Category Archives: Bennett family

Gravesend Characters Past: Ebenezer Waters, D.V.S. (1834-1908)

Continuing the challenge posed by my fellow members of the Society for One-Place Studies that we blog about 52 residents of our respective places in as many weeks, here is a profile of Gravesend veterinarian Ebenezer Waters transcribed from Peter Ross, A History of Long Island From its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, vol. 3 (New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1902), 324-325:


Ebenezer Waters (1834-1908)

Ebenezer Waters is a veteran veterinarian of Brooklyn and is one of the native residents of Long Island, his birth having occurred in Gravesend, Kings county, on the 2d of September, 1834. His parents were Dr. Robert and Doellinor (Lancaster) Waters, natives of London, England. The father, who was a veterinary surgeon of his native country, came to America in 1828, located at Flatlands, where he remained for two years. In 1830 he removed to Gravesend and twenty years later to New Utrecht, where he died in 1862, at the age of fifty-six years. His widow died in 1891, at the age of eighty-four years, and her mother was ninety-eight years and eleven months old at the time of her demise. In their family were nine children.

The father owned a farm of sixty acres, on what is known as Dyker Heights, and there his sons as young men were employed, but the Doctor’s time was chiefly given to assisting his father in the practice of veterinary surgery. He became his successor in business and for some time was the only veterinarian between Fort Hamilton and Jamaica. In 1871 he purchased a stable at No. 113 Ashland Place, where he has since conducted his veterinary hospital.

In 1855 Dr. Waters was united in marriage to Miss Gertrude Van Pelt of New Utrecht. By this union there were two children, who died in infancy, and the mother died in 1861. In 1864 the Doctor wedded Miss Jane Maria Van Sicklin [sic], of Coney Island, who died in 1869. They had three children, the two eldest being twins, one of whom died at the age of eight and the other at fourteen months. The surviving child is Roberta L. The Doctor was married a third time, in 1871, when Miss Mary Elizabeth Bennett, of New Utrecht, became his wife. She was a descendant of an old Long Island family, and died in September, 1896. The Doctor holds membership relations with Fortitude Lodge No. 19, F. & A. M. [Free & Accepted Masons]; Nassau Chapter, No. 109, R. A. M. [Royal Arch Masons]; and Clinton Commandery, No. 14, K. T. [Knights Templar]. He was formerly a member of the Prospect Driving Club and the Atlantic Yacht Club. In politics he has always been a stanch [sic] supporter of Democracy.

Copyright © 2015 by Joseph Ditta (

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Filed under Bennett family, Dyker Heights, Ebenezer Waters, Van Pelt family, Van Sicklen family

The Mud-Gutter Band

Post-1907 real photo postcard identified on back as “Ed Clark’s Band, Brooklyn, NY / X is Ed.” (Collection of Joseph Ditta)

Occasionally a small group of street musicians would find our community. On impressive brass horns which could be heard a long way off they played rollicking numbers, filling the children with excitement. Their serious, energetic approach and the loudness of their music on the quiet lanes amused the farmers who, to please their offspring, sent coins for these impromptu concerts, but among themselves, called the invaders, “The Mud-Gutter Band.” — Gertrude Ryder Bennett, Living in a Landmark (Francestown, New Hampshire: Marshall Jones Company, 1980), 65.

Copyright © 2014 by Joseph Ditta (


Filed under Bennett family, Gertrude Ryder Bennett, Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead

Dandelion Wine

Charles W. Bauhan (1861-1938), sketch of a dandelion gatherer, April 25, 1911. (Collection of Joseph Ditta)

Charles W. Bauhan (1861-1938), sketch of a dandelion gatherer, April 25, 1911. (Collection of Joseph Ditta)

In the early years of the twentieth century, after the Bennett family sold the bulk of the farmland surrounding their Gravesend homestead — the Wyckoff-Bennett House at 1669 East 22nd Street — the soil, no longer planted to crops, erupted in wildflowers. “The land, waiting to be developed, turned into meadows where as a child I gathered wild strawberries. Elderberries ripened for jelly, blackberries for pies.” So recalled Gertrude Ryder Bennett (1901-1982) in her memoir, Living in a Landmark (Francestown, New Hampshire: Marshall Jones Company, 1980). “In early spring each year, colorful dandelion gatherers came from the city with knives and worked in the meadows until almost sunset, filling huge bags and taking them away.” Gertrude’s mother, the poet Nellie May Bennett (1873-1951), penned a sonnet inspired by one of these women:


A hungry hawk could be no more intent

     Than she with yellow kerchief, crimson shawl

And purple apron. Shabby, shapeless, bent

     Above the field with eager blade, the call

Of mating robins fails to flush her seamed

     And sallow cheek. Could she have been that gay

And blushing, dark eyed flower girl who dreamed

     Of love and life in newer lands one day

In Italy? . . . With bold dexterity

     She cuts the tender weeds, a silent thing

That moves from patch to patch inquiringly.

     A leaf of autumn in a field of spring.

Upon her head she lifts her bulging load

And stately, proudly takes the dusty road.

Charles W. Bauhan (1861-1938), Dandelion gathering, April 25, 1911. (Collection of Joseph Ditta)

Charles W. Bauhan (1861-1938), Dandelion gathering, April 25, 1911. (Collection of Joseph Ditta)

Copyright © 2014 by Joseph Ditta (

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Filed under Bennett family, buildings, Charles William Bauhan, Gertrude Ryder Bennett, Gravesend artists, Wyckoff-Bennett Homestead