the first known female landowner of the new world. She died in 1659.
Located at 27 Gravesend Neck Road, the Hicks-Platt house was built on the Moody Farm sometime in the 1640s; the exact year is unknown. Ferdinandus Van Sicklen, a wealthy landowner, purchased the land in 1702 and it remained in the family for generations. In 1842 Cornelia Van Sicklen-Hicks inherited the property along with her husband Thomas, and for the next sixty-four years it would be known as the Hicks Homestead.
A real estate developer named William E. Platt purchased the house in 1906. His wife, Isabelle, published an article in the June 1909 issue of Country Life in America where she discussed her Arts and Crafts style restoration project on the house. It was in that article where she used the term “the Lady Moody Homestead” although there is no definitive proof that Moody had lived there; however, the house is located on land that once belonged to the Moody farm.
Still standing today, the Hicks-Platt House is one of a small number of original Dutch-American Colonial farmhouses in New York City, albeit with alterations made over the years. Lady Deborah Moody is buried directly across the street in Gravesend Cemetery.
This image comes from the Ralph Irving Lloyd lantern slides (v1981.015). For more information please see our finding aid here and for more photographs of Ralph Irving Lloyd’s lantern slides, please visit our image gallery here.
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