William C. Kingsley, Brooklyn Bridge contractor

William C. Kingsley (1833–1885) was a construction contractor as one of the main figures involved in the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge. Kingsley settled in Brooklyn in 1856 and worked as a contractor for the Brooklyn water works. His construction firm, Kingsley and Keeney, was given large contracts to build Prospect Park and the Hempstead Reservoir. The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the largest and most important projects he worked on. He became the driving force behind the Bridge project, hiring Colonel Julius Walker Adams, a civil engineer who had worked with him on the Brooklyn sewers, to come up with a design and to prepare cost… Read More

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Charles Higgins, ink maker

Charles M. Higgins (1854-1929) began his ink business about 1880. His first ink was Higgin’s India ink. By 1888, magazines like Harper’s Weekly, were using his ink for their drawings. His first successes were with artists when many publications recommended his drawing and waterproof inks. He began using famous artist testimonials to promote his drawing products. His success allowed him to advertise widely as he expanded his line of products. He introduced laundry Ink, Higgins Indelible Ink and a vegetable mucilage, not a starch or flour based products like other companies wee making but a new chemical discovery. Patent registrations increased… Read More

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David Sharps, Hudson Waterfront Museum

David Sharps, after working as a street performer and serving long stints on cruise ships, found himself studying theatrical movement in Paris. While there, he lived on a houseboat on the Seine. When he returned to New York, David wanted to continue living on a boat, so a tugboat captain introduced him to the Lehigh Valley No. 79 Barge, which he bought for $1.   The barge had 300 tons of mud in it, and it took 7 years to restore it a seaworthy condition. In 1992, a conference led by the legendary Pete Seeger was the cornerstone of Sharps finding… Read More

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Anthony Janszoon van Salee, landholder, merchant, and creditor

Anthony Janszoon van Salee (1607–1676) was an original settler of and prominent landholder, merchant, and creditor in New Netherlands. Van Salee is believed to be the son of  a Dutch pirate and a  Moorish mother. He was likely raised as a Muslim; he may have been the first of this background to settle in the New World. Though upon settling in New Amsterdam,  he and his wife practiced Christianity. He was born in Spain and captured off the coast, becoming a pirate before returning to his family and moving to Morocco. He married a German woman in 1629 and they moved to New Amsterdam… Read More

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