The Lawrences
A Walking Tour of Williamsburg - Part 2

Enoch and Andrew Lawrence

Our second walking tour will encompass the various homes of Enoch Lawrence and his son, Andrew Wilson Lawrence. according to census reports of that period that were researched by my cousin Andrew Lawrence. As we shall see, both father and son moved around quite a bit within a rather small area!

Enoch Lawrence, who married Eliza vanderVoort, was the patriarch of our Lawrence branch. Their son Andrew Wilson Lawrence married Ellen Virginia McCloskey. These are the common ancestors that we all share.

Both father and son were artists, being listed as "jappaners" on some of the census reports. Jappaning is the art of painting on tin. My Aunt Valerie Somers feels that this is where the artistic talent in our family comes from. Her father (my grandfather) Congressman Andrew Lawrence Somers, did wood carving as a hobby, as did his son Edward Somers. His daughter Valerie Somers is herself a painter, and her daughter Victoria designs jewelry.

North 10th Street

This time we'll start out at the north end of Williamsburg and work our way south. This tour starts where the first one left off, at North Tenth Street. You can choose to continue from the first tour or start this one afresh on another day. If you do that, it's only 10 minutes from Manhattan by subway. Take the L line, which runs along 14th Street in Manhattan. Get on at Union Square or at 14th and First Avenue in the East Village, and the first stop after that is the Bedford Avenue stop in Brooklyn.

The area where you get off has been described as follows:
"The epicenter of everything has always been and will always be the modest intersection of Bedford Avenue and 7th Street, which is where the first subway stop on the L line outside of Manhattan is located." (

When you get off the train at N. 7th St, walk 3 blocks north to N. 10th St. Our first stop will be the old TUTTLE & BAILEY location on North 10th Street, between Wythe Avenue & Berry Street. This is only a few blocks away from the subway stop, and right in the center of the most lively part of Williamsburg today! Dear great-great-grandpa Lawrence, who knew? Andrew W. Lawrence started working for Tuttle & Bailey in 1851 at the young age of 15, and worked there for most of his life, until he retired.

The residences on N. 7th and N. 10th Streets would have afforded a most convenient commute for Andrew to the offices of Tuttle & Bailey. Since they were mentioned in a newspaper article but not listed on any of the census reports, I have no dates for when Andrew and Ellen lived here, and they got included at the end of the first tour rather than on this tour, which is based on dates on census reports. However, since we're starting out at the same location as we left off, they could just as easily be included in this tour. Refer to Part I of A Walking Tour of Williamsburg for the details. References to these two residences can be found in a newspaper article posted there.

Kent Avenue

Now proceed west over to Kent Avenue, which will serve as the spine for the rest of our tour.

A bit of history on Kent Avenue:

"Kent Avenue was opened in 1847, from Flushing Avenue to the Williamsburgh line at Division Avenue. It was opened from the Brooklyn town line to Grand Street in 1828, a number of cow stables were along this line. A stone fence ran along Division Avenue forming the divided line between Williamsburgh and Brooklyn. Behind the fence was the pasture lands, known as BOERUM field, along the ball grounds to Flushing Avenue and as Wheat Hill to the Lee Avenue Church."

South 3rd Street

Walk south on Kent Avenue, then turn east on S. 3rd St. just north of the Williamsburg Bridge. The Census of 1856-1857 shows Andrew living at South 3rd Street. The exact address is 56 S. 3rd St. between Kent Avenue and Wythe Avenue. It's a pretty industrialized area today, so there's not much to look at here. My guess is that right after they were married in 1854, Andrew and Ellen were probably living in Manhattan, then moved to Williamsburg when the ferry stopped running, to South 3rd Street. I also have some census information saying that Andrew was living at "Fulton Ave. nr NY Avenue" in 1856, so they may have moved from there to S. 3rd St. in 1856.

Kent Avenue and Broadway

Return to Kent Avenue and keep going south under the Williamsburg Bridge, and continue for a ways to where the foot of Broadway intersects Kent Avenue. The Census of 1861-1862 lists Enoch Lawrence as living at this intersection.

At first I wondered if this was Andrew's father Enoch, his brother Enoch or his son Enoch. Let's explore the possibilities: Enoch Lawrence the father was born in 1806, which would make him age 55 in 1861. Andrew's brother Enoch was born in 1846, making him only 15 in 1861. Andrew's eldest child Enoch Pink Lawrence was born in 1855, making him only 6 in 1861. By process of elimination it can be determined that this was the home of the first Enoch Lawrence, the father of Andrew Wilson Lawrence. His wife Eliza vanderVoort had already died in 1855 and Enoch remarried Kate Shell, who may have been living with him by this time. His son Enoch was age 15 and presumably was still living with him.

214 Union Avenue

A sidetrip from here would be to continue east along Broadway over to 214 Union Avenue, where Enoch Lawrence was living in 1860 according to the Census of 1860-1861. To get to 214 Union Avenue simply follow Broadway east all the way to Union Avenue, where the exact location is just a few blocks north of the intersection of Union Avenue and Broadway. It looks like there's a shopping center there today, but remember that when the Lawrence family was living in the area there was a lot of pastureland and very little development. It must have been quite beautiful, although already in the rapid process of becoming industrialized.

South 11th Street

Returning to Kent Avenue, continue south a ways until you get to S. 11th Street. This is quite a distance so unless you're on roller skates or a bike, you may want to hop on a bus if one is available. Turn right on S. 11th Street and walk a block to the intersection of Wythe Avenue. The residence at S. 11th Street was listed in the Census of 1859-1860 as the residence of Andrew Lawrence, so Andrew and Ellen had moved here from S. 3rd Street sometime after 1856.

162 Taylor Street

Now get back on Kent Avenue and walk, skate, bike or bus south to Taylor Street, where Enoch Lawrence was living according to the Census of 1857-1858. Turn left and walk east one block to 162 Taylor Street, which is on the corner of Wythe Avenue and Taylor Street.

1857 would have been two years after Eliza vanderVoort died. Their son Andrew Wilson would have been 21 and already married to Ellen McCloskey, but the younger son Enoch Jr. would have been only 11 years old and presumably still living with his father on Taylor Street.

14 Ross Street

Get back on Kent Avenue and go two blocks south to the intersection of Kent and Ross Street, which I think was once called Rush Street. Remember Ross Street from the previous tour? Turn east on Ross/Rush Street and you should find No.14 close to the corner of Kent Avenue. According to the Census of 1857-1858, Andrew and Ellen were living on 14 Rush Street in 1857-1858, one year after they were living on S. 3rd Street in 1856 and one year later they were living on S. 11th Street during 1859-1860.

There follows a long period between 1861-1869, when Andrew and Ellen seem to have fallen off the census radar and we don't know exactly where they were living. Maybe this was when they were living on North 7th and North 10th Streets, but we don't know for sure and we don't know exactly when they moved from Williamsburg to Park Slope.

Park Slope

We do know that by 1870 Andrew and Ellen were living in Park Slope, according to the Census of 1870. Here they spent at least the next 10 years living and raising their large family there. The Census of 1880 shows that they had moved down the street to another address, but were still in Park Slope.

To visit this area, take A Walking Tour of Park Slope.

588 Bedford Avenue

By 1901 Andrew and Ellen age 65, were back living in Williamsburg at 588 Bedford Avenue, with their son Andrew Lawrence Jr. age 40. To get there take Kent Avenue to Ross Street, then walk east on Ross St. to Bedford Avenue.Turn south on Bedford and it's in the middle of the block.

That brings us full circle back to 588 Bedford Avenue, which was the starting point of our first tour, and the ending point of this one.

Whether you take these tours physically or virtually, I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Pamela Lawrence Somers