Clean sweep in old Gravesend

The Brooklyn Paper
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Local scouts polished up on the elbow grease and made short work of cleaning up a historic place of repose.

The grime-busters bagged trash and swept debris at the Old Gravesend Cemetery, Van Sicklen Street and Gravesend Neck Road, as part of a community project for Troop 376 at nearby Our Lady of Grace Church.

The graveyard dates back to 1643, the first year of the settlement and Lady Deborah Moody (1583-1659) is believed to be buried in an unmarked grave somewhere within.

The wealthy, Protestant widow, born Deborah Dunch, departed her native England for America in 1639 and settled in Brooklyn where she founded the town of Gravesend in 1645, naming it after her hometown in the Old World.

She was the first woman in the New World to write a town charter in English, to receive a land patent and to establish one of the first towns modeled after a square block.

Her progressive views gave Gravesend its rule of religious freedom and set it apart from other colonial settlements.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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