Gravesend was founded in 1643 on a site marked by the square bounded on three sides by the Old Village Road at McDonald Avenue and Gravesend Neck Road. Lady Deborah Moody, a cultured, strong-willed Englishwoman, led a small flock of colonists to New Amsterdam in search of the religious freedom denied them in England and New England. Receiving a patent from Director-General Kieft and the City Council, and augmented by a group of other Englishmen, the colony settled at Gravesend on lands whose original boundaries included Coney Island. Until her death in 1659, Lady Deborah was a leader in the settlement, and even the testy Peter Stuyvesant sought her opinion from time to time. The exact location of the Moody farm is not known, but it is said that the old Hicks-Platt home, a Dutch stone house reputedly built in 1643, stood on her property (at McDonald Avenue and Gravesend Neck Road). Lady Deborah is buried in the little cemetery opposite the house in the southwest corner of the square.