They all seem to be New Yorkers, something else Gram was proud to be. Her father, George, was a New York City Policeman, his father a well respected plumber and gas-fitter. Ebenezer was a "Bayman" or a fisherman and lived on Long Island for all of his life where he raised my great, great grandfather, Marinus the plumber and six other children. Another of Ebenezer's sons, William Forte Willett, who was my great great grand uncle, also had a son whom he named William Forte Willett, Jr. Today's story is about William Willett, Jr.
William Forte Willett, Jr. was born in The Flatlands in 1869. This is a small neighborhood, now part of Brooklyn, but back then it was a farming town separate from the city, close to Jamaica Bay. In fact it was one of the oldest communities in New York, having been settled in the 1630s by the Dutch. The area was heavily Dutch which leads me to think that The Netherlands may be the place to look for our Willetts oldest roots. To give you some idea of the community of the Flatlands at the time, when William Jr was 3 years old, the directory for the town listed 87 people, 49 of them were farmers. Six worked on the water as fisherman or sailors, including William's grandfather Ebenezer. William's father was a plumber and possibly in business with my great great grandfather, Marinus.
He served for four years in Washington, living the high life and was found residing in an expensive Hotel in DC. The Congress Hall Hotel built in 1907 provided Exclusive accommodations for members of Congress who needed long-term housing as well as rooms for visiting dignitaries. It opened late in 1907 or early 1908. The newly elected Representative apparently wanted to be where the action was. He was listed in one article as one of a handful of folks who had already made reservations for an apartment at the new luxury spot just across the street from the capitol building, even before it was completed.