Roosevelt Islander Online: Watch History Lesson By Time Traveler Mary Blackwell

Watch the June 12, 2021 Roosevelt Island Day celebration visit and history lesson by Mary
Blackwell, member of the family that owned what is now Roosevelt Island
from the late 17th Century as Blackwell’s Island until 1828 when the Island was
sold to NYC. I spoke with Mrs Blackwell during Roosevelt Island Day 

at the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS) table.

According to RIHS:

The Blackwell family owned and farmed the island from the late 17th century until 1828, when it was sold to the City of New York. Blackwell’s Island, as it was long known, had been inherited by Mary Manningham Blackwell from her stepfather, Captain John Manning. Captain Manning was granted a “patent” on the island by the British Governor Nicolls in 1668, a fortunate circumstance, since five years later, after mismanaging his command of New York’s Fort James during a Dutch attack, he was tried by court martial and publicly disgraced. Manning moved to his island retreat and evidently found solace there. Reverend Charles Wolley, writing in 1701, tells us that he had often gone to Manning’s Island to visit the Captain, “whose entertainment was commonly a bowl of rum-punch.”

In Dutch times the island was known as Varckens Eylandt, which translates to Hog Island. It was purchased from two Indian chiefs by Governor Wouter van Twiller in 1637 and was already being farmed by 1639 under land grants from the Amsterdam Chamber of the West India Company….

Click here for more info about the Blackwell family from RIHS.


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