The Mays

The following is transcribed from HMR Architects Martin Berry House Preservation Plan.

In 1891, the Evans’s sold the 19.89 acre farm to Lockwood R. May of Brooklyn, New York for $5,000. Lockwood worked at the Custom House in Brooklyn and like Evans, was a Civil War veteran. He had been in Company K, 5th New York Heavy Artillery. He and his wife, Jessie M. (born on May 1, 1864) and son, William (born in 1889) lived in the house for five years when Lockwood died and Jessie and William inherited the property. After the loss of her husband, Jessie married August R. Schulz in 1898. In 1910, they were listed as living on the Boonton Turnpike in Lincoln Park. The farm, therefore, may have been rented out, although later in life, William recalled spending his teenage years on the Farm. According to Eleanor Bogert, Mrs. May took in boarders and called it “Mayfield.”

In 1966, William May visited Eleanor Bogert, the then owner of the Martin Berry House. William remembered his parents had a full time person to keep the fireplaces going which may mean the steam furnace may not have been added until after the Mays sold the house. His mother, Jessie, planted the four swamp maples in 1895. During the Mays’ tenure, the outhouse was east of the house. William also remembered a mature apple orchard. Under the May family, one of the barns was struck by lightning and burned down.

Jessie was an amateur photographer who had a dark room in the house. Several photographs attributed to her survive.

Jessie sold off 11+ acres. The area behind the house became known as “Mayfield Park;” the houses on the 25′ X 100′ building lots at Highland and May Avenues and a section of Cedar Road remain today. Jessie and William sold the property in 1916. Under the May family tenure, the property ceased to be a farm.

The May family acquired the property in 1891. William May gave Eleanor Bogert a photograph from January 28, 1894. In 1896, Lockwood May died. From these dates, we can attribute certain changes to the house that were completed by the Mays and date them to after 1894 but before 1896. These include the replacement of the six-over-six sash with one-over-ones, the removal of a small entrance porch at the south side and the construction of a larger porch with Victorian detailing and the addition of large center dormers on the north and south elevations. The Mays reroofed the main roof with red hexagonal tiles and put them on the new porch roof as well. They also added a trellis to the west gambrel end. It is possible they also added the small entrance porch on the north elevation; its date is unknown. They also may have added the beaded board ceilings to the east basement rooms; again the date of these are unknown.

 

 

 

Click to Enlarge Photographs

The Martin Berry House with Lockwood R. May, c. 1896

The Martin Berry House, this may be Lockwood R. May on the front porch, c. 1893

 

 

Martin Berry House and Barns - Photo by Jessie May

Martin Berry House and Barns – Photo by Jessie May

 

Large Trellis for grape vines on west side of the House, to sit under in the shade.

 

 

Martin Berry House with Barns - Original

Martin Berry House with Barns – Original

 

 

View looking east from the Martin Berry House. Today this is Route 23.

View looking east from the Martin Berry House. Today this is Route 23.

 

 

The Martin Berry House is visible between the two unknown men.

The Martin Berry House is visible between the two unknown men.

 

 

Martin Berry House Side. The Child, lower left, is probably William H. May, Son of Jessie.

Martin Berry House side view. The Child, lower left, is probably William H. May, Son of Jessie.

 

 

 

MayField Oct 1, 1893. Martin Berry House is to the right of barns.

Mayfield Oct 1, 1893. Martin Berry House is to the right.

 

 

MayField Oct 1, 1893. Martin Berry House - Slightly different view.

Mayfield Oct 1, 1893 – Slightly different view.

 

 

William May on Sled c. 1894

William May on Sled c. 1894

 

On August 27, 1891 Lockwood R. May of Brooklyn, NY purchased 19.89 acres and the Martin Berry House from James R. Evans for $5000. Upon his death in 1896, his widow Jessie M. May and son William H. May inherited the property.

The widow and son of Lockwood started reducing the property size by selling off 25’ X 100’ building lots. Consisting of Highland and May Avenues and a section of Cedar Road, this section of town became known as “Mayfield Park”. In 1916 the House and 8.25 acres were sold to Warren C. Eberle and Ellis (Dumas) Eberle.

Lockwood R. May was the Chief Clerk of the First Division of Entrance and Clearance of Vessels in the Custom House, Brooklyn. He passed away December 12, 1896. During the US Civil War he was a private in Company K, 5th New York Heavy Artillery.

Jessie M. May was born on May 1, 1864. Jessie was an amateur photographer. She had a darkroom on the second floor of the Martin Berry House. Quite a feat in the 1890’s. Below are some photographs attributed to Jessie May.

William H. May was born in 1889.