Cornelius Vreeland was the fourth in succession with that name in the Vreeland family of New Jersey. Nicholas Garretson Vreeland, in his History and Genealogy of the Vreeland Family (1909), writes, "Cornelius Vreeland, 3d, ... married Margaret Day, in 1815, and the union was blessed with three sons and three daughters... His son, Michael Edward, was a successful contractor in New York City. [The other sons,] Cornelius and David established an iron industry over which George, son of the former, now presides as owner."
Cornelius Vreeland, 4th, (b. 14 Aug. 1826, d. ca. 1885) is found in four successive U. S. Census reports: 1850, 1860, 1870 and 1880. In the first three his occupation is described as "Housesmith" and in the last (1880) he is an "Iron Rail Maker." The first entry in New York city directories is that in Doggett's New-York City Directory for 1850-1851, which gives Cornelius Vreeland (whitesmith) living at 99 8th Ave. and David Vreeland (smith) located at 66 Greenwich Ave. Their company was called C. & D. Vreeland Iron Works in 1856. The brothers continued to be listed together through 1875. David Vreeland (b. 23 Dec. 1828, d. ?), however, seems to have been the junior partner in the business. An ad in Trow's New York City Directory for 1864 mentions only "C. Vreeland." It reads, "Plain and Ornamental Iron Works / C. Vreeland / No. 76 West Fortieth Street / New York / Manufacturer of Iron Railings, Door Shutters, Gratings, Patent Vane and Skylights, and all Iron Work used in the erection of buildings. Orders executed in finest style." From approximately 1865 to 1870, Cornelius Vreeland took as a partner, Stephen A. Conklin. An ad from the Real Estate Record and Builders' Guide, 1870, used the firm name, Vreeland & Conklin. An ad in Trow's New York City Directory for 1873 (similar to this one from 1876) again mentions only "C. Vreeland."
The Vreeland Iron Works were located at 76 W. 40th St. from 1856 to 1864, then at 1356 Broadway from 1865 to 1890. Their final location was at 229 W. 36th St. (1891 to 1919). On Cornelius Vreeland's death (ca. 1885?), his son, George A. Vreeland (1852-1943), assumed control. George A. Vreeland's death notice in the New York Times, 23 March 1943, p. 20, read, "Mount Vernon, N.Y., March 22 - George A. Vreeland, former owner of the Vreeland Iron Works in New York, died here yesterday in his home, 414 Union Avenue, at the age of 90. He leaves a widow, Mrs. Jenny Van Doorn Vreeland."
The 1880 U. S. Census non-population schedules recorded Cornelius Vreeland as owning $5000 of real capital and $20,000 of raw materials. The company employed 20 men at annual total wages of $12,064. Skilled mechanics were paid $2.50 per hour, and ordinary laborers $1.37. Manufactured products and services in the preceding year were valued at $40,000.
C. Vreeland also manufactured vault lights. An example is found at 89 Greene St. (on the corner of Spring St.).
A Vreeland coal chute cover is found on West End Ave. in front of the Greek Orthodox Church of the Annunciation at 91st St. The address on this cover is 229 W. 36th St. So it dates from the period 1891 to 1919 when Cornelius Vreeland's son, George A. Vreeland, ran the business. An earlier Vreeland coal chute cover with the address 1356 Broadway is also shown on the Vreeland coal chute cover page.
Copyright © 2009 Walter Grutchfield