James & Issac Roosevelt - J&J Harper-Mercantile Library
( Originally Published 1921 )
Within my recollection, James Roosevelt kept at No. 8 Jacob Street. It was before Cliff Street was opened through. It was in previous years the alley-way to the old Roosevelt sugar house.
That property ran back from Jacob Street to Franklin Square, and was thirty or forty feet wide. In the middle was a large sugar house, which stood where Cliff Street now runs. The old sugar house was removed about 1826 or 1827, when Cliff Street was cut through from Ferry to Frankfort streets.
Immediately where the street (Cliff) was opened, the Harper Brothers (then J. & J. Harper) occupied a double building at No. 82 Cliff, and also 327 Pearl. Hundreds of young clerks in those days, if they belonged to the "Mercantile Library Association," will recollect the spot, for the library was for some years kept in the store of J. & J. Harper in Cliff Street; and up to the time it was removed to the Clinton Hall, corner of Nassau and Beekman streets.
The locality between Pearl and Jacob was where that old sugar-house stood. Many of our readers have-frolicked about the old stone pile.
It was famed for a well of the purest spring water. The alleyway that led up from Jacob Street was very wide, and generally contained two or three hundred sugar hogsheads.
That old sugar-house was the first erected before the Revolution, and worked during the war and for forty years afterward.
The proprietor who built it, and who manufactured sugar in it, was a great man in his day and generation.
His name was Isaac Roosevelt. His house faced on Queen Street, now Pearl, in Franklin Square. Harper & Brothers now own that property, and it is No. 333 Pearl Street. On the rear of his house and in the centre of the block was the sugar-house. A large alleyway ran up to it from what is now No. 8 Jacob Street. The Isaac Roosevelt mansion was originally 159 Queen Street. To understand the matter, Queen Street in those days of 1786, when the sugar-house and the old mansion were in their glory, commenced at Wall Street and extended to Chatham, ending there, within a few rods of the great fresh water pond. From Wall Street to Smith Street (William) was Hanover Square; from the last to Broad, it was called Dock Street. From Broad to the Battery was called Pearl Street. Now it is called Pearl from the Battery to Chatham, and even on to Broadway. That part was formerly Magazine Street. Almost opposite to Isaac Roosevelt's residence (No. 159 Queen Street, now 333 Pearl and part of 331) stood an old building, and it yet stands (1863) as 324 and 326 Pearl, and is called now, and has been for sixty years, part of the Walton House. In 1786 it was occupied by the Bank of New York, of which Isaac Roosevelt was president.