HISTORY OF BROOKLYN 945
THE U. S. NAVY YARD AND POST OFFICE IN BROOKLYN.
The Navy Yard1 is located upon Wallabout bay, on lands originally forming a portion of the old Remsen estate, which after the revolution came into the hands of Mr. John Jackson. Shortly after becoming the owner of the property, he commenced the construction of a dock,2 upon which he built a large merchant ship called the Canton,3 and afterwards the frigate John Adams. These circumstances probably attracted the attention of the government to the facilities offered by this portion of the Long Island shore for a navy yard; but the navy agent, appointed to select a place, gave his preference to Newtown Creek,4 and endeavored to purchase Bennet's Point. Joseph Bennet, the owner, however, refused to sell at any price, and on the 5th of February, 1801, Mr. Jackson sold the present Navy Yard property for the sum of $40,000 to Francis Childs, Esq., agent for the United States, who on the 23d of the same month transferred it to the government, by whom it was for some years after leased to a Mr. Udal. The first officer in command of the yard, was a Lieut. Thorn, who after being here several years, received permission to sail to the north-west coast, as master of a ship. At Vancouver's sound or Columbia river his ship was treacherousIy got in possession by the savages, and Lieut. Thorne, seeing no other alternative, blew up the ship, with all on board, both friend and foe. On the 24th of January, 1824, Samuel L. Southard, Esq., secretary of the Navy, made a report to the president of the United States, accompanied by a bill providing for the establishment, with others, of Brooklyn as a first class Navy Yard. By other purchases the government now owns nearly two hundred acres in this vicinity, of which the Yard proper occupies an area of fort-five acres, enclosed on the land side by a high wall. Within this enclosure are the various mechanic shops required in building and repairing vessels; a large and costly dry dock, large buildings to cover ships of war while in process of construction, extensive lumber warehouses,
1 See Vol. I, pp. 384, 385, 386; note 2, p. 363; Vol. II, 95, 197, 211, 231, 251, 267.
2 This dock enclosed the hull of one of the British prison ships, which Gen. Johnson, an eyewitness, says was burned one Sunday afternoon in October, 1777.
3 In attempting to launch her, she at first settled on the ways, and was only got off by the aid of crabs, during which a man was killed by a blow from a crab bar.
4 During the revolutionary war, both Wallabout bay and Newtown creek were much used for harboring the British vessels.