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The Historical Society of 
ol. Hudson County. 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


Prcsidt'nt : 

Vice Presidents : 
2d-J0HN W. HECK. 

Trcasnyi-r : Librarian : 


Corresponding- Secretary: Recording Secretary : 


Board of (JoTcr/iors . 
W. D. Forbes Mr. J. Currie 

Otto Ortel J. H. Hornblower. M.D. 

Wm. J. Davis Alex. McLean 

DeWitt Van Buskirk David R. Daley 

J. J. Voorhees. 

Frii//! Fret- Public Library : 
B. F. Stowe Dr. Gordon K. Dickinson. 



Paper read before "The Hudson County Historical Society" 

by the Rev. Cornelius Brett, D. D. 

Friday evening, March 27, 1908. 

^^ /TtEOLOGICALLY, Hudson County lies at the southern 
^^ end of the deep valley of the Hudson River and Lake 
Champlain. So deep is this valley, that a rise of 150 feet in 
the sea-level would cut off New England from the rest of the 
continent, making it a great island. This valley was once the 
bed of an immense glacier of an average depth of 2,000 feet. 
It denuded the ridges of earth and disintegrated rocks, deposit- 
ing mud and gravel." For this beginning of Hudson County 
in the long, long ages before man arrived, or the first Dutch 
gutteral was uttered, I am indebted to a member of this soci- 
ety, our fellow citizen Alexander McLean, who assisted Prof. 
Cook, the learned State Geologist, in his explorations and 

Topographically, our County is the smallest in the State, 
covering less than 75 square miles of highland and lowland, 
rock soil and swamp. Geographically, it includes the land ly- 
ing between the Hudson and the Passaic, between the lower 
limits of ther Palisades and Kill von Kull. Politically, the 
County was in 1840 set off from old Bergen County, which or- 
iginally extended from the Kill to the New York State line. 
The northern portion retains the name Bergen, to which it 
has no right; while the new County was baptised Hudson, af- 
ter the river which washes the eastern shore. 

The aborigines of New Jersey belong to the great Algon- 
quin family, whose branches reached from the frozen shores ot 
Hudson Bay to the beaches of the Gulf of Mexico. The na- 
tion spreading their wigwams over our now familiar hills and 
plains was the Lenni Lenape. The name is said to mean "our 
men," or the "original Indian." The people are described as 
of moderate stature, properly shaped, dark-eyed, black-haired, 
wearing the all-too-familiar scalp-lock, their bodies usually an- 
ointed with animals' oil or stained symbolically with mineral 
or vegetable dyes. Among the men there were many who ap- 
proached physical perfection, the women in youth being statu- 


esque rather than beautiful. The tribes lived in villages, but 
wigwam sites were frequently changed as the nomads sought 
new hunting and fishing grounds. They lived in the midst of 
squalor, usually upon maize, beans and roasted nuts, but when 
the supply could be obtained, devoured the fish from bays and 
rivers and the abundant game of the forests. Local option 
was not an issue at their council fires, for intoxicating drink 
was unknown vmtil introduced by the whites. The rudest form 
of tribal government prevailed ; but as compared with other 
tribes, the Lenni Lenape seem to have been remarkably peace- 
ful. Their relics of arrow-heads and rude implements of stone 
and sun-baked pottery are still found in the hills of Essex and 
the valley of the Raritan. 

It may be a shock to historical prejudices to announce that 
Henry Hudson did not discover the river which bears his name, 
John Fiske remarks "the student of history gets accustomed 
to finding that the beginnings of things were earlier than 
had been supposed." Attracted by the fisheries on the New- 
foundland banks, sailors from southern Europe, as well as Nor- 
mandy and Brittany, arrived in large numbers. They found 
fish more abundant than gold, and became practical in their 
adaptation of the unknown treasures of the New World. From 
time to time these fishing boats entered the mouths of the large 
rivers, and there are traces in maps and log books of their pres- 
ence in our own magnificent harbor. On the 17th of January, 
1524, Giovanni de Verrazano, in command of a single ship, 
La Dauphine^ set sail from the Madeira Islands, determined, if 
possible, to reach Cathay. About the middle of April he ar- 
rived at Sandy Hook, which he called Cape St. Mary. The 
neighboring hillsides were alive with peering savages. He was 
not deceived, as Hudson was, by the delusion of a northwest 
passage through the Hudson River, for he likens the upper bay 
to a beautiful lake and tells of the steep hills between which 
"una grandissima riviera" (a very great river), emptied into 
the bay. Canoes filled with red men, brave in paint and feath- 
ers, darted hither and thither. On his departure from the 
harbor, he seems to have discovered Coney Island, to which he 
gave the name "Angouleme," in honor of Duke Francis, af- 
terward Francis the First of France. He cruised along the 
southern shore of Long Island, gathering wampum at Rocka- 
way Bay, almost circumnavigated the island, called Block Island 


"Louise," after the kind's inuther, and ^ave to Point Judith 

(the familiar torture of passengers on the Fall River Line) the 
name of Cape St. Francis. 

In 1525. the Spanish Captain Estevan Gomez calls the Hud- 
son River "The River of the Steep Hills," and probably pur- 
chased some furs from the Mohawks of northern New York. In 
1542, a Frenchman, Allefousce, approached New York Harbor 
through Long Island Sound, and a few phrases in his descrip- 
tive letter indicate that he encountered the dangerous currenis 
at Hell Gate. 

On certain old maps, immediately after Verrazano's 
voyage in 1527, there began to appear the name of "Nor- 
umbega. " The maps were, of course, rude suggestions of the 
outlines of sea and shore, without any attempt at measurement 
or triangulation. This strange name seems to be applied to 
three things: 

I St. A spacious territory over which the name is written 

and. A river somewhere in that territory. 

3rd. A town or village somewhere upon that river. 

There is no difficulty in locating the territory, for it is 
what may be roughly described as equivalent to New England. 
But concerning the river there has been a wide difference of 
opinion, and concerning the origin of the name, to quote from 
Fiske, "there has been much broad guessing.'' The historians 
of Maine have claimed the Penobscot River as the original Nor- 
umbega. Bostonians, who are given to claiming everything in 
sight, imagine that the Charles River was intended. Why should 
the people of New Jersey be less ambitious? We certainly have as 
much v/arrant as any other claimant for the assertion that the 
river of Norumbega was the Hudson and that the town was an 
original settlement on Manhattan Island, which had been swept 
away before the coming of the Dutch. 

We therefore begin our history of Hudson County by the 
claim that the familiar name of Bergen is the oldest title given 
by early explorers to any part of the North Atlantic seaboard 
which has held its place unto the living present. I fortify my 
claim by an extract from John Fiske : 

"The name is evidently connected with Verrezano's voy- 
age, and the Hudson River is the only one which in his letter 
he speaks of entering. He describes the Hudson as a very 

broad river running- between small, steep hills, which indicates 
that he may have gone up as far as Spiiyten Duyvil. Now, if 
this was really the River of Norumbega, visited and described 
by this party of Frenchmen, it is fair to ask if the name may 
not be some French epithet mutilated and disg-uised in its pil- 
grimage among the map makers. Might not the map name 
'Norumbega' be simply a Low Latin corruption of 'Anormee 
Berge?' In sixteenth century French, that means 'Grand Scarp' 
and where could one find a better epithet for the majestic lines 
of cliffs that we call the palisades? A feature so unusual and 
so striking, that no one could hardly fail to select it for descrip- 
tion. The river Norumbega, then, is simply the river of the 
Grand Scarp. It is in favor of this view that on some old maps 
the name occurs as 'Norumberg' and 'Anorumberga." One 
hundred and forty years later, the founders of the first pertna- 
ment settlement in New Jersey revived the ancient name, and, 
giving the Dutch ending to the French "Berge," they called 
the Grand Scarp by the familiar name "Bergen," which, for 
nearly 250 years, has been honored by our fathers and our- 

These early explorers must not, however, be allowed to 
snatch the laurels from the brow of Henry Hudson. When he 
discovered the magnificent harbor of New York, and the lordly 
river which bears his name, it was virtually a fresh discovery. 
All traces of the Norumbega and the French had vanished. 
No relic had been left behind by Florentine or Spaniard, 
while the English claims to the territory were so vague and 
undefined that Europe never acknowledged them. Moreover, 
the colonization of the New Netherlands was the direct result 
of Hudson's voyage. 

The absorption of the French in their own internal strug- 
gles diminished their enthusiasm for discovery and coloniza- 
tion. Spain had ceased to be the mistress of the Atlantic. 
Meanwhile the English and the Dutch were coming to their 
own as the recognized sea-kings of the age. The Muscovy 
Company was incorporated in England in February, 1555. Its 
object was the discovery of a northeastern passage to the In- 
dies, and incidentally trading with Russia on the way. One 
of its founders was a Henry Hudson, an alderman of London. 
His grandson bore his name and carried his arms. We are 
told that a warm friendship existed between Hudson and that 

famous Captain John Smitli, who did such noble service in the 

colony at Jamestown. He first appears in history as the com- 
mander of an expedition to the northeast in 1607. Of the man 
himself we know very little. Diedrich Knickerbocker is the 
only historian who has ever ventured to describe his personal 
appearance. He tells us that Hudson had learned to smoke to- 
bacco under Sir Walter Raleigh, and is said to have been the 
first who introduced the fragrant weed into Holland, which made 
him the most popular man in the Low Countries. "He was a short, 
square, brawny old gentleman with a double chin, a massive 
mouth, and a broad copper nose which was supposed, in those 
days, to have acquired its fiery hue from the constant neigh- 
borhood of the tobacco pipe. He wore a true Andrea Ferrara 
tucked in his leather belt, and a commodore's cocked hat on 
one side of his head. He was remarkable for alwayfi jerking 
up his breeches when he gave out orders, and his voice sound- 
ed net unlike the brattling of a tin trumpet, owing to the num- 
ber of hard northwesters which he had swallowed in the course 
of his seafaring. His mate was a certain Master Robert Juet 
(some pronounced it Chewit), because he was the first man 
who ever chewed tobacco." 

On the 4th of April, 1609, Hudson sailed out of the Zuy- 
der Zee in the service of the East India Company. It was not 
an uncommon thing, at that time, for explorers of renown to 
pass from one service to another. His vessel was the Half 
Moon. It could not have been heavier than eighty tons. One 
historian says that it was twenty tons smaller. It was known 
as the Vlie Boat, in Holland, because it was built to sail on the 
river Vlie. Its crew consisted of less than twenty souls, half 
English, half Dutch. The general instruction given by the 
company was that the Half Moon should not sail south of do'^ 
and that an attempt should be made to discover the northwest 
passage to the far-off Indies. Hudson disobeyed his orders by 
cruising up and down the Atlantic seaboard until, on the 3rd 
of September, he anchored off Sandy Hook. Even though 85 
years before, Verrazano had looked upon the same beautiful 
prospect, and French mariners had followed him to bring back 
to Europe furs in exchange for beads, we look upon this little 
yacht, riding at anchor in tlie great .ship channel that forms the 
gateway to the harbor of New York, as the pioneer of that 
civilization which has come to claim for its own the great me- 


tropolis of the western world, destined to be within a century 
the most populous city on the globe. Hudson's log has been 
lost, but fortunately the private memoranda of his mate are in 
the archives of the Hague. He shows his appreciation of the 
beautiful when he says : "It is a very good land to fall in with and 
a very pleasant land to see." To the south stretched the long 
strip of sand now occupied by the defenders of our city, and the 
heights of Navesink rose invitingly before him. The great 
horseshoe of green, broken again by the sparkling waters of 
the Raritan and the distant heights of Staten Island, bounded 
the prospect towards the north. The natives seemed friendly. 
They were clad in loose but well-dressed skins, and the women 
wore ornaments of yellow copper. They were ready to ex- 
change green tobacco for knives and beads and brought sam- 
ples of their maize and hemp. They also laid upon the deck 
of the Half M 0071 huge yellow spheres which the Dutch called 
the vine apple, and for the first time Europeans knew the value of 
the American pumpkin as an addition to their dietary. Pump- 
kin pies were probably to come later, when Dutch dairies had 
been established. But that such huge fruits could be so de- 
licious, was a surprise to the hungry navigators, content for so 
many months with hardtack and salt meats. One of the Indian 
names for the Hud.son River was "The place for the pelicans," 
and all early explorers tell us that the island of Manhattan 
was at times white with swans. Seals in large numbers came 
half way up the bay. Robyn's Reef, familiar to those who 
cross the ferry to Staten Island as the site of the lighthouse 
whence at night comes the beautiful flash, derived its name 
from the seals which covered it, robyn being the Dutch name 
for seal. Tradition says that a whale once came up as far as 
Cohoes, a town on the river above the head of present steam- 
boat navigation. 

Speaking of names, few rivers have ever boasted of so 
many as our Hudson, for beside the Indian titles, the Dutch 
called it The Great River, and to distinguish it from the Dela- 
ware, The North River. At one time it is called Mauritius, in 
honor of Prince Maurice of Orange, while from the west bank 
and the east bank came in succession the names. The River 
of Pavonia and the River of Manhattan. It was, however, 
reserved for the English, on their conquest, to give the name 
and the title of the explorer himself, who, although he sailed 

under the Dutch flag, was an Englishman by birth. 

Three days after his arrival Hudson dispatched a dory 
with John Coleman in command of four rowers. They found 
the shores on both sides pleasant with grass and flowers, and a 
little removed from the shore they noted that great oaks cov- 
ered the hills. The Indians taught them the value f)f sea food 
and brought them fish of great variety and abundance. Lob- 
sters six feet long, such as we never see in market nowadays, 
are described by the chronicler; and for the first time a Eu- 
ropean tasted an American oyster. We read of ambrosia re- 
served for the gods, but what must have been the gastronomic 
surprise of these white men as the copper-colored savages 
opened blue-point and saddle-rock, and they learned the exquis- 
ite flavor of oysters on the half shell, without our modern dread 
of typhoid fever! Would that Charles Lamb might have told 
this story as he has told of the discovery of crackle by the 
Chinese! Coleman and his party made their way to the mouth 
of Kill von Kull, that is, the Kill, or River, of the Bay. They 
seem to have entered the Kill and rowed as far as Newark 
Bay, which they called Achter Coll (The Back Bay), to distin- 
guish it from the harbor or the front. The news of the ar- 
rival had meanwhile reached the Island of Manhattan, whose 
tribes were not so friendly as those of New Jersey, and canoes 
filled with braves in war paint and feathers put forth for the 
first battle with their conquerors. The little crew beat off their 
assailants, but not until a poisoned arrow had wounded their 
captain, who st)on after died. The Dutchmen made their 
first landing in New Jersey to lay their cc)mrade beneath the 
sands of the Hook. He was the first of many martyrs to per- 
ish, in the cause of advancing civilization, in our now populous 
Middle States — the first white man to be buried in the soil of 
our own New Jersey. The Society of Colonial Wars is pro- 
posing, as part of the ter centennial of 1909, to commemorate 
this tragedy by marking John Coleman's grave. 

On the nth of September, the Half Moon weighed anchor 
and made her way to the north of the Kill, and on the next day 
stood off our own Communipaw. On the 13th, invited by the 
prospect of finding the passage to the East Indies and C(jyer- 
ing the captain with glory as the great explorer of all time, 
the Half Moon began the ascent of the Hudson River. A 
day's sail brought them to Stony Point, to be celebrated in at- 

ter years by the mad exploit of Anthony Wayne. On the 22d, 
as the lead showed little more than a fathom of water, the cap- 
tain was forced to the disappointing conclusion that he was 
saihng on a river whose shallows and narrows dissolved his 
day-dream of a navigable channel opening towards the spice 
groves of the Indies. We wonder whether the crew were too 
sorrowful to give their captain the laugh, as another disap- 
pointed boat-load did at Ha Ha Bay on the Saguenay. On the 
return voyage the Half Moon was attacked by the enraged sav- 
ages near the northern point of Manhattan Island. There was 
no loss of life, but the vessel took refuge in a harbor on the 
Jersey shore, just to the north of what is now known as Castle 
Point. From the diary of Juet, we have the first description 
of our county: 

"Within a while after" (that is, after the attack by the In- 
dians, on the second day of October, 1609) "we got down two 
leagues beyond that place and anchored in a bay clear from all 
danger of them on the other side of the river, where we saw a 
good piece of ground, and hard by it there was a clitf that 
looked of the colour of white-green, as though it was either a 
copper or silver mine, and I think it to be one of them by the 
trees that grow upon it, for they are all burned, and the other 
places are green as grass. ' ' 

We recognize in this an accurate word picture of Castle 
Point, on which are situated the mansions of the Stevens fam- 
ily. On the fourth of October the Half Moon was back again 
in the harbor and immediately set sail for Europe. Hudson 
confessed his failure and disappointment, but, on the other 
hand, told such wonderful stories of the abundant game on the 
mountains overlooking the river, that the Netherlands were 
stirred with enthusiasm. 

The year 1609, memorable for Hudson's great discovery, 
closed the contest between Spain and the Netherlands. Spain 
reluctantly acknowledged what had long been an accomplished 
fact, the independence of the Dutch provinces. The acknowl- 
edgment, it is true, only took the form of a truce which was 
to last twelve years. But those hardy Dutchmen knew full 
well that Spain could never recover her advantage, and that 
the cause of civil and religious liberty had triumphed in the 
Low Countries. During the next four years, private enter- 
prise sent out seven small ships to exchange the skins of 


beaver, otter, and mink, so valuable in northern Europe, for 
blue ^lass beads and stripes of red cotton. 

The heart of the citizen of New Jersey swells with pride 
as he reads the veracious history by the aforementioned Died- 
rich Knickerbocker, which maintains that the colonization of 
the Western Shore of the Hudson River was affected before 
the first huts were built on Manhattan We find Knickerbocker 
guilty of an anachronism in a description of the ship which 
brought over the colonists. He says: 

"She was named Goede Vrouw, in compliment of the wife 
of the President of the West India Company," but, as we shall 
find, the West India Company was not organized until 1618, 
and by that time a palisaded fort had heen erected and a little 
colony of rude huts gathered around it on Manhattan Island. 

Knickerbocker is, however, minute in his description of the 
ship: "She was of the most approved Dutch construction, made 
by the ablest ship carpenters of Amsterdam, who, it is well 
known, always model their ships after the fair forms of their 
country-women. Accordingly it was 100 feet in the beam, 100 
feet in the keel, and 100 feet from the bottom of the stern post 
to the taffrail. Like the beauteous model, who was declared 
to be the greatest belle in Amsterdam, it was full in the bands, 
with a pair of enormous cat-heads, with a copper bottom, and 
withal a prodigious poop. For a figurehead they bore the 
goodly image of St. Nicholas." 

After a prosperous voyage from Holland, they came to 
anchor under Gibbet Island. This was the early name of what 
is now Ellis Island, because, in early colonial days, criminals 
were carried thither for execution. Here they looked upon 
the little Indian village, which even at that time bore the name 
of Communipaw. 

A boat was immediately dispatched to enter into a treaty 
with the Indians, but the Indians were so terribly frightened at 
the tremendous and uncouth sound of the Low Dutch language, 
that they one and all took to their heels, scampered over Ber- 
gen hills, and buried themselves in the marshes, where they 
all miserably perished to a man, their bones bemg collected 
and decently covered by the Tammany Society of that day, 
formed that singular mound called Rattlesnake Hill, which 
rises out of the centre of the salt marshes, a little to the left of 
the Newark causeway. Finding the place deserted, the crew 


of tihe ship landed on the shore and founded the settlement 
which they called by the old Indian name. 

From Communipaw the colonists set out one day to found 
the more important colony on Manhattan Island, and for this 
reason Knickerbocker gravely asserts that "Communipaw was 
the egg from which was hatched the mighty city of New York." 

Washington Irving seems to have been particularly at- 
tracted towards the Comraunipav/ of his day. Writing just a 
century ago, he asserts, from his own experience, that on a 
clear summer evening you may hear from the Battery of New 
York the obstreperous peals of broad-mouthed laughter of the 
Dutch negroes. 

"As to the honest burghers of Communipaw, like wise 
men and sound philosophers, they never looked beyond their 
pipes, nor troubled their heads about any affairs out of theii* 
immediate neighborhood. They lived in profound and envi- 
able ignorance of all the troubles, anxieties, and revolutions of 
this distasteful climate. I am even told that many among them 
do verily believe that Holland, of which they have heard so 
much from tradition, is situated somewhere on Long Island; 
that Spiking Devil and the Narrows are the two ends of the 
world; that the country is still under the dominion of their 
High Mightiness; and the city of New York still goes by the 
name of New Amsterdam. The traits of the original settlers 
are handed down inviolate from father to son. The broad- 
brimmed hat and broad-skirted coat continue from generation 
to generation. The language likewise continues unadulterated 
by barbarous innovations, and so critically correct is the village 
schoolmaster in his dialect, that his reading of a Low Dutch 
Psalm has much the same effect on the nerves as the filing of 
a hand-saw." 

Irving further tells how two famous relics were preserved 
in one of their farmhouses from generation to generation. One 
was Governor Wouter Van Twiller's hat, and another was 
Governor Kieft's shoe. These had gathered the dust of a 
century, when, in a spasm of house-cleaning, one of the Dutch 
mothers swept them out. The shoe she swept into the bay, 
where it speedily became covered with oysters, and the famous 
"Governor's Foot" brand was developed. The hat fell into 
the garden and was speedily enfoliated by a growing cabbage, 
which variety, known as the "Governor's Head," soon became 

1 1 

famous in the markets of New York. 

Going back to the early days, he tells us that a brisk trade 
in furs was soon opened and the burghers of Conimunipaw 
grew rich, because the Dutchman's hand on the scale always 
weighed one pound, and his foot two pounds, so that no pile 
of peltries ever weighed more than two pounds. 

There is a tradition still current among the old families of 
Communipaw, that somewhere in the 30's Washington Irving 
was entertained at the old Van Home House, still standing on 
Phillips Street, behind the cove, which so rapidly is becoming 
a part of Jersey City real estate, and was escorted on a tour of 
inspection of the old houses which at that date were standing. 

When Knickerbocker's history was first published, our 
Dutch father's took umbrage at the pleasantries of the author, 
and some waxed indignant at the liberties taken with the 
foimders of the New Netherlands. Irving explained that he 
did not expect to be taken seriously, and that his chronicle was 
nothing more than a jest. A change came over the spirit of 
criticism a little later when the name Knickerbocker, which 
Irving first heard among the families of Rensselear County, 
was adopted as a title of the descendants of the founders of 
New York and New Jersey. 

It is a question of absorbing interest to the historians of 
Hudson County, whether the narrative of an early colonization 
on the western bank of the Hudson was born of Irving's im- 
agination or was founded upon some document or record to 
which the author had access. 

Mr. Winfield, in his valuable History of Hudson County, 
refers in a footnote to the incident, but expresses grave doubt 
as to its historic truth. He gives, however, as his authority, 
O'Callahan's History of the New Netherlands, published in 
1846. O'Callahan merely mentions the tradition, but in a foot- 
note quotes two earlier authorities, to wit, Albert Gallatin, who 
wrote in 1836 a very valuable monograph on The Indian Tribes 
of the Vicinity of New York, and a Moravian missionary by 
the name of Heckwelder, who published in 181 7 a narrative of 
his experiences among the Indian tribes. Gallatin cordially 
accepts the tradition of a settlement on the west bank of the 
Hudson on the authority of Heckwelder. Heckwelder settled 
in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and devoted his life to tours on 
horseback among the Indian tribes of Pennsylvania. He is 


said to have gone as far west as the site of our present city of 
Detroit. He tells the story as told to him by the Delaware 
Indians. Because of the fierceness of the Manhattan Indians 
and the comparatively peaceful disposition of those who swarm- 
ed on the western bank of the river, a shipful of Hollanders, 
intent on fur-trading, made their first landing somewhere with- 
in the limits of our present county. They were hospitably re- 
ceived, and when the colonists asked for a little land on which 
to build their houses, they suggested that they would only need 
so much as might be covered by the hide of a bull. As the re- 
quest was modest, it was granted without opposition. But the 
aborigines were somewhat chagrined at the trick of the marin- 
ers, which they had learned from Queen Dido in the found- 
ing of Carthage, They cut the bullock's hide in very narrow 
strips, so that when the strips were laid together, they enclosed 
a goodly piece of New Jersey real estate. This purchase is not 
recorded in any of our archives, but Heckwelder accepted it as 
gospel truth. In all probability the tradition had found its 
way to New York before the beginning of the 19th century, 
and Washington Irving, with a genial smile upon his well- 
rounded face, made use of it to humble the pride of the metrop- 
olis of his day, by pointing to the little village behind Gibbet 
Island, as the mother city, or to repeat his own phrase, "The 
egg out of which New York was hatched." If there be any 
foundation in fact for the Delaware legend recorded by Heck- 
welder, accepted by Gallatin, and made the theme of Knicker- 
bocker's pleasantries. 

This settlement must have been made about the year 1610. 

In 1 61 3 it is certain there were several huts on Manhattan 
Island, built not by home-makers, but only by men who tarried 
between the voyages for the purpose of collecting furs brought 
by the Indians of the vicinity in exchange for such trifles as 
seemed of value to the hunters. It was, of course, a profitable 
business. Well might the beaver form the emblem of the first 
seal of New Amsterdam. 

In 1 6 15 a three years' charter was secured by The United 
New Netherlands Company, and on its expiration in 1618 the 
Dutch West India Company was duly established. 

The first serious attempt to colonize was made in i6a3, 
when Cornelius Jacobsen Mey (May) brought over thirty families 
and a commission to act as Governor. A year later he was dis- 

placed by William Verhnlst, and in 1626 Governor Minuil 
bought Manhattan Island from the Indians for the enormous 
sum of $24. In a recent exhibit of congested population in 
New York, an object lesson of growth was given by the com- 
parison ot a cube i-io of an inch in dimension representing 
Minuit's purchase money, and another cube standing 4^} feet 
in height representing $2,775,000,000, the present assessed 
value of New York real estate. The question is asked, "Who 
produced this aggregation?" 

Colonization, however, lagged. Life was too pleasant in 
the low countries, where the thrift of the farmers and the luxury 
of the burghersfilledevery soul with sweet content, to permit anj' 
but adventurers and men of strong prophetic enthusiasm to ven- 
ture out for the founding of a new Holland in the western wilds. 

In 1628 Jonas Michaelius, the first minister, arrived, and 
the Church of New York was duly organized. In 1629 a stim- 
ulus to emigration was offered by the establishment of the 
patroonage. To such men as were deemed worthy by the di- 
rectors of the company, a grant of 16 miles upon the bank of 
a navigable river, with practically unlimited back country, was 
offered, provided they would within four years settle within 
their own territory fifty families. Certain privileges and ex- 
emptions were granted, with the understanding that the patroon 
was to exercise feudal jurisdiction over his domain and estab- 
lish a quasi-order of nobility. It was also stipulated that the 
patroon should satisfy the Indian claims by purchase. 

The history of New Jersey practically began in 1630. when 
the Council of New Amsterdam, acting as agents for one of the 
directors of the Dutch West India Company, a burgher of Am- 
sterdam, Michael Pauw by name, purchased from the Indians 
the territory which is now included within Hudson County. 
The compensation given to the Indians is not named, but it is 
vaguely specified as "a quantity of merchandise," the receipt 
of which the Indians acknowledged. 

There seem to have been two deeds, the first dated July 
12th, 1630, and the second, covering a still larger territory, ex- 
ecuted on November 22nd of the same year. The territory is 
described as "Hobocan Hackingh, lying over against the afore- 
said Island Manahatas, extending on the south side Ahasimus, 
eastward the River Mauritius, and on the west side surrounded 
by a valley and morass through which the boundaries of 


said land can be seen with sufficient clearness and be dis- 
tinguished." Hoboken was commonly accepted as a Dutch 
name, which commemorated in the New Netherlands a village 
on the Scheldt, a short distance from Antwerp. By strange 
coincidence there was, in the early days of New Amsterdam, a 
burgher of some importance in the colonial life, who passed by 
the name of Hoboken. Probably originally he was a Van Ho- 
boken, that is, a man from the old Dutch town. Mr. Charles 
Winfield, however, in an elaborate monograph has shown that 
the use of this name in the original deed of 1630 stamps it as an 
original designation which the Dutchmen attempted to alliterate. 
Its resemblance to Hoboken on the Scheldt is merely a coinci- 
dence. The name was always associated in the earliest docu- 
ments with "Hackingh," which means "land," or "territory,'' 
and "Hobocan" is an Indian word for "tobacco," or "tobacco- 
pipe." Another spelling is "Hopoghan." The significance 
of the name may be found either in the crooked shore which 
bends into the river at Castle Point, where even now the re- 
semblance to the pipe may be traced ; or, more probably, in the 
soft sandstone of the naked cliff, which is still visible from the 
river, as the foundation of the Stevens' mansions at Castle Point, 
out of which the Indian brave was wont to carve his tobacco- 
pipe. Here it was, long before the white sails and white men 
came to take possession of their happy hunting grounds. 

"On the mountains of the river, 
On the great red pipestone quarry. 
Gitche Manito, the mighty. 
He, the Master of Life, descending 
On the red crags of the quarry 
Stood erect and called the nations, 
Called the tribes of men together. 

"From the redstone of the quarry. 
With his hand he broke a fragment, 
Moulded it into a pipehead. 
Shaped and fashioned it with figures; 
From the margin of the river 
Took a long reed for a pipe-stem. 
With its dark green leaves upon it, 
Filled the pipe with bark of willow, 
With the bark of the red willow; 
Breathed upon the neighbouring forest, 
Made its great boughs chafe together, 
Till in flame they burst and kindled ; 

And erect upon the mountains, 
Gitclie Manito, the mijjfhty, 
Smoked the cahiiuct, the peace-pipe, 
As a signal to the nations. 

The nations have answered the call. Passinjj^ from Man 
hattan, at your choice, by the electric car beneath the river 
bed or by the splendid boats connecting with the road of anthra- 
cite, we listen to the mingled polyglot of Europe and Asia, 
while the incense from pipe and cigar may still be seen as in the 
beginning, rising over the pipe quarries of Hobocan Hackingh. 
Perhaps Longfellow had in mind this very scene when the 
legend of the calumet continues: 

"And the smoke rose slowly, slowly. 
Through the tranquil air of morning, 
First a single line of darkness. 
Then a denser bluer vapour, 
Then a snow-white chjud enfolding. 
Like the tree-tops of the forest. 
Ever rising, rising, rising. 
Till it touched the top of heaven. 
Till it broke against tlie heaven, 
And rolled outward all around it." 

Still later Pauw acquired from the Indians Staten Island, 
and his patent extended from Hoboken to Amboy. He called 
it after his own name in its Latinized form, Pavonia. 

According to Pauw's contract with the company, he agreed 
to bring from Holland, within four years, fifty families, one- 
fourth of them being settled during the first year after his 
title had been certified. It is needless to say that he did not 
comply with the provisions of his grant. He seems to have 
made an effort to induce settlers to occupy his lands, and a few 
individuals actually built small houses and began to cultivate 
the soil. 

Michael Paulusen was probably the first representative of 
Pauw within his domain. Captain De Vries tells how he wa.s 
rowed over to Pavonia and received by Michael Paulaz, as he 
was also called, an officer of the company. Whether this man 
remained after his authority had ceased is not known, but he 
remained long enough to give to the point of land putting out 
into the bay where the present station of the Pennsylvania Rail- 
road Company is situated, the name which adhered for many 
years, Paulus Hook. Hook, spelled originally Hoeck, is the 


Dptch for point of land, or cape. Before our great docks had' 
been built out into the river, and before there had been so much 
filling in on the shore, the irregularities of the river bank were 
more noticeable, and Paulus Hook was the first stretch of land 
which greeted the incoming argosy after passing Sand)' Hook. 

Jan Evertse Bout soon after built a house at Communipaw. 
If the early settlement, which Washington Irving describes, 
had any real existence, all traces of it had passed away long 
ere 1634, when Bout became superintendent. His official life 
was short, for in 1636 Pauw's factor, Cornells Van Voorst, ar- 
rived. His mansion, as they called it at the time, was erected 
near the shore at Ahasimus. The house was built of logs and 
thached with cat-tails. To congratulate him on his arrival, in 
the summer of 1636, Governor Wouter Van Twiller, of New 
Amsterdam, accompanied by the redoubtable Captain of the 
Fort, De Vries, and the Rev. Everardus Bogardus, the minis- 
ter of the Church of New York, afterwards made famous as the 
husband of Aneke Jans, were ferried across the Hudson and 
were sumptuously entertained by Van Voorst from the con- 
tents of a recent importation of good Dutch schnapps. 

It is said that a grave matter of State was under discussion 
at the time, a question of jurisdiction which for many years was 
acute in the colonies. A murder had been committed in Pavonia, 
and the question whether Van Twiller could exercise sway within 
the domain of the patroon, or whether Van Voorst was really 
Governor of the patroonage, was an important issue. We are not 
told how the question was ultimately settled, but when Van 
Twiller and Bogardus, much exhilerated, had put off in their 
little boat, Van Voorst brought out a small field piece and diplo- 
matically saluted the retiring Governor. A spark form the 
cannon fell in amongst the green rushes of the roof, and Van 
Twiller's passage was illumined by a costly conflagration. 

Meanwhile, the failure of Michael Pauw to bring over, ac- 
cording to contract, fifty families of pioneers, brought down 
upon him the wrathful indignation of the authorities in New 
Amsterdam and the company which had made the contract. 
For expenditures already made in connection with his patroon- 
age, he was paid by the company 26,000 florins, and his title of 
Patroon of Pavonia forever ceased. 

The Van Voorsts, however, seem to have retained a large 

acreage as their own, and the name is retained as the designa- 
tion of one of our city parks, vvliile among the present resi- 
dents of Jersey City many descendants of the Factor are to be 
found. The first white girl born in the New Netherlands was 
Sarah Rapelje of Long Island. The first white boy was Ide 
Van Voorst. We shall meet him later in the history of Bergen. 

The relinquisliment of all privileges and exemptions in 
Pavonia left the whole territory on the west bank of the Hud- 
son in the hands of the Dutch West India Company, and there- 
after colonists made their arrangements of purchase or lease 
with the directors of the company. On the arrival of Gover- 
nor William Kieft, in 1638, there were seven houweries, that 
is farms, with their houses and outbuildings and three planta- 
tions, that is land lying under cultivation in outlying districts. 

It is interesting to record the names of these original set- 
tlers in what is now Hudson County To Hoboken belongs 
the honor of establishing the first brewery, hard by the farm- 
house built by Aert Teunissen Van Putten. This was indeed 
a prophetic venture. As the beaver was the chosen emblem of 
Manhattan, so stein and pipe may well be graven on the seal 
of Hobocan Hackingh. 

Van Voorst had died shortly after he had leased his bouwerie 
from the company, and for several years his widow adminis- 
tered affairs with the energy of a Dutch mother. But to con- 
sole her in the midst of her loneliness, the widow married one 
Jacob Stoffelson, who thus became the landed proprietor c»f 
the former capital of Pavonia. 

One Abraham Isaacsen Ver Planck had purchased a bouw- 
erie at Paulus Hook. The mouth of Mill Creek had been 
leased by Egbert Woutersen, who seems to have sublet a part 
of his domain to small farmers known as Soap Johnnie and Cor- 
nelis Arrisen, who at once showed their enterprise by planting 
tobacco. At Communipaw, Jan Evertsen Bout had made a 
purchase from the company. He seems to have been a man 
of some importance in the New Netherlands. He was born in 

1 60 1 and came from the Barne veldt in the ship EendracJit . He 
finally removed to Brooklyn, from which place he represented 
his constituents in the Twelve Men, and was afterwards one of 
the Eight upon whom were laid the responsibilities of advice 
to the Governor of the New Netherlands. The southern bouw- 
erie was at Cavan's Point, about where the Central Railroad 
now crosses the Morris Canal. 

This, then, was the first picture of Hudson County, a row 
of farms bordering- the Hudson, from the point where the Pal- 
isades end at Weehawken to the Kill von Kull. Seven sturdy 
farmers gathered their little families around them, pastured 
their cattle, tilled their soil, fared plainly yet abundantly, for 
the husbandman must be the first partaker of the fruits of the 
soil, and on summer evenings gathered under the porch to 
smcke in meditative mood and talk of the old days in the father- 
land, or to discuss the more pertinent questions of policy in 
the goverment of the colony. The inventory of the Van 
Voorst estate, taken at the time of the death of the oriHnal 
settler, reveals a wealth of pewter dishes and costly raiment. 
We can picture them now, on a Sunday, these wellfed farmers, 
and the gude vrouws from each home, being rowed across the 
river to the Church of the Mill Loft, where Michaelius preaches, 
or to the Church of St. Nicholas within the fort, where Bo- 
gardus expounds the Heidelberg Catechism and thunders forth 
with the Canons of the Synod of Dort, against his enemy Gov- 
ernor Kieft. 

The Indians are friendly, they bring their furs and their 
maize to the very doors of the settlers, and there is always at 
hand a supply of beads for the purchase. Sometimes a treas- 
ured copper kettle buys an extraordinary lot of beaver skins, 
and now and then, against the colonial ordinance, some greedy 
settler would allow an Indian to possess a coveted rifle with the 
accompaniment of powder and shot. Some of the more pre- 
cocious aborigines learned a little of the Dutch gutteral, as the 
settlers pronounced a few Indian words, and a patois of min- 
gled Indian and Dutch grows up in the settlement. There is 
no school, no place of worship on the west bank of the Hud- 
son, and the social life is carried on along the water-way. The 
roads are mere tracks through the wilderness, but the ever 
ready boat is moored to the shore, and Dutch hospitality ever 
welcomes a neighbor to the best that the house affords. The 
colony grows very slowly, for in their avaricious monopoly the 
company refuses to part with the land save under grievous re- 
.strictions, and the tide of home seekers from the fatherland 
had hardly begun. 

Kieft's administration was irritating not only to the white 
men, but to the Indians. He attempted to lay taxes upon them, 
but found the spirit of the forest protesting against his ex- 


actions. His theory that the fort being a protection to the In- 
dian, they should help pay for it, was scouted in the wij^-wam. 
Long before Kieft came, in Governor Minuit's day, an Indian 
came into New Amsterdam with a few furs for sale, when he 
was set upon by the inhabitants and slain. He was accom- 
panied by his brother's son, a little boy, who escaped from his 
tormentors, and carried back to the council fire the determina- 
tion to be revenged upon the white man. By 1641 the boy had 
grown to manhood. Stealthily he paddled his canoe across the 
Hudson and found a poor, unoffending farmer by the name of 
Smits not far from the Collect, which ran into the Hudson near 
what is now Canal Street. He murdered his man and fled. 
Kieft demanded his surrender, the surrender was refused, and 
then and there Kieft would have declared war against the abo- 
rigines. He was restrained by the advice of the colonists. 

Meanwhile, in 1642, pioneers had moved as far north as 
Tappan over the New York State line, and also at Hachensack, 
an Indian name for the lowlands. One of the Van Voorsts, 
while roofing a house on the Hackensack Bouwerie, was slain 
by an Indian chief. Again the murderer was demanded. The 
council of the Hackensacks offered an indemnity in wampum. 
This was refused, and from that moment every bouwerie be- 
came a fort. With trembling the children went to bed, and 
for fear of the dreaded tomahawk the fathers kept the watch. 

It was in the early part of the memorable year 1643 that 
the warlike Iroqouis from the north, who lived in deadly feud 
with the Leni-Lenape, came down upon them in battle array. 
Relying upon the promised protection of the Dutch, the de- 
feated tribe.'^ fled before their pursuers and sought refuge in the 
neighborhood of Communipaw. A few even crossed to Man- 
hattan and asked the shelter of the fort. The best of the col- 
onists advised pacific measures. The opportunity had then 
come to gain forever the friendship of the neighboring tribes, 
but Kieft yielded to the counsel of the Sons of Belial and com- 
mitted an awful crime which stained the soil of our own county 
with blood drawn in treachery. Shame be upon that waspish 
nature which planned the massacre of the Indian braves at 

On the evening of the 25th of February the boats put out 
from the fort carrying 80 well-armed soldiers under the Dutch 
flag. For years it had been known as the Point of Laughter; 


but to day the outcries of murdered men, women, and children 
may be heard floating" across the bay. No quarter is given. 
The papoose and the squaw are put to the sword or thrown in- 
to the water. It is a massacre, not a battle. Without the loss of 
one of his own troops the commander draws off, leaving 80 Indi- 
ans dead on the field. What could the colonists expect but re- 
venge? Derick Straatmacher ventured forth in the delusion 
that all the Indians had perished, but at least one remained, 
for the farmer fell pierced by a poisoned arrow. 

From house to house the alarm spread across country and 
along the river. All who could possibly do so made their way 
to the shelter of the fort in New Amsterdam. The Van 
Voorsts at Ahasimus were not, however, quick enough to 
evade the aroused fury of the tribes. Their house and out- 
buildings were burned and the little boy Ide was carried cap- 
tive as far as Tappan. The only man who seems to have re- 
tained his wits during this disgraceful episode was Captain De 
Vries. He fearlessly crossed the river with a little band, bid 
defiance to the savages, and rescued the captive boy. Not a 
farmhouse remained. Smoking ruins marked the places where 
the hearthstones had been laid. Their property was looted, 
and those who were not slain were driven away from their own 
homes. For two years the war raged, and the western bank 
of the Hudson was deserted. 

The unhappy exiles thus bemoaned their condition : "Ev- 
ery place almost is abandoned. We wretched people must 
skulk with wives and little ones that still are left, in poverty 
together, b}^ and around the Fort on Manhattas." 

In 1645, more than a year and a half after the outbreak of 
hostilities, a treaty of peace was made by the Council of New 
Amsterdam with the hostile tribes. I am specially interested 
in the treaty because it contains the name of one of my ances- 
tors. He signs his name to this important document La Mon- 
tague; but we find it with the varied spelling of the time, and 
he was usually known as Dr. Jan De La Montanye. He belonged 
to one of those Huguenot families exiled for conscience sake. 
Of the family in France we know nothing, but the name "John 
of the Mountains" implies that they came from the hill country 
of Burgundy. He is called in co-temporary documents "very 
learned," and also a "Santo," which means that he was a na- 
tive of St Onge. He was born in 1595, three years before the 

Edict of Nantes restored order to the realm, but it is prcjbablc 
that his family emigrated to Holland within the ten years of 
public unrest succeeding the murder of King Henry the Fourth. 
He graduated from tlie University of Leyden v/ith the degree 
of Doctor of Medicine and married Rachel De Forest, the 
daughter of that Jesse De Forest, who at one time proposed to 
the British Admirality to bring over a Colony of French Huguen- 
ots, provided a guarantee of religious liberty might be granted 
them. This being refused by the bigots of the time, America 
lost the opportunity of receiving a group of the ancient heroes 
of France into her great wilderness. Jesse De Forest died in 
Amsterdam. His two sons and his grandchildren, the sons and 
daughters of La Montanye, came to New Amsterdam, and their 
descendents to-day are numerous. On a map of New Amster- 
dam in 1642 his name is written on a lot not far from where the 
Pearl Street of to-day opens towards the north to cross Wall 
Street. He was the first teacher appointed by the municipality 
of New Amsterdam, and was also the Vice-CounselU)r of the 
colony. In this capacity he signed the Treaty of 1645, which 
the Indians faithfully kept for ten years. 

One by one the original proprietors of Pavonia crept back 
and rebuilt their deserted bouweries. Bout, at Paulus Hook, 
sold part of his holding to Michael Jansen, who was the progen- 
itor of the large Vreeland family of our county. Michael had at 
first settled on the patroonage of Rensselaer, but was unwilling 
to obey the laws of the territory forbidding private dealings in 
furs. He engaged in a contraband trade, and thus drew down 
upon himself the wrath of the patroon. He fled to New Am- 
sterdam, made his peace with his former proprietor, and bought 
his own farm within the precincts of our present Jersey City. 
He seems to have been a man of remarkable energy. He rep- 
resented Pavonia in the Council of the Nine Men called upon 
to advise Governor Stuyvesant, and was one of the petitioners 
for a municipal charter. In 1654 he started a brewery; in 
1658 he sold part of his land to one Harmon Smeeman. He 
was a member of the Bergen Congregation, which in 1662 pe- 
titioned for a minister, and made good his desire by a liberal 
subscription of 25 florins. 

Gradually the unoccupied portions of the county were set- 
tled. Jacob Jacobsen Roy, the first gunner of New Amster- 
dam, received a grant on Constable Hook, or Gunner's Point. 


The huge plant of the Standard Oil Company now occupies 
that portion of our county. 

The original name of Greenville was Minkakwa, which is 
still preserved in the name of one of our political clubs. Its 
meaning is "The Place of Good Crossing," probably because 
through it lay the easiest pass from the Great Bay to the Back 
Bay. Here it was that Claus Castensen, called the Norman, 
and also Van Sandt, received a grant from the company. 

The first settler at Weehawken was Maryn Adriansen, 
Weehawken was afi Indian name, probably meaning "The Land 
of the End," because the Palisades, which lift their pillared 
rocks as a wall to the lower Hudson, here dip towards 
the river. In the primitive days of New York Weehawken 
invited excursionists from the city, who rowed across the river 
and then climbed its heights. Among these was the book- 
keeper poet FitzGreene Halleck, who writes: 

"Weehawken! In thy mountain scenery yet, 
All we adore of nature in her wild 
And frolic hour of infancy is met; 

And never has a summer's morning smiled 
Upon a lovlier scene than the fuil eye 
Of the enthusiast revels on, — when high 

"Tall spire, and glittering roof, and battlement, 

And banners floating in the sunny air; 
And white sails o'er the calm blue waters bent. 

Green isle and circling shore are blended there 
In wild reality. When life is old, 
And many scenes forgot, the heart will hold 

Its memory of this." 

Tne older inhabitants of Bergen well remember a creek, 
which, starting from Tuers Pond, not far from the Bergen Re- 
formed Church, found its way to the bay between Cavan's 
Point and Greenville. It derived its name from the first prop- 
rietor of the territory at its mouth— Derick Zieken. Patents 
were also given to several families along the Bergen Neck, 
now Bayonne. They were described in the deeds as situated 
between Communipaw and Kill von Kull. 

These settlements, however, had no political existence, 
save as they formed part of the New Netherlands under the 
domination of the Governor sent out by the West India Com- 
pany. There was never a time when the government was sat- 
isfactory. The citizens of the Dutch Republic had been ac- 


customed to political freedom in their own country, and resent- 
ed with ceaseless protest the attempt of the commercial com- 
pany through despotic governors, to subject them to laws and 
ordinances of their own individuality. 

After the patroons had abandoned their attempts to estab- 
lish a feudal system, the restrictions of the company upon the 
free sale of land discouraged colonists from attempting to find 
homes in Manhattan and vicinity. The company saw their 
mistake after a while, and the conditions were changed so 
that immigration was encouraged, and better people began to 
colonize. In order to encourage the colonists by a representa- 
tive government, Governor Kieft invited the appointment of 
Twelve Men; but when, like the Douma, they criticised the 
ruling Czar, the body was dissolved. In 1643 Kieft invited 
Eight Men instead of Twelve to advise him, and Bout from 
Communipavv was the representative of Pavonia. Kieft, how- 
ever, became impossible, and the company superceded him by 
the famous governor whose name is linked with the closing 
years of Dutch New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant. 

Stuyvesant was a soldier who had done duty under his 
country's flag. He had lost a leg in his battles, and he carried 
around with him tluit famous wooden leg, with which he is said to 
have stamped upon the floor when the members of the council dis- 
agreed with him. He arrived in May, 1647. Ke came like a 
peacock with great state and pomp. Washington Irving calls 
him "A valiant, weather-beaten, mettlesome, obstinate, leath- 
ern-sided, lion-hearted old governor. " He promised to gov- 
ern the colony as a father would his children. But even pater- 
nal rule Wcis too strong for the burghers of New Amsterdam, 
and Peter was constantly quarreling with his neighbors. He 
admitted to share in his administration a Council of Nine Men, 
but they seemed to have little voice in the real government of 
the colony, and the discontent was not allayed until the muni- 
cipality was chartered by the appointment of a Schout, two 
Burgomasters, and five Schepens, in the year 1652. 

The City Fathers met the same problem which disturbs 
the Greater New York to day. The drinking habits of the set- 
tlers invited the opening of a comparatively large number of 
taprooms. It is said that at one time one-fourth of the houses 
clustered around the fort were open for the sale of intoxicating 
drinks. The excise fees were used to support the church. 


The church in the fort was built by a subscription signed 
on the night when Dominie Bogardus' daughter was married, 
while the guests were in an hilarious condition. The free use 
of alcohol roused the phlegmatic Dutchmen to numerous quar- 
rels, and these were continued even on the first day of the 
week, commonly called Sunday. 

In the old home the intensity of religious differences made 
every man a zealot for the reformed faith, but the wildness of 
a new life had a tendency to make people careless. The Gov- 
ernor, as a defender of the faith, issued several decrees on the 
subject of church attendance, and from time to time called the 
people together to listen to fast-day discourses, or to give 
thanks for the prosperity of the colony and the quietness of life. 

In 1647 Stuyvesant complains "that men are getting 
drunk, quarreling, smiting each other on the Lord's Day of 
rest, of which on last Sunday we were ourselves witnesses." 
The eld Governor seems to have set an example to Dr. Parkhurst 
and Mr. Samuel Wilson by personally inspecting the city with a 
view to the discovery of infractions of the law. He, therefore, 
issues a new order that the lid is to be put down until two 
o'clock in the afternoon, thus giving everybody a chance to at- 
tend divine service in the morning. If a second service is to 
be held in the afternoon, then the taverns must remain with 
closed doors until four. Every evening the curfew is to ring 
at nine o'clock, and all good citizens must hie them to their 
homes and remain in quietness until morning. For selling in- 
toxicants after curfew a fine of 200 guilders was to be imposed. 
It was further decreed that all occupations were to cease dur- 
ing the service on the Lord's Day, all games must be suspend- 
ed, and the ordinary operations of the farms must be neglect- 
ed, while woe to any wicked boy who should be caught play- 
ing ball, or even seen throwing a fishing line from some con- 
venient headland on the river! 

The municipality also had its building laws, commanding 
the removal of wooden chimneys and thatched roofs. They re- 
strained the hogs and goats from tresspassing on neighbor's 
property, or running on the streets. They arbitrarily enacted 
laws concerning the currency. Indian wampum and beaver 
skins were used in trade. On the shores of Long Island may 
still be found a deposit of shell dust. In my first parsonage at 
Flatlands I had several loads of it carted for the walk around 


my house. It is the result of the poundinjf of pieces of shell 
in order to get at the heart of the shell, which, being- strunjij 
upon a rude cord, made from the fish, became the currency, not 
only of the Indians, but of the white settlers. In the big chest 
where the church kept its relics at Flatlands, I found several 
strings of the old wampum, which had been used by the mem- 
bers of the congregation in payment of church expenses. 

Laws were also enacted to regulate the size and fineness 
of a loaf of bread. All imports and exports paid a duty at the 
customs, and trade in furs was forbidden, because this most 
profitable of all ventures must remain forever as the preroga- 
tive of the West India Company. These ordinances, of course, 
were to be respected and obeyed in the outlying bouweries as 
well as within the limits of New Amsterdam. 

A marked feature of the New Netherlands was the begin- 
ning of that mingling of European peoples, which has ever 
been a characteristic of New York. One might roam in New 
England from Greenwich to Cape Cod without hearing a single 
sentence save that of the pure Old English tongue. But the hos- 
pitality of New Amsterdam had been extended to people of every 
clime and nation, and while Dutch prevailed, all the languages 
of Europe might be heard in the streets. A census taken in 
1652 showed that there were only 800 people living on Man- 
hattan Island, and in all the colony, including Rensselaerwyck, 
Esopus, Long Island, and Pavonia, only 4,000 souls. 

During the ten years of peace in Pavonia, cmly one in- 
stance of Indian depredation occurred, although we can im- 
agine that the loaded rifle always hung over the fireplace 
in the great kitchen, and wives and mothers knew how to 
shoot should occasion be demanded. On the 9th of March, 
1649, the body of Simon VValinges Vanderbilt was found pierced 
by Indian arrows within the Paulus Hook region. The matter 
being duly considered by the council, it was agreed that the 
outrage should not be revenged. The inhabitants had reason 
to dread a second Indian war, and wisely concluded that a sin- 
gle crime, committed perhaps by a wicked Indian, could not 
be charged against the tribes. 

In 1665 a change came over the peaceful spirit of the col- 
ony. Hendrick Van Dyck, who by the way, was also one of 
my ancestors, occupied a lot on what is now Broadway, extend- 
ing westward to the river. He had come to the colony during 


the governorship of William Kieft, commissioned as an ensign 
in the little Dutch army which manned the fort. When his 
only son Cornells was born, the baptism was an event of great 
importance. It was recorded on the first page of the records 
of the Church of New York. Governor Kieft himself was god- 
father. Van Dyck returned to Holland, where he received the 
promotion as Schout Fiscal under Peter Stuyvesant. Both the 
governor and his lieutenant were of irascible temper, and the 
quarrel between them began on the ship before they left port. 
It was continued during the whole official life of Van Dyck, 
whom old Peter forced out of office. On his capacious city lot 
he had planted a valuable orchard, and one night, when the 
peaches were ripening on the trees. Dame Van Dyck noticed 
skulking thieves among her much beloved trees. Her husband 
yielded to the impulse of the moment, brought out his rifle and 
fired at the intruder. An Indian girl dropped from the tree. 
The rash deed was like fire in a mass of tow. The news spread 
among the Indians of the western river, and within a few days 
they came to take their vengeance. Canoes filled with Indian 
braves, gay with paint and feathers, landed on Manhattan. 
Van Dyck fell wounded with an arrow, while his friend and 
neighbor, Van Der Grist, who had come to protect him, was 
slain outright. The assault was the signal for a terrible war. 
One hundred colonists were killed and one hundred and fifty 
were taken captive. The inhabitants of Pavonia fled aghast, 
and twenty-eight bouweries were destroyed, while three hun- 
dred families, homeless and in abject poverty, were thrown 
upon the hospitality of their neighbors on Manhattan. "Not 
one white person was left in Pavonia." It is a wonder that the 
savages held their hands from the utter extermination of the 
colonists, who had thus on two occasions called them to the 

When prisoners had been exchanged at a pow-wow at 
Paulus Hook, and when peace between the white men and the 
Indians had been restored, the Council of New Amsterdam 
took advantage of the happy hour to repurchase from the In- 
dians the land on the west bank of the Hudson. The deed 
was executed in 1658 and signed by the Indian chiefs and the 
tribes which claimed to be the proprietors. The land is de- 
scribed as beginning at the Great Clip above Weehawken, re- 
ferring to the rock at which the Palisades dip into the Hudson, 

thence westerly to Siskakes or "the place where the snake 
hides," thence to Kill von Kull and Constable's Hook, and 
back along the river to the place of starting. This is the first 
mention in any record of the name Snake Hill, of whose form- 
ation Washington Irving has given us the legendary narrative 
already noted. Both the name and translation remain in Se- 
caucus, a well-defined locality in our county, and Snake Hill, 
the seat of our county institutions. The compensation given 
to the Indians for what is now Hudson County is included in 
the folI<nving memorandum: 

Eighty fathoms of wampum 

Twenty fathoms of cloth 

Twelve brass kettles 

Six guns 

Two blankets 

One double brass kettle 

One half barrel of strong beer 

And further, the Indians bound themselves to move from 
the land, which they had conveyed, at the first opportunity. 

The planters of Pavonia, restless within the confines of 
New Amsterdam, and homesick for their devastated and deso- 
lated homes, began once more to creep back again. They were, 
however, warned by edict from the council, dated January i8, 
1656, that residence outside of the pale of protection was at 
their own peril; while a second edict places a heavy fine upon 
any who should attempt to live on an isolated farm. The in- 
habitants of all the outlying farms were commanded to "con- 
centrate themselves in villages and hamlets," so that they 
might the more effectually protect themselves against the as- 
saults of the savages and barbarians. The former settlers of 
Communipaw presented a remonstrance against these edicts, 
and asked permission to return to their own lands. Permission 
was immediately granted, but with the reiteration of the old 
order that no settlements were to be made without concentra- 
tion and protection. 

For at least two years these good people waited in idleness, 
or pursued other occupations in New Amsterdam, and mean- 
while, on the 1 6th of August, in the year 1660, the advantages 
of the heights were suggested, and a petition, coming from sev- 
eral inhabitants of the province, prayed for the privilege of 
cultivating the farms behind Communipaw and forming there 

a village. The petition was promptly granted on three condi- 

I St. A spot must be selected which they can defend with 

2nd. While lots are to be given freely to actual settlers^ 
each colonist must bind himself to begin to build his house 
within six weeks after he has drawn his lot. 

3rd. From each house there must be at least one enlisted 
soldier, able to bear arms in defence of the village. 

There is no record of obedience to this order, but there is; 
documentary evidence that it had been obeyed in a deed convey- 
ing a certain piece of land near the villageof Bergen, inShe "open 
maize land." This Gweykonk or "Open Maize Land" was a 
clearing which the Indians had cultivated before the arrival of 
the vv^hite men, and was situated near the corner of Bergen 
Avenue and Montgomery Street. It is significant that pass- 
ersby in the early autumn and late summer may still see a lit- 
tle plot of maize, its purple tassels floating in the summer 
breeze, surrounding the stately mansion of our fellow citizen, 
Mr. John Winner, which stands on the site of the Indian wig- 

Another document in evidence is a letter from Stuyvesant 
to the directors of Holland, which calls their attention to three 
or four villages still needing preachers, and until the need be 
supplied deprived of religious services. He names New Ut- 
recht and Gravesend on Long Island, New Harlem of Manhat- 
tan, and the newly-planted villages of about thirty families 
across the river. This document is dated Fort Amsterdam in 
New Netherland, the 6th of October, 1660. On that day Ber- 
gen was like an infant for which no name had yet been found, 
but of whose existence there could be do doubt. 

These data fix as accurately as possible the date of 
the foundation of the village of Bergen. In some of our 
histories of New Jersey, written by men who had never 
seen a Dutch document or its translation, it is asserted that 
Bergen was founded by the Danes as early as 161 7, and one 
author with brilliant imagination asserts that some of Hend- 
rich Hudson's men went ashore, climbed the hill, and built 
their first homes in Bergen. 

There was no settlement of white men on our heights un- 
til the late summer of 1660, and then, complying with the con- 


ditions of the Council in New Amsterdam, the sound of adze and 
hammer was heard, and all at once a village rose, surrounded 
by a palisade, and included within the four blocks around 
our present Berg-en Square Like Minerva from the head of 
Jove, Bergen sprang full-armed from the will of Father Wood- 
en Leg. Its boundaries, naming the streets as we know them 
at present, were Newkirk Street on the north, Tuers Avenue 
on the east, Vroom Street on the south, and Van Reypen Street 
on the west. These boundaries included a space of eight hun- 
dred feet square. It has retained the old plan to the present 
time, and from its centre afterwards was laid out from the 
Kill von Kull northward the Old Bergen Road, which is now 
Bergen Avenue. The surveyor was Jacques Cortelyou, who 
is probably the first surveyor to arrive in the colony. 

The colonists brought with them their church and their 
school. The vexed question of the first house of public wor- 
ship will perhaps never be definitely settled; but after weigh- 
ing all evidence, I am prepared to accept the tradition that 
a log church was erected at a very earl)' day outside the Pali- 
sade, on the high ground within the cemetery of the Bergen 
Reformed Church, overlooking Vroom Street, at the corner of 
Tuers Avenue. 

At the centre of the town an open space had been left 
where the cattle might be tethered at night. This is our pres- 
ent Bergen Square. On one of the central corners a lot was 
set apart for the coming schoolh.ouse. The colonists were so fully 
occupied in the building of their own homes, that for several 
years the school site was left vacant; but they must have en- 
gaged a schoolmaster at the very beginning. In the court 
records of New Amsterdam it appears that on December 17th, 
1663, the authorities of Bergen appeared before the council 
praying that an order be issued to compel Engelbert Steen- 
huysen to perform his contract as voorleser. It is represented 
that "more than a year ago he was employed, not only as voor- 
leser, but also to keep school. The said Steenhuysen accepted 
this, and has now served for more than fifteen months, being 
allowed a salary of 250 guilders in wampum annually, and some 
other emoluments beside school fees considered proper and 
fair." He was, according to his contract, to select himself and 
provide a convenient place 10 keep school in. He wishes to 
throw up his contract, because the community has failed to pro- 

vide tlie lot for the schoolhouse, and because they expect hire 
to pay taxes on the two bouweries which he owns, and also to 
do military duty when required for the defence of the palisade. 
The Council patiently heard the case and then ordered that En- 
gelbert Steenhuysen must keep his contract to the end of his 
term of office. The discontent of the schoolmaster probably 
hurried the schoolhouse, which must have been erected within 
two or three years. 

On the 4th of September, 1661, a court, consisting of a 
Schout and three Schepens, was installed. The villagers were 
allowed to choose their own magistrates; but continued, how- 
ever, to choose only honest and intelligent men, professors of 
the Reformed religion. Tilman VanVleeck was the first Schout. 
Michael Jansen, Harman Smeeman, and Caspar Stymets were 
the first Schepens. With this Michael Jansen we have met be- 
fore, as the ancestor of the Vreeland family, having added the 
surname at a later date. Appeals from this court are taken to 
New Amsterdam; but cases are dismissed in the higher court, 
when it is shown that they are under consideration in Bergen. 
On one occasion a case is dismissed in New Amsterdam Decem- 
ber, 1662, because the deponent lives in Bergen, and it is too 
stormy to come over. 

In February, 1662, a well was dug at the centre of the 
square, so that the people might be supplied in their homes 
without the labor of digging individual wells, and the cattle 
watered at a common trough. The well was dug by the co- 
operation of all the men, each taking his turn in a labor for 
the common weal. 

Encouraged by the success of Bergen, the proprietors of 
Communipaw came back to their deserted homes, and formed 
a second village, and in the winter of 1661 a ferry was estab- 
lished between Communipaw and New Amsterdam. Prob- 
ably the first extensive road ever laid out in the county con- 
nected the people on the shore front behind Gibbet Island, 
through Communipaw and Summit Avenues with Academy 
Street and the eastern gate of the palisaded town. Bergen 
and Communipaw were rival towns, and a suit between them 
to establish the title to a certain meadow land was tried before 
the Council on Manhattan. 

A document on file with the Secretary of State in Albany 
shows that a subscription was raised in 1662 for the support of 


A minister. But the wilds of the New Netherlands presented 
few attractions to the scholarly men who filled the pulpits 
of the Netherlands, and as the colonists would not have for a 
minister one who had not been educated in one of the univer- 
sities, as well as fully ordained by the Classis of Amsterdam, 
they were not able to secure a learned and pious pastor in re- 
sponse to their call. The worship of God, however, was not 
neglected. Every Lord's Day the people assembled, were led 
in prayer by the voorleser, sang one of the Psalms set to the 
familiar old tunes in the fatherland, and listened to a sermon 
from one of the old Dutch Books of Homilies. From time to 
time also the ministers of New Amsterdam were ferried over 
the Hudson, administered the sacraments of Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper, and solemnized the rite of matrimony. The 
church records began with the roll of members in 1664, and 
from the following years baptisms and marriages are recorded. 
The first male member to be recorded was Nicholas Verlett, 
brother-in-law of Peter Stuyvesant, who seems to have bought 
the deserted brewery at Hoboken. 

In connection with the founding of Bergen, two questions 
have been asked: "Who were these settlers?" and "Whence 
came they?" The answer, gathered from a scrutiny of their 
names, so far as they have been preserved, shows that they are 
principally emigrants from the Netherlands, while perhaps a 
few were Danes, vSwedes, and Norwegians. The theory finds 
acceptance that many were old soldiers from the Netherlands, 
who had fought under Orange, and who were rewarded for 
their faithful service by a city lot in the new town on the Grand 

The origin of the name is also a question of interest. It 
has been claimed that the capital of Norway was honored by 
making the town its namesake; but there is no ground for this. 
Nor is there any evidence that any of the settlers came from 
the little town of Bergen-Op-Zoon. 

Mr. Winfield suggests a fanciful derivation from the Dutch 
verb "berger," to be safe. This would have been significant, 
because there was certainly safety from Indian arrows behind 
the palisades. But it is more likely that the verb "berger" 
had its origin in "berg" (the mountain); for "as the mountains 
are round about Jerusalem," so find men safety in the eternal 
bills. The high ground suggested the name. As we find the 

early Frenchmen pointing to the Anorm^e Berge, corrupted 

into Norumbega; so in their own language the Dutchmen cry 

out on beholding the hill, "Bergen." 

There seems at first very little connection between the 
great events which form the history of Eurape and these little 
colonies on the Atlantic seaboard. But a philosophic view of 
history shov/s the inter-relation of outlying districts with the 
throbbing centres of national life. 

Oliver Cromwell died in 1658. Had he lived, or had his 
weakling son been able to sustain the burden of the protector- 
ate, there would probably have been no quarrel between Eng- 
land and Holland, and the States-General would have remained 
in peaceful possession of their beloved settlements. But when 
the protectorate failed, and on that merry Mayday of the very 
year in which Bergen was founded, Charles II. came back to 
England and set up his licentious court in Whitehall, misun- 
derstandings between the countries separated by the Northern 
Sea began to agitate the world. 

Finally war was declared. The Dutch navy bad almost 
driven from the seas the ships of Great Britain. Pepys's Diary 
tells us how poorly prepared were the navies of Charles to 
grapple with the victorious ships that had destroyed the sea- 
power of Spain. The Dutch vessels entered the Thames River 
and laid the towns towards the sea under tribute to their prow- 
ess. But reprisals must be made in America. England claimed 
the whole of North America by virtue of the early discoveries 
of the Cabots. 

In England the New Netherlands were still included un- 
der the Virginia Charter. The only rival flag from Newfound- 
land to Florida was that of the States-General over Fort St. 
Nicholas. It was easy for Charles to make good this claim by 
executing a deed for the provinces which the Dutch claimed, to 
his brother James, the Duke of York, and it was almost as 
easy in the absence of a Dutch fleet from the Atlantic Ocean 
to send over an expedition heavy enough to silence every gun 
on Manhattan. It is on record that credit was given to Bergen 
for two charges of their cannon fired about eight o'clock of the 
morning of October 18, 1664, to warn the country of the ap- 
proach through the Narrows, a view of which their watchers 
enjoyed, of the hostile ships. When the fleet arrived in 1664, 
the burghers in New Amsterdam, headed by their minister, 


prayed their g-overnor to do nothing rash. The old soldier had 

at first refused to surrender and threatened to blow up the fort 
with all within it; but better councils prevailed, and without 
firing" a gun New Amsterdam capitulated. 

While this squadron of conquest was still (m the water, 
James, the Duke of York, conveyed to Lord Berkeley and Sir 
George Carteret, afterwards Lord Carteret, all the territory ly- 
ing between the Hudson and the Delaware, and as Carteret 
was born in the island of Jersey and was governor of that island, 
which took its name from Caesar during the Roman Conquest 
of Great Britain, our State was duly christened "NovaCaisarea," 
or New Jersey. It is wonderful that a single stroke of a pen 
could create a vState and give it an enduring name. 

Governor Nichols, who commanded the attacking fleet, had 
already named the landb lying on the west of the river Albania, 
after the Duke of Albany; but as Sir Philip Carteret, younger 
brother of the Lord, arrived as governor in July, 1665, the 
name by which the province had been baptized was confirmed 
in all his documents, and by reason of his imperial orders we 
are living to-day in New Jersey. 

Governor Carteret established his capital at Elizabeth, and 
at once confirmed the charter of Bergen, which recognized all 
Dutch titles and re-organized its court. A tribute of ^15 an- 
nually was paid by Bergen, in consideration of such concession. 

A singular document was issued by Peter Stuyvesant on 
October the twenty-sixth, probably of the year 1665. The year 
date is so obscure as to remain in doubt. It is a retroactive 
decree. It seems that the early patents by which land was 
held individually in Bergen and vicinity had been lost, and this 
certificate was issued by Stuyvesant as the former Governor of 
the New Netherlands to form the basis for the subsequent de- 
crees of Carteret, reaflfirming the rights of individuals within 
the territory of New Jersey. 

On the 13th of August, 1665, magistrates were appointed 
for the re-organized court under the English rule. We recog- 
nize two names of former City Father's— Harman Smeeman and 
Caspar Steinmets, and two new names, Elias Michaels and Ide 
Van Voorst, the son of Cornelius Van Voorst, the original fac- 
tor of the patroon, whom we met in the earlier history, as the lit- 
tle boy captured by the Indians during the first Indian war. 
He had returned to Pavonia and purchased a large farm, form- 

ing in after days the township of Van Voorst, long afterwards to 

be included in the corporation of Jersey City. 

What the earlier setlers did for their "booze" is not record- 
ed. It is hardly probable that they were total abstainers. 
There were many hard drinkers among the early colonists^ 
and, as we found, the vice of intemperance had made great in- 
roads in New Amsterdam. But according to the record Bergen 
waited six years for its tavern, and then one Christian Pieters 
was licensed to keep it. Where it was situated I am not able 
to state; but the old house on the corner of Bergen and Glen- 
wood Avenues, opposite the Armory, is built upon the site of 
a former tavern, which was owned by the Stuyvesants, and 
Anna Stuyvesant, said to be the sister of old Peter, was a 
member of the Bergen Reformed Church in 1664. I have re- 
cently seen a mortgage by a Peter Stuyvesant in 181 1, proba- 
bly descended from Old Peter, who could not write his name. 

I have included these years, from 1664 to 1673, in "The 
Stoiy of the Dutch Beginnings," because at this time the Eng- 
lish influence was hardly felt in Old Bergen. 

In 1668 delegates were elected to the First Provincial As- 
sembly in Elizabeth; but the Dutch School and the Dutch 
Church under its voorleser, with the assistance of the ministers 
of New York, continued; and the Dutch language was spoken 
in the homes and the market-place. By this time danger from 
the Indians had ceased. Sullenly they had removed away to 
remote regions, and Dutch and English were left in full 

On St. Bartholomew's Day, 1667, the Peace of Breda for- 
mally ceded the New Netherlands to the English, and on the 
following New Year's the peace was proclaimed in New York. 
Thereafter the colonists calmly accepted the situation and pre- 
pared to make themselves comfortable under His Majesty, 
Charles the Second. 

In the policies of Europe there was a close alliance be- 
tween England, Sweden, and Holland, for the purpose of curb- 
ing the aggressions of Louis the Fourteenth ; but the alliance 
was scarcely two years old, when the weak and fickle King of 
England, tempted they say by a French mistress, broke away 
from the Triple Alliance and joined hands with his old enemy 
of France to declare war upon Holland. 

The Dutch despatched a fleet magnificent for the day, of 

33 warships carr\'ing i,6oo troops, as well as the crews, to 
prey upon the Enj^-lish shipping upon the coast of America. 
During- the hot weather of August, in the year 1673, the vic- 
torious fleet paid a visit to New York. After a brief exchange 
of volleys with the fort, which had been christened Fort James, 
the troops landed above the city, marched triumphantly to the 
gateway on Bowling Green, and in a few minutes the fort had 
a new name, Fort William Hendrick, after the new Staatholder; 
while the New Netherlands and New Amsterdam, afterwards 
New York, were christened over again New Orange. 

Carteret sullenly remained in his domain on the Achter- 
koll, but his dominion had ceased, and Anthony Colve, a cap- 
tain of infantry, was made Governor of the New Netherlands. 

The inhabitants of Bergen and vicinity gladly heeded the 
summons to surrender. Their representatives speedily crossed 
the river to lay their submission before the new governor, and, 
according to his orders, one Sunday morning after service, the 
officers of the law appeared, and all the citizens, summoned by 
blast of trumpet, took the oath of allegiance to submit to the 
vStates-General in Holland and to their appointed representa- 
tives in New Orange. We can imagine the rejoicing among 
the old Dutch families! The Cross of St. George came down, 
and proudly floated the insignia of their fatherland. The little 
cannon for defence against the Indians boomed out the salute to 
the flag, and the townspeople of Bergen crowded the Square 
with the warmest ccngratulations on the triumphs of their be- 
loved country across the sea. 

Again there were edicts issued, re-organizing the courts 
and confirming titles. The lawyers were busy making good 
the tenure of farms and town land. An ordinance by the 
Council of Bergen, concerning the observance of the Sabbath, 
was amended in New Orange to legalize work of charity and 

The second occupation by the Dutch, however, was of 
short duration. Spain cast in her lot with her old enemy of the 
Netherlands as a diplomatic manoeuvre to prevent the disinte- 
gration of Spanish territory by the King of France, and all 
parties being tired of war, a treaty was signed at Westminster 
between the British King and their High Mightinesses of the 
Hague, which re-established peace and ceded forever to the 
English the provinces of the New Netherlands. 


It required a new grant from Charles the Second to the 
Duke of York to return to the status previous to the Dutch 
conquest, and a new, though reluctant, grant from the Duke of 
York to his old friends, the proprietors of New Jersey. The 
status of our State was re-established, New Jersey remained a 
British province until the revolution and the Declaration of In- 
dependence. The domination of the English was not unwel- 
come to the colonists. Statesmen of even Dutch birth or par- 
entage perceived the impossibility of continuing a Dutch prov- 
ince between the growing and prosperous New England colon- 
ies and the enlarging boundaries of Pennsylvania, Delaware, 
and Maryland. The Frenchmen were threatening from the 
north. There was perpetual bickering between the authorities 
of New England and the New Netherlands. There were troubles 
on the Delaware with everybody except William Penn, and 
peace was impossible without an English master. Moreover, 
Carteret had treated the people of New Jersey with ex- 
treme liberality, and the Dutchmen who had founded their 
new homes in the western wilds, were above all desirous of 
the peaceful possession of their bouweries. 

Therefore, as the curtain rings down upon the Dutch rule 
in America, we behold the unification of the colonies on the 
Atlantic seaboard under one flag; and in view of the succession 
of events in the next century, we gratefully acknowledge the 
kind Providence which cemented this union as a preparation 
for the closer confederation of the Revolution and the birth of 
the "United States of America, by the grace of God, free and 



e>*lfhe Hij 

Paper read before -^Khe Historical Society of Hudson County" 

by Daniel Van Winkle 
No. 2. Thursday evening, April 23d, 1908. 

HwS we liave learned, the transfer of allegiance of the inhab- I 

itants of the province of New Netherlands to the Eng- ~~^ 

lish, under the Treaty of Westminster in 1674, was effected 
without any unusual commotion. 

The Dutch were a philosophic as well as a phlegmatic peo- 
ple, and so long as their personal rights and privileges were 
kept inviolate, they pursued their avocations with complacency 
regardless of the political changes that were going on about 
them. A natural reverence for lawful authority constrained 
them to submit, and the oath of allegiance to the English king 
was taken with a facility equalled only by their renunciation of 
the same obligation but one year previous. 

They had left the fatherland, lured by the glowing accounts 
of the riches of the new world, expecting to gain there the 
wealth and comforts for which they had been striving under 
less favorable conditions. They were essentially a home-mak- 
ing as well as a home-loving people, and, influenced in part 
perhaps by their faith in the promise that "the meek shall in- 
herit the earth," submitted to the change of administration 
with becoming resignation. Be this as it may, they continued 
the even tenor of their way, cultivated their fields, disposed of 
their produce in the neighboring city, and accumulated their 
guilders with genuine Dutch pertinacity and satisfaction. 

In this cheerful submission they were amply justified by 
the liberal terms of capitulation, which stated that "all people 
shall continue free denizens and shall enjoy their houses, lands, 
and goods wheresoever they are within this country, and 
dispose of them as they please. The Dutch here shall enjoy 
their own customs concerning their inheritance," &c. 

These liberal concessions were afterward supplemented in 
the pronunciamento of Governor Carteret, as will be seen here- 
after, and doubtless aided much in the peaceful establishment 
of the English rule. 

In order to obviate any difficulty of title to the New Neth- 


erlands that may have arisen through the successive ownerships, 
Charles II. June 29, 1674, made a second grant to the Duke of 
York of the territory previously conveyed, and which was some- 
what indefinitely described as "All the property from the city of 
New York eastward to the Connecticut River. Westward along 
the coast beyond the Delaware River, and to the northward up 
Hudson's River so far as Schenectady, and from thence to the 
lakes of Canada, and thence westward so far as the Senecas' 
land or the Indians' hunting reacheth." 

It will be recollected that Lords Berkley and Carteret had 
appointed Sir Philip Carteret, Governor over the province of 
New Jersey, and he, as Governor, had published his concessions 
defining the rights and privileges granted thereunder. These 
were of so liberal a character, that settlers were attracted and 
drawn even from the New England provinces. Note the set- 
tlement and growth of Newark and Elizabethtown. 

Notwithstanding this, envious eyes were cast upon the fair 
province of New Jersey. The Royal Governors of New York 
did not relinquish their efforts to secure the re- annexation of 
the territory and continued their attempts to exercise jurisdic- 
tion over it. 

Governor Andros in 1678, and in 1687 his successor, Gov- 
ernor Dongan, urged the claims of the royal government, and 
prayed His Majesty "to add to New York: Connecticut and 
Rhode Island, for the reason that as Conn, now lies it takes 
away from us almost all the land of value that lies adjoining to 
Hudson's River; and as for East Jersey, it being situate on 
the other side of Hudson's River and between us where the 
river disembogues itself into the sea, paying no custom and 
having likewise the advantage of having better land, and most 
of the settlers there out of this government, we are like to be 
deserted by a great many of our merchants who intend to set- 
tle there if not annexed to this government. Goods are being 
run there without the payment of His Majesty's customs, and no 
way of preventing it. And as for beaver and peltry, it is im- 
possible to hinder it being carried thither; the Indians value 
not the length of their journey, so as they can come to a good 
market, which these people can better afford them than we, 
they paying no custom or excise inward or outward." 

"Privateers and others can come within Sandy Hook and 
take what provisions and goods they please from that side. Of- 


ten ships break bulk there and run their goods into that colony, 

with intent afterward to import same privately at more leisure 
into this province. And indeed to make Amboy a port will be 
no less inconvenient for the same reasons. Neighboring col- 
onies being not come to that perfection, but that one fort may 
sufficiently serve them. We of this government look upon 
that bay that runs into the sea at Sandy Hook to be Hud.son's 
River, thererefore as my instructions are that all vessels that 
come into Hudson's River shall enter at New York, I claim 
impost of all entering Sandy Hook." 

And again Governor Sloughter presents in 1691 an addi- 
tional remonstrance. After alluding to the grants of King 
Charles to the Duke of York, he continued: "Out of this," that 
is, the New Netherlands, "the Duke of York granted a certain 
tract of land unto Lord John Berkley and Sir George Carteret, 
limited and bounded by Hudson and Delaware Rivers. The 
revenue that is established in this province is of such a nature 
that if the encroachments and pretences of our neighbors be 
removed, it will not only be sufficient to defray the charge of 
Your Majesty's government, but also bring profit into Your 
Majesty's coffers." 

"East Jersey is situate on Hudson's River over against 
Long Island, Staten Island, and New York, and they pretend 
by the aforementioned grant to be a free place and have free 
ports to trade as they please, which if admitted, must certainly 
destroy Your Majesty's interest and revenue here; for what 
merchant will come to New York and trade and pay to Your 
Majesty 2 and 10 per cent, with the excise and Your Majesty's 
duty settled here, if they can at two or three miles distance 
over against the same place go and be free from any duty or 
imposition whatsoever? Wherefore we ask that these territories 
be re-annexed lo Your Majesty's province." 

Certainly cogent and substantial reasons, and New York has 
never lessened her demand for tribute from other territory 
down to the present time. However, the fiat had gone forth 
and the rights of East Jersey were successfully maintained. 

But to retrace our steps somewhat. In 1676 the province 
of New Jersey had by various transfers come into the posses- 
sion of Sir George Carteret, E. Billinge, William Penn, Gar- 
ven Lavvrie, and Nicholas Lucas, and on July ist of that year, 
what was called the Quintipartite Deed, was agreed upon and 

signed by these five men, dividing the province into East and 
West Jersey. The line of partition, as described and laid down 
was "from the east side of Little Egg Harbor, straight north 
through the country to the utmost branch of the Delaware 
River, with all powers, privileges, and immunities whatsoever." 
By this conveyance Sir George Carteret became sole owner of 
East Jersey, while West Jersey fell to the ownership of the 
other four. A controversy arose between the owners of these 
sections questioning the justice of the division, the West Jersey 
owners complaining they had not received an equitable share, 
and efforts were made for a re-adjustment of the dividing line 
that resulted in a final determination in 17 19. 

The uncertainty of boundary lines and the indefiniteness 
of grants and patents caused much difficulty in the early days 
of the province. The Dutch burgher brought with him an in- 
herited love of his "home acre," and he not only clung to it with 
a peculiar tenacity, but strove to increase its bounds whenever 
practicable. The very indefiniteness of the grants, made it not 
difficult for the more shrewd, to circumvent his less favored 
neighbors. Even as late as 1732 Governor Golden reports: 

"As no special quantity of land or definite bounds appear 
in the grants, the extent of the claim appears to have been 
guaged by the avarice of the grantee. I have heard of one in- 
stance, at least, where the patent grants 300 acres, and the 
patentee now claims upwards of 6,000 within the bounds of his 
grant. Others suspecting that such disproportion between 
the real quantity, and the quantity expressed in the grant might 
invalidate the patent, gave the description, for example, 1,000 
acres of profitable land besides woodland and waste, and yet, 
where the lands are granted, perhaps there were not 10 acres 
that was not woodland. Oftentimes, to guard against any 
rigid interpretation of the grant the words, 'Be it more or less,' 
were inserted, and consequently ten times as much as was in- 
tended was successfully claimed." He continues: 

"Their boundaries are generally expressed with much un- 
certainty by the Indian names of brooks, rivulets, hills, ponds, 
falls of water, &c. , which are known to few Christians," and 
then plaintively sets forth that "It is too well known that an 
Indian will show any place, by any name 5'ou please, for the 
small reward of a blanket or a bottle of mm, " and naively 


"These tilings supposed, I can make no doubt of a remedy 
in the common course of hiw, but, notwithstanding of this, I 
apprehend that it will be accompanied with so many difficulties 
that it will be better to think of some other; for few grants in 
America are raiade with such skill and care, that some flaw may 
not be found in them by a strict and legal search. So that 
every man will be apt to look upon any attempt of this kind as 
in some measure his own case, and those that are really con- 
cerned will use all their art to stir up the people to make it a 
county quarrel." 

Sir George Carteret, by will dated December 5, 1678, de- 
vised all his interest in East Jersey to trustees to be sold for 
the payment of his debts. Two years later, in 1680, this was 
done, and the title to the territory became vested in the twelve 
men who purchased it and who were known as "The Twelve 
Proprietors of East New Jersey." In 1683 these Twelve Prop- 
rietors conveyed by special deed one-half their respective inter- 
ests to twelve others, whereupon East New Jersey was now 
owned by twenty-four Proprietors, each of whom held in fee 
one twenty-fourth part of the territory so described. The 
property sold by these Proprietors, from time to time, was sub- 
jected to an annual rent of one halfpenny per acre, and con- 
firmatory grants of previous conveyances were made subject to 
the same rental. The property lying within the limits of Ber- 
gen was included under this charge, which was afterward com- 
pounded to ;^i5 sterling per annum. The payment of this be- 
ing neglected, a controversy arose between the freeholders ot 
the township of Bergen and the Lords Proprietors. Smarting 
under the injustice of this charge, and feeling that the rights 
as granted to them under the Dutch government and afterward 
explicitly confirmed by the Carteret Charter, was being ignored, 
the indignation of the burghers became intense, and they ut- 
terly refused to comply with the unjust demand. Whereupon 
one of their number was seized to ensure the payment of the 
claim. A compromise was afterward effected and a gen- 
eral release and quit-claim deed was given to the freeholders, 
through which such annual rental was extinguished for the 
consideration of $1,500. 

The Proprietory government seemed to have cared lit- 
tle for the true welfare of their constituents, for in 1700 we 
find a remonstrance from the people of East Jersey to King 


William, complaining "that notwithstanding- the settlers had 
purchased lands at their own cost, the Proprietory government 
or their agents, without any pretended process of law, have 
given and granted great parts of said lands by patent, to several 
of the said proprietors and others as they see fit, and that al- 
though there was a pretense of government, they were without 
defence or magistrates to put the laws into execution: and pray 
for a fit person for Governor qualified according to law, who as 
an indifferent judge may decide the controversies and settle all 
differences. That there did not remain among them the shadow 
of law or gospel, having neither judge or priest." 

In 1682 East Jersey was divided into four counties — Ber- 
gen, Essex, Middlesex, and Monmouth. Bergen County is de- 
scribed as follows : "That on the eastern division the county 
shall begin at Constable Hook and so run up along the Bay 
and Hudson's River to the partition point between New Jersey 
and New York, and along that division line to the division line 
between the east and west sections of the province to the Pe- 
quannock River, and thence by such river and the Passaic to 
the Sound (or the Achter Kohl), and thence by the Sound to 
Constable Hook where it began." Out of this territory the 
present counties of Passaic, Bergen, and Hudson were erected, 
the latter being practically identical with the old Indian grant 
to Peter Stuyvesant in 1658, and the townships of Harrison 
and Kearney. It is this territory with which we are mostly 
concerned in our investigations, although it may be necessary, 
from time to time, in order that the then existing conditions 
may be understood, to include other territory. 

At this time there were 70 families at and about Ber- 
gen town; 40 at Communipaw; about 20 at Bayonne and Green- 
ville; I at Paulus Hook; 5 or 6 at Aharsimus; 2 or 3 at Hobo- 
ken and above, with a few additional scattered throughout the 

In the early days the dwelling houses of the settlers were 
congregated within the towns of Bergen and Communipaw, 
while their farms extended out over the outdrift (or Buyten 
Tuyn), as the outlying territory was called. But after all dan- 
ger from Indian incursions was past, farmhouses were erected 
in different sections of the county, and until within the last 
half century their vine-covered walls and quaint gabled 

roofs tinged with the moss of years, added much to the pictur- 
esqueness of the landscape. 

The great fertility of the soil and its proximity to a never- 
failing market attracted many thrifty settlers, and the whole 
county became a noted farming district. Much of the territory, 
however, especially the northern portion, retained its primeval 
aspect and was covered with dense woods. These furnished 
abundant supplies for fuel, and the fences that marked the 
boundary lines of the individual farm lands Much of the Fall 
was spent in cutting the trees into suitable lengths, which were 
transported during the Winter on a sled, and stacked in great 
heaps convenient for use. There were then no air-tight fur- 
naces or steam-heating refrigerators, to excite to a righteous in- 
dignation the long-suffering householder, but just large wide- 
open fireplaces, whose cavernous mouths ever yawned for a supply 
of nutriment from which to extract the grateful warmth that 
struggled with the icy blasts roaring about the wide chimney- 
tops, at times scattering the sparks and ashes over the well- 
scoured floor. In the early Springtime, farming duties were 
supplemented by, and intermingled with fishing and oyster in- 
dustries, and the early reputation of the bay as being "the abode 
of numberless edible fish of divers sorts and kinds" was long 
sustained. Shad, sturgeon, and salmon were taken in abund- 
ance, while the oyster beds were divided and their boundaries 
designated and clung to with as great pertinacity as those of 
the farm lands. 

April 15, 1702, the Proprietors surrendered the government 
to the crown, and Lord Combury was constituted Captain-Gen- 
eral and Governor-in-Chief. He arrived in 1703. Long and 
protracted negotiations were entered into without result. He 
was succeeded by Lord Lovelace, who summoned the Council 
to meet him at Bergen, December 20, 1708, and the following 
Spring met the Assembly at Perth Amboy. His death occurred 
shortly after, and Robert Hunter, appointed as his successor. 
Negotiations which had been far advanced by Governor Love- 
lace were resumed and progressed favorably. 

In 1709 Bergen is described as follows: "In situation on 
Hudson's River, opposite and adjacent to New York, it opens 
an advantageous intercourse with that market. Their lands 
are generally good for grass, wheat, or any other grains. The 
Schuylers have here two large parks for deer. The inhabitants 

of the country being the descendants of the Low Dutch, or Hol- 
landers, that originally settled there under the Dutch title, pre- 
serve their religion of their ancestors, and worship after the man- 
ner of the Reformed Churches in the United Provinces— in prin- 
ciple Presbyterian, yet in subordination to the Classis of Am- 
sterdam. Their language, in general, bears the Dutch accent, nor 
havethey forgot the customs of Holland. They have of houses of 
worship Dutch Calvinist, 7; Dutch Lutheran, 2. In this county 
are the Schuyler Mines. Sixteen iniles above Newark are the 
remarkable Passaic Falls, the precipice from the highest part 
of the rock is supposed to be seventy feet perpendicular." 

Anxiety to secure a complete settlement of the difficulties 
to land titles, which had for so long disturbed the peace 
of the people of Bergen : and encouraged by the favorable out- 
come of the negotiations with Governor Hunter, a petition for 
a new charter was presented by the Freeholders, and by act of 
Assembly this was granted January 14, 17 14, giving the peti- 
tioners a new charter as a community under the name of "The 
Trustees of the Freeholders, Inhabitants of the Township of 
Bergen." All the previous grants and privileges were by this 
act confirmed. Still the land troubles continued to vex the peace 
of the community. Like Banquo's ghost, they would not down. 
Adverse claims of interest in the common lands were continu- 
ally arising in regard to the cutting of timber, and in many 
cases, the encroachments thereon by the unauthorized occu- 
pancy of portions of same by individuals. 

As may be imagined, dissatisfaction developed into antag- 
onism, and the controversies became frequent and embittered, 
and continued until 1743, when an agreement was effected in 
following terms: 

"It is agreed by and between all and every the parties to 
these presents, that whatsoever part of the common and undi- 
vided lands have been taken by them, or either of them, at 
any time heretofore taken up, used or claimed, and added to 
their patented or purchased lands, shall forever after be deemed 
taken and adjudged, and shall remain and continue in common 
till a division be made of the said common and undivided lands. " 
They likewise determine upon a survey under certain 
specified conditions, each one agreeing to pay for the survey of 
his own tract or grant. But the Dutch settler esteemed the 
solid earth as the safest and most valuable investment, and 


consequently his desire to become possessed of his portion, and 
to make that portion as extensive as possible, led him some- 
times to reach out beyond the limits of ordinary prudence and 

It will be recollected that in the early days the houses of 
the settlers were in compact towns or villages like Bergen and 
Communipaw, while the farm lands extended out into the "Buy- 
ten Tuyn," or outside gardens. 

These farms were very indefinite as to boundaries, and 
difficulties were constantly arising from the alleged encroach- 
ments of adverse claimants. Likewise the lands not so appropri- 
ated were held in common and were known as the "Common 
Lands," and the owners of the several tracts of ground appro- 
priated had an inalienable right of forage and pasturage in 
such lands. 

This right had existed from the early settlement of Bergen, 
and the inhabitants of that town and of Communipaw waged a 
merry war over their respective rights of pasturage. In an ad. 
of William Bayard, for renting the "Island of Hobuck," Dec. i, 
1760, this right is alluded to as enhancing the value of the 

farm, in following terms : 

"This farm has a right, in Bergen Commons, to turn out 
what cattle you please, and be supplied with timber for fenc- 
ing and firing," and continues: "It is finely supplied with fish 
and oysters in great abundance all around it, and scarce any- 
thing in America can equal its convenience for marketing, as 
in good weather you may cross, taking one time with another, 
in one-half hour." 

The right, however, to an indiscriminate use of the Com- 
mon Lands led to much waste and unneccessary destruction, 
and legislative action was determined on "for settling the 
claims to the Commons, as the respective portions in which 
the same ought to be divided." 

Nothing definite was accomplished until 1764, when, com- 
missioners having been appointed, notice was published as 

"Whereas, by a late law of the province of New Jersey, 
entitled 'An act appointing a commission for finally settling 
and determining the several rights, titles, and claims to the 
Common Lands of the township of Bergen, and making parti- 
tion of same,' do hereby give notice that at ten o'clock in 


the forenoon of March 6th next, at the house of Stephen Bour- 
dett at Weehawken, we will meet to survey, run out, and as- 
certain as well the bounds and limits of the said township of 
Bergen, as well as the bounds of each and every grant con- 
tained within the limits thereof, and all persons are requested 
to produce their original deeds, patents, or claims before the 
2ist day of February next." 

In order to defray the expenses attending such partition, a 
farm of about 350 acres of land was advertised for sale. On 
the 1 6th October the Commissioners met and made the allot- 
ment that forever settled the strifes and controversies in rela- 
tion to the land titles. They were given full power 
to hear, and finally determine, according to their dis- 
cretion, the claims of said inhabitants, which determination 
was final and "included all persons whatsoever." This com- 
mission was duly executed, field books and maps were made, 
and the titles and bounds to all lands became thereby definitely 
settled. The determinations of these commissioners with their 
field books have since been accepted as the foundation of all 
land titles in the county. 

This happy settlement of a long-continued and vexing 
problem was received by the burghers with relief and satisfac- 
tion, and they settled down to the routine of an ordinary hum- 
drum life. Through their thrift and industry the hills and fertile 
fields responded with a wealth and abundance of products, for 
which a ready market was found in the neighboring city : to 
the wharves of which the heavy-laden periauguas plied their 
way under the guidance of the skilful skipper, ofttimes accom- 
panied by his "gut haus vrouw," who was just as eager to en- 
joy the delights of shopping and bartering, as the modern dame 
to secure the advantages of the bargain counter. 

In this strenuous, bustHng age, we can scarce realize the 
quietude and conservatism of those early days, before the bit- 
ter strife of struggling humanity had robbed life of the peace- 
ful contentment that enveloped it. And so that we may the 
better appreciate the then-existing conditions, we must blot 
out all these busy activities by which we are surrounded, and 
hark back to the time when our river flowed by in its limpid 
purity, and an atmosphere of quiet and contentment brooded 
over the land. 

At Hoboken the prominent headland of Castle Point pro- 


jected out into the bay, forming to the north Weehawken 
Cove. To the south the river-bank curved inward to Newark 
Street and Willow Avenue, continuing- thence with a south- 
easterly trend, it swept by the Van Vorst bouwerie at Fifth 
and Henderson Streets to the point of Paulus Hook.* 

Below this point a similar sweep formed the vSouth Cove 
to Cavan Point and gave to Communipaw its famed harbor and 
fisheries. From thence southward the shore again curved in- 
ward to Constable Hook and Kill von Kull. 

Now; where the aristocratic Bayard was laaily wafted over 
the bay in his luxuriantly appointed periaugua, are the mas- 
sive storehouses and docks of the German steamship compan- 
ies, while where mine host Van Vorst's porch — whose steps 
were almost lapped by the wavelets of the river — afforded him 
a clear view of the river and city beyond, now loom up 
great warehouses and factories, fringed by a cordon of railroad 
wharves, whose serrated fronts have advanced many hundred 
feet into the bay. 

At Communipaw the faint outline of the original shore 
may be seen, half hidden by the debris left by the onward 
march of improvement, and but a few short months will inter- 
vene before this too will be blotted out, and the outer pier line 
established upwards of three thousand feet to the eastward. 

At Constable Hook and vicinity, the Standard Oil Corpora- 
tion has completely obliterated all semblance of the colonial 
conditions. (Maps showing changes in shore lines filed in 
Historical Society rooms.) 

Nor are the physical changes the only ones to be observed : 
for until long after the Revolution, the Dutch inhabitants of 
this territory retained the customs and habits of the fatherland, 
and the hearty greetings in the familiar Dutch vernacular 
heard on every side, strengthened the illusion, that here had 
been transported a bit of the land of dykes and windmills. 

Although a different element had come in at Castle Point 
through the Bayard family, their frivolities and extravagances 
failed to seduce these easy-going denizens from the even tenor 
of their way. And although but a short distance away: that 
typical old Dutchman Van Vorst withstood all the allurements 

♦From about Hudson and Essex Streets to Phillips Street and Johnston 
Avenue, and continuing southward along Phillips Street to Standard Oil 


of his aristocratic neighbor, and indulged in his inherited meth- 
ods of enjoyment with wonted zest and true Dutch enthusiasm. 

He was a kindly old soul, combining the shrewdness and 
thrift of the Dutch burgher, with a love of recreation that re- 
lieved his life from the dull routine and monotony, that too of- 
ten saps the life energy of the tiller of the soil. He was a man 
of stalwart frame and ruled over his domain like some feudal 
lord. A stern, uncompromising supporter of what he consid- 
ered was just and right, he could not brook the cruelty and in- 
justice that sometimes marred even the recreations of the day: 
and he frequently rescued the negroes from the rough treat- 
ment of unduly exhilerated roysterers, to whose propensities 
he had freely ministered through the love of sport that domin- 
ated him. He was a lover of fine horses, and woe betide the 
careless groom who in the least neglected the toilet of these 
cherished animals. Nothmg gave him so great delight and 
satisfaction as to drive about the surrounding country and lis- 
ten to the hearty encomiums of his neighbors upon the "luister" 
of his team. In order to enlarge his facilities for indulgence 
in this recreation, he laid out a race-course on the sand-hills 
scarce half a mile from his residence, which was greatly appre- 
ciated by the sporting element of the day, as is shown through 
the numerous ads. and newspaper extracts. 

August 14, 1769, it is announced that "Races at Paulus 
Hook begin the 9th of October," and that "Good crafts will be 
ready at each ferry to convey over all persons who incline to 
see the races." These races attracted crowds from the neigh- 
boring city, and here frequently his Dutch neighbors congre- 
gated to test the vaunted powers of some farm-horse that had 
developed a dislike for the slow-going routine of his owner. 
Van Vorst was always present at these meetings and infused 
his enthusiasm into his staid neighbors to such good purpose, 
that often during the still hours of the night, the shrill tongue 
of some long-suffering "haus vrouw" could be heard denounc- 
ing in unmeasured terms the folly of her drowsy partner. 

Van Vorst' s possessions were separated from the mainland 
by the Mill Creek : a stream of goodly size that wound its tort- 
uous way from the bay at about the present intersection of 
Johnson Avenue and Phillips Street, and thence in a northerly 
direction crossing present Grand street, about 150 feet east of 
Pacific Avenue, continuing thence still northerly through the 

tnarsh to the Point of Rocks, the present site of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad roundhouse, and along the base of the hill, 
around back of Aharsimus Cove, meeting the waters of a creek 
emptying into the bay at Hoboken. 

This stream was of great advantage to the old Dutch resi- 
dents for readily transporting their farm products to the mar- 
kets of New York. A favorite landing place was at Newark 
Avenue where the West Shore freighthouse now stands, and 
also at the bridge that crossed the stream near Prior's Mill, 
that stood about the present junction of Fremont Street and 
Railroad Avenue. Perhaps we may better realize the import- 
ance of this stream by inserting following ad. : 

"nth October, 1770, to be sold. — A large white wood 
periaugua 5 years old, now in good order, with a new suit of 
sails. She is 32 feet long and 7 feet wide. Suitable for a 
miller or farmer. She now lies at Prior's Mill, in Bergen, 
where any person may view her. " 

It has been stated that the inhabitants of this territory ac- 
cepted the change of government without demur. And why 
not! True, they were living under English rule, but were 
they not breathing a Dutch atmosphere? Not only were their 
property rights guaranteed, and their freedom to worship in 
accordance with the rites and forms of the religion of the 
fatherland secured to them; but the use of their cherished 
language was not interdicted. What wonder, then, that for 
many years after the tide of emigration swept over the land, 
changing and in some instances completely obliterating the 
racial characteristics: Hudson County remained loyal to the 
fatherland, and its inhabitants dwelt together a community of 
their own, undisturbed by the strifes and turmoils of the out- 
side world. 

In these strenuous times we can scarcely realize the quie- 
tude and familiar intercourse of those early days. During the 
years immediately following the definite settlement of the gov- 
ernment of the province, the country was in a state of gradual 
evolution. The uncertainty attendant upon the tenure of land 
and the rights and privileges of the settlers, was dispelled 
through the wise action of Governor Carteret, as has been 
shown, and the building up of their homes became the sole en- 
deavor of the sturdy settlers. 


Fof many years there was scarce anything to disturb the 

quiet save ordinary neighborhood difiEerences, or the usual 
events connected with the progress of human life. Deaths, 
marriages, and births occurred in turn, and we learn through 
scanning the records of the olden time that after all, human na- 
ture has not so greatly changed. 

The virtues of the departed were descanted on with con- 
siderable verbosity, and so greatly overshadowed the faults 
and peccadillos that flesh is heir to, that even the nearest rela- 
tives had difficulty in recognizing the word-picture presented 
by the worthy preacher. It would seem as though the sea of 
matrimony is in all ages liable to be ruffled by storms of pas- 
sion and incongruity. The wedding ceremony was performed 
with solemnity and often conducted with unusual and prolonged 
jollification, but with a tenure just as uncertain as at the pres- 
ent time. 

November 25, 1751, we read that a marriage had taken 
place between a widower of 8 months and a widow of 35 years 
(giving names). "The ceremony was performed with the ut- 
most solemnity before a very crowded audience." In March 
following, four months after, we learn "That the above parties 
have ever since lived in the happy enjoyment of each other for 
the most part until the 9th of this month, when by consent of 
both parties, in the presence of a number of spectators, after 
having given security never to be burdensome to each other, 
as likewise for their loyalty while absent, parted never to meet 
again in the state of matrimony. What the cause was we know 
not, but some who pretend to know, say they had not courted 
long enough before marriage. 

We likewise find a number of advertisements cautioning 
tradespeople against trusting runaway wives on the advertiser's 
account. An aggrieved wife retaliates by stating in the public 
print that "the expense of advertising her was unnecessary, 
for no one could be found who would trust the advertiser him- 
self in the slightest degree." 

We will close this chapter on human frailty by quoting the 
exaggerated wail of a poor disciplined soul, who unwittingly ex- 
poses her own weakness while expatiating upon the faults of 
her husband. And yet her sufferings seem to have been com- 
pensated for through the great felicity of her after experience. 

"You must understand that I have for some years past 

borne with uncommon patience the lashes of an ill-natured 
husband who constantly made it a practice to stay at a slop- 
shop till he had drowned his senses in rum, his darling delight: 
and then I must stand clear, for the merciless wretch would 
spare neither my tea cups or saucers to throw at my head, be- 
sides whipping of me: but he always had compassion on the 
rum glasses which stood close by them ; and though we have 
had but two of those glasses for these eight or ten years, yet 
they have lived to see as many dozen tea cups and saucers 
broke over my head, for he says, if I can't drink my tea out of 
those glasses I shall go without, which I had rather not do, for 
I should imagine I was drinking rum instead of tea. 

"I will have tea cups and saucers, for I must own I love 
tea as well as he loves rum. * * * ]yfy ^^se being happily 
noised abroad induced several generous young men to disci- 
pline him. These young persons are styled Regulators, and 
so they are, with propriety, for they have regulated my dear 
husband and the rest of the bad ones hereabouts, that they are 
afraid of using such barbarity. 

"And I must with pleasure acknowledge that since my 
husband has felt what whipping was: he has entirely left off 
whipping me, and promises faithfully he will never begin again, 
which I have reason to believe. There never was a better har- 
mony subsisting between man and wife than there is at present 
betwixt us, and we are as happy as we were in our courting 

Perhaps we may find it restful and refreshing, as well as 
interesting, to turn aside from the busy bustling energy of to- 
day and contrast with it the quiet, easy-going conservatism of 
the "olden time," and those who have in late years experienced 
the nervous tension induced through a departure for a transat- 
lantic voyage, might well long for a few breaths of the somno- 
lent atmosphere that enveloped the travelers whose experience 
is here related. The manuscript is entitled "Journal of Our 
Voyage to New Netherland, begun in the name of the Lord 
and for His glory the 8th day of June, 1679, and undertaken in 
the small flute ship Charles, of which Thomas Singleton was 
master, but the supreme authority over both ship and cargo 
was in Margaret Phillipse, who was the owner of both, and 
with whom we agreed for our passage from Amsterdam to New 


York in New Netherland at 75 guilders for each person, pays- 
ble in Holland." 

The travellers left the little settlement of Wieward in 
Friesland and set out for Amsterdam at four o'clock in the 
morning, so as to arrive in season to take the vessel which was 
scheduled to sail the next day. They travelled by canal boat 
and reached their place of destination at midnight the same 
day, and finding the vessel seemingly about to sail, entered 
into negotiations with Margaret, as she is designated, for pas- 
sage as already intimated. 

Margaret was a good type of the much-prized "ondersteu- 
neun vrouw." Active, ambitious, and energetic, she was pos- 
sessed of a native shrewdness and business tact that could not 
be surpassed even in these days of the new woman. She was a 
notable person in her time, the daughter of one Hardenbrook, 
who, as related, "was settled at Bergen opposite to New Am- 
sterdam." Her first husband was a prominent merchant in 
that city, and she threw into his business all the Dutch thrift 
and energy she had inherited, to such good purpose that wealth 
flowed in upon them. Whether the unflagging energy of the 
doughty Margaret excited in the mind of her partner the de- 
sire for a rest that was to him impossible under her continued 
activity, does not appear, but, whether wistfully or not, he laid 
down the burden and entered upon his long rest. She 
continued the business with renewed energy, and after a 
decorous interval married one Frederick Phillipse, who through 
the fortune thus bestowed upon him became the possessor of 
the great Phillipse Manor in Westchester County, New York. 

But to return to our travellers. After arranging for pass- 
age they remained at Amsterdam four days, and, having 
exhausted the attractions of that city, finding no evidence of 
immediate departure on the part of Margaret, they went on to 
the Texel, where the Charles was to take on additional cargo, 
consuming nine days more of anxious waiting before the ves- 
sel arrived. At last, on the 21st of June, they departed, 
beating along the coast to Falmouth, and one month later, on 
the 2 1 St of July, set sail for the new world. 

On the 2 1 St of September, or exactly three months after- 
wards, the Charles anchored in the lower bay of New York, 

For lack of time we are unable to dwell upon the occur- 
rences of the voyage, which were many and varied, except to 

allude to the indignation of our i)asseng-er, as he relates the 
"penny wise and pound foolish," as he calls it, economy of the 
thrifty Margaret: hov/ one Sunday "she stopped the ship on lier 
course and endangered the lives of two men to save a worth- 
less mop which a girl, attempting to rinse out, had let fall into 
the sea." 

On arrival in Manhattan they were guided by one of their 
fellow passengers who had returned from a short visit to 
the fatherland, and their passage was obstructed through the 
salutations of his many friends whom they met. They were 
given, to quote, "some of the fruit of the country, very fine 
peaches, and full-grown apples, which filled our hearts with 
thankfulness, and these were washed down with copious 
draughts of madeira." 

"The next day was Sunday and we walked out a while in 
the fine morning air along the margin of the clear running 
water of the sea. Afterward, to avoid scandal and for other 
reasons, we turned into a church in the fort to hear a minister 
preach who had come from the up-river country, from Fort Or- 
ange, where his residence is, an old man named Dominie 
Schaats, of Amsterdam. We found in the church truly a 
wild, worldly world. I say wild, not only because the people 
are wild, as they call it in Europe, but because most all the 
people who go there to live, or who are born there, partake 
somewhat of the nature of the country." 

In the afternoon they heard Dominie Nieuwenhuysen, and 
at the close of this service they were taken into a tavern "to 
taste the beer of New Netherlands." 

"October 26th we crossed to Communipaw about noon. 
We found here a woman named Fitje, from Cologne. We 
found her a little pious after the manner of the country, and 
you could discover there was something of the Lord in her, but 
very much covered up and defiled. She has many grand-chil- 
dren, all of whom are not unjust. We continued our journey 
along a fine broad wagon road to the other village called Ber- 
gen, a good one-half or three-quarters of a mile inland, where 
the villagers, who are almost all Dutch, received us well and 
were rejoiced to see us." 

The travellers were here hospitably entertained and re- 
late the efforts that were made for their accommodation and 
comfort, the cider and fine apples provided for their delecta- 


tion being worthy of special mention. The following day, be- 
ing desirous to return to the city, they found, as related "one 
who was anxious to cross, because he was going to bring back 
Dominie Tessemacher, who had promised to come next day 
and preach for them, for although there is a considerable con- 
gregation in this vicinity, and they are abundantly able to sup- 
port a minister, they have none, for it is not easy to obtain one, 
and there is no probability of their doing so as long as the 
country belongs to the English, though they intend to build a 
church next spring. For the present they have a voorleser 
who performs his service for them on Sundays in the school- 
house where they assemble." 

The voorleser was a very important personage in those 
days. He was minister and chorister as well as sexton and 
undertaker. Except on the very infrequent occasions, when it 
was possible to secure a preacher from the neighboring city, 
he officiated at all religious gatherings, read sermons from the 
ponderous tomes selected and sent from Holland, intoned the 
Psalms and Hymns, and thundered forth the Dutch gutteral 
with appropriate emphasis, and after having ministered to the 
spiritual wants of the community while living, he deposited 
them in their last resting-place with becoming solemnity. 

The Church was ever of supreme importance in the minds 
of the early settlers, and their first efforts were directed toward 
the erection of a suitable building in which to worship. The 
one they built, was for many years the only house of worship in 
Hudson County, and every Sabbath morning farm wagons and 
carryalls laden with devout worshippers, wended their way 
from all parts of the county to the sacred edifice. 

Succeeding the first little log church and school (for it was 
used for both purposes) alluded to by Dr. Brett: a substantial 
stone building was erected on the plot corner of Vroom Street 
and Bergen Avenue in the year 1680. It was octagonal in 
form and surmounted with a belfry. The sexton stood in the 
centre of the building when ringing the bell, and permanent 
seats were placed around the outer edge of the audience 
room for the male attendants, the centre space being reserved 
for the women, each of whom occupied a chair. This chair 
was the personal property of the occupant and in many in- 
stances, was carried by the slaves to and from the homes, as 
occasion required. 


Renewed efforts were now made to secure a permanent 
minister, but the number of authorized preachers who were 
conversant with the Dutch lanjjua^e was limited, and they 
must needs be content with such service as could be procured 
from New York. We find, therefore, in the church records, 
from time to time, such names as Selyns, Dubois, Metjapolen- 
sis, Van Niewenluiysen, Van Zuren, and others, as having 
ministered to this congregation. At last it appeared as tliougii 
their efforts were to be crowned with success 

In the Spring of 1650, one Peter De Windt applied as can- 
didate for the congregations of Bergen and Staten Island, which 
were then united. They joined in a call to him, a copy of 
which is still preserved in the archives of the Old Bergen 
Church. He was sent to Amsterdam for ordination, for the 
Home Classis had supreme control over the churches of New 
Netherlands, and there presented his "testimonium" as a can- 
didate. He was then ordained by the Classis of Amsterdam 
and sent back to New York for installation. Before this oc- 
curred, however, certain irregularities in his conduct had been 
discovered, and he was formally deposed. 

Although somewhat discouraged through this unlooked-for 
result, the congregation issued a call to Mr. William Jackson 
on the 22d of June, 1753. He was a student under the Rev. 
John Frelinghuysen, at Raritan, N.J. In the Fall of the same 
year the call was accepted, and he was sent to Holland to pros- 
ecute his studies and be ordained under the auspices ut the 
Classis of Amsterdam. According to the terms of the call hf 
was to receive for his support while absent the sum of ^i^^ioo 
($500), and on his return, a parsonage in addition to his salary. 

To the building of this they now gave their attention. U 
was located on the site of the present church, and before Mr. 
Jackson's return was ready for his occupancy. He returned in 
1757, and on the loth of September was duly installed, and 
thus, for the first time since their organizations in 1660, tiie 
congregations of Bergen and Staten Island had their (nvu spir- 
itual head. Shortly after his return Mr. Jackson married An- 
na Frelinghuysen, the companion of his youth, and daughter (;t 
his old preceptor, and their names are found together upon 
many of the pages of the old Dutch Bible recently unearthed 
by our Historical Society. 

The Rev. Mr. Jackson was a man of unusual ability, with 


a command of language and a personal magnetism that made 
him a most attractive and forceful speaker. It is related that 
upon occasions the throngs that pressed about him to hear the 
words that fell from his lips were so great, that he was obliged 
to station himself at the church door, so that the crowd without, 
as well as the audience within, could hear the message he 

The unsettled condition of land titles was causing the 
Church, as well as individual landholders considerable uneasi- 
ness and anxiety. This was, however, allayed by. legislative 
act 1764 appointing Commissioners for determining the several 
rights, titles, claims, &c., "having regard to the rights and al- 
lotments due to the Church. " In the report of these Commis- 
sioners the following plots were adjudged as belonging to the 
Church : 

First. "The plot whereon the Church now stands, with 
the burying ground adjoining." (The present graveyard on the 
southwest corner of Bergen Avenue and Vroom Street.) 

Second. "The plot on which the parsonage now stands, 
with the garden and a small piece of pasture land adjoining 
thereto. " (The present Church property at Bergen and High- 
land Avenues, but at the time extending from Glenwood to 
about 125 feet north of Highland and running west practically 
to West Side Avenue.) 

Third. "A farm lot lying southerly of the town of Bergen." 
(A plot on the west side of Bergen Avenue south of Clendenny.) 

Fourth, "A lot of timbered land, &c." (At New Durham.) 

Up to 1 77 1 the Church had held allegiance to the Classis 
of Amsterdam, but the time had now come for independent 
action. The difficulties and delays attending the required edu- 
cation and ordination of their ministers in the fatherland led 
to the consideration of the question "whether they could not 
as well be properly equipped in this country. " A bitter con- 
troversy ensued, which finally resulted in obtaining a royal 
charter in 1770 for Queens, now Rutgers College, and thus 
opportunity was at hand for the proper equipment of future 

December 20, 1771, a charter was granted to the Church 
by George III. in the name of "The minister, elders and dea- 
cons as follows: Rev. William Jackson, Minister; Abraham 
Diedrichs, Robert Syckles, George Vreeland and Abraham 


Syckles, Elders, and Johannis Van Wag;enen, Hcndricus Kuy- 
per, Johannis Van Houten, and Daniel Van Winkle, Deacons." 
To them was given the power of appointing a school inaster and 
such other officers as were necessary. It is thus readily seen 
how intimately the church and school were connected in the 
early days, the latter being considered a part of, and not merely 
an adjunct of the church. 

The Consistory exercised full control. Not only choosing 
a schoolmaster, but as appears among the items of expenditure 
preserved in the church books: superintending the erection of 
a school-house and attending to the general repairs of the 
building. Following entry appears: 

"On Tuesday, May ii, 1708, Mattheus Benson has made a 
beginning with the new school-house and commenced with the 
foundations. Andrien Vermeulen laid the corner-stone. " The 
following contributions are recorded: 

Johannis Michelse 10 loads of stone 

Cornelis Blinkerhoff.. 10 loads of stone 

Maritze Hartmans 10 loads of stone 

Johannis Thomasse 5 loads of stone 

Frederick Tomasse i load of clay 

Uldrich Brouwer 4 loads of stone 

Johannis Pou welsse 8 loads of stone 

Johannis Pouwelsse 3 loads of clay 

Matheus Demott i load of stone 

Matheus Demott 10 loads of clay 

Jacob Jacobse Van Winkle.. 5 loads of clay 
Jacob Jacobse Van Winkle.. 5 loads of stone 

Robert Segelse i load of clay 

Jan Lubberse 5 loads of sand 

Jan Lubberse i load of clay 

Jan Lubberse i load of lime 

This building was erected on Bergen Square, the site of 
present No. 11, and was doubtless occupied until the erection 
of the Columbian Academy on the same site in 1790. 

The Rev. Mr. Jackson's ministrations were very success- 
ful, and the octagonal building became inadequate for the ac- 
commodation of the growing congregation. Consequently a 
larger building became necessary and was decided upon. Not- 
withstanding the threatening aspect of the times, the work 
was commenced and a commodious, substantial building of 


Stone was erected on the same site in 1773 Over the front 
door a stone bearing following inscription was placed in the 

"Kirk gebouwt In het yaer 1680. Her Bouwt in het 
yaer 1773." (Church was built in the year 1680. This church 
built in the year 1773.) 

This stone is still preserved in the south wall of the pres- 
ent church edifice, which was erected in 1840. 

That education has always been considered of the utmost 
importance, it may be noted that the schoolhouse and church 
appeared simultaneously, or rather that religious services were 
in the very early days held in the school-house. The Pastor or 
Elders visited the school, and catechised the pupils in the ele- 
mentary truths of religion, in which they were to be instructed 
by the schoolmaster, as well as in the elementary branches of 

October 30, 1693, bills were passed by the State Assembly 
"for settling a school and schoolmasters in every town and 
throughout the province," and as noted in the public prints, 
"By a law passed the last sessions a public lottery is directed for 
a further provision toward founding a college for the advance- 
ment of learning within this colony, to consist of 5,000 tickets 
of 30 per cent each: 1,094 of which to be fortunate, 15 per 
cent, to be deducted from the prizes. As such a laudable de- 
sign will greatly tend to the welfare and reputation of this col- 
ony, it is expected the inhabitants will readily be excited to 
become adventurers. Public notice will be given of the pre- 
cise time of putting the tickets in the boxes, that such advent- 
urers as shall be minded to see the same done, may be present 
at the doing thereof. Such as forge or counterfeit any ticket 
or alter the number, and are thereof convicted, are by the act to 
suffer death as in case of felony. Tickets are to be had at the 
dwelling houses of Messrs. Jacobus Roosevelt, and Peter Van 
Burgh Livingston, who are appointed managers. The mana- 
gers would acquaint the public that upwards of 1,000 tickets 
are already engaged to the Hand in Hand and America Fire 
Companies in this city (N. Y.) to whom the tickets are already 
delivered. The prosperity of the community greatly depending 
upon the regular education of youth, it is not doubted but the 
lottery will soon fill. Those, therefore, that design to become 



adventurous, are desired speedily to apply for tickets or they 
may be disappointed." 

The gambling instinct seems to have been just as deeply 
implanted in human nature in those early days as at the pres- 
ent time, and "venturing" was considered of eminent respecta- 
bility, for we find advertisements offering inducements to "ad- 
venturers," as they are called, for the benefit of churches, 
schools, hospitals, and in fact almost any object that required 
financial support. 

The question of the proper observance of the Sabbath was 
even at this early date productive of much discussion, and a 
"Bill for the better observation and keeping holy the first day 
of the week," &c , which was passed by the Deputies, was re- 
jected by the Council for the following reasons: 

"This act enforces people by pains and penalties to wor- 
ship, whether their worship is true or false. Better none 
than any." 

"The bill obliges all persons to worship in public or pri- 
vate, or pay five pence. Every person who has not witness of 
his private worship must pay five pence. It seems unreason- 
able to take witness for private worship * * *. " "If 
one man esteem a day above another, another esteems every 
day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. 
Liberty of conscience ought to be preferred and licentiousness 
punished, which this bill seems not equally to secure." 

The Presbyterian Church was at this time very active in 
its attempts to "disseminate Christian knowledge," and the 
Revs. Gilbert Tennant and Samuel Davies were sent abroad in 
the interest of the College of New Jersey. As a result of their 
efforts, although "emmisaries were employed both at home 
and abroad to blacken Mr. Tennant and frustrate his designs," 
through letter from Edinburgh dated May 31, 1754, we learn 
that collections were appointed to be made at the church doors 
of all the parishes in Scotland by order of the General Assem- 
bly, as they "were sensible that the encouraging of said col- 
lege is of great importance to the interest of religion and learn- 
ing, and the support and farther advancement of the Kingdom 
of Christ in those parts of the world." 

Perhaps we may obtain a better conception of the general 
conditions prevailing at these early times through a few adver- 
tisements and selections from the newspapers cf the day, than 


by a mere descriptive account. These oldtime journals still 
preserve a flavor which is to us not unpleasant in this hurried 
age : for much of the history of past centuries is reflected from 
their columns : and an accurate record of the moral, social, and 
political conditions may be found in the quaint advertisements 
that appeared in their issues. 

We miss the flaming- headlines with which the aggressive 
newspaper of to-day attracts public attention, but we turn with a 
sigh of relief to the plain matter-of-fact announcements, whether 
it be affecting the fate of nations, or the punishment of 
the neighborhood scold. The proprietor — as well as editor — 
gathered his own news from the taverns and coffee-houses 
along the wharves, where numerous "old salts" were ever 
ready to regale him with tales of wonderful adventures and 
hairbreadth escapes. What wonder, then, that in such con- 
genial companionship the flight of time was unheeded and the 
news so gathered adorned the columns of some later issue. 

He was his own typesetter and laboriously worked off his 
sheets on his rudely-constructed hand-press. For recreation 
he followed up his delinquent subscriber and delivered his pa- 
per himself. Verily a contrast with the newspaper of to-day 
with its aggressive, strenuous reporters, pushing a recalcitrant 
victim to the wall, and worming out the shortcomings of a hith- 
erto imsullied life: to be run off on the multiple machine and 
scattered to the winds, for the delectation of countless break- 
fast tables. What a difference. Notice the calm confidence of 
the following appeal to the sympathy of the public: 

"We have very little news and the post not expected until 
next Saturday, but as we have lately been obliged to give sev- 
eral supplements, we hope all such of our friends as are up- 
wards of one year in arrears, will now think it time to discharge 
the same, as the weather continues severe and the printer but 
illy provided to stand the brunt of a long Winter." 

The disinclination of the early Dutch settler to part with 
his possessions or relinquish any of his hard-earned stivers 
without a proper "quid pro quo," compelled even the Medical 
fraternity to recognize the absolute necessity of furnishing him 
with full value received, as will be seen from following ad. of 
1760, when inoculation as a preventive to smallpox was just 
being introduced. To prepare the victim for the process they 
generously prescribed. 


"The nipht before you inoculate, give a few grains of 
calomel well levigated with a like quantity of diaphoretic anti- 
mony unwashed, proportioning the amount of calomel to the 
constitution of your patient — from 4 to lo grains for a grown 
person, and from i to 3 for a child — to be made up into a small 
bolus or pill, with a little conserve of roses or any common 
syrup. The next morning a dose of pulvis cornachini made 
with equal parts of diaphoretic antimony, scammon, and cream 
of tartar. Repeat the bolus or pill three times, that is, every 
other night after inoculation, and on the fifth day give a dose 
of Burhave's Golden Sulphate of Antimony — about 4 grains of 
it with 2 or 3 grains of calomel made into a small pill. In the 
intermediate days give 2 or 3 papers of the following powder: 
Diaphoretic antimony, 10 grains; salt pommel, 6 grains; calo- 
mel, I grain. Mix together for a grown person. Proportion- 
ate for children." Still quite a goodly number survived. 

However, the Fraternity was just as considerate and as de- 
sirous of preserving the integrity of the Profession as at the 
present day, as is proven by the following Caution to the Pub- 
lic, published in 1771. "The impartial Public will not, I dare 
say, expect that I would expatiate on the excellency of Physic, 
nor bestow encomiums on those worthy gentlemen of the Facul- 
ty who are of the greatest utility to society. * * But I hope 
my injured fellow citizens will not take it amiss, when I expose 
to their view a few melancholy instances of the deadly effects 
that arise from the application of the sick, to illiterate, ignorant, 
boasting pretenders." * * (Here follow the melancholy in- 

"'Tis not for me to make particular observations on the 
above cases, but I shall leave the feeling, tender heart to judge 
what a rueful train of calamities must inevitably succeed. The 
father destroyed, leaves to perish the poor widow and a num- 
erous offspring of helpless children. Mothers torn away from 
their tender babes, and children snatched from their distressed 
and mourning parents by the fraudulent deception of the 
venomous quack." 

The members of the legal profession were charged with 
growing rich, "while belligerent creditors and harassed debt- 
ors were becoming poor." It was claimed that "law-suits were 
multiplied at the instigation of lawyers, whose fees not only 
swallowed up the moneys collected by them, but brought their 


clients and frequently the Sheriff in debt to them." Many pe- 
titions praying for relief against the lawyers came before the 
Assembly, and in some instances the popular feeling ran so 
high that the Courts were not allowed to convene. 

June 15, 1775, a petition of the Freeholders and inhabitants 
of Bergen was submitted, asking that "Circuit Courts be ap- 
pointed yearly, complaining of the great delay of justice by the 
practitioners of the law, in demurrers, special pleading, and 
special verdicts." 

A miniature riot is described in following dignified style 
in a New York paper: 

"The young gentlemen rakes who broke so many windows 
at midnight, in this city, to show their unchristian rejoicing, 
may be assured if they don't make satisfaction for the wooden 
shutters broke on Beaver Street, their names will be put in 
this paper and they be proved house-breakers." 

In describing an accident that had occurred in a down- 
town mansion, wherein a servant in falling down a long flight 
of stairs dislocated her neck, closes the announcement with the 
following in double-faced type: '' It is said that this caused her 

Note the delicacy of expression in following ad. : 

"Taken away, supposed through mistake, from Mr. Ver- 
don Elsworth's, at Powles Hook, a neat saddle with plated 
stirrups and a double curb bridle with plated bits. The person 
that took them away left a very bad saddle in the room thereof." 

In the Nexv York Gazette, May 17, 1753, is the following: 

"Notice is hereby given that the widow of Balthazar Som- 
ner, late from Amsterdam, now lives next door to Mr. Lefferts 
on Potbakers Hill in Smith Street, New York. Grinds all 
sorts of optic glasses to the greatest perfection, such as micro- 
scope glasses, spying glasses of all lengths, spectacles, reading 
glasses for near-sighted people or others, also spying glasses of 
three feet long which are to be set on a common walking-stick 
and yet be carried in a pocketbook. All at reasonable rates.'' 

Another from the Weekly Postboy, of June 4, 1753: 

"Imported in last vessels from London and to be sold by 
Richard Smith, Schoolmaster, near the Fly Market, a neat as- 
sortment of men and women's gloves and mittens, woman's 
quilted Persian petticoats, callimanco stuff, ladies' new-fashioned 
black silk bonnets. A variety of long and short hoop petti- 


coats. Choice Scotch snuft" in 11). and y-jlh. leaden canisters, 

This combination of Scotch snuff with other necessary ar- 
ticles of female apparel, would seem to indicate that the good 
Dutch vrouws were as little averse to this form of dissipation, 
as the modern devotee of Lady Nicotine is to indulgence in 
smoking, whether public or private. 

The facilities for transportation is lucidly set forth in the 
Nezc/ York Mercury of September 24, 1753: 

"Notice is hereby given to all persons that are inclinable 
to transport themselves, goods, wares, and merchandise from 
the city of New York to the city of Philadelphia, that they 
may have the opportunity of obliging themselves that way 
twice a week, wind and weather permitting. Daniel O'Brien, 
with a commodious stage boat, well fitted for that purpose, 
will attend at the Whitehall Slip, near the Half Moon Battery, 
at the house of Scots Johnny, in New York, in order to receive 
goods and passengers, on Saturday and Wednesday: and on 
Monday and Thursdays will set out and proceed with them to 
Perth Amboy Ferry, where there is kept a good stage wagon 
ready to receive them, which will on Tuesday and Friday 
mornings set out and proceed with them to the house of John 
Predmore, in Cranberry, where there is kept a fresh set of 
horses and driver, who immediately proceeds with them to the 
house of Jonathan Thomas, in Burlington, where there is kept 
a commodious stage boat waiting for their reception, Patrick 
Cowan, master; who immediately sets out and proceeds with 
them to the city of Philadelphia." 

As may be imagined, the demand for prompt and regular 
mail service was extremely limited, and arrangements for the 
reception and distribution of letters very crude. In 1753 an 
ad. states: 

"The postofifice will be removed on Thursday next to the 
house of Mr. Alexander Colden, opposite to the Bowling Green 
in the Broadway, where the Rev. William Pemberton lately 
lived, where letters will be received and delivered out every 
day (Saturday until the arrival of the posts, and Sundays ex- 
cepted) from 8 in the morning till 12 at noon, and from 2 in 
the afternoon till 4, except on post nights, when attendance 
will be given until 10 of the clock at night, and all letters for 
persons living in town that remain uncalled for on post nights 


will on Monday morning be sent out by a penny post provided 
for that purpose. 

"N. B. — No credit will be given for the future for postage 
of letters." 

The postal service was organized in 1 710 by act of Parlia- 
ment. The Postmaster-General of the colonies was "to keep 
his chief letter office in New York, and other chief offices at 
some convenient place or places in other of Her Majesty's col- 
onies in America." 

In 1753 Benjamin Franklin was appointed Postmaster- 
General for the colonies, and was guaranteed the sum of ;^6oo 
for the salary of himself and assistants. It may be interesting 
to know that in 1790 there were but 75 postoffices in the coun- 
try, while in 1800, 10 years later, the number had increased to 
903. The rates of postage in 1816 were: Single letter carried 
not over 30 miles, 6^c; over 30 and under 80 miles, loc; 80 to 
150 miles, i2^c; over 150 and imder 400 miles, i8^c; over 
400 miles, 25c. 

The postal facilities of Bergen County, although rarely re- 
quired, were dependent upon the city of New York, and the 
denizens thereof were obliged to wait for their infrequent let- 
ters, imtil some accommodating neighbor on his business trip to 
the city collected them and on the following Sunday distributed 
them at the church. If the persons to whom they were ad- 
dressed were not present, some nearby neighbor undertook 
their delivery, or they were handed to the "voorleser, " who 
delivered them as opportunity offered. We find following 
among letters advertized : 

N. Y., Julys, 1763 

"Rev. Wilhelmus Jackson" 


The growth of the territory — now Hudson County — was 
mainly along the ridge of high ground that extends north 
and south throughout the whole limit of the county. 
This was hemmed in on either side by deep marshes 
somewhat similar to those now skirting the western slope 
of the hill. Hoboken was an island, isolated from the sur- 
rounding territory by deep and in many instances impassable 
marshes. Lov^'er Jersey City was in much the same 
state. It consisted of four small islands, or sand hills that rose 
out of lagoons intersected with ditches and filled with yawning 



swamp holes. It can thus be readily understood why its early 
growth was retarded. For many years it was considered but a 
landing^- place for occasional boats, and even this was of rare 
occurrence, as the old ferry established at Communipaw at- 
tracted the regular traffic. 

At Castle Point stood the Summer residence and farmhouse 
of the Bayards. Here they lived in regal style. The farm cov- 
ered the whole of present Hoboken and extended into the 
boundary of Weehawken. It was well stocked and provided 
many rare fruits. Here were to be found all the delicacies of 
the season, and peaches, nectarines, grapes, plums, apples and 
pears of peculiar and delicious flavor, were distributed with a 
lavish hand, among the many and frequent guests from the 

At Aharsimus Cove nestled the homestead of the redoubt- 
able Cornelius Van Vorst, and the waving corn and grain that 
covered the hills of Aharsimus gave evidence of the thrift of 
the owner. At Powles Hook, now lower Jersey City, was the 
ferry landing and hotel owned by Michel Cornellisse, and the 
passengers arriving here by stage, were often not unwillingly 
detained by the jolly host, whose business instinct suggested 
ways and means for delaying the departure of the boat or 
stage; a scheme that resulted in the further replenishment of 
his coffers. 

At Mill Creek Point and along the shore at Communipaw 
were the homesteads of the Van Homes, Bushs, Brittens, Posts 
and others, while along the road to Bergen other Van Homes, 
Vreelands, and Brinkerhoffs had established their right to 
the soil. 

Scattered throughout the county other farms had likewise 
been developed, but particular mention of these will be made 
in special papers on the different sections. It might be inter- 
esting, however, to treat the old town of Bergen with more 
particularity. Some of its features have disappeared, but 
there are those still living, who can recall the ancient weather- 
beaten homesteads of the revolutionary times, that had shel- 
tered many generations. 

Only one of these remains in almost its original form — the 
Sip homestead at the corner of Newkirk Street and Bergen 
Avenue — the main walls of which were built in with rubble and 
yellow clay and fastened with interlacing slabs of wood, which, 


with the passage of time, have become like iron. The original 
structure has, of course, been modernized somewhat, but the 
walls of the main building still remain as when the Dutch 
builder with his apprentices, gathered up the stones from the 
surrounding farm and fitted them in so deftly, that although 
they may be readily lifted out by hand, they still preserve the 
original solidity of form and strength. 

The formation of the old town is still preserved at Bergen 
Square, on the northeast corner of which stood the school- 
house. Toward the east and on the north side of Academy 
Street was the Romaine homestead, and on the same side, 
about midway between Tuers and Summit Avenues, the Van 
Winkle homestead stood, with the well-sweep overhanging the 
front porch. These were both low one-story stone buildings 
with upper gables covered with hewn clapboards. 

The Newkirk house stood on the west side of Tuers Av- 
enue south of Newkirk Street, and on the east side near Vrooni 
Street was the Van Houten homestead. These were the 
only buildings east of the square in its immediate vicinity: 
with the exception of the Demott homestead on the southeast 
corner of Bergen Avenue, the site marked by the ancient build- 
ing still standing. 

On the southwest corner of Bergen Avenue and Vroom 
Street, still occupied as a burying ground, the old Dutch 
Church, that followed the octagonal building of 1680, was 
erected. On the opposite side of Vroom Street and facing Ber- 
gen Avenue stood the long, low, one-story Parks homestead, 
its heavy walls, low thatched roof, and small windows suggest- 
ing durability and strength. 

West of the Square, on opposite sides of Academy Street, 
stood the Van Reypen and Van Wagenen homesteads, part of the 
property being still occupied by the descendants of the original 
owners. On the northwest corner of the Square and Bergen 
Avenue was the Cornelius Sip house, afterward bought by the 
church for a parsonage, while diagonally opposite was the or- 
iginal Sip homestead, before more particularly alluded to. 

Similar buildings were scattered along the roads reaching 
north and south from Bergen Woods to Bergen Point. They 
stood in the midst of farm lands, the surroundings of which 
betokened the labor necessary for their clearing. 

In 1702 war was declared against the French by England, 


because of the claims of Louis XIV. to the throne of Spain, 

July I, 1706, there were 700 men from New Jersey under 
arms, ready to proceed to New York. 

February 28, 1708, requisition was made on New Jersey 
for furnishing 200 men to accompany the expedition against 
the French at Canada, and an act was passed to prevent per- 
sons from leaving the province or absconding to avoid service. 

July 30, 17 1 1, it is stated from New York that the "New 
Jersey forces are to be there to-day, in order to go to Albany 
on the expedition." How many of these were from our own 
territory has not been ascertained, but doubtless the full quota 
was furnished. As peace was concluded with the treaty of 
Utrecht in 17 13, their time of service was comparatively brief. 

Again, in 1739, England became involved in war with 
Spain, and His Majesty expressed his faith in, and reliance upon 
the people of his colonies in following terms: 

"His Majesty hath determined to raise a body of troops in 
his colonies, and although he has not fixed any quota for New 
Jersey, because he would not set bounds for their zeal for his 
service: does not doubt but they will exert themselves with a 
becoming earnestness. He expects his loyal assembly of New 
Jersey will provide victuals, transportation, &c. " 

J^^y 3'> 1740. House of Representatives of New Jersey 
passed an act making current ^2,000 in bills credit for above 
purpose. In order to prevent privateers or supplies from 
reaching the Spanish territories, all Collectors of Ports were 
required to secure bonds from all vessels before sailing. 

In 1746 regiments of Bergen and Essex County Militia 
were ordered to hold themselves in readiness to proceed to 
New York in case of alarm there, as an attack upon that city 
was feared. 

August 22, 1746, Council was informed that supplies and 
transports were ready for immediate embarkation of the troops, 
and orders were issued for their procedure to Albany, N. Y. 

September 27, 1746, Colonel Peter Schuyler was appointed 
to command the New Jersey troops. He was born in the 
Schuyler homestead, that stood on the east bank of the Passaic 
River (now Arlington). He was a brave, courtly gentleman, 
wealthy and public-spirited, and contributed liberally of his 
means whenever occasion demanded. In this expedition he ad- 
vanced several thousand pounds. The Schuyler copper mines 


were a source of great wealth to the family, and were discovered 
through the accidental finding by a slave of a piece of copper 
ore of exceeding richness. The location of these mines may be 
still seen at Arlington. 

A letter from Albany,, dated July 6, 1747, announces the 
safe arrival of the Colonel and men at Fort Saratoga. Peace was 
declared in 1748, and the Assembly notified to prepare an ac- 
count of the expense incurred in connection with this expedi- 
tion. This was rendered May 28, 1750, when the province of 
New Jersey was adjudged to have expended ^2,231, i8s, 4d. 

In 1754 the French, with their Indian allies, invaded the 
territory of the English King and committed several depreda- 
tions and atrocities. During the Winter of 1755, Indian at- 
tacks along the frontier were frequent. Jacob De Hart was 
appointed commander of the forces on the frontier service and 
enrolled a detachment for defence. 

June 2, 1756, we learn from a proclamation of Governor 
Belcher that Indian atrocities were being committed to such an 
extent, that stringent measures were adopted to prevent them. 
He promised to pay to every inhabitant of the colony who should 
take alive and deliver to any garrisoned fort, or jail, any male 
Indian enemy above 15 years of age, 150 Spanish dollars. Or 
if killed, on the exhibition of his scalp or other sufficient proof, 
130 dollars. And for every male inhabitant of this colony re- 
taken from the Indians, 150 dollars. 

This reward for the capture or killing of unfriendly Indi- 
ans led unscrupulous persons to attack those who were friendly 
and inoffensive — as the scalplocks alone did not indicate the 
difference — and in order to protect these latter, they were cau- 
tioned to remain within the bounds prescribed by the treaty. 
This place of refuge included the territory of Hudson County, 
as may be seen from following general description : 

"A line drawn from the sound between Staten Island and 
the main and by a line back from the great road that leads to 
Elizabethtown, Newark, Wesel near Passaic Falls, and to Pomp- 
ton, and on the nearest straight line through Bergen County 
to the Jersey line on the shore of the North or Hudson River, 
and so by the waters to where it began on the sound." 

Even this did not prevent their slaughter, for several com- 
plaints were made, that certain parties had banded together for 


the purpose of obtaining the scalps of Indians within this 


The New Jersey regiments were placed under the com- 
mand of Colonel Peter Schuyler, who left New York for Al- 
bany March 12, 1756. He was reported at Albany April 12th, and 
posted at Oswego last of June. He was here captured by Mont- 
calm and afterward released on parole pending exchange. 

November 21, 1757, he arrived at New York from Canada 
by way of Albany. In the evening "a bonfire was made on 
the common, most of the houses in town were illuminated, and 
the public in general testified great joy on his arrival." 

At Newark, N. J., he was saluted with the discharge of 
13 cannon. "All the principal houses were illuminated, a bon- 
fire erected, which was attended by several hundred people, and 
the cannon continued firing the remainder of the evening." 

July 3, 1758, he was notified that his parole was expired 
and that "Monsieur Montcalm had rejected the proposals that 
were offered in regard to his exchange." He immediately set 
out to redeem his parole, and July 24th "was received with 
great courtesy by Monsieur Montcalm and all the regular 

He was shortly after exchanged, and November 27th "ar- 
rived at New York from Canada by way of Albany and brought 
with him a number of prisoners of exchange." 

In 1759, we find him again in command of 1,000 
men who were designated "as jolly, likely young fellows as 
were ever seen in these parts. They made a very handsome 
appearance, being genteely clothed from head to foot." This 
campaign terminated in 1762, when peace between France and 
England was declared. Colonel Schuyler died March 7, 1762. 

In the commission as Governor issued to Francis Bernard 
in 1758, he was instructed as to the method of choosing Repre- 
sentatives and the qualifications of members. 

"Perth Amboy and Burlington being respectively the 
seats of government, the inhabitants of each of these places 
shall be privileged to select two representatives, and the Free- 
holders of the counties of each section shall separately select 
2, making the composition of the whole body 24 members." 

A property qualification is exacted as follows: 

"No one shall be capable of being elected a representative, 
who shall not have 1,000 acres of land in his own right in the di- 


vision for which Be shall be chosen, or have a personal estate im 
money, goods, or chattels to value of ^^500 sterling: and that nc 
act of a private nature shall be passed without proof, that pub- 
lic notification was made of the parties' intention to apply for 
such act in the several parish churches, where the premises in 
question lies, for three Sundays successively." 

In their communication with each other the inhabitants 
of the Provinces generally followed the old Indian trails that 
led from the river inland, and, as occasion warranted, other 
private roads or lanes were laid out for convenience in reach- 
ing outlying farms or woodlands. In the early history of the 
town, the road crossing the old town plot from north to south 
(now Bergen Avenue) was extended from time to time in both 
directions, until it reached from Hackensack and English 
Neighborhood to Bergen Point. Powles Hook was reached by 
means of present Newark Avenue, and a corduroy road was 
laid over the marsh from the foot of the hill. 

The wood lots of the inhabitants of the old town of Ber- 
gen were at the northern and southern sections of the county. 
They were obliged literally to hew their way, which they 
did by the most convenient route, and the old decayed tree- 
stumps in some of these abandoned byroads in later years fur- 
nished an inexhaustible supply of "punk" for the flint and 
iron age. Along the lines of these main roads were laid out 
afterward the highways that connected the different parts of 
the territory. Thus, Bergen Woods Avenue to the north and 
Old Bergen Road to the south, were but the outcome of the 
pioneer's enterprise. 

In 1682 the General Assembly of New Jersey appointed a 
Commission to lay out, construct, and repair roads in Bergen 
County. In 1704 the Grand Jury of each county were empow- 
ered to appoint two persons from said counties, to lay out all 
necessary cross or byroads. June 3, 17 18, what is now known 
as the Hackensack Turnpike was laid out. October 21, 1741, 
an act was adopted, for continuing highways from Bergen Point 
to Bergen, and to some convenient place on Hudson River, and 
for crossing that river to New York. On October 10, 1764, a 
road to Bergen Point was opened up. June 28, 1766, an act was 
passed authorizing and directing the laying out of a road "from 
a suitable place from the southwest Point of Bergen up along 
Newark Bay, and from thence over to Paulus Hook." This 

■would indicate the Old Rerjjen Road from Bergen Point to 

Newark Avenue, and thence along same to the bay. Until 

the opening up of Grand Street in 1848, all land travel from 

Communipaw or the lower part of the county, must pass over 

this route to reach Powles Hook ferry, or take the steep and 

stony mill road via Prior's Mill. 

Cornelius Van Vorst had opened up a road from Aharsi- 
inus to Prior's Mill, where it joined with the road succeeding 
the old Indian trail, to the trading post at Paulus Hook: and 
over this route he was enabled to reach the old church at 

June 27, 1765, "A road was laid out from Newark, to the 
public road near Bergen leading to Powles Hook, and ferries 
established over the two small rivers, Passaic and Hackensack, 
which made the distance from Powles Hook to Newark eight 
miles. It will be a level and good road when the causeways 
are made, and as said road will be very commodious for travel- 
ers, and give a short and easy access of a large country to the 
markets of the city of New York, and be of general benefit 
both to the city and country: it is hoped they will unite in the 
necessary expense of rendering said road fit for travelers," &c. 

August 8, 1765, "By a law passed 2d June last, Commis- 
sioners were appointed to run out straight public roads leading 
through said province beKveen New York and Philadelphia, and 
empowering them to raise a sum by a public lottery not ex- 
ceeding ^500 toward defraying the expense thereof, and agree- 
able to said law the scheme of a lottery is now advertised, con- 
sisting of 2,222 tickets, at $4 each, 62 to be fortunate," &c. 

The increase of population now demanded better facilities for 
transportation. September 5, 1750, a ferry between Staten 
Island and Bergen Point was established, and an advertisement 
states "that a short, safe, easy, and convenient way is fixed by 
means of this ferry, and a wide, comfortable road for all trav- 
elers passing to the city of New York from any of the southern 

July 2, 1764, the Nezv York Mercury informs us that "The 
long-wished-for ferry is now established and kept across the 
North River from the place called Powles Hook to the City of 
New York." 

In connection with the establishment of tliis ferry, a stage 
coach line to Philadelphia was announced, "as starting from 


Powles Hook on Wednesdays and reaching Philadelphia the 

Friday following. Returning leaves the latter city on Mon- 
days and arrives at Powles Hook the next Wednesday by the 
lately established Post Road on Bergen, which is now generally 
resorted to by the populace, who prefer passage by said place 
before the danger of crossing the bay. ' ' 

January 31, 1766, Van Vorst petitioned the Council at New 
York for a free landing place in that city for his ferry, offering 
in return the same facilities on this side the river. He stated 
his equipment to be "3 large and 2 small boats." His petition 
was granted. A post road was established at this date between 
New York and Philadelphia in connection with this ferry, which 
was located at the foot of present Grand Street, and now boats 
and periauguas plied back and forth "as the wind served or the 
weather permitted. ' ' The road extended through present Grand 
Street to Green, thence running diagonally and connecting 
with Newark Avenue at Warren Street. The ferry owners 
were compelled to keep this causeway in repair, and as it 
crossed the marsh and was continually washed by the tides, 
they were subjected to a considerable expense that jeopardized 
the profits of transportation. Much controversy ensued, the de- 
tails of which cannot here be related. 

Numerous advertisements of the establishment of stage 
lines to different parts of the province indicated a recognition 
of the demand for better traveling facilities. 

November 16, 1767, Mattheus Ward of Newark acquaints 
the public that he still continues his stage from Newark to 
Powles Hook, as usual, except that after the 20th of November 
he will return from Powles Hook at 11 o'clock for the Winter. 

May 9, 1768, "John Barnhill, in Elm Street, Philadelphia, 
and John Mersereau, at the new Blazing Star, near New York, 
continue their stages in two days from Powles Hook ferry, op- 
posite New York, to Philadelphia. Returns from Philadelphia 
to Powles Hook in two days also. * * * Set out from Pow- 
les Hook and Philadelphia on Mondays and Thursdays punctu- 
ally at sunrise, and meet at Princeton the same night to ex- 
change passengers and return the day after. Those who are 
kind enough to encourage the undertaking are desired to cross 
Powles Hook ferry the evening before, as they must set off 

July II, 1768, "A wagon to set off every day in the week 

(Sundays excepted), one from Powles Hook, another from 
Mr. James Banks at Newark, precisely at half an hour past 
seven o'clock in the morning, and at half an hour past four in 
the evening-. Meet at Captain Brown's ferry (on the Hacken- 
sack) and exchange passengers. Every Monday, Wednesday, 
and Saturdays Ward's wagon returns immediately from the 
said ferry through Newark to Elizabethtown. Stays there till 
three o'clock in the afternoon, and then returns back again 
through Newark to Powles Hook." 

August 29, 1768, "A sale of lots adjoining town of Bergen 
in East New Jersey. The whole pleasantly situated, having 
beautiful views of the city of New York, North River, Bay, 
and Narrows." 

In 1768 "Stageway between Paulus Hook ferry and Hack- 
ensack will begin September 14th to set out about 7 a. m. from 
the house of the widow Watson at New Barbadoes, where the 
best entertainment may be had, and will proceed to Paulus 
Hook, from whence the wagon will set out on its return at 2 
p. m. every Monday and Friday. Best usage to passengers, 
each paying 2 shillings from one place to the other. The stage 
will stop regularly about 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. at the tavern of Wil- 
liam Earle in Bergen Woods, where any passenger coming 
over Weehawk ferry may readily get passage." 

September 25, 1769, "New stage to New York from 
Philadelphia on the Old York Road. Sets out from the 
sign of the Bunch of Grapes in Third Street at sunrise. Pro- 
ceeds by the Crooked Billet, Coryell's ferry. Bound Brook, 
Newark, and from thence to Powles Hook opposite New York. 
It will set out regularly every Tuesday morning during the 
winter season, performing the journey from Philadelphia to 
Powles Hook in two days. * * * That part of the country 
is very pleasant, the distance and goodness of the road not in- 
ferior to any. There is but one ferry from this to Newark. 
The road is thickly settled by a number of wealthy farmers 
and merchants, who promise to give every encouragement to 
the stage." 

But time will not permit us to linger. The gradual growth 
and development of the territory continued, and the character- 
istics of the fatherland were preserved in the customs and lan- 
guage of the people. Through their isolation from surround- 
ing territory they became a community of their own, as it were, 


forming one large family of similar tastes and habits, yet with 
the same variety of disposition that is found in all well-regu- 
lated families, and which serves to divest life of a tiresome mo- 

Intermarriages strengthened the bond, and so close was 
the relationship, that individual joys and sorrows became the 
property of the whole neighborhood, and helpful hands and 
sympathizing hearts shared alike in all the experiences of 

daily life. 

But the peace and tranquility of the community was des- 
tined soon to be disturbed. The difficulties with the mother 
country were fast culminating into open hostilities, and the 
clouds of coming war were already overshadowing them, while 
the uncertainty of the future weighed down their minds with 
anxious forebodings. Their innate love of liberty impelled 
an open sympathy for the colonists, striving against unjust op- 
pression. Yet the fear of losing their much cherished posses- 
sions suggested a judicious neutrality and inactivity, that could 
not be maintained. Torn by conflicting interests, while some 
continued true to the traditions of their fathers, many wavered 
in their allegiance, and finally allied themselves to the existing 
powers, hoping thereby to avoid the losses and privations that 
threatened them. 

^v ^'^^^ 

The Historical Society of 
Hudson County. 

Ko.S- ________ 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


President : 

yice Presidents . 
2d-J0HN W. HECK. 

Treasurer . Librarian : 


Corresponding Secretary : Recording Secretary : 


Assistant fjhrarian: 

Board of Governors : 
Alexander McLean i John J. Voorhees 1 

M. J. CURRiE ;- 1910 DeWitt Van Buskirk \ 1911 

W. J. Davis j David R. Daly J 

W. R. Barricklo 1 Dr. G. K. Dickinson 

David Ramsey ' 1912 Benj. L. Stowe 

Vreeland Tompkins j 



Paper read before "The Historical Society of Hudson County" 

by Alexander MacLean, 
Friday Evening, October 30, 1908. 

^^HE MENTION of an Underground Railway at this 
^^ date suggests a noisy subway train, or a sub-aqueous tun- 
nel; but sixty years ago the term conveyed a very different im- 
pression, varied by the sentiment or prejudice of the individual. 
To the opponents of slavery, it meant an avenue of escape from 
bondage in the South, to freedom in the North; to the pro-slav- 
ery man, it meant an iniquitous aid to robbery To all, it 
meant a chain of hiding-places in the long journey from the 
South to Canada, in which runaway slaves were hidden during 
the day — and a list of men and women who risked all in pro- 
viding for the present needs of the fugitives, — and guides to 
the succeeding night's shelter. 

These hiding-places were known as Stations, and the 
friends of freedom were known as Station Agents. Jersey City, 
by reason of its geographical position, was perhaps the most 
important transfer point in the East, and it is this fact that 
calls for special attention at this time. 

The underground railroad in New Jersey sprang from the 
same spirit that produced the patriots of the Revolution — 
though the abolition of slavery was a live issue half a century 
before John Hancock made his signature famous. 

Slavery, and the efforts continued for more than half a 
century to regulate or abolish it, have produced a large and 
interesting part of our written laws, and our legislative hi.story. 
Time will not at present permit detailed mention of the record . 
from the time when the first Quaker Apostle of Abolition be- 
gan preaching freedom for the negroes, one hundred and sev- 
enty-five years ago, down to " the liberation of the last human 
being held in bondage in this State, but a glance along the line 
will aid us in trying to understand the warmth of the partisans 
of slavery, and freedom. 

It will be sufficient to touch on the tops of the stepping- 
stones in the current of our history, to show how the slave 


question was made a part of our politics, and created bitterness, 
continually enhanced by disappointments and vituperation. 
Nor is it desirable to consider the whole underground system, 
which extended from the Mason and Dixon line and the valley 
of the Ohio on the South, to the Canadian border on the North. 
The four routes which were in New Jersey, all converging in 
Jersey City, are those which now interest us. 

In the general glance which required to understand the 
growth of the abolition movement, it will be seen that during 
the first half of the seventeenth century there were no ques- 
tions about the moral wrong of slavery, and slaves were intro- 
duced into New Jersey contemporaneously with the advent of 
the English settlers. 

The first act of our legislative body prohibiting harboring 
or transporting negroes, was passed ini675 — thus showing that 
slavery had become so general by that time that regulations 
were required, and the more stringent laws of i68a show that 
Indians as well as negroes were held as slaves. 

From 1702 a sort of trust was created in England, that se- 
cured a monopoly of the slave trade for New Jersey. It was 
known as the Royal African Company, and a part of its duty 
was to provide a constant and sufficient supply of merchanta- 
ble negroes at moderate rates. 

In 1 7 14 a law was enacted to limit the number of slaves, in 
order to encourage white immigration. This law placed a tax 
of ten pounds per capita on all slaves imported into New Jer- 

It was about this time that opposition to negro slavery be- 
gan to develop. One faction opposed slavery on the ground 
tliat negro labor was not profitable — and the other faction on 
the ethical and moral grounds. 

The head tax act expired in 1721, and for nearly half a 
century thereafter, the live issue in politics throughout the 
State was the regulation and restriction of slavery. 

The leader on the ethical side was John Woolman, a Qua- 
ker preacher, and he easily won the aid of the Society of 
Friends, who were quite numerous in South and West Jersey. 
By 1738 slavery, so far as the Quakers were concerned, was 
pratically abolished in this State. 

In the meantime, the spirit that culminated in the Declar- 
ation of Independence had spread among the people, and for a 


series of years petitions setting- forth tlic evils of slavery, and 

praying for relief, had been sent to the Legislature annually, 
but these met the fate that has overtaken local petitions for 
the last quarter of a century. The Revolutionary war and the 
hard times that followed it, overshadowed the slavery question 
for a time, but in 1785, a law was enacted, providing a penal- 
ty of fifty pounds for bringing a slave imported from Africa 
into this State, if imported after 1776, and twenty pounds for 
any others imported. In 1788, the importation of slaves from 
abroad was prohibited, and for several years there were many 
laws passed to regulate and restrict slavery, but it was ncjt un- 
til 1804 that a law was enacted that was intended to put an end 
to slavery in New Jersey. This bill was before the legislature 
for two years before it passed. It was strongly favored — 
and bitterly opposed. 

It provided that children born to slaves after July 4, 1S04, 
should be free after reaching twenty-five years of age, if males, 
and twenty years if females. The right of service being the 
transferable personal property of the owner. It was believed 
that this law would gradually extinguish slavery, but it did not, 
and an emancipation act was passed in 1846. This law als(; 
permitted slavery to continue, though it made a rapid reduction 
in the numbers held in bondage. This is shown by the Na. 
tional Census. In 1790 the census showed 11,500 slaves. In 
1800 there were 12,500. Bergen County, then including Hud- 
son County, had 2300 slaves in 1800, or about one sixth of the 
population. After this, each census showed a falling off due 
to the gradual emancipation act. In 1850 there were still 236 
slaves, and 18 remained in i860. In fact, it was still possible 
to own a slave under certain conditions in New Jersey until 
the 13th Amendment to the National Constitution was adopted 
in 1865. 

Francis Newton Thorpe in his constitutional history of the 
American people says — "The negro in bondage was an outcast; 
overlooked by the tax-gatherer; refused admission to the 
schools; denied entrance to the trades; living on the thorny 
side of village life; doctored by charity; watched by a slave- 
holding democracy; rejected from the society of the whites, 
and forbidden to mingle freely with his own." They were in 
a condition to excite pity and compassion. 

It weis natural that th ;.se who believed that all men were 


created equal, should oppose slavery, also that the opposition 
should in time take definite form. It was equally natural that 
the first abolition society should be organized in Philadelphia, 
There under the shadow of Carpenter's Hall, in 1785, the first 
society was started. Other States followed ; — the first in this 
State was organized in 179a. 

These early abolitionists considered only the ethical side 
of the matter, and did not engage in aiding fugitives to escape, 
but according to Lucius Q. C. Elmer, "confined themselves to 
protecting slaves from abuse, and to aiding their manumission 
by legal proceedings." 

In addition to these abolitionists who were contented with 
academic discussion of slavery, there grew up another class 
who felt that something should be done to check the spread of 
slavery. They felt that they had a mission in life — an aim for 
their effort. 

They believed that a great movement was in progress, and 
they wanted to know that they were doing something to aid its 
development. They were morally and physically brave, and 
they wanted to share their liberty. These were the men who 
began to aid fugitive slaves to escape from bondage. 

These men held no meetings to denounce the sin of slave- 
ry. They worked secretly and in danger, and their numbers 
and their ability increased with years, until they developed 
what came to be known as the Underground Railroad. 

There were general causes which led to this organization, 
just as the general question of Slavery produced the other class 
of Abolitionists. 

The efforts of slave-holders to enlarge the slave territory, 
produced this second class of active abolitionists, and we need 
merely glance at the leading events in the slave-holders work 
in this direction to see how it embittered the liberty-loving peo- 
ple of the North. 

In 1802 the Louisiana territory was bought. In 1809 Flor- 
ida was purchased, thus adding immensely to the slave area, 
and creating a demand for slaves that caused wholesale import- 
ation from Africa. This buiness .assumed such proportions 
that a law was enacted by Congress in 1808 prohibiting the 
further importation of slaves, but this law was evaded, and 
slaves were brought until very near the outbreak of the war. 
The last slaver captured was executed on one of the islands in 


New York Bay but a few years before the outbreak of the 

Civil War. 

In 1818 the upper part of the Louisiana purchase, then 
called Missouri, petitioned for admission as a State, and started 
a feud among the settlers that frequently caused bloodshed, 
and continued for half a century. 

So acute was the controversy at the time, that the academic 
Abolitionists talked of an African colonization scheme to get 
rid of the negroes. In 181 6 a society was organized in Prince- 
ton for this purpose, and Liberia is the outcome of its efforts. 

The prohibition of slave importation, and the great de- 
mand for slaves due to the enlargement of the slave territory, 
changed the condition of the slaves, and introduced breeding 
farms to raise them for the market. It may be noted that 
healthy babies were quoted as having a trade value of ten dol- 
lars a pound. 

The independence of Texas offered another opportunity 
to expand the slave territory, and the agitation of this question 
produced the celebrated "Gag law" in Congress which prohib- 
ited any speech or resolution relating to slavery. It also re- 
sulted in the exclusion of all abolition letters or pamphlets from 
the mails. 

The efforts at repression were unsuccessful, and an at- 
tempt to intimidate by riotous attacks on abolitionists was 
equally abortive, though many places suffered from the riots, 
the worst being in Philadelphia. One of these riots took place 
in Newark on July 11, 1834, during which a church was dam- 
aged, and minor riots in many places broke out from time to 
time. The first time the late Major Pangborn spoke in Jersey 
City, he was stoned on the platform in an open air meeting on 
Jersey Avenue between York and Montgomery Streets, no hall 
being open for an abolition meeting. I may mention incident- 
ally that the Major made his speech, though his clothing was 
soiled by the missiles thrown at him before the audience ral- 
lied, and used the "cooper's butts" which they had carried in 
expectation of some interference. 

But to go back. It was in 1837 that Texas offered annex- 
ation — an oft'er that was declined because it would involve a 
war with Mexico. Calhoun subsequently got up a treaty pro- 
viding for this annexation in the interests of slave owners, but 
this was defeated in the Senate, and thus became an issue in 


the campaign of 1844, in which Martin Van Buren and Henry- 
Clay were both defeated, and Harrison was elected after a 
campaign that still holds the record for political excitement. 
Harrison did not live long enough to do anything, and John 
Tyler succeeded him, and made possible the annexation of 
Texas, and the Mexican War. The slave owners thus gained 
a territory larger than France or Germany, and the demand 
for slaves was stimulated to such a degree that free colored 
people were in danger. Many were kidnapped, and it was 
proposed to enslave all free colored residents of the southern 
States. Arkansas did pass such a law. 

The eiTorts of the early settlers of Kansas to make that a 
free State caused a repetition of the outrages which had dis- 
graced Missouri, and the South tried by colonization and vio- 
lence to drive the "free-soilers, " as the anti-slavery people 
were called, out of the State. By 1850 an organized effort de- 
veloped the border ruffians, and produced a civil war that con- 
tinued for years, and gave to the state the name of "Bleeding 

In 1850 the Fugitive Slave law was passed by Congress. 
Under its provisions, slave hunting in the North became pro- 

Within the first year after the law became operative, there 
were more fugitive slaves seized in the North than had been 
captured in the preceding sixty years. This is very fully set 
forth in Horace Greely's Irrepressible Conflict, and in the 
Court records. 

Great brutality was used in this business, and many men 
and women with their families were taken from their homes in 
the North, even where they had lived here peacably for twenty 
or thirty years, and raised their families here — and they were 
returned to slavery, — the individuals being sold to different 
owners and permanently separated. 

A number of sensational cases attracted wide attention — 
not a few victims committing suicide to escape the horrors of a 
return to slavery. 

The Dred Scott case which began in 1852, and was held 
back until after the Presidential election of 1854 for fear that 
it would defeat Buchanan, caused a fresh outburst in the free 
States against slavery. The Dred Scott case is so little known 
now, that its bearing is not generally recognized. Dred Scott 


was a slave owned by Dr. Emerson, an army surj^-con. In 1834 

the doctor was transferred to Rock Island in Illinois, and took 
his slave with him. Major Taliaferro, also of the army, was 
transferred to the same army post in 1835, and took with him 
his slave woman, Harriet. 

In 1836, both were transferred to Fort Snelling in Minne- 
sota, then a territory. Dred and Harriet had, with the consent 
of their owners, married and had two children, both girls. 
The Doctor later moved to St. Louis, and there afterward sold 
the family, consisting of the parents and the two children. 
Dred subsequently brought suit for his freedom, and the Cir- 
cuit Court of St. Louis decided in his favor. The case was 
appealed to the United States Supreme Court, and Chief Jus- 
tice Taney decided that a slave had no standing in court, and 
reversed the decision of the lower court. 

In his opinion he outraged public sentiment in the North, 
by declaring that residence is a free State did not make a free- 
man; that a negro could not be a citizen, and that the Declar- 
ation of Independence did not include negroes. It was a long 
opinion, and calculated to arouse enmity. 

To this was added the continued violence in Kansas, which 
finally led to John Brown's ill-advised raid in 1859. These 
events added a cumulative flame to public opinion, which was 
drifting toward civil war unconsciously. The pro-slavery peo- 
ple were more bitter than the anti-slavery people, but there 
was as much determination on one side as there was on the 
other, and out of that determination the L^nderground Rail- 
way gained force and popularity. 

The enactment by the British Parliament in 1833 of a law 
which provided for the abolition of slavery in all British Colo- 
nies, was preceded by eloquent speeches whose winged words 
carried hope to many victims of man's inhumanity to man, and 
negroes in the vSouth learned that freedom would be theirs if 
they could set their feet on British soil. Prior to this there 
had been sporadic escapes, and many fugitives had secured 
homes in the northern States, but each knew that danger lurked 
in unexpected places, while many were recaptured, and re- 
turned to servitude more galling because of the taste of free- 
dom that had been enjoyed. 

The abolition of slavery in the British Colonies made Can- 
ada the Mecca of the hopes which were cherished among the 


slaves, and helped to give direction to their efforts to escape, 
and to the assistance required by their sympathizers in the 
northern States, 

Thus there were two currents in abolition thought ; — lines 
of faith and lines of work ; and in looking back on a closed past, 
it is evident that these lines coalesced after the Presidential 
campaign of 1844. Many of the Abolitionists were willing to 
risk their lives and their property in the cause of humanity, 
and they found all of the common faith ready to aid in money 
or kind, in maintaining lines of communication between slav- 
ery and freedom. 

It was the passage of the Fugitive Slave law in September 
1850 that made the U.G.R.R. popular and gave it national 

This law provided that any United States Commission 
could surrender a colored man or woman to any one who 
claimed the negro as a slave ; that the negro could not give test- 
imony; that citizens were commanded to aid slave hunters, as 
a sheriff's posse is directed to assist in the search for an 
escaped murderer, and it provided fine and imprisonment for 
those who prevented recapture, or who harbored runaway 
slaves. It also provided for civil as well as criminal procedure, 
and that damages up to the assessed value of the slave, could 
be collected from those who aided an escape, as well as a fine 
and imprisonment. Rewards were offered for the capture of 
runaways, and shifty and shiftless men in the "neck of travel" 
formed bands to catch slaves. The efforts of these slave catch- 
ers but caused extra precautions in conducting fugitives, 
and enlarged the number of contributors to the fund that paid 
for clothing, railroad fare, and other expenses. 

The leakage from slavery extended all along the Pennsyl- 
vania border, though the short cut across Deleware from the 
Chesapeake and the banks of the Susquehanna were favored 
routes. All these minor routes led to New Jersey, where 
there were four regular lines of communication, all converging 
in Jersey City. ; * 

The most important, because the m»st travelled route be- 
gan at Camden, where Rev. T. C. Oliver received the fugitives 
from Philadelphia, a convergent point for many routes extend- 
ing far south into slave area. Mr. Oliver in person or by dep- 
uty took the fugitives by the river road to Burlington, known 


on the route as Station A. There John Coleman, Robert 
Evans, Enoch Middleton, and Samuel Stevens provided food, 
shelter and transportation. They also provided raiment where 
required, especially shoes — for many of the fugitives arrived 
barefoot or nearly so, or else had the yellow split- leather shoes 
which were provided for slaves in the South. These shoes 
were not only cheap, but served to disting-uish the slave. 

From Burlington to Bordentown through Mercer County 
to Princeton, there were many Quaker farmers all ready to 
aflford food and shelter in case of bad weather or pursuit. The 
principal agents in this section were J. J. Earl, Elias Conove 
and Bush B. Plumley. 

From Princeton to New Brunswick was a short stage, but 
it was considered dangerous because spies and slave catchers 
watched the bridge over the Raritan River, and notified their 
employers at points beyond. Jonathan Freedlyn, and Adam 
Sichler were the main station agents in New Brunswick to 
whom the runaways were delivered. Cornelious Cornell who 
lived near the bridge, acted as scout for the line, and warned 
those who forwarded the fugitives of the presence of spies or 

In describing this section of the route, Francis B. Lee in 
his history of New Jersey said — "North of the Raritan River 
the system of the Underground Railway was diversified. Of 
minor routes, some passed around Metuchen and Rahway lead- 
ing to Elizabethport. However, after the slave chasers gath- 
ered there so thickly, the extension went around Newark and 
thence to New York." 

When there was too much risk on the bridge over the 
Raritan, the wagons were sent down to Perth Amboy, or skiffs 
were used for crossing the river below the bridge. This detour 
made fresh stations, but their locations and the owners are now 

The second route started at Salem, about forty miles be- 
low Philadelphia. This was an independent route for about 
sixty miles, with its own agents and stopping places, merging 
with the main line at Bordentown. It was made in three 
stages; the first ending at Woodbury, the second at Evesham's 
Mount, and the third at Bordentown. This route was well 
known to the slaves along the Chesapeake, who reached the 
Deleware river at various points, and were carried to Salem, 


where the Rev. T. C. Oliver and Abigail Goodwin took charge 
of them. Miss Goodwin confined her personal expenditure to 
the barest necessities in order to provide food and raiment for 
the fugitives, and her connection with the Society of Friends 
gave her means for disposing of escaping slaves with speed and 
safety. She received gifts of money and clothing from many 
sources, and always had supplies for men, women and children. 

She was a liberal contributor, and a model of sustained 
self-sacrifice. She died November a, 1867, aged seventy-three 

The third route began at Greenwich, the little town on the 
Deleware that raised a monument a few weeks ago to the patri- 
ots who destroyed a cargo of tea about the time that Boston 
had its Tea Party, before the Revolution. The fugitives for 
this route arrived by boat from the vicinity of Dover, and col- 
ored lights were used as signals of approach and identification. 
These blue and yellow lights were shown from boats manned 
by volunteer watchers, and the exchange was made out of sight 
from land. This route led by Swedesboro and Mount Holly 
to Burlington, and thence by the main line. 

The visible workers on the Greenwich line in Cumberland 
County were Levin Bond, Ezekiel Cooper, Nathaniel Murray, 
J. R. Sheppard, Thomas B. Sheppard, Alges Stanford, and 
Julia Stanford. In Glouscester County, on both the Salem and 
Greenwich line, the workers who are known were William 
Douden and two colored men, Pompey Lewis and Jubilee 
Sharper. In Mercer County the active agents were Elias Con- 
ove, J. J. Earl, and Rush B. Plumley. In Union County 
Joseph Garrison was the leader. There were many more who 
were active agents, but there are no records to be found that 
show who they were, how the messages were sent, or where 
the fugitives were lodged and supplied with necessities. Orig- 
inally there were letters, later there was cypher code, but the 
passage of the Fugitive Slave law not only made these hazard- 
ous, but made it necessary to destroy every scrap of writing 
that could become evidence. The more active workers even 
quit attending abolition meetings to avoid even the appear- 
ance of interest in the cause. This obnoxious law made it eas- 
ier and more profitable for the slave hunters as well as more 
dangerous for the active abolitionists. 

The absence of records makes research along this line of 


inquiry difficult ; for the most diligfent search fails to reveal 
an5-one who was engaged in aiding the runaways. They have 
all gone to their reward, and presumably have been joined by 
those who benefited by their assistance and sympathy. 

It is known that at many points between New Brunswick 
and Jersey City there were men and women who watched for 
danger, and whose warnings caused delay or divergence. There 
were many barns along the route that afforded shelter, — but 
how the warnings were conveyed, and by whom, must remain 
unknown. It is probable that many of these shelters were 
similar to that provided in my father's barn. This was off the 
main line, about three miles from Newark. It had a sleeping 
place in the loft behind the hay, supplied with horse blankets, 
and hay for bedding. When the retreat was in use, a ladder 
was placed in a sheltered position against the back of the barn, 
thus offering a means of escape if enemies entered below. This 
shelter was used when danger at the Passaic or Hackensack 
bridges made a detour of Newark desirable. The fugitive ar- 
rived at the barn sometime during the night, frequently with- 
out notice. Food was carried into the loft very early in the 
morning, and the children on the farm were notified to keep 
away from the barn during the day. They soon learned when 
there was "a fresh coon" in the barn, and were early impressed 
with the need for knowing nothing about the presence of these 
strange visitors. 

After sleeping the most of the day in strict seclusion, the 
fugitives were forwarded to Jersey City, where John Everett, 
or Peter James Phillips, or some agent of theirs, took them in 

From Jersey City the negroes were taken to the Hudson 
River Passenger Station at the corner of Church and Chambers 
Streets, just in time for a night train for Albany. If this sta- 
tion were too closely watched, the fugitives were taken to a 
house on West Broadway where Lewis Tappan and his brother 
Arthur conducted a Sunday School for adult negroes. This af- 
forded temporary shelter until the coast was clear. 

Frequently it was decided to ship the negroes to river 
ports up the Hudson, and the small sloops and schooners, and 
even the coal-l^den canal boats were utilized for this purpose. 
Some of these small vessels arrived at Harsmius Cove at the 
foot of Washington Street — with brick and building material 


for Washburn & Campbell; some brought lumber for Samuel 
Davidson at the foot of Montgomery Street, — his wharf being 
about where the First National Bank now stands. Some brought 
lumber for Morrel and Van der Beek, in the neighborhood of the 
foot of Steuben or Morgan Street. 

The canal boats which were towed to up-river points loaded 
with coal, were sometimes used, — the skippers being willing to 
run some risk for the sake of the free labor offered, — a very de- 
sirable item in windy weather on a canal boat, which requires 
constant pumping because of limited freeboard. Whether 
each shipment was a separate transaction with the skipper, or 
was known to the principals, must remain a mystery. It seems 
probable that they knew of it, but preferred not to acknow- 
ledge it, for prudence dictated seeming ignorance. 

The general route led by the Newark or Belleville turn- 
pike along Newark Avenue to the ferry, and thence to the 
railroad station in New York. Spies watched the wagons 
arriving after dark, and the necessity of paying ferriage on the 
cargo made it compulsory for drivers to divulge to the ferry- 
master that there were passengers in the covered vehicle. 
Sometimes the spies caught sight of the fugitives, and cap- 
tures and escapes were frequent. For this reason, there were 
always men in the crowd who knew how to guide the fugitives, 
and there were runways known to these guides which led to 

Sometimes the negroes were hurried to the home of Dr. 
Henry Holt in Washington Street, where a rear entrance gave 
egress on Plymouth Street, and friends directed the hunted 
creatures to New York by way of the Hoboken ferry to Bar- 
clay Street. Sometimes they were led to the foot of Wash- 
ington Street, or to the lumber yard wharf near the ferry; 
sometimes they were taken to the foot of Hudson Street, and 
hidden in the coal boats. Mr. Daniel Van Winkle of our Soci- 
ety was a witness to one of these escapes, where the guides 
shook off the pursuers and reached a coal-laden boat discharg- 
ing a cargo, where the runaway was placed in a small, cave- 
like compartment beneath the cabin of the boat, the entrance 
to which was then covered with coal ; there, half smothered by 
coaldust, the fugitive remained in hiding until the pursuit 
ceased, and he could be dug out and started again on his way 
to freedom. 


The general feeling in Jersey City was adverse to the 
slaves, and to abolitionists. The anti slavery sentiment was 
confined to the Whig party, a political organization that out- 
lived its usefulness, but which in dissolution gave birth to a new 
party, that drew from the old, elements to create a strong or- 

The anti-slavery tendency of the new party caused it to be 
known as the Black Republican party, and in the beginning, 
it attracted all the animosity which had been concentrated on 
the abolitionists. There was such a predominance of pro-slav- 
ery sentiment in Jersey City that it even affected the churches, 
and these closed their doors to all who wished to speak for the 
slaves, or who denounced the attitude of Congress and the 
Courts in connection with the Fugitive Slave law. The revul- 
sion of sentiment produced by the outrageous methods used in 
enforcing this law, and especially the decision in the Dred 
Scott case, made recruits for the abolitionists, and created a 
desire for a new church where freedom would be the keynote. 
This led to the organization of a Church Society under Congre- 
gational rules in 1857, out of which came the Tabernacle, a 
church that filled a very important part in this city's history 
for a couple of decades. The number of persons who sympa- 
thized with this movement was growing at that time, but the 
number of those who were willing to assume the risks involved 
in openly espousing the cause, was small ; and the temporary or- 
ganization worshipped in hired halls — first in the Lyceum, then 
in Park Hall, in Franklin Hall, and back to the Lyceum; fin- 
ally, to the old church at the corner of Grove and Montgomery 
Streets. It was only through the courtesy of the Hedding M. 
E. Church that a church edifice was procured to install the first 
pastor of the Congregational Church, and it was not till May, 
1863, that the congregation completed its building, and the Tab- 
ernacle became the most popular church in the city. By that 
time the great war had changed the opinions of the people, and 
every family had representatives at the front with the colors, 
and every church in the city had a flag flying to attest its loy- 
alty to the Union. The Emancipation Proclamation had been 
issued, and the need for an Underground Railway had forever 

How many runaways were carried over the Jersey City 
and Hoboken ferries is not known. It is certain that many of 


the individual operators had passed a thousand fugitives 
through their care, and that, of something over one hundred 
thousand slaves who were aided to freedom, more than sixty 
thousand went through Jersey City. The fact that, as I have 
said, great secrecy was necessary, and that the movement was 
carried on after dark, and in covered wagons, prevented the 
general public from knowing the extent of the business. 

The difficulties and dangers to which the small group in 
Jersey City were exposed can only be imagined now. Often, 
by the various routes, twenty-five or thirty would reach them 
in a single night. These had to be provided for with food and 
shelter, and with transportation ; in cold weather, it also meant 
extra clothing. 

John Everett's house became a base of supplies, but his re- 
sources as well as his ingenuity were frequently taxed to the 
utmost, in order to provide for his guests. The railroad fare 
alone sometimes calling for more than a hundred dollars in a 
single night. But the chain of contributors kept him supplied, 
though who these contributors were, was not always known 
even to him. 

They are all gone now — these men whose courage and de- 
votion had no record save in a consciousness of a duty well 
done; whose belief in a higher law made them defy the written 
statute, but many a grave in a southern battlefield holds all 
that remains of their disciples and assistants, for they truly 
sowed the seed that armed a nation of free men, and led the 
way to Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, and the constitu- 
tional amendment that forever removed the stigma of Slavery 
from our country, and made our flag to fly over the homes of 
the brave, and the land of the free. 




The Historical Society of 
Hudson County. 

No. 4. 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


President : 

F/ce Presidents : 
l3t-REV. C. BRETT. 
2d— JOHN W. HECK. 

Trcasi<rcr : 

Correspondi7i}; Si'cretary . 

] .ihrariati : 

Recording Secretary : 

Assistant l.tht arian : 

Board of Governors : 

Alexander McLean 1 
M. J. CuRRiE ;• 

W. J. Davis j 

W. R. Barricklo 
David Ramsey 
Vreeland Tompkins J 

John J. Voorhees 1 
1910 DeWitt Van Buskirk !- 1911 
David R. Daly J 

Dr. G. K. Dickinson 
\ 1912 Benj. L. Stowe 





Paper read before "The Historical Society of Hudson County" 

by Daniel Van Winkle, 
No. 4. Tuesday evening, December 22, 1908. 

^^\{E EVENTS that led up to the struggle for Indepen- 
Vv dence on the part of the Colonists in revolutionary times 
are too well known to need repetition at this time, except in 
so far as they relate to local conditions. 

In its inception, the most earnest advocates did not con- 
template a separation from the mother country, but recogniz- 
ing the injustice with which 'they were treated by the Home 
Government, the Colonists asked only the enactment of such 
laws as would protect them in their rights of property, and 
government through representation. The unwise and arbitrary 
action of the Royal Government brought to a culmination a re- 
sult that was at first scarcely dreamed of. Like many other 
great events of history "Man's inhumanity to man" developed 
a condition fraught with far reaching consequences, which re- 
sulted in the uplift and betterment of mankind. 

The Rebellion of the American colonies against the gov- 
ernment of Great Britain was no sudden uprising, or the spas- 
modic effort of an inflamed mob because of some fancied injust- 
ice; but was the result of calm, deliberate judgment after ear- 
nest and continuous efforts to harmonize the existing differen- 
ces with the Crown. Throughout all the proceedings of the 
Council and General Assembly of New Jersey, as well as in the 
expressions of public speakers in conventions held by the peo- 
ple, there is found an expressed unwillingness to sever the re- 
lations between the Colonies and the Mother Country and lam- 
enting any necessity that would force such action: Yet at the 
same time the demand for the recognition of their rights, and 
correction of existing abuses, was adhered to with firm deter- 

As early as 1768 the following petition and address to the 
King was adopted by the House of Assembly of N. J. Touch- 
ing in its pathos, and almost humiliating in its expressions of 
loyalty, it shows the earnestness of the petitioners, and their 
aversion to throwing off their allegiance to the Home Govern- 

"We your Majesty's loyal subjects, the representatives of 
your colony of New Jersey, confiding in Your Majesty's pater- 
nal affection for your people, humbly implore permission to ap- 
proach the throne and to present our supplications in behalf of 
ourselves and our constituents, Your Majesty's faithful and af- 
flicted subjects. 

"Before that happy period in which the Empire of the Brit- 
ish Dominions was, by favor of Divine Providence, for the feli- 
city of those Dominions, and of Europe in general established 
in your illustrious House: our ancestors with the consent of the 
Crown removed from their native land, then abounding in all 
blessings — but that perfect security of liberty and that merci- 
ful spirit of administration which renders your royal family so 
justly dear to your remotest subjects — ventured with their 
helpless relatives, through a vast ocean and trusted themselves 
with their tender companions, to the inhospitable and unknown 
wilderness of this New World, the horrors of which no consid- 
eration could render tolerable, but the prospect of enjoying 
here that complete freedom which Britains never thought could 
be purchased at too great a price. 

"The subjects thus emigrating, brought with them as in- 
herent in their persons, all the rights and liberties of natural 
born subjects within the parent State. In consequence of these, 
a government was formed under which they have been as con- 
stantly exercised and enjoyed by the inhabitants, and repeat- 
edly and solemnly recognized and confirmed by your Royal 
predecessors and the Legislature of Great Britain. 

"One of these rights and liberties vested in the people of 
this colony, is the privilege of being exempt from any taxation 
but such as is imposed on them by themselves, or by their rep- 
resentatives, and this they esteem so invaluable that they are 
fully persuaded no other can exist without it. Your Majesty's 
signal distinction is, that you reign over freemen: and your pe- 
culiar glory, that you reign in such a manner that your subjects, 
the disposers of their own property, are ready and willing when- 
ever your service calls upon them, with lives and fortunes, to 
assert your cause" .... 

"We beseech Your Majesty to do them the justice to be- 
lieve, that they can never fail on any future occasion to demon- 
strate their devotion to Your Majesty, nor that they can resign 
without unutterable shame and grief, the honor and satisfaction 


of voluntarily and cheerfully expressinjij in the strongest manner 
their circumstances will admit, their unfeigned affection to Vour 
Majesty's person, their distinguished duty to your government, 
and their inflexible resolution to maintain your authority and 
defend your Dominion. 

"Penetrated with these sentiments, this your people, with 
the utmost concern and anxiety, observe that duties have been 
lately imposed on them by Parliament for the sole and express 
purpose of raising a revenue. This is a taxation upon them 
from which they conceive the right to be protected by that 
acknowledged principle of the Constitution: that freemen can- 
not be legally taxed but by themselves, or by their representa- 
tives: And that they are represented in Parliament, they not 
only cannot allow, but are convinced that from their local cir- 
cumstances they never can be. 

"Most Gracious Sovereign. The incessant exertion of your 
truly royal cares to procure your people a prosperity equal to 
your love of them, encourages us with all humility to pray that 
Your Majesty's clemency will be graciously pleased to take into 
consideration our unhappy circumstances and to afford us such 
relief as Your Majesty's wisdom shall judge to be most proper." 

Signed, Cortlandt Skinner, 
Speaker House of Assembly, N.J., May 6, 1768. 

Such were the sentiments of the people of New Jersey many 
times reiterated, emphasizing continuously their loyalty to their 
King and asking only guarantee of that liberty and justice, that 
was of right accorded to every British subject. Notwithstand- 
ing this temperate attitude, their petitions were successively 
rejected not only, i)ut new burdens imposed and exacted, until, 
weary of conciliatory temporizing, demands and threats on the 
part of the Colonists supplanted remonstrance and petitions. 
These led to retaliatory measures by Parliament affecting the 
Colonies, and the Boston Port Act served to hasten their consol- 

Gov. Franklin of New Jersey wrote to the Earl of Dart- 
mouth under date of May 31, 1774: "It is difficult to foresee 
what will be the consequences of the Boston Port Act. It seems 
as if the merchants of Philadelphia and New York at their late 
meeting were inclined to assist or co-operate with those of Bos- 
ton in some degree. A Congress of members of the several 
Houses of Assembly has been proposed in order to agree on 

seme measures on the present occasion. The Virginia Assem- 
bly some time ago appointed a committee of correspondence to 
correspond with all the other Assemblies on the continent, 
which example has been followed by every other House of 
Representatives. I was in hopes that the Assembly of this 
Province would not have gone into the measure, and I took 
some pains with several of the prmcipal members for that pur- 
pose, which I had reason to think would have been attended 
with success. For though they met on the loth of November, 
yet they avoided taking the matter into consideration . . until 
the 8th of February, and then I believe they would not have 
gone into it, but that the Assembly of New York had just be- 
fore resolved to appoint a committee, and they did not choose 
to appear singular." 

In this manner was the real sentiment of the people mis- 
understood or at least misinterpreted and their temper under- 
estimated. On the 2ist of July following, a Convention of the 
Committees of the several Counties of New Jersey was held at 
New Brunswick to nominate delegates to the Congress to be 
held in the city of Philadelphia. There were seventy-two 
members present at this Convention, and the following reso- 
lution was adopted: "That the Inhabitants of this province 
are and ever have been, firm and unshaken in their loyalty to 
His Majesty King George III, and that they detest all thoughts 
of an independence on the Crown of Great Britain. Accord- 
ingly we do in the most sincere and solemn manner recognize 
and acknowledge His Majesty." 

The people of Bergen, June 25, 1774, adopted the following: 
"The meeting being deeply affected with the calamitous con- 
dition of the Inhabitants of Boston, etc. 

"Resolve, that we think it our greatest happiness to live 
under the government of the illustrious House of Hanover" 
still "we conceive the late acts of Parliament declarative of 
their rights to impose internal taxes on their subjects of Amer- 
ica, as manifold encroachments on our national rights and 
privileges as British subjects, and as inconsistent with the idea 
of an American Assembly. 

"We acknowledge King George III to be our lawful and 
rightful sovereign, to whom under his royal protection in our 
fundamental rights and privileges we owe, and will render all 
due faith and allegiance. We think the several late acts of Par- 

liament for shutting up the Port of Boston — invading the char- 
ter rights of the Province of Massachusetts Bay — and subjecting 
supposed offenders to be sent for trial to other colonies, or to 
Great Britain — the sending over an armed force to carry the 
same into effect and thereby reducing many thousands of in- 
nocent and loyal inhabitants to poverty and distress— are not 
only subversive of the undoubted rights of His Majesty's Am- 
erican subjects, but also repugnant of the common principles 
of humanity and justice." 

Even at this late date it is readily perceived how repugnant 
the people were to openly declare a separation from the moth- 
er country. At the meeting alluded to, delegates to represent 
N. J. to attend the Continental Congress to be held at the city 
of Philadelphia on or about the first of the following Septem- 
ber were appointed for the purpose as stated, "to meet, consult, 
and advise with the Deputies from the other Colonies and to 
determine upon all such prudent and lawful measures as may 
be judged most expedient for the Colonies immediately and 
unitedly to adopt, in order to obtain relief for an oppressed 
people and the redress of our general grievances." 

A petition to the King was adopted by the Congress at 
Philadelphia and rejected. News of the affairs at Lexington 
and Concord were received at New York April 23d, and forward- 
ed at once to Trenton and Philadelphia, and on May 31, 1775, 
following resolution and circular was adopted in Provincial 
Congress, and sent to the several counties of N. J. 

"In Provincial Congress, Trenton, N. J., June i, 1775. 

Anxiously desirous to promote as far as possible a union 
among the inhabitants of this Colony, we have thought proper 
to recommend to them the enclosed association which we desire 
may be immediately signed by the good people of your town- 
ship .... 

■'We the subscribers, freeholders and inhabitants of the 

Township of in the County and Province of New 

Jersey, having long viewed with concern the avowed design of 
the ministry of Great Britain to raise a revenue in America, be- 
ing deeply affected with the cruel hostilities already commenced 
in Massachusetts Bay for carrying that arbitrary design into 
execution: convinced that the rights and privileges in America 
depends under God, on the firm union of its inhabitants, do 
with hearts abhorring slavery and ardently wishing for a re- 


conciliation with our Parent State on constitutional principles: 
solemnly associate and resolve under the sacred ties of virtue, 
honor and love to our country, that we will personally, and as 
far as our influence extends, endeavor to support and carry into 
execution whatever measures may be recommended by the 
Continental and Provincial Congress for defending our Consti- 
tution and preserving the same inviolate," with a further 
agreement "to support civil officers and observe the directions 
of the Committee acting according to the Resolutions of the 
Provincial and Continental Congress." 

These were endorsed and adopted by the different townships 
of N. J. 

It is interesting to note here an extract from a letter of 
the Earl of Dartmouth to Gov. Franklin of N. J., dated June 
7) 1775. which explains itself. 

"We have received an account through the channel of a 
private ship sent on purpose, as we conceive, by the Provincial 
Congress assembled, of a skirmish between a detachment of 
the King's troops and some rebels in the neighborhood of Bos- 
ton: this account, as you will readily believe, is made up with 
a view to create alarm here and answer the ends of faction, but 
as we have not yet any intelligence from General Gage, I can 
only say with great satisfaction that it has failed of its object 
and has had no other effect than to excite that just indignation 
that every honest man feels, at the measures adopted in North 
America for supporting by acts of open rebellion a resistance 
to the laws and authority of this kingdom." 

On the 4th of July, 1775, Gov. Franklin wrote to the Earl 
of Dartmouth from Perth Amboy: "It is reported that a 
thousand of the New Jersey militia are ordered to march to the 
city of New York to join the common people now there under 
the command of one Wooster . . . Ever since the Lexington 
affair, as Your Lordship will see by the public papers, hostile 
measures seem to engross the attentions of the whole conti- 

In his reply the Earl of Dartmouth states: "In this situa- 
tion therefore it is the King's firm resolution that the most 
vigorous efforts should be made, both by sea and land, to re- 
duce his rebellious subjects to obedience." 

Aug. 2, 1775, Gov. Franklin notified the Earl of Dart- 
mouth of the formal declaration and preparation for carrying 

on war. And on Sept. 5 following-, complained that hi.s des- 
patches were opened at the post office, and that the Provincial 
Congress, which lately met at Trenton in this Colony, had taken 
upon themselves the entire command of the militia and ap- 
pointed officers. That Lord Stirlinj^-, though one of His Majes- 
ty's Council for this Province, has accepted a colonel's com- 
mission from the Provincial Congress of New Jersey. 

A strange infatuation seemed to pos.sess the minds of the 
English Ciovernment and officials. From the present stand- 
point it would appear as though a judicious and conciliatory 
policy might have avoided the strife, and after effects, result- 
ing from the unwise and arbitrary action of the Home Gov- 
ernment. There seemed to be on their part a stubborn unwill- 
ingness to realize the actual conditions, and although the Colo- 
nists repeatedly expressed their loyalty and presented their 
grievances in a respectful manner, their appeals were unheeded 
and petitions disregarded. As late as March 28, 1776, Gov. 
Franklin of New Jersey, even after his arrest by order of Lord 
Stirling, wrote to Secretary Lord George Germain as follows: 
"I have been told that a majority of the Provincial Congress, 
which lately met at Brunswick, appeared to be inclined to adopt 
an independency should it be recommended by the Continent- 
al Congress at Philadelphia, but I do not imagine that would 
be the case with tlie present members of the New Jersey As- 
sembly. Notwithstanding it iiiust be allowed that the minds 
of a great number of the people have been much changed in 
that respect, since the publication of a most inflammatory 
pamphlet in which that horrid measure is strongly and artfully 

And yet on this very date the Committee of Safety an- 
nounced: "Considering the critical situation of the city and 
province of New York, we do order and resolve that three 
battalions of militia be drafted out of the militia of this Prov- 
ince, included in which are from Middlesex 100 men, from 
Monmouth 140 men, from Essex 220 men, and from Bergen 
200 men, forming one of the battalions," On the 29th of June 
the British fleet appeared at Sandy Hook and shortly after 
landed the troops on Staten Island. Gen. Howe writes to the 
Home Government: "We landed on this island to the great 
joy of a most loyal people, long suffering on that account un- 
der the oppression of the rebels stationed among them." 


"There is great reason to expect a numerous body of the 
inhabitants to join the army from New York and the Jerseys 
and Connecticut." 

During these activities the General Congress at Philadel- 
phia was discussing what John Adams pronounced "The 
greatest question that will ever be debated in America and as 
great as ever was, or will be, debated among men," and on the 
2nd of July passed unaminously a resolution that "these Colo- 
nies are and of right ought to be free and independent." 

The die was now cast, and although the action of Congress 
had been feared, as well as anticipated, it was welcomed by 
the patriots as extinguishing the hopes of those obstructionists 
who were holding out hopes of a reconciliation as a justification 
for their inaction and indifference toward the patriot cause. 
Washington accepted it as ending the perplexing hindrances to 
military action : because of the prevailing uncertainty, and is- 
sued an order stating "that this important event will serve as 
a fresh incentive to every officer and soldier to act with fidel- 
ity and courage." 

Meanwhile the British forces were augmenting, and an 
army of 30,000 men was gathered in the vicinity of New York. 

Events now followed each other with great rapidity. Wash- 
ington had accepted and assumed command of the Continental 
Army, troops were being enrolled and organized, and prepara- 
tions were hastened to resist the expected descent upon New 
York City by the British fleet. In pursuance of a plan of de- 
fence determined upon. Lord Stirling was assigned to the com- 
mand of the forces on the west bank of the Hudson. That part 
of Hudson County known as Paulus Hook was recognized 
from its location and conformation to be an important point of 
vantage. It was a point of upland extending out some distance 
into the Bay and comprising practically the territory now con- 
tained within the boundary of Essex Street on the South, Hud- 
son to Morris on the East, thence irregularly to and along 
Green to just above the Pennsylvania Railroad, thence in a 
northwesterly course to about the junction of Warren Street 
and Newark Avenue, and thence along Warren to Essex, the 
southerly boundary line. 

This section was almost isolated, being separated from 
the high ground whereon Bergen was located, by deep marsh- 
es, which were intersected with salt holes and lagoons, and at 


-certain stajijes of the tide was entirely covered with water and 
at all times difficult to cross. A short distance to the west a 
-sand hill rose from the marsh in the territory now bounded by 
Barrow, York, Brunswick Streets and Railroad Avenue, while 
to the North were the hills of Aharsimus, reaching from about 
Fifth Street to the Erie Railroad, and from Henderson to 
Cole. In the distance Castle Point at Hoboken loomed up 
against the horizon, while to the south. Mill Creek Point and 
Communipaw, with its few boueries, connected with the main 
land at Bergen by a narrow neck of sand, could be seen. 

Lord Stirling, recognizing the importance of holdmg this 
territory, determined upon the building of fortifications at Pau- 
lus Hook and, in order to establish communication with the 
main land, he proposed a good road from Powles Hook to 
Brown's Ferry on the Hackensack River,near the present Plank 
Road bridge, and also one for the northern end of the County 
from Weehawken to the Hackensack River. To guard against 
the danger of incursions by the enemy from Staten Island, he 
suggested that fortifications be erected on Bergen Neck. These 
suggestions were acted upon, and a portion of the Bergen, Es- 
sex and Middlesex militia were assigned to the work. 

Hugh Mercer of Virginia, a warm friend of Washington, 
and his associate during the disastrous Braddock campaign, 
threw in his fortunes with the American army. He was an 
ardent patriot, a member of the Committee of Safety, and had 
been instrumental in the organization of the Virginia militia. 
On the 5th of June Congress granted him the commission of 
Brigadier General. The flying camp was about being formed 
in New Jersey, and the Pennsylvania militia was being trans- 
ferred to that State. Lord Stirling having been transferred to 
New York, General Washington gave the command to Mercer 
and ordered him to Paulus Hook to receive and assign the raw 
troops as they arrived. Mercer entered upon his duties with 
his accustomed energy, and through frequent consultations 
with Governor Livingston, who resided at Elizabethtown, con- 
certed plans to repel the expected invasion. He at once 
strengthened and improved the fortifications at Paulus Hook, 
and early became impressed with the necessity of watchfulness 
over the enemy stationed on Staten Island, because of the fa- 
cility with which they might from that point, make incursions 
in New Jersey. He disposed his flying camp to prevent such 


action. Redoubts were thrown up on Bergen Neck, on the 
high ground located at about 45th Street and Avenues B and C 
in Bayonne. A fort was here likewise erected, which was- 
maintained throughout the war — although held for only a short 
time by the American forces — until the evacuation of Paulus 
Hook. He also stationed guards at the ferries on the Hacken- 
sack and Passaic, and as the Pennsylvania militia arrived, they 
were assigned to the post on Bergen Neck. 

General Mercer, discovering that aid and information was 
being freely furnished by the inhabitants of Bergen to the 
British forces on Staten Island, stationed a force at Bergen 
Point and issued orders that no intercourse should be held be- 
tween these points, but the temptation to turn their farm pro- 
duce and provision, into golden crowns led many to disregard 
these orders, and as opportunity oiTered the sturdy burghers 
under cover of the night, continued their nefarious traffic re- 
gardless of the penalties threatened, Candor compels us to 
admit, that in the old township of Bergen there were extreme- 
ly few who so deeply sympathized with the patriot cause as to 
forego the opportunities for personal advantage. Nor was this 
lukewarmness and disloyal sentiment confined to our locality, 
for Washington wrote: "The known disaffection of the people 
of Amboy and the treachery of those on vStaten Island, who 
after the fairest professions have shown themselves our most 
inveterate enemies, have induced me to give directions that all 
persons of known enmity and doubtful character should be re- 
moved from those places, " and Governor Livingston stigma- 
tizes his own neighbors as being composed of "unknown, un- 
recommended strangers, guilty-looking Tories, and very knavish 
Whigs." This disloyalty was at the inception of the war one 
of the greatest difficulties confronting the Patriot array, for 
every contemplated movement was in danger of being revealed 
to the enemy, unless carefully concealed. 

And why should we judge them too harshly. Of course, 
from our present standpoint, saturated as we are with a spirit 
of patriotism, we are apt to condemn any course that would 
seem antagonistic to the principles of our liberty as now under- 
stood, but we must remember that at the period to which we 
allude, while the desire for a certain liberty was very general, 
the methods of securing and maintaining such a condition were 
by no means unanimous. As we have seen in all the remon- 


strances and petitions presented to the Home Government, 
there was expressed not only an imwillingness to sever the 
bond that united the Colonies with it, but a desire to continue 
the existing relations, even while demanding a practical recog- 
nition and correction of the injustice to which they were sub- 
jected. There was grave doubt in the minds of many whether 
a stable independent government could be established by the 
Colonies. There were disagreeiuents and controversies among 
the States in regard to their individual rights and an unwilling- 
ness to combine for the general good: and even after the Pro- 
visional Government was formed, it had no authority to en- 
force its own enactments or protect its own people. The cau- 
tious conservativeness of the early settlers of Hudson County 
would naturally cause them to hesitate the risk of losing their 
all, by adherence to a projected policy that had but little chance 
of enforcement. At the very beginning of the strife they saw 
what seemed to be the overwhelming defeat of the American 
army, and in its weakness, its inability to hold or protect the 
territory in which they lived. Their homes, their all, were 
left to the mercy of a foreign soldiery, and is it great wonder 
that they attempted to preserve a neutrality that could not be 
maintained? Being in the possession of and under the control 
of the British, the territory was considered by the Patriot army 
as legitimate groundfor spoilation,andhence through theiraction 
estranged any who may have been favorably inclined. As a 
result the affiliation of the settlers with the Royalist army was 
but natural, and their recognition of, and adherence to the 
English Government to be expected. 

An equal candor, however, compels the assertion that there 
were some, whose love of liberty overbalanced every other con- 
sideration and their names shine forth with a greater lustre by 
reason of the contrast. 

The people of Hudson County were soon to realize that 
actual warfare was commenced. On the 12th of July, 1776, a 
ship of forty-four guns, a frigate of twenty-eight, and three 
tenders got under way at Staten Island and were seen coming 
up the bay. The drums beat to arms, and in a few minutes 
every man was at his station, well provided with all necessities 
for a vigorous defence. As they drew near, the batteries sta- 
tioned at the lower end of New York City opened up a vigorous 
fire, to avoid which, when off Bedloe's Island, the ships veered 


toward the Jersey shore. They here met with a warm recep- 
tion, and the batteries at Paulus Hook opened up a spirited 
lire, which was actively replied to by broadsides from the vessels 
as they passed up the Hudson. Whether on account of unskil- 
ful gunners, or the rapid motion of the ships, but little damage 
was done, the report being "none killed or wounded, and but 
two shots penetrated the house of Verdine Ellsworth, a hotel 
keeper at Paulus Hook." That the ships of war were not so 
fortunate may be seen from an extract from a letter dated at 
Fort Montgomery: "The ships of war in the North River are 
now at Haverstraw. 'Tis evident their designs are frustrated, 
not expecting we were so well prepared to receive them . . . 
The most damage they received was in passing the Battery at 
Powles Hook and the Blue Bell. The cook of one of the 
ships had a leg shot off, and some others were wounded. A 
twelve pounder lodged in the foremast, one came through her 
quarter galley into the cabin, and her shrouds and rigging suf- 
fered much." In this engagement "our troops behaved with 
uncommon bravery," and the steadiness they displayed under 
fire encouraged the Americans to redouble their efforts for suc- 
cessful resistance. The wisdom of General Mercer in posting 
a guard at Bergen Point was shown in the defeat of several 
attempted raids by the British, from their vessels, as well as 
from Staten Island. A despatch dated New York, July 2 2d, 
states: "Yesterday several discharges of cannon and musketry 
was heard in this city, and b}'' the appearance of a cloud of 
smoke over Bergen Point it is imagined our people on the 
Jersey shore have had a skirmish with the enemy from Staten 

And again on July 25th: "Our troops stationed at Bergen 
Point give the ministerial fleet and army some uneasiness by 
firing at the tenders, boats, etc. It so galls and provokes 
them that they return the fire with great fury, but have not 
done the least damage to our people. Last Lord's day a great 
many shot were heard in this city. The occasion was this : a 
barge from the fleet full of men landed on the Point, but were 
opposed and driven off by our troops. A smart fire ensued 
from a tender for a considerable time without doing any injury. ' ' 
Rumors of contemplated attacks from Staten Island were per- 
sistently circulated, and August 2 2d, 1776, a letter from New 
York stated: "This night we have reason to expect the grand 


attack from out "barbarian enemies. The reason why follows: 

the night before last a lad went over to Staten Island, supped 
there with a friend, and got safe back again undiscovered. 
Soon after he went to General Washington, and upon good 
authority reported that the English army amounting to fifteen 
or twenty thousand men, had embarked and were in readiness 
for an engagement . . That the Hessians, being fifteen thous- 
and strong, were to remain on the island and attack Perth 
Amboy, Elizabethtown and Bergen, while the main body were 
doing their best here." 

The enemy delaying the expected attack, General Mercer 
determined to take the initiative and attack the British encamp- 
ment on Staten Island. In this movement he was obliged to 
proceed with great secrecy and caution, so that the enemy 
might not be apprized of his intention, by the Tories who 
abounded in and about Bergen. A detachment of the British 
forces had crossed from Staten Island and succeeded in estab- 
lishing a battery at Constable Hook, on what is now the Stan- 
dard Oil property, and Mercer's plan contemplated a descent 
upon this post. His orders state "that a party was to attempt 
to surprise the enemy's guard on Buskirk's Point, which is on 
the south-east corner of Bergen Point; this party does not seem 
to be large, but it is possessed of two six pounders. The party 
that makes the attack must not go over the causeway or road 
over the meadow, the cannon being in all probability appointed 
to command that pass, but should be provided with some boards 
and proceed in two or three columns over the meadow, where 
they will meet with no other obstructions than a small creek or 
ditch, which they will easily pass with the aid of the boards. 
If this place is carried, a cannonade and bombardment, should 
as soon as possible commence on the ships, a great number of 
which now lie within reach of the place. A cannonade should 
also commence on Bergen Point opposite the church and 
Decker's, where it is said about six hundred men are posted. 
This cannonade with round and grape shot would confuse the 
troops in forming and prevent their succoring the guard at 
Elizabethtown point, or opposing our party who make their 
descent near Shuter's Island . . . The party for these several 
matters should be about seven hundred men beside the rifle- 
men." Unfortunately a fierce storm set in which prevented the 
crossing of the Kills as intended, and defeated the project. 


In the early part of August, Bergen was occupied by Colo- 
nel Bradley's regiment. General Mercer had collected through- 
out East Jersey a considerable number of men, and Washing- 
ton needing reinforcements in New York, wrote him to that 
effect. Mercer replied as follows: "Powles Hook, August 15th, 
1776:" "The points along the shore opposite to Staten Island 
are sufficiently guarded and new troops are daily arriving. If 
you approve, a body of four hundred men, well accoutred, from 
the Delaware Counties, may be stationed at Powles Hook and 
four hundred of the Jerseymen for the flying camp at Bergen 
town : eight hundred men will cross to-day to join you." At 
this time special activity was observed among the British troops 
on Staten Island, and it was conjectured that some decisive 
movement by them was eminent. On the 28th of August 
General Mercer wrote to the President of Congress, from New- 
ark: "On the way yesterday evening General Wooster's Aid- 
de-Camp met me with a few lines from the General, signify- 
ing that it was General Washington's orders that I should 
march with all our army under my command immediately to 
Powles Hook. The necessary orders were sent to Amboy, 
Woodbridge and Elizabethtown last night, and I hope to have 
on Bergen ready to pass over to New York, if required, from 
three to four thousand men. Our whole force including the 
New Jersey militia from Powles Hook to Shrewsbury amounts 
to eight thousand three hundred men . . . What troops I have 
I am pushing on to Bergen, and shall be with them immediate- 

The British had at last decided upon a definite plan of ac- 
tion, and at the very time this letter was written the battle of 
Long Island was raging fiercely. . It is not our purpose to fol- 
low in detail the disastrous results that followed this engage- 
ment. The defeat, and successful retreat of the American 
army across the East River, their brief occupation of New York 
City, the successive engagements there, are all matters of 
familiar history. A fort had been commenced on the New 
Jersey shore, opposite Fort Washington, to aid in preventing 
the passing and repassing of hostile ships. It was named Fort 
Constitution, and was supported by a strong detachment from 
the flying camp entrenched in its vicinity. 

The fate of New York City was now evident. Preparations 
for its capture and occupancy were completed by the British 

commander, and the waters of both the East and North Rivers 

bore the vessels of the fleet into commanding positions for 
aiding- the design, "(^n the morning of the 15th of September, 
1776, the Asta and two other ships of war proceeded up the 
North River, but were roughly handled by our battery at 
Powles Hook, and the next morning by daylight, as reported, 
the Asia came down much faster than she went up, three sliips 
of war being nearly all destroyed by four of our fire ships that 
ran in among them, and nothing prevented their total destruc- 
tion but a gale of wind that sprung up at that instant." The 
energy with which the American army, even under the threat- 
ening aspects, carried on their defensive operations, frustrated 
the enemies' intention of dividing the Colonies by obtaining 
full control of the Hudson. 

Congress decided that Fort Washington "should be re- 
tained as long as possible." It was strongly reinforced and 
Fort Constitution opposite — afterward called Fort Lee — 
strengthened. A temporary cessation of hostilities now pre- 
vailed, and Washington was greatly perplexed at the continued 
inaction of the enemy. He admonished General Mercer to 
keep a vigilant watch from the Jersey shore: occasionally he 
crossed over to Fort Constitution and with General Green, who 
had commanded there, and extended his reconnoiteringsdownto 
Powles Hook, to observe what was going on in the city and 
among the enemy's ships. Green, who had been made Major 
Gen. with permission to establish his headquarters at Bergen or 
Basking Ridge, as circumstances might require, was enjoined to 
keep in communication with the main army, so as to secure a 
retreat in case of necessity. It was soon seen, in view of sub- 
sequent military operations, that Powles Hook was untenable, 
and I herewith append an authoritative account of the succeed- 
ing occurrences. 

Powles Hook, September 15, 1776. 

"After Long Island was evacuated, it was judged impos- 
sible to hold the City of New York, and for several days the 
artillery and stores of every kind had been removed, and last 
night the sick were ordered to Newark in the Jersies. but 
most of them could be got no further than this place and 
Hobuck. As there is but one house at each of these places, 
many were obliged to lie in the open air till the morning, and 
their distress, when I walked out at daybreak, gave me a live- 


Her idea of the horror of war than anything I ever met witb 
before: the Commandant ordered them everything for their 
comfort that the place afforded, and immediately forwarded 
them to the place appointed and prepared for them." 

About eight this morning three large ships came to- sail 
and made up toward the Hook. The garrison consisting of 
the 2oth Continental Regiment (Colonel Durkee's) and a regi- 
ment of Jersey militia (Colonel Duychinck's) were ordered into 
our works. Soon after they had taken their posts, the ships 
came up near Jersey shore to avoid our shot from the grand 
battery — the removal of the cannon from which they were ig- 
norant of — and as they passed up the North River kept up an 
incessant fire upon us. Their shot, a great part of which was 
grape, raked the whole Hook, but providentially one horse was 
all the loss we sustained by it. The fire was briskly returned 
from our battery by Captain Dana, who commanded a company 
of the train on this station. It gave me great pleasure to see 
the spirit of the troops around me, who were evidently anima- 
ted by the whistling of the enemy's shot, which often struck 
so near as to cover them with dust. 

About eleven o'clock a furious cannonade was heard a 
little above New York, and before night numbers came over 
from the city, and informed us that it was evacuated by our 
troops, and about sunset we saw the tyrant's flag flying on Fort 
George. Having received intelligence that a number of our 
troops were in the city, and the enemy spread across the island 
above it, two small parties were ordered to assist them in 
making their escape. Two captains with about forty men, two 
brass howitzers and about two tons of military stores were 
brought off by one of them; the other party, consisting of five 
men only, were fired upon by the enemy, when one Jesse 
Squire, of Norwich, was wounded, who together with another 
man fell into their hands. 

1 6th. About two o'clock this morning an attempt was 
made to burn the ships that passed up the North River yester- 
day, and anchored about three miles above us. One of them, 
the Renozvn, of fifty guns, was grappled but broke her grapp- 
ling and came down to us again, another cannonade ensued, 
but no damage was received on our side. The brave Colonel 
Duychinck, who did all he could to retain his men, could now 
keep his regiment no longer, but was obliged to retreat to 


Bergen, from which time Colonel Durkee was left on the Hook 
with only a part of his regiment, consisting of about three 
hundred effective men. 

17th. An express arrived with information that Colonel 
Williams from Connecticut was ordered to reinforce us and 
might be expected the next day, but he was not able to join us 
till our retreat to Bergen the 23d. This day a large quantity 
of lead, musket ball and buck shot was discovered in a sus- 
pected house about a mile and a half above us, and brought 
down to this place and properly secured for the United Colonies. 
Toward night the Renoivn returned back to her station up the 
North River, but kept near the eastern shore to avoid the shot 
from our battery which, however, kept up a brisk fire upon her 
as long as she was within reach. 

20th. The Renoivn returned back again to the fleet, and 
though she passed close in with New York shore, yet as there 
was very little wind, about forty shot from our battery were 
fired at her, many of which took effect. She lay all next day 
upon a careen to repair. 

September 21st, Powles Hook — "At two this morning we 
were waked by the guards, who informed us that New York 
was on fire. As the fire began at the south-east end of the 
city a little east of the grand battery, it was spread by a strong 
south wind, first on the East River and then northward across 
the Broadway, opposite to the old English Church (if I mistake 
not the name) from thence it consumed all before it between 
Broadway and the North River near to the College, laying 
about one third part of the city in ashes . . . had not the wind, 
as it veered to the west died away, the remainder of that nest 
of vipers would have been destroyed. This evening a seaman 
who said he belonged to Providence, and that he was taken and 
obliged to fight against his countrymen on board the Roebuck, 
made his escape by swimming from New York to this place. He 
informed that the men on board the Roebuck were very sickly, 
that they had lost one hundred since they left the Capes of 
Virginia. He also gave notice that preparations had been 
made to attack this post; that a number of large ships were to 
come up and endeavor to silence our batteries, while a large 
body of troops in boats, which we discovered on the opposite 
shore above us, would endeavor to cut off our retreat: that it 

was to have been executed this morning, but the fire preven- 

The abandonment of New York by the American forces, 
and the subsequent occurrences that led to the retreat across 
New Jersey, placed the troops gathered at Paulus Hook and 
Bergen in a very precarious position. The British having con- 
trol of the waters that hemmed in the peninsula on two sides, 
and the possibility of their throwing across the northern por- 
tion a cordon of troops, that would effectually cut off those 
posted below, made their capture almost certain. Washington, 
foreseeing this, when he found his position on the east side 
of the Hudson untenable, ordered the supplies and provisions 
to be made ready for immediate removal. News of a contem- 
plated attack having been received through the medium of 
deserters from the enemies' lines, orders were issued for its 

22d. "As no reinforcement could be sent us, we received 
orders this morning to remove our artillery stores and baggage 
and hold ourselves in readiness to retreat, and before night 
most of them were removed." 

"About 9 A. M. we saw the enemy embarking in flat-bot- 
tomed boats about two miles above us. They appeared in large 
numbers on the shore after their boats, about thirty, were full. 
Four ships at the same time came to sail below and stood up 
towards us, but they soon came to anchor again, and the boats 
which had pushed off, returned back. Had they come at this 
time we must either have retired and left them large quantities 
of artillery stores, or fought their army and navy at the same 
time with our small detachment, and that under every disad- 
vantage, but they thought fit to retire to get more strength, as 
appeared afterward, though they could not be ignorant of our 
weakness, the men being paraded every day in full view of 

23d "At one o'clock p. m., having removed everything of 
value, we were ordered to retreat from the Hook. As soon as 
we began our march, four ships came up and anchored near 
the shore around the Hook. At the same time a great number 
of boats and floating batteries came down from just above New 
York, the latter ran up into the cove (Harsimus) opposite the 
causeway that leads to Bergen. After taking a considerable time 
to see that there was nobody to hurt them, they began a most 


furious cannonade on our empty works, which continued until 
they had wearied themselves. In a word, they dared to come 
much nearer, and displayed the boasted British valor in much 
Ijrighter colors than ever they had, while there remained a 
single man to oppose them." 

"Meanwhile our little battalion retreated with drums Ideat- 
ing and colors flying, to Bergen, and before night the brave 
Britons ventured on shore and took possession of our evacuated 
works, where they have taken every precaution to prevent our 
formidable detachment from returning, and driving them from 
a post which with so great a display of heroism they have got 
possession of." 

"The post we now possess covers the Jersies. Here we are 
reinforced by a number of regiments. More are daily coming 
in. The sick are recovering, the troops in high spirits, and we 
have no fear but we shall be able to maintain our ground 
against all the bandits of George the royal" . 

The army was now advantageously posted on the heights, 
about one mile from the enemy, where entrenchments were 
constructed, the remains of which could be seen at a compara- 
tively recent date near the present line of Baldwin Avenue, 
north of Academy Street. Here they received considerable 
reinforcement. A guard was left at Prior's Mill, which was 
situated on the west side of Mill Creek, which flowed along 
the foot of what was known as the Point of Rocks, a high point 
extending out from Bergen Heights to about where the Penn- 
sylvania Railroad round house now stands, at the crossing of 
the Pennsylvania Railroad by the tracks of the West Shore. 

The capture of Fort Washington on the New York side 
rendered any attempt to obstruct the navigation of the North 
River from Fort Lee useless, and Washington determined to 
withdraw his forces to a more secure place in the interior. He 
ordered all the ammunition and stores to be removed, prepara- 
tory to its abandonment. This was effected almost entirely, 
when earl}' on the morning of the 20th it was discovered that 
tlie enemy had landed in force a few miles above. General 
Green at once sent out troops to hold them in check and noti- 
fied Washington, who wa-; at Hackcnsack. He arrived at the 
urt shortly after, and in order to thwart the design of the 
enemy to cut off the American troops, saw the necessity of an 
immediate retreat to secure the bridge across the Hackensack. 


The troops sent out to check the enemy were recalled, and the 
retreat commenced in all haste. Of necessity much of the bag- 
gage and stores was abandoned, and even the tents were left 
standing and camp kettles over the fire. The van guard of the 
British pressed the American troops hardly, but they succeeded 
in crossing the river without loss and encamped at Hackensack. 
The main forces at Bergen were also withdrawn with the con- 
solation left in a report, "That all grain and military stores 
had been removed, and when we are gone a naked spot is all 
they will find. No other damage will follow except a depres- 
sion of some people's spirits who, unacquainted with places, 
circumstances and the secret reasons for such relinquishments, 
are apt to despond as if everything was lost. We shall leave a 
guard of observation behind us, this may prevent the enemy's 
discovering our removal for a day or two." 

From the time of the evacuation of Paulus Hook until the 
close of the war the present territory of Hudson County was 
practically in the possession of, and under the control of, the 
English, and its proximity to New York prevented any serious 
attempts at its continued occupancy by the American troops. 
Still through the frequent raids of the Patriots, and incursions, 
the British were kept in a constant state of watchfulness and un- 
rest, that prevented extended operations on their own part, or 
in conjunction with the general movements of their army. We 
are therefore confined in great measure to newspaper extracts, 
and reports naturally tinged with royalistic sympathy, for our 
knowledge of events affecting that territory. During the whole 
duration of the war this section was subjected to its devastat- 
ing influences, and our investigations convince us that General 
Sherman's definition of war was just as true in Revolutionary 
times, as during our Civil War. With the withdrawal of the 
American troops, the whole of our territory became under the 
complete control of the British. Although they were as eager to 
secure the supplies and provisions as the remaining inhabitants 
v.-ere to furnish them — of course for compensation — often times 
the vigors of war pressed down upon the latter with great 
severity. Foraging parties were not always actuated by prin- 
ciples of right and justice, and frequently seized without rec- 
ompence those supplies that had been so carefully gathered 
with the hope of pecuniary reward. And then, the frequent 
descents of bands of marauders, connected with neither party 


except as might from time to time favor their efforts for pi un- 
der, wrought havoc with the belongings of the inhabitants. Their 
hf)uses were phindered, tlicir grain and cattle seized and them- 
selves subjected to every indignity. The Refugees stationed at 
Fort Delancy on Bergen Neck were a source of terror. They 
were commanded by Major Ward, who was a notoriously vicifuis 
character, and vented his spite upon any who did not willingly 
yield to his demands. Sometimes these incursions developed 
somewhat ludicrous situations probably not fully realized al- 
ways, by the participants. On at least one occasion a band of 
"tatterdemalions" descended upon those who were attending 
Divine Service at Bergen and compelled an exchange of cloth- 
ing, and the ragged misfits that adorned the persons of some of 
the Dutch burghers excited the risibility, even of their terrified 
"haus vrouws. " At another time, as one of the pretty "■jonk 
vroinvs" was engaged in kneading the dough for the weekly 
bread baking, a party of these marauders suddenly appeared, 
and as usual unceremoniously entered the house. Demanding 
eatables they accosted the maiden in a familiar manner. She 
plainly showed her displeasure, and with mantled cheek and 
flashing eyes, resented the intrusion. Her indignation so 
heightened her attractiveness, in the eyes of the officer of the 
band that he attempted to embrace her, whereupon she seized 
the dough "bockey" and plunged it over his head. His frantic 
efforts to rid himself of the sticky mass, which falling to his 
shoulders closely adhered to his hair and eyes, so excited the 
merriment of his companions, that the doughty niaid was en- 
abled to escape what might have been serious consequences of 
her hasty but timely action. Fortunately at this moment a de- 
tachment from the Flying Camp, which had been closely fol- 
lowing the marauders, arrived on the scene and captured the 
entire band. 

The American troops were hard pressed for want of pro- 
visions, and during the time the army remained at Hackensack 
and vicinity made frequent raids. General Washington wrote 
from headquarters near Liberty Pole: "Our extreme distress 
for want of provision makes me desirous of lessening the con- 
sumption of food by discharging from this place as many as 
possible. Some brigades of the army have been five days 
without meat. To endeavor to relieve their wants by stripping 
the lower parts of the county of its cattle, I moved two days 


ago to this place, and yesterday completely foraged Barbadoes 
and Bergen Neck. Scarcely any cattle were found, but milch 
cows and calves of one and two years old, and even these in no 
great quantity. When this scanty pittance is consumed, I 
know not to what quarters to look." 

Raids were frequent, and the occupants of this territory 
were kept in a constant state of unrest. From English sources 
we learn April 7, 1777, that "the rebels came down to Secaucus 
last Wednesday and carried away all the grain, horses, cows 
and sheep they could get together, which they were obliged to 
swim over Hackensack River for want of boats." 

"May 12th Colonels Barton and Dougan marched with a 
force of three hundred men by way of Paramus to attack some 
rebels under General Heard at Pompton. A party of rebels, 
consisting of some officers and twelve men, proceeding on an 
enterprise to seize the person of Mr. Van Buskirk at Bergen 
Point, were intercepted on their return through the vigilance 
of Colonel Tumbull, comm.ander at Powles Hook, whose men 
fired upon them, and Mr. Livingston was killed on the spot, 
and another person named Van Dobson taken prisoner, and 
was brought to town the next day and safely lodged in the 
Provost. The above gentry plundered several houses in and 
about Pemrepogh, particularly Barent Van Home, Mr. Vree- 
land, Mr. Van Wagenen and Walter Clendenne, and in the last 
mentioned house Mr. Livingston received his wound." 

"May 26, 1779. The detachment of the enemy that landed 
in Bergen County on Monday, the 17th instant, consisted of 
about one thousand men, composed of several different corps 
under the command of Colonel Van Buskirk. Their path in 
this incursion was marked with desolation and unprovoked 
cruel murders. Not a house within their reach belonging to a 
Whig inhabitant escaped .... Having in some measure sat- 
iated their appetite for blood and plunder, and dreading the 
vengeance of our militia, which by this time was collecting in 
considerable numbers, the enemy precipitately retreated to 
their boats and went off to New York." 

On the other hand we learn from English sources under 
date of July 24, 1779: "Early yesterday morning a party of the 
Fourth Battalion, New Jersey Volunteers, were ordered out 
by their Lieutenant Colonel Buskirk, under Captain Allen to 
intercept a gang of rebels who paint themselves black and 


commit murders and thefts in Bergen County. Three of them 
were met at a small distance from the town of Bergen carrying 
off an inhabitant, but being briskly pushed, two of them were 
made prisoners!" 

But it is unneccessary to continue the recital. Enough is 
here shown to foreshadow the existing conditions in Hudson 
County during this period. 

Major Henry Lee of Virginia in one of his frequent raids 
down into and across Bergen Neck, discovered that the post at 
Paulus Hook was carelessly guarded. He conceived the plan 
of making a sudden descent, capturing the garrison and destroy- 
ing the defences. Washington thought the attempt attended 
with too much risk and was unwilling to favor the enterprise, 
but Lee's pertinacity and enthusiasm overcame all his object- 
ions. Finally he gave his consent, but enjoined him to exercise 
the greatest caution, and if successful to bring off at once any 
supplies, or destroy whatever could not be removed. It seemed 
a rash undertaking to attempt to cross the deep marshes and 
overcome the strong fortifications that had been erected, and 
that within the hearing of the garrison at New York. Truly 
"fortune favors the brave." The very strength of the position 
had rendered the garrison careless in their security. The nat- 
ural defences, as have been described, had been greatly 
strengthened by cutting a deep ditch across the westerly bound, 
ary of the Point with a row of Abatti inside. A fort stood near 
the intersection of Grand and Washington Streets, and along 
the southerly boundary a row of redoubts stretched with block 
houses in commanding positions. A garrison of 500 men under 
Major Sutherland occupied the defences. Lee was stationed 
at New Bridge about 14 miles from the Hook, and when pre- 
pared for the enterprise in order not to excite suspicion that he 
was about to engage in an unusual enterprise, made his cus- 
tomary preparations as for a foraging expedition. So that his 
line of retreat would be secure, he ordered boats to be stationed 
at Dow's Ferry on the Hackensack (foot present St. Paul's Av- 
enue) to facilitate his return ; for there was no intention of any 
attempt to hold the place. The only object was, through a 
sudden and unexpected descent to gain access to the works, dis- 
mantle them, destroy all stores possible, and withdraw his 
troops, with whatever prisoners might be captured, and thus 
by a brilliant "coup" infuse new courage and vigor in the hearts 


of the Colonists, and at the same time impress upon the British 
officials their stern determination to continue to the bitter end 
their struggle for Independence. Lee's arrangements were 
made with great care. A force under command of Lord Stirl- 
ing was stationed at New Bridge to cover his retreat, and 
guards were posted at the different roads leading to Paulus 
Hook. His route was down the present Hackensack turnpike 
to Union Hill and thence through the woods to Prior's Mill, 
from whence a roadway led to Powles Hook. To fully realize 
the possibility of these movements, it must be remembered 
that the whole range of high ground known as Jersey City and 
Weehawken Heights was covered with dense woods, affording 
a complete shelter for large bodies of men. In some manner, 
either through the treachery or ignorance of the guide, the 
troops were misled, so that they did not reach Prior's Mill until 
three o'clock on the morning of the 19th, although they had 
started in the afternoon of the previous day. Already the 
eastern sky began to show signs of coming day, and as the tide 
was rising, which at its full overflowed the causeway and filled 
the ditch at Warren Street, no time was to be lost. The skir- 
mishers reported complete silence at the works, and the troops 
were immediately pushed forward under the command of Lieuts. 
McAllister and Rudolph. As they plunged into the ditch a 
sentinel fired his musket and an uproar immediately ensued. 
The guards were seized and in a few moments the Americans 
were masters of the situation. Major Sutherland succeeded in 
reaching a block house with a small force, whereby he escaped 
capture. As da)'^ was approaching Maj. Lee could not delay 
long enough to dislodge him. The firing had aroused the Brit- 
ish in New York, and he ordered an immediate retreat. 
Captain Forsyth was sent to Prior's Mill with a picked body of 
men and ordered afterward to take a position at Bergen to cover 
the retreat. 

I quote from the official Report of Major Lee: 
"On my reaching this place I was informed by Cornet Neill, 
who had been posted there during the night for the purpose of 
laying the bridge and communicating with the boats, that my 
messenger directed to him previous to the attack had not ar- 
rived, nor had he heard from Capt. Leyton who had charge of 
the boats. 

"Struck with apprehension that I should be disappointed 


in the route of retreat, I rode forward to the front under Major 
Clarke, whom I found very near the point of embarkation and 
no boats to receive them. In this very critical situation, I lost 
no time in my decision, but ordered the troops to regain the 
Bergen Road and move on to the New Bridge. At the same 
lime I communicated my disappointment to Lord Stirling by 
express, then returned to Prior's Bridge to the rear guard. 

"Oppressed by every possible misfortune, at the head of 
troops worn down by a march of thirty miles through mount- 
ains, swamps and deep morasses, without the least refreshment 
during the whole march, ammunition destroyed, encumbered 
with prisoners, and a retreat of fourteen miles to make good, 
on a route admissible of interception at several points, by a 
march of two, three or four miles, one body moving in our rear, 
and another (from the intelligence I had received from the 
captured officers) in all probability well advanced on our right; 
a retreat naturally impossible to our left. Under all these dis- 
tressing circumstances, my sole dependence was in the perse- 
vering gallantry of the officers and obstinate courage of the 
troops. In this I was fully satisfied by the shouts of the sol- 
diery, who gave every proof of unimpaired vigor on the moment 
that the enemy's approach was announced. 

"Having gained the point of interception opposite Wee- 
hawken, Capt. Handy was directed to move witli his division on 
the mountain road in order to facilitate the retreat. Capt. Catlett, 
of the Second Virginia Regiment, fortunately joined me at 
this moment at the head of fifty men w'ith good ammunition. 
I immediately halted this officer, and having detached two 
parties, the one on the Bergen Road in the rear of Major 
Clarke, the other on the banks of the North River, I moved 
with the party under the command of the captain on the center 
route. By those precautions a sudden approach of the enemy 
was full}' prevented. I am very much mdebted to this officer 
and the gentlemen under him for their alacrity and vigilance 
on this occasion. 

"On the rear's approach to thfi Fort Lee road we met a 
detachment under the command of Colonel Bull, which Lord 
Stirling had pushed forward on the first notice of our situation 
to support the retreat. The colonel moved on and occupied a 
position which effectually covered us. 

"Some little time after this a body of the enemy (alluded 


to in the intelligence I mentioned having received from the 
officers while in the fort) made their appearance, issuing out 
of the woods on our right, and moving through the fields di- 
rectly to the road. They immediately commenced a fire upon 
my rear. Lieutenant Reed was ordered to face them, while 
Lieutenant Rudolph threw himself with a party into a stone 
house which commanded the road. These two officers were 
directed mutually to support each other and give time for 
the troops to pass the English Neighborhood Creek, at the Li- 
berty Pole. On the enemy observing this disposition, they 
immediately retired by the same route they had approached, 
and took to the woods. The precipitation with which they re- 
tired preventing the possibility of Colonel Bull's falling in with 
them, saved the whole. 

"The body which moved in our rear having excessively 
fatigued themselves by the rapidity of their march, thought 
prudent to halt before they came in contact with us. . . . The 
troops arrived safe at the New Bridge with all the prisoners 
about one o'clock p. m. on the 19th." 

The American loss in this dash was but two killed and 
three wounded, while they had secured and carried off 159 pri- 
soners. The effect of this brilliant affair was most encouraging 
to the Patriots. Congress passed a resolution of thanks, and 
Washington wrote a letter of high commendation. 

During the following winter but little occurred in Hudson 
County except the usual raids. The inhabitants obtaining a 
quasi protection from the British, continued their avocations as 
best they could and found in them, on the whole, ready and 
profitable customers for whatever they could furnish in the 
way of supplies and provisions. Some of them secured passes 
and crossed over to the city, where they found a ready and 
better market than at home, but these expeditions were always 
attended with danger, for the watchful Tories and Refugees, 
ever on the alert, frequently despoiled them on their return, of 
whatever they may have received from their venture. These 
attacks the burghers attempted to avoid through preconcerted 
signals, but these were soon discovered and the originators 
were subjected to additional indignities because of their attempt 
at evasion. 

As an illustration of the manner in which information as 
to the enemy's designs and movements was obtained, we 


might relate an incident wliercin one of Bergen "hausvrouws" 
was the chief actor. 

Janetje Van Ripen, wife of Nicholas Tuers, whose home- 
stead stood on the site of the present Fourth Regiment Armory, 
had crossed over to the city on one of her occasional marketing 
trips. While there, she stopped at a tavern kept by "Black 
Sam," so called because of his dark complexion. Sam was a 
stanch Patriot at heart and was enabled ofttimes to convey 
valuable information to the American commander. As his host- 
elry was frequented by British officers, he was enabled often 
to gain a fair knowledge of what was occurring, through 
the scraps of conversation he overheard. On the occasion of 
Mrs. Tuer's visit, knowing her deep sympathy with the Patriot 
cause, Sam confided to her that he had overheard some British 
officers talking about a conspiracy, that was under contempla- 
tion in the American Army that would be far reaching in its 
effect. On her return home she told her brother Cornelius Van 
Ripen, who immediately went to Hackensack, the then head- 
quarters of the army in this section, and revealed what he had 
heard. When offered a reward, the sturdy old Patriot spurned 
it with indignation saying, "he did not serve his country for 
money." The discovery of Arnold's contemplated surrender 
of West Point proved the accuracy of the information. 

The capture of Andre and the discovery of Arnold's infam- 
ous treachery caused great consternation in the American camp, 
and persistent rumors were prevalent of an extended conspiracy 
involving other officers of the army high in position. Washington 
desired to secure the person of Arnold so as to thoroughly in- 
vestigate these rumors, and at the same time if possible save 
Andre from an ignominous death. Why such special efforts 
should have been made to protect him from the natural conse- 
quences of his disreputable conduct is hard to understand, save 
that the universal horror and condemnation of Arnold's infam- 
ous conduct over-shadowed every other consideration, and 
Andre's personal bravery and social attractions excited a deep 
sympathy for him in his unfortunate position. 

He was possessed of those peculiar qualifications that at 
once captivated all with whom he came in contact. He was 
intensely loyal to his King, and his conscientious adherence to 
the cause he had professed, could excite nothing but respect 
and admiration; but when he disregarded the sacred rights of 


the home to which he had been welcomed, and presumed upon 
the intimacy and opportunity that such recognition afforded 
him, to initiate and carry on, with a man already tempted be- 
yond his strength, a project so infamous as to merit the con- 
demnation of even the very power he served, it must be admit- 
ted that the great sympathy he had inspired was not justified. 

He had used his former acquaintanceship with Mrs. Arnold 
to establish through her, a means of communication with her 
husband, and her unconscious co-operation rendered the task 
comparatively easy. 

At the time of Arnold's assuming the command at West 
Point July, 1780, his condition was desperate and deplorable. 
He was not only filled with resentment because of the public 
reprimand he had received, but his extravagances had burd- 
ened him with debts from which there was no escape, and his 
reckless nature led him to welcome any project that promised 
any prospect of pecuniary relief. The fact that West Point was 
considered the key to the whole military situation, placed him 
in a position that would enable him to solve all his difficulties, 
and at this critical moment came the voice of the tempter urg- 
ing the hope of a munificent reward, could he secure special 
military advantage to the English forces. Andre carried on 
the nefarious negotiations with all the charm and finesse he 
possessed, and the point was reached, when a personal inter- 
view became necessary. Andre became the accredited agent 
for the consummation of the scheme, which failed only because 
of a combination of circumstances too well known to need rep- 
etition here. 

The previous intentions or readiness of Arnold to engage 
in some such scheme does not excuse Andre for treacherously 
betraying the confidence gained through friendly association 
and social intimacy. His condemnation would only seem the 
deeper because of his thorough knowledge of social amenities 
and exactions. However, one of the reasons given for the at- 
tempted capture of Arnold was, that Andre might be preserved 
from an ignominous death. 

Major Lee was summoned to a conference with the Com- 
mander in Chief, and the situation discussed at length. The 
evidence that Arnold was not alone in the base conspiracy was 
circumstantial, and involved officers who stood high in the con- 
fidence of Washington. So great was the suspicion aroused in 


Washington's mind through the defection of Arnold, that 
when Major Lee suggested, tliat the information they had re- 
ceived might have been put forth designedly by the British 
commander to destroy the good feeling existing among the offi- 
cers of the American army: he replied that the same sugges- 
tion could have been made in regard to Arnold a few days be- 

After long deliberation a plan was determined upon, where- 
by Arnold was to be seized, carried to Hoboken and from 
thence to the American camp. As a reward for his treachery 
he had been made a Brigadier General in the British army, and 
all the deserters from the American army assigned to his com- 

In order to obtain access to Arnold's person, it was neces- 
sary to find some stanch, reliable Patriot to assume the dis- 
graceful role of a traitor and seemingly cast in his lot with the 
enemies of his country. After much persuasion John Champe, 
a young Virginian, a member of Lee's Flying Camp, reluct- 
antly consented, and the time was fixed for carrying out the 

It was determined in case of the premature discovery of 
the pretended desertion of Champe, that Major Lee would, on 
some pretext, delay the pursuit until Champe's escape would 
be assured. Unfortunately, as he was about leaving on his 
mission, he fell in with a patrol who at once challenged him. 
Finding his challenge unheeded, he discharged bis musket, and 
immediately the camp was in an uproar. Meanwhile Champe 
put spurs to his horse and rapidly sped on his way. 

Captain Carnes, officer of the day, assembled his squadron 
and reported the facts to Major Lee. Chagrined at the possible 
interruption of the plan determined upcn, the Major used ev- 
ery endeavor to delay the pursuit. Pretending to have been 
just awakened from a sleep, he required the captain to repeat 
his report in detail, and then asserted that the guard had mis- 
taken some frightened countryman, who had inadvertently 
wandered in the vicinity of the camp, and ridiculed the idea 
that any member of the legion would desert. 

But the desertion of Arnold was too recent to allow such 
an event as impossible, and the captain retired to inspect the 
assembled horse. He quickly returned and stated that the 
scoundrel who had gone was Sergeant John Champe. 


Deeply affected at the supposed baseness of a soldier ex- 
tremely respected, the captain added "he had ordered a party 
to make ready for pursuit and begged the major's written or- 
ders. " Major Lee continued his dilatory suggestions, but fin- 
ally, having exhausted every plausible excuse, was obliged to 
issue in customary form the following order: "Pursue as far as 
you can with safety Sergeant Champe, who is suspected of de- 
serting to the enemy, and has taken the road leading to Paulus 
Hook. Bring him alive that he may suffer in the presence of 
the army, but kill him if he resists, or escapes after being 
taken." A shower occurring shortly after Champe's departure 
enabled his trail to be followed with accuracy. The pursuers 
pushed forward rapidly and ascending a slight rise near the 
Three Pigeons, a few miles north of the village of Bergen, they 
saw the object of their pursuit but a short distance in advance. 
At the same moment Champe discovered his pursuers and im- 
mediately put spurs to his horse and abandoning his intention 
of reaching Paulus Hook — which he realized would appear to his 
pursuers as his destination — he determined to seek the pro- 
tection of two British vessels anchored in the bay back of 

"Entering the village of Bergen, Champe turned to the 
right, and disguising his change of course as much as he could 
by taking the beaten streets, turning as they turned, he passed 
through the village and took the road toward Elizabethtown 
Point, now Oxford Lane. 

"Middleton had meanwhile divided his force, taking dif- 
ferent routes from the Three Pigeons, but when the two de- 
tachments reached the bridge (at Prior's Mill) he found the 
sergeant had slipped through his fingers. Returning up the 
road he enquired of the villagers of Bergen whether a dragoon 
bad been seen that morning ahead of his party. He was an- 
swered in the affirmative, but could learn nothing satisfactory 
as to the route he took. While engaged in inquiries himself, 
he spread his party through the village to strike the trail of 
Champe's horse, a resort always recurred to. Some of the 
dragoons hit it just as the sergeant, leaving the village, got in 
the road to the Point (Bergen). Pursuit was renewed with 
vigor, and again Champe was descried. He, apprehending the 
event, had prepared himself for it by lashing his valise (con- 
taining his clothes and orderly book) on his shoulders, and 

holding his drawn sword in his hand, having thrown away the 

scabbard. This he did to save what wa'^ indispensable to him 
and prevent any interruption to his swimming. . . As soon as 
Champe got abreast of the two galleys, he dismounted and, 
running through the marsh to the river, plunged into it, call- 
ing upon tlie galleys for help. This was readily given. They 
fired upon our horse and sent a boat to meet Champe, who was 
taken in and carried on board and conveyed to New York, with 
a letter from the captain of the galley stating the circumstances 
he had seen." 

The return of the pursuing party to camp with Champe's 
horse and accoutrements suggested to the assembled soldiers 
that Champe had been killed. Lee, hearing their shouts and 
acclamations, "reproached himself bitterly with the blood of 
the high prized faithful and intrepid Champe." When he 
discovered the contrary, to use his own words, "his joy was 
now as full as the moment before his torture had been excru- 
ciating. Never was a happier conclusion; the sergeant escaped 
unhurt, carrying with him to the enemy undeniable testimony 
of the sincerity of his desertion, cancelling every apprehension 
before entertained, lest the enemy might suspect him of 
being what he really was. " 

On Champe's arrival at New York he was, as expected, 
assigned to Arnold's detachment. The project promised com- 
plete success, and on the appointed night a guard was stationed 
at Hoboken to receive the prisoner. Unfortunately the night 
previous to the appointed time, Arnold changed his quarters, 
and consequently the project was defeated. Again prepara- 
tions were made to carry out the original design, but the em- 
barkation of Arnold and his troops for the Southern Campaign 
destroyed all hopes, and the attempt was perforce abandoned. 
Andre's fate and Arnold's subsequent life are matters of history. 

During the winter of 1 779-1 780 there was great privation 
and suffering because of the severity of the weather. The ex- 
traordinary demand for fuel in the city of New York carried a 
corresponding increase in its value. As the heights of Bergen 
were covered throughout their whole length with a dense 
growth of timber, the owners were not averse to seize the op- 
portunity of adding to their substance by cutting it for fuel and 
disposing of it to the needy citizens. But the Tories and Re- 
fugees abounding in the county were likewise awake to the 


chance and vied with the owners in securing control of the 

The extent to which these marauding parties were devas- 
tating the forests excited the utmost indignation among the 
settlers of Hudson County, and they made every effort to pro- 
tect their property. Collisions were frequent, and the marau- 
ders were obliged to erect defences at different points along 
the heights for their protection. Perhaps the most noted of 
these was the Block House erected near Bull's Ferry on Gut- 
tenberg Heights. It was rendered famous by the well known 
screed written by Major Andre entitled "The Cow Chase," in 
which effusion he caricatures liberally General Wayne's at- 
tempts at its capture July 21, 1780. 

Under orders from the Commander in Chief, Wayne, with 
a considerable force, undertook an expedition down over Bergen 
Neck, intending the capture of a nnjmber of cattle that had 
been collected there, and likewise the destruction of the block 
house at Bull's Ferry. The cattle were gathered in, and on 
the return an attempt was made to carry out his instructions 
and destroy the block house. The attack was made with great 
vigor, and several wood boats lying at the dock near by were 
burned. The strength and solidity of the works defeated the 
object of the Americans and, notwithstanding a furious can- 
nonading was kept iip for some time, the small force by which 
it was defended successfully resisted all attempts for its cap- 
ture, and the besiegers were obliged to retire with the loss of 
several killed and wounded. 

The importance of this engagement was greatly magnified, 
mostly through the wide circulation of Andre's effusion before 
alluded to, although the failure of the expedition was a matter 
of deep regret to the American forces. The block house re- 
mained in the possession of the Refugees until near the close of 
the year, when its garrison was transferred to the defences at 
Bergen Neck (Bayonne.) 

On the 24th of August, 1780, General Lafayette encamped 
with his troops on Bergen Heights near Waldo and Newark 
Avenues: from this commanding position he looked down upon 
the British at Paulus Hook and kept watch of their movements. 
His foraging parties extended their operations down to Bergen 
Point, at which place they were fired upon by the batteries on 
Staten Island. They secured considerable plunder of cattle 

and forage, and when remonstrated with by the inhabitants, 
they replied "that as i/ie'}' had contributed very little to the 
American Cause, what was taken was only in the way of just 

During the latter part of the war the American officers 
met frequently at Bergen for consultation, and Lafayette, 
Greene and Wayne here determined upon future movements. 
I recall that when a boy, the spot where Lafayette and Wash- 
ington conferred together in Van Wagenen's apple orchard, 
was pointed out to me, and in after years on the occasion of 
Lafayette's visit to this country, a cane made from the old 
tree that had shaded them was presented to the General. 
This tree was located back of the present Van Wagenen home- 
stead on Academy Street, west of Bergen Square. 

At this time the scouts from both sides were extremely 
active, and raids were frequent, by not only the Patriots and 
Loyalists, but from the bands of unprincipled, irresponsible 
marauders, who took advantage of the troublous conditions to 
assume partizanship with either party as best suited them. The 
character of these raids may be best understood from a few 
newspaper extracts taken at random. 

"August 28th, 1780. The rebels on Saturday burnt 
Colonel William Bayard's new house and barn at Castile, on 
the north end of Hoebuck (Hoboken), and destroyed all the 
forage and timber to be found there, to a very large amount." 

Same date: "Generals Washington, Lafayette, Greene and 
Wayne, with many other officers and large bodies of rebels, 
have been in the vicinity of Bergen for some days past. They 
have taken all the forage from the inhabitants of that place." 

"Captain William Harding, with a detachment from Fort 
Delancy on Bergen Neck, went out as far as Newark and cap- 
tured four prisioners and about thirty cattle, which they 
brought back with them." 

"September 5th, 1781. Last Wednesday a party of Ward's 
plunderers from Bergen Neck came to the neighborhood of 
Hoebuck, where they collected a number of cattle, which the 
inhabitants retook and killed and wounded many of the mis- 
creants. '' 

But the crowning outrage of all perhaps was perpetrated 
by a band of Tories under the command of one Hatfield. L^n- 

der the assurance of General Clinton, then encamped on Staten 
Island, that the safety of all those who brought provisions to 
the island would be guaranteed, and they permitted to dispose 
of the same without molestation ; one Stephen Ball carried over 
a cargo of beef. On landing he was seized by Hatfield, mal- 
treated, subjected to a mock trial and hung on a tree at Con- 
stable Hook. 

These fragments tell the story of Hudson County dur- 
ing the remaining years of the war. While the strife was 
most bitter between the Patriots and Refugees, consequences 
fell with the greatest force upon the non-combatants and their 
families. Pillage and plunder continued without cessation, 
and the hardships to which they were subjected, were those 
peculiar only to the embittered warfare carried on about them. 
But the trend of events pointed to the ultimate success of the 
Patriots. The surrender of Cornwallis in October, 1781, fore- 
shadowed the final result, and those who had adhered to the 
Royalist cause from motives of self-interest, now endeavored 
to ward off their impending punishment, by professing their 
allegiance to the power now gaining the ascendancy: while the 
Tories and Refugees, whose activity had caused much of the 
prevailing privation and suffering, realizing the fate that 
awaited them in case of capture, were already turning their 
thoughts to some safer haven. 

Major Ward, commanding the Refugees who had been 
stationed so long at Bergen Neck, and whose depredations had 
caused so much terror and anxiety to the settlers, realizing the 
hatred he had inspired because of his excesses, destroyed the 
works, and October, 1782, with his whole force of miscreants 
embarked for Nova Scotia. 

The point of Paulus Hook was now the only place in New 
Jersey where the British still retained a foothold, but with the 
news of the treaty at Paris January 20th, 1783, they prepared for 
its evacuation, and November 22d, 1783, the last Royalist de- 
parted from the territory, never again to return. A few days 
afterward Washington bade farewell to his officers at Frannce's 
Tavern in New York City and crossed the river to Paulus Hook 
on his way, as he supposed, to a quiet retirement. 

The crucial test was now over, and right nobly had it been 
withstood. Privation, suffering, even death itself were esteemed 

as nothing, compared with the priceless boon that had been 
secured. The dawn of a new era was beginning to dispel the 
clouds of darkness and despondency that had for so many years 
overshadowed the land, and the hills, and the valleys, and the 
mountains were already tinged with the glorious beams of the 
Sun of Liberty that betokened the near approach of the perfect 

i. The Historical Society of 
Hudson County. 

No. 5. 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


President : 

Vice Presidents : 

l3t— REV. C. BRETT. 
2d— JOHN W. HECK. 

Treasurer : Librarian : 


Corresponding Secretary : Recording Secretary : 


Assistant Librarian : 

Board oj Governors: 

Alexander McLean ) john J. Voorhees ) 

M. J. CuRRiE h ^910 DeWitt Van Buskirk \ 1911 

W. J. Davis ) David R. Daly 

W. R. Barricklo ) DR- G. K. Dickinson 

David Ramsey [ 1912 Benj. L. Stowe 

Vreeland Tompkins t 




Paper read before "The Historical Society of Hudson County," 
by John C. Payne, C. E., Secretary and Engineer of the 
Riparian Commission of the State of New Jersey, Thurs- 
day evening, March 25th, 1909. 

Although our paper to-night has primarily to do with tlie 
development of the water front of Hudson County, 1 shall not 
attempt to go into the details of land transfers, or the names 
of enterprises, with useful but tiresome statistics, which are the 
units that go to make up the grand sum of our worth; and I 
shall ask you to go with me to other parts of our state for some 
of the illustrations of the principles on which riparian interests 
are administered. 

Nor, indeed, shall I attempt to fully cover the ground of 
legal inquiry and decision of all the cases that have claimed 
the attention of our courts, for that would make my paper far 
too long, and my purpose is rather to attempt to give a general 
view of the principles upon which the water front of our County 
has been developed. 

Origin of the State's Title. 

The title of the State to the lands flowed by tide water at 
mean high tide is as ancient as the discovery and conquest of 
the country, because it is founded on the ancient law. 

Briefly, the history of the discovery and occupation of this 
part of the country is: 

That in 1497, Jean and Sebastian Cabot, under commission 
of Henry VII of England, sailed along the coast of North 
America and claimed for their sovereign the entire country, 
the shore of which they occasionally saw at a distance. 

In 1524, J. DeVerrazzano, a Florentine, in the service of 
Francis I, King of France, is supposed to have visited the Bay 
of New York. 

In 1525, Estavan Gomez, a Portugese, in the service of 
Emperor Charles V, visited the Bay of New York. 

In 1598, some Dutch, in the employ of the Greenland 
Company, came into the Bay of New York and erected a winter 
shelter and a fort for protection against the incursions of the 


In 1603, Henry IV of France, by virtue of the discoveries 
of DeVerrazzano in 1524, above referred to, gave to Des Monts 
that portion of the country lying between the 40th and 46th 
degrees of north latitude. This included the greater part of 
New Jersey ; but the grant of the French King was ignored by 
James I of England, who, in 1606, granted to the South Vir- 
ginia or London Company, and the North Virginia Company, 
practically the same land. 

From the time of the earliest discoveries, up to the Revo- 
lution, the occupation and control of this part of the country 
was passed back and forth among the Dutch, the French, the 
English and the Indians, and an account of this period, as af- 
fecting the locahty, will be found in the interesting papers al- 
ready read to you by Dr. Brett and Mr. Daniel Van Winkle, 
of this Society. 

The title of the State to the lands under water is founded 
on the ancient doctrine of the sovereignty of the King. The 
first diversion of the title of the King is that of the grant from 
Charles II to James, the Duke of York, March 12th, 1664. 
This grant covered much of the land along the coast, from 
Maryland to Maine, and on June 24th, 1664, James, the Duke 
of York, sold to Berkeley and Carteret that part of the grant 
from King Charles, of March 12th, 1664, now known as New 
Jersey, and in 1676, New Jersey was divided into East and 
West Jersey and held by what were known as the Lords Pro- 

In the year 1702 these Proprietors surrendered to Queen 
Anne all the rights of government held by them, reserving, 
however, the rights of property. The title to the soil of the 
tidal waters was not within the reservation, but again passed 
by the surrender of the government of the Proprietors to the 
Crown of England. 

Thus the title to the lands under water, being vested in 
the King of Great Britain, at and before the Revolution of 
1776, became vested, by the law of nations and the right of 
conquest, in the people of the then Colony, and now, State, of 
New Jersey, by the successful War of Independence. 

Previous to this time, however, what is known as the 
Board of Proprietors of East Jersey set up the claim of title 
to lands and lands under water under grants made March 12th, 
1664, and June 29, 1674, by Charles II of England, to James, 


Duke of York, and by the latter to Sir George Carteret and 
John, Lord Berkeley, June 24, 1664, and July 29, 1674; and by 
the legal representatives of Sir George Carteret to the said 
Board of Proprietors, February ist and 2nd, 1683; and by a 
confirmation of said Board of Proprietors, made by James, 
Duke of York, March 14, 1683; and by divers other instru- 
ments, Indian titles and otherwise. They claimed to have 
been recognized as owners of the lands under water, by express 
acts of the Colonial Government, and to have made large 
numbers of grants of said lands. 

The Proprietors' right of property in the lands above 
water was and is unquestioned, but that of their rights in lands 
under water has been the subject of much discussion and liti- 
gation. The decision, adverse to their rights, is the case of 
Martin V. Waddell {16 Peters, page 367), by the majority of 
the judges of the United States Supreme Court, and has been 
generally accepted as a final settlement of the question; but 
the opinion of the minority of that court was so strongly in 
favor of the rights of the Proprietors, that it has left a linger- 
ing question in their minds, which occasionally finds expres- 
sion in grants of lands flowed by tide water, which grants, how- 
ever, are not recognized by the authorities of the State of New 

The original grant to the Proprietors was in consideration 
of what they expressed as a "competent sum of money," and 
in addition to all the lands in the described boundaries, gave 

"All rivers, mines, minerals, woods, fishings, hawkings, 
huntings, and fowlings, and all other royalties, profits, com- 
modities and hereditaments whatsoever;" and I presume on 
the strength of this wording, they based their claim of title 
to lands under water, which claim, however, has never been 
admitted by the State, but has been successfully contested. 

This title gave the Proprietors rights in all the lands and 
general property in the province, and also in the government. 
The right of government was exercised until 1702, when it 
was surrendered to the Queen. The whole property was sub- 
ject to the rights of its Indian owners, and the grant from the 
King gave the Proprietors the exclusive privilege of purchas- 
ing from the Indians. (See William Penn and others on this 
subject, Gordon's New Jersey, pages 40, 41.) This privilege, 
though contested in the earliest provincial courts, was always 

sustained, and at the session of the first Legislature after the 

Proprietors' surrender of the government, the law first enacted 
was that "For regulating the purchasing of lands from the 
Indians," (Neville, page i). This law forbid, with heavy- 
penalty, any person purchasing lands from the Indians except 
by authority of the Proprietors; declared all such purchases 
previously made illegal, and required the possessors to take 
title from the Proprietors within six months thereafter. 

The Indians highly valued their rights of fishing, as the 
reference to them in their deeds of sale show; and the immense 
quantities of shells, piled in heaps at all convenient places 
along the shores, bear witness that they improved these rights 
to great profit. There are a hundred acres or more of land at 
South Amboy which are covered from six to eighteen inches 
deep by these Indian shell deposits. The soil about Commun- 
ipaw is full of them, and they can be seen all along the creeks 
and bays from South Amboy to Cape May. 

The Proprietors purchased all these rights of the Indians, 
and paid satisfactory prices for them. The purchases were 
generally made in tracts of a few square miles each, until 
nearly the whole State was covered by their deeds. Many of 
these deeds are recorded in the Proprietors' books and in the 
Secretary of State's office ; and at an assembly of all the Indian 
tribes of New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, held at 
Easton, Pennsylvania, from October 8th to the 26th. 1758, two 
deeds were executed by the Indians and their attorneys, one of 
which, by the Delawares, was for all the land south of a line 
drawn from Sandy Hook up the Raritan River and its north 
branch to the Alamatong (Lamington) Falls, and from thence 
crossing to the Delaware River at the Paoqualin Mountain 
(Water Gap). In this the boundary along tide water is low 
water mark. The other deed, executed by the Minisink and 
Pompton Indians, was for all that part of the State lying north 
of the above mentioned division line and terminated at the 
north by a straight line drawn across the country from the 
mouth of Tapaan in latitude 41*' north, on the Hudson, to 
Cochecton, in latitude 41° 40' north, on the Delaware. 

Grants by the Proprietors. 
Among the "surveys" or grants to individuals, covered or 
partially covered by the tide waters, (the word "survey" mean- ■^ 

ing a grant), made by the Proprietors within Hudson County, 
was one in 1746 to "Arch. Kennedy of Bedloe's Island," 
and on Holland's Map of 1775, Bedloe's Island is called 
"Kennedy's Corporation." 

Another "survey" or grant by the Proprietors, in Hudson 
County, in 1803, was to "Elisha Boudinot, Budd Tract, in 
Harsinuis Cove." 

In 1835, a "survey" or grant in Communipaw Cove was 
made by the Proprietors, of "Black Tom," which is now a part 
of the National Docks Warehouse enterprise. 

And as recently as March 4th, 1880, the Proprietors of East 
Jersey granted to George H. Cook the reef or island on which 
Robbins Reef Light stands, also the reef or shoal known as 
"Oyster Island," both in New York Bay. 

With these "surveys" or grants of "Robbins Reef" and 
"Oyster Island" from the Proprietors as a basis, application 
was made by George H. Cook to the State of New Jersey for 
a confirmatory title or the rights to the lands under water sur- 
rounding these "surveys," as lands pertaining to riparian 
ownership, but the application was refused by the State and no 
further claim has been made under these Proprietors' "sur- 
veys" or grants. 

It will be of interest to call attention here to the attitude 
of the United States Government towards the title of the State 
of New Jersey to its lands under water, and to the machinery 
ot the State in conserving this relation: 

On March i6th, 1875, the Legislature of New Jersey passed 
an act entitled "An Act authorizing the cession of jurisdiction 
and conveyance of lands of this State, under tidal waters, to 
the United States, to be used as sites for light houses, beacons, 
and other aids to navigation," (P. L. 1875, Chap. 138, p. 28). 
This act provided that whenever the United States desired to 
acquire title to lands belonging to the State of New Jersey, 
covered by the tidal waters, for the site of a light house, 
beacon, or other aid to navigation, application might be made 
to the Governor by a duly authorized agent of the United 
States, describing the site required; and that thereupon the 
Governor was authorized and empowered to direct the Riparian 
Commission to make a survey and map and report the same to 
him; whereupon, the Governor was to convey the title of said 
lands to the United States Government, upon such terms and 


conditions as might be agreed upon. The act provided further 
that no single tract thus conveyed should contain more than 
ten acres, and that the State of New Jersey should retain con- 
current jurisdiction over the same, so that all process, civil or 
criminal, issuing under the authority of this State, might be 
executed by the proper officers, upon any person or persons 
amenable to the same, within the limits of the lands granted; 
and provided further that no part of such lands so granted 
should be used for quarantine purposess; and providing, finally, 
for the reversion of the lands to the State upon the discontinu- 
ance of their use by the government for the purposes for which 
they were ceded. 

It was under this act and without regard to the grant by 
the Proprietors to George H. Cook of the site of Robbins Reef 
Light House, that is so attractive and prominent a feature of 
the shores of our county to its citizens returning from Europe, 
that the State of New Jersey, upon an application made by the 
United States Government in 1880, through its Governor, then 
General George B. McClellan, granted the rights to the United 
States Government, which accepted the same, thus putting the 
stamp of approval or confirmation upon the title of New Jersey 
to these lands under water as paramount to that of the Pro- 

It will be noticed that the procedure for the United States 
to follow in acquiring lands of the State for light house pur- 
poses is different to that of the government or an individual in 
acquiring lands of the State for commercial uses. In the latter 
case application is made directly to the Riparian Commission, 
who pass upon the same, subject to the approval of the Gover- 
nor. It would be interesting to know what was in the minds 
of the Legislature of 1875, when this act was passed. 

And further, in confirmation of this attitude or acceptance 
by the United States Government of the paramount title of 
the State of New Jersey to lands flowed by tide water at mean 
high tide, it is interesting to note that in 1901 an application 
was made by parties interested in the exploitation of a scheme 
of development of certain lands under water lying about mid- 
way between Ellis and Bedloe's Islands in New York Bay, 
asking the State of New Jersey for a grant of the State's title to 
these lands. The State of New Jersey applied to the War 
Department for approval of the lines defining this development. 

The War Department declined to approve sucli lines on the 

{ground that the rights and necessities of commerce would not 
permit of the construction in question, and adding that the 
United States Government, owning Bedloe's and Ellis Islands, 
and using them for national purposes, were entitled to what- 
ever rights and privileges belonged to riparian owners in the 
lands under water around and between these islands, and stat- 
ing that it was not only possible, but probable that, in the near 
future, the United States might wish to use these lands for 
public purposes. This seemed like an intimation on the part 
of the Government of ownership or control; whereupon, the 
Riparian Commission inquired of the Secretary of War 

"Whether the Federal authorities claimed ownership in 
the lands under water in New York Bay, surrounding Ellis 
and Bedloe's Islands, so that they may appropriate the 
same to the uses of the United States Government without 
making application therefore to the State of New Jersey. " 

The answer of the Government, through the Secretary of 

War, is as follows: 

"In reply I beg to state that the action of the Secretary 
of War, which was communicated to the Riparian Com- 
mission of New Jersey, was simply the modification of the 
harbor lines around Ellis Island, by extending the pier 
and bulkhead lines in accordance with the request of the 
Secretary of the Treasury. This action was no assertion 
of title or ownership in the lands under water, but simply 
a regulation of its use with regard to the navigable water- 
way and the interests of commerce." 

An interesting instance of the exercise of the claim of the 
Proprietors to lands flowed by tide water, came under the 
notice of the state authorities some few years ago, when two 
gentle and amiable ministers of the Gospel, hailing from that 
city noted for gentle and amiable citizens, appeared with a 
petition for the right to occupy part of an island in the lower 
tidal waters of the State; and the language of the petition is so 
unworldly, it may be of interest to quote it: 
Petition to Purchase a Certain Marsh Island, West ok 
Holly Beach Inlet, Cape May County, 
State of New Jersey. 
To the Honarable 

the Riparian Commission of the State of New Jersey. 
"The petition respectfully represents 
I. That your said petitioners are citizens of the United States 


and of the State of Pennsylvania, residing in the City and 
County of Philadelphia; 

2. That in March of the year 1902 while spending some time 
at Holly Beach, in the County of Cape May, State of New 
Jersey, noticing with favor a portion of unoccupied marsh 
island bordering the west edge of the first main channel 
west of Holly Beach, across which said island the County 
bridge from Holly Beach to Rio Grande (now completed), 
was then building, they, the said petitioners, did stake off 
and apportion to themselves on the aforesaid marsh island, 
portions of the same for the purpose of erecting thereon 
summer cottages for the use of themselves and families; 

3. That your said petitioners pursuant to their first inten- 
tion have erected on the said portions of the said marsh 
island cottages as aforesaid, and also have interested other 
persons to do the same ; 

4. That the said petitioners have rendered the said portion 
of marsh island accessible, and desirable for occupation by 
certain improvements, the cost of which they have borne, 
among which is a substantial foot walk bridge, two hundred 
and fifty feet or more in length ; 

5. That the said petitioners having been the pioneers and 
originators of this colony, desire to secure the said marsh 
island for settlement by respectable settlers, and for the 
protection of those persons already settled thereon, and 
to that end, have had the said marsh island surveyed, a 
plan of which survey, together with a description of the 
same, is hereunto affixed and marked with the letter "A," 
and made part of this petition ; 

6. That the said marsh island is not improved land of the 
State, nor is it included within any lands designated for 
improvement, but it is wholly covered by from two to three 
feet of salt water every ordinary tide, and is a mud flat 
covered with sedge grass at low tide ; 

7. That your petitioners desire your honorable Commission 
to fix such reasonable and just price as may be deemed 
proper for said marsh island upon payment of which by 
your petitioners a clear and defeasible title thereto may be 
granted them; 

8. That your petitioners desire your honorable Commission 
to fix a time and place, when and where they may appear 
and be heard regarding this petition for purchase ; and 
such other privileges as your honorable Commission may 
deem fitting; 

And your petitioners will ever pray, etc." 
It just happened that at the time the newspaper men were de- 
voting some attention to this department of the State. Anyone 


who has had experience with the young gentlemen who write 
up the daily news knows what an energetic and enterprising 
lot of young men they are: how cleverly, out of little, they 
can build an ornamental and attractive structure. 

The newspaper men got hold of this unique case, and in 
the papers appeared such headlines as these : 

"Baptist Ministers Seize a New Jersey Island." 
"They Noticed it with a Favor and so They Simply Swiped it." 

"Will Trust in God and Senator Hand," &c, 
and wrote the matter up in the following facetious way, which 
cleverly contained very much of truth: 

"Each one of the four Riparian Commissioners of this 
State at their meeting this morning sat bolt upright in his chair 
and gasped in utter astonishment as two Philadelphia Baptist 
ministers, with much washing of hands with invisible soap, and 
unctuous tones, gently preferred the modest request that the 
board should give them the title to an island in Cape May 
County which the reverened gentlemen had, as they felicitously 
termed it, "noticed with favor" and quietly pre-empted it, with- 
out so much as by-your-leave-gentlemen-of-the-State-of-New 

" 'Eh?' said the Chairman. 

" 'What?' ejaculated the Board's Counsel, horrified. 

"'Bless me!' exclaimed another Commissioner. 

" 'Dangerous precedent,' observed the Secretary, 'for in- 
stance, if some one should notice with favor my house, what 

"To make matters all the more complicated behind the 
ministers sat Senator Robert E. Hand of Cape May County, 
who had before the Board an application for the very identical 
island, too. Genial Bob, quietly enjoying a "chaw", listened 
blandly to the ministers' arguments and regarded the entire 
proceedings as a huge joke. His application was in first, and 
since truth must be told. Bob, to use a well-known metaphor, 
had neatly euchred the ministers. Bit by bit the Commissioners 
were put in possession of the facts of a very singular case, the 
beginning of which is best told in the ministers' own refreshing 
language, as set forth above. 

"So like the Israelites of old, these Philadelphia ministerial 
pioneers found a promised land, and they rushed back to their 
kith and kin in far away sleepy Philadelphia and conveyed to 
them the glad tidings. They engaged the services of Robert 
E. Hand, a guileless dock builder, oyster planter, general con- 
tractor and everything else in Cape May, to set the pilings for 
the cottages. Bob was only too delighted, and very soon there 
was a small colony of the elect of Philadelphia on stilts But 
Bob, like Dickens' famous cb.aracter, Joey B, 'was sly, devilish 


sly,' and when he found that the worthy colonists had no title 
to their land, he resolved to put that right by asking one in his 
own name, doubtlessly for the purpose afterwards of making 
the ministers a present of it. 

"While this was being done, the Secretary had everything 
not screwed down in the offices, which might be 'noticed with 
favor' removed to an inner room. " (This was the facetia of 
the newspapers). 

The fact in the case was that the East Jersey Proprietors 
had made a grant to one of the parties, although, as stated in 
the petition, "The Marsh Island is wholly covered by from two 
to three feet of salt water at every ordinary tide." The con- 
clusion of this matter was that the grant by the Proprietors 
was ignored by the State and these amiable ministers, who 
were most admirable gentlemen, were confirmed by the State 
in their title to the little Venice they had -'noticed with favor." 

State Boundary Line. 

Reference was made to a survey or grant by the Proprie- 
tors in 1746 of Bedloe's Island, in Hudson County, to Kennedy. 
Apprehending it may be questioned by some that Bedloe's 
Island was and is in Hudson County, a brief history of the 
determination and location of the boundary line between New 
Jersey and New York will be of interest: 

The exact definition of the boundary line between New 
York and New Jersey seems not to have interested the earlier 
inhabitants of these two States, and so apparently unimportant 
an incident or industry as that of gathering oysters and other 
s hell fish from the waters of Raritan bay is responsible for the 
determination and finally the actual location of this boundary 

The value of lands under water in Raritan Bay was rec- 
ognized early in the last century. Raritan Bay is a shallow, 
land-locked body of water, subject to the ebb and flow of ocean 
tides and fed by many fresh water streams, possessing every 
requisite necessasy for the successful and profitable cultivation 
of shell fish. 

Beds of natural growth, where oysters and clams grew in 
great abundance, were found by the early settlers, and for a 
long time these proved sufficient to supply the wants of the 
scanty population. The rapid growth of population and the 
apparent danger of depletion from over fishing soon rendered 


artificial propagation necessary, and about the year 1810, the 
first oysters were planted and cultivated in Raritan Bay. 

At first all the land under water in Raritan Hay was con- 
sidered as common to the residents of both States, and no at- 
tempt was made to divide them according to State lines, and 
not until the industry began to grow in importance, and the 
land consequently to increase in value, did local jealousies and 
disputes arise between the citizens of New York and New 

These disputes soon grew to be of a serious nature, and 
sometimes ended in bloodshed . . Especially was this so after 
the Legislature of each State had made it a misdemeanor for 
citizens to take or cultivate oysters in the waters of the other 
State, and in 1834 a treaty or compact was entered into by the 
two States in which it was agreed that "the boundary line be- 
tween the States of New York and New Jersey shall be the 
middle of the Hudson River, of the Bay of New York, of the 
water between Staten Island and New Jersey and of Raritan 
Bay to the main sea." This agreement was entered into on 
September i6th, 1833, and confirmed by the Legislature of 
New York, February 5th, 1834, by the Legislature of New 
Jersey, February 26th, 1834, and approved by the Congress of 
the United States, June 28th, 1834. This, though vague, was 
sufficiently definite for a long time, but the rapidly increasing 
number of planters and the great demand for oyster lands soon 
led to the occupation of the lands in the most valuable part of 
the bay. The indefinite nature of the description of the bound- 
ary line given in the agreement of 1834, became a source of 
constant dispute, and in 1886, pursuant to a joint resolution of 
the Legislature, Governor Green appointed Robert C. Bacot, 
A, B. Stoney and George H. Cook a commission on the part 
of New Jersey to cooperate with a similar Commission on the 
part of the State of New York to locate and mark out in Rari- 
tan Bay the line of 1834. The Commission concluded its work 
and made its report to the Governor on December 20th, 1887. 

The work of this commission was so satisfactory that it 
was continued to definitely locate and mark out the boundary 
between the States in Staten Island Sound, Kill von Kull, New 
York Bay, and the Hudson River. It was in the latter part of 
this commission work that the Honorable Robert C. Bacot, 
who was chairman of the Commission on the part of New Jer- 


sey, as well as the Engineer of the Riparian Commission, clung- 
so tenaciously and successfully to the contention that the treaty 
of 1834 fixed the middle of the channel of New York Bay, and 
not the middle of the area of the waters of the bay, as the 
boundary line, as contended for by the New York State Com- 
missioners. This resulted in giving to the State of New Jersey, 
not only a greater area of land under water, but in fixing the 
boundary line in the centre of the deep water channel, and 
placing Ellis and Bedloe's Islands, as well as Oyster and Rob- 
bins Reef within the State of New Jersey, and in Hudson 

A curious and amusing incident occurred oif the shores of 
Greenville about the year 1875 : 

The State of New Jersey had made a grant of lands under 
water in New York Bay, opposite the shores of Greenville, the 
grant extending some three thousand feet into the waters of 
the bay. The grantees had proceeded to bulkhead the outer 
end of this tract and to fill it in with refuse from the city of 
New York. This, in time, came to be a great nuisance, as the 
malodors arising from the effect of the summer sun were 
wafted by the prevailing southeasterly breezes of summer to 
the then bucolic residents of the sylvan shores of Greenville. 
They protested, but the protests were not loud enough to reach 
over the intervening half a mile of water from their shores to 
the offending filling. And so the aid of the law was invoked 
for relief, and the late Charles H. Winfield, that eloquent prac- 
titioner of the law, was employed to secure, through the courts, 
relief for our citizens. 

In the trial of the case the defense was set up by the of- 
fending parties, under that ancient and exploded theory that 
the city of New York controlled the waters of the Bay of New 
York to the New Jersey shore, and disregarding also the fact 
that they had accepted the title and paid the State of New 
Jersey for the lands in question, that the Greenvillians were 
not entitled to any relief, as the offense they complained of 
was within the jurisdiction of New York and not of New 

Mr. Winfield, resourceful in repartee, as well as in law, 
replied to the court, with convincing effect, that leaving out 
the question whether the locus of the filling was in New York 
or New Jersey, there was no question that the odors were in 

New Jersey, and that they were indicting^ the odors and de- 
manded relief. The court took that view of it and afforded 
the relief asked for. 

The examination and care of the monuments marking the 
boundary line of the State, is one of the many duties devolving 
upon the Riparian Commission of the State. By act of April 
4th, 1891 (P. L. 1891, p. 324), the Riparian Commission is 
authorized and directed to cause an examination of the monu- 
ments and to report to the Legislature their condition, and to 
make necessary repairs, &c. 

State Control of its Riparian Lands. 

No particular supervision or control seems to have been 
exercised by the State over its lands under water until 185 1, 
when the Legislature passed what is known as the Wharf Act, 
to which I shall refer later, entitled "An Act to authorize the 
owners of lands upon tide waters to build wharves in front of 
the same." (P. L. 1851, p. 335.) 

It appears, however, that since the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century, the Legislature of the State of New Jersey has, 
from time to time, made grants, the more important of which 
were located under the waters of the Hudson River and New 
York Bay. 

In 1802, a conditional grant of two acres was made to 
Nathaniel Budd, which was a small part of the grant by the 
Proprietors to Elisha Boudinot in 1803. (This grant by the 
Proprietors covered about fifty-three and one-half acres of 
land under water, and lay between Fourth and Twelfth Streets 
in Jersey City, Pavonia Avenue running about through the 
centre of it.) 

In 1804, a grant was made to the Associates of the Jersey 
Company, covering practically, the land under water in front 
of the southern part of old Jersey City. A map, in a good state 
of preservation, is still in existence, showing the Hudson River 
water front from Harsimus or First Street, south to South 
Street or the Morris Canal basin. It is a map advertising the 
sale of this property, and has an interesting engraving of the 
water front of Jersey City, showing the old Pennsylvania 
station and ferry slips, the Cunard docks, with the single 
smoke stack, side wheel steamers, partly square rigged, as sail- 
ing vessels, and also, approaching the slip, an old-fashioned 


walking beam ferry boat, with the name "D. S. Gregory" on 

the paddle box. 

In the background appears the roof and spire of the old 
Washington Street Presbyterian Church, of which, within the 
memory of many still living. Dr. Imbrie was the pastor. 

This church enjoyed the unique distinction of having been 
transported, piece meal, from where it originally stood, on 
Wall Street, New York City, across the river, and re-erected, 
in substantially its original form. It stood on the east side of 
Washington Street, adjoining the park on its southerly side, 
and nearly opposite the Gregory homestead. One of the Greg- 
ory boys was the organist in the church, and the writer of this 
paper, when a young man, sang in the choir. It was out of no 
disrespect to the amiable and able pastor, Dr. Imbrie, that at 
the beginning of the sermon, on warm summer mornings, a 
part of the choir would silently steal down the stairs from the 
organ loft and seat themselves under the peaceful shade of the 
trees in the park, hearing, if not listening to, the voice of the 
earnest old doctor, as it came through the windows, until 
warned by its cessation that the time had come to resume their 
places and part in the service. 

This church was subsequently torn down and apartment 
houses erected on its site. 

The legend on the map in question reads as follows: 
"David Scott, Auctioneer 
Map of 
Valuable Property in Jersey City 

Belonging to the Associates of the Jersey Company 

AND Others 

Sixty Lots in Blocks 

C to I Fronting on and Extended 150 Feet East from 

Hudson Street, 

Will be Sold at Public Auction in Jersey City on 

Wednesday the 24th June, 1857 at 2 O'clock p. m. " 

The side wheel, square rigged ocean steam ships shown in 
the engraving of 1857 are interestingly foreshadowed in the 
following act of the Legislature of New Jersey, passed in 1848, 
(P. L. 1848, p. 256), as follows: 

"Relative to the pilot laws of the United States. 

"i. BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate and General Assembly 
of the State of New Jersey, That the passage of the act of 

March 2nd, 1837, by con<jress, by which tlie business of 
pilotage in the bays and harbours adjoining this vState and 
the State of New York, was thrown open to citizens of 
this State, appointed as pilot under our laws, was an act of 
justice to the State of New Jersey, and loudly called for 
by the appalling disasters upon our coasts, v/hich before 
that time continued to occur in quick succession. 

"2. And be it resolved, That the results of the experience of 
the last ten years, the greatly diminished number of wrecks 
of vessels approaching our shores, the superior vigilance 
and care of the New Jersey pilots, the danger of a renewal 
of the melancholy scenes and loss of life which attended the 
wrecks of the Mexico and Bristol, the impolicy and injus- 
tice of again erecting a monopoly, encouraging criminal 
remissness on the part of the pilots, all combine to furnish 
an unanswerable argument against the repeal of the pres- 
ent law. 

■*3. And be it resolved, That the recent establishment of a line 
of ocean steamships from Great Britain, whose terminus 
is at the Port of Jersey City, furnishes an additional argu- 
ment against the repeal of that act. 

"4. And be it resolved, That the Governor of this State be re- 
quested to forward a copy of the foregoing resolutions to 
our senators and representatives in congress." 

"Approved February 11, 1848." 

In 1836 the State made a grant to Nathaniel Budd of the 
entire fifty- three and a half acres lying on the Hudson River 
between Fourth and Twelfth Streets in Jersey City, practically 
the same tract granted by the Proprietors to Boudinot in 1803. 

In 1838 the State made a grant to the Hoboken Land and 
Improvement Company practically covering all the land under 
water in front of Hoboken. 

In 1848 the State made a grant to Stephen Vreeland cov- 
ering land under water adjacent to Caven Point. 

In 1849 ^ grant was made to Ingham and Jenkins covering 
lands under water at Bergen Point. 

In 1869 a grant was made to the United New Jersey Rail- 
road and Canal Companies, which is known as the Pennsylvania 
Railroad, of lands under water in front of the Pennsylvania 
Railroad Company's property. 

After March 31st, 1869, the control and administration of 
the Riparian interests of the State was placed in the hands of 
(^^nmissioners appointed by the Governor and confirmed by 
the Senate. 

The Wharf Act. 

In 185 1, the authorities of the State seem to have recog- 
nized the necessity of placing the supervision and control of 
the construction of wharves or docks in the hands of the local 
authorities affected by these improvements, and on March i8th, 
1 85 1, (P. L. 1 85 1, p. 335 ), the Legislature passed what is 
known as the "Wharf Act." 

This act gave the shore owner the authority to build docks 
or wharves in front of his lands and outlined the necessary 
procedure to be followed in obtaining the right to do so. It 
set forth that any owner of lands situated on tide waters who 
might desire to build a dock or wharf to extend beyond the 
limits of ordinary low water, should first obtain a license for 
that purpose from the Board of Chosen Freeholders of the 
county in which the lands might lie ; it provided that applica- 
tions should be advertised in a newspaper published in the 
county, and, as throwing a little light on the advance we have 
made, provided that, in the event of a county in which no 
newspaper was published, that the notice might be published 
in the paper of an adjoining county. This notice was to be 
published for six weeks and was to be put up in five of the 
most public places in the neighborhood of the lands in ques- 
tion, and the notice was to specify the location and dimensions 
of the dock or wharf intended to be built. The freeholders, 
upon proof of these formalities having been complied with, 
were to make an examination and if, in their judgment, the 
improvement did not appear to be injurious to puclic naviga- 
tion, after giving opportunity to those opposed to be heard, 
granted the license sought. 

This license was to specify the limits of the improvement, 
be recorded in the minutes of the freeholders, and recorded in 
the clerk's office of the county. 

It was also provided that the dock in question should be 
built within five years of the time of issuing said license and 
that the rights to the same should thereafter be vested in the 
shore owner, and contained an interesting provision that it 
should not be assignable, except with, and as pertaining to the 
land in front of which it was constructed, and that it should 
pass by any sale of said lands as appurtenant to the same, thus 
clearly being a recognition of the inherent right in the shore 
owner to the uses and advantages of the waterway. 


It was also provided that in case of an owner situated on 
tide water, which was a boundary line between two counties, 
practically the same procedure should be gone through with by 
the freeholders of both counties. 

Tliere were other provisions which are more in the nature 
of details and not interesting in this connection. 

It is of interest, however, to note that the Legislature, in 
185 1, defined the terms used in the act, and the eleventh sec- 
tion is as follows: 

"And be it enacted, that the term 'shore' in this act shall 
be CDUstrued to mean the land between the limits of ordin- 
ary high and low water; the term 'shore line' to mean the 
edge of the water at ordinary high water; and the term 
'shore owner' to mean the owner of the lands above and 
adjoining the shore line." 

This act applied to the entire State, of course, and numer- 
ous docks were built under it, perhaps a greater number in Es- 
sex, Hudson and Union Counties than in any other riparian 
counties of the State. 

No compensation to the State appears to have been pro- 
vided for in the act and what the expenses were to these shore 
owners in acquiring their licenses is a matter known only to 
the parties interested. There was much good natured gossip 
on this question: without doubt, the committee of the free- 
holders appointed to examine the locality of the dock applied 
for, was hospitably treated by the applicant. There is no 
reason to doubt that the applicant provided glasses through 
which a view, favorable to his application, might be obtained 
by the freeholders, and, as was the custom in those days of 
few hotels and less expeditious means of travel, the comfort 
of the visiting freeholders was looked after as a matter of 
kindly hospitality, if nothing else. 

A former Governor of this State, upon applying, as coun- 
sel, for the full right of the State to land on which existed a 
dock built under one of these freeholders' licenses, was asked 
by the State representatives if he knew what the license the 
owner had obtained from the freeholder had cost him. The 
ex-Governor, who was known for his genial nature, smiled in 
a reminiscent way, shaking his head, and said he could not tell. 
In 1869, the supplement to the act of 1864, creating the 
Riparian Commission, was passed, and the Wharf Act of 1851 
was repealed so far as it applied to the waters of the Hudson 


River, New York Bay and Kill von Kull (to Enyard's Dock on 
the Kill von Kull) ; Enyard's Dock being about at the foot of 
Ing-ham Avenue in Bayonne. 

Attempts were made thereafter to continue the work of 
construction under freeholders' licenses, but the State objected 
and commenced suit to prevent this being done and was suc- 
cessful in its endeavors. 

The freeholders continued to have authorthy to grant 
licenses in the rest of the riparian counties of the State until 
July ist, 1891 ; but on March 20th, 1891, an act was passed 
repealing the Wharf Act as to the entire State; provision being 
made in such repeal that the freeholders might continue to 
exercise their authority under the act of' 185 1 until July ist, 

1891, and the further condition that any reclamation authorized 
imder such licenses should be completed before January ist, 

1892. So that, notice being served on the shore owners by the 
act of March 20th, 1891, that the Wharf Act was to go out of 
use on July ist, 1891, a great rush was made in the intervening 
three months, particularly in Hudson, Union and Middlesex 
Counties, to secure these licenses, and there being but six 
months between July ist, 1891 and January ist, 1892, within 
which to complete any structures authorized, expedients were 
resorted to in an attempt to comply with the provisions of the 
Wharf Act of 185 1, and the holders of these licenses hastened 
to make reclamation of the lands under water so as to come 
within the provisions of the act. These improvements con- 
sisted, in many instances, and in most instances, of simply 
placing piles or monuments at intervals along the land covered 
by their respective licenses. In many instances these piles 
were strung along, covering spaces of from one hundred to 
three thousand feet. In some instances some form of construc- 
tion was attempted, such as piles connected by a string piece ; 
in others a double row of piling had been driven, capped and 

Neither this form of construction, nor the method of ob- 
taining the licenses, conformed with the requirements ofthe act 
of 185 1, and a case was brought to issue in 1894 to test the 
questions involved. 

A land owner, in 1891, had secured one of these licenses 
from the freeholders and had driven a line of piling as above 
described, and then sold the land with this license and this 

construction attached. The purchaser then proceeded to build 
a substantial and usable dock under color of title by this license 
and reclamation. The State thereupon, through the Attorney 
General, filed an information to compel the removal of the dock 
erected by the owner, as an encroachment upon lands of the 
State. After a careful presentation of the case on the part of 
the State and of the land owner, the court decreed that the 
land in question was located on lands of the State, without the 
authority of the State, and was therefore decreed to be a pur- 
presture upon the lands of the State and that the land owner 
should cause the removal of the same; also that the land owner 
should pay the costs of suit. This case is that of The State, 
Attorney General, Informant, vs. The American Lucol Company. 

This finally disposed of the question, both of the right of 
the freeholders to grant licenses and the character of the im- 
provments to be made under the same, and although the right 
to the use and continuance of a specific dock, properly built 
under freeholders' license is not questioned, it is not the title 
of the State, and when conveyance of shore front property is 
now made the full title of the State is sought. 

In 1S64 (P. L. 1864, p. 781) the Legislature appointed a 
Commission to look into the subject of the riparian rights of the 
State, and in 1865, this Commission made a report. In 1869 (P. 
L. 1869, p. 1017), the act was passed creating the Riparian 
Commission and repealing the Wharf Act as to the Hudson 
River, New York Bay and Kill von Kull. In 1891 (P. L. 1891, 
p. 216), the Wharf Act was repealed as to the rest of the 
tidal waters of the State and thereafter the Riparian Commission 
was the only source through which riparian grants were made. 

The fact of the absolute ownership of the State in these 
lands under water was not acquiesced in by all of the legal 

In 1864, when the Legislature was questioning the more 
methodical administration of these lands, the opinion of legal 
authorities was sought as to the rights of the State; and while 
tnost of the authorities agreed that the State's title was abso- 
lute, Honorable F. T. Frelinghuysen, Attorney General of the 
State, in an opinion given to the Senate on the question as to 
whether the State had a right to dispose of the lands under 
water adjoining the shore to other than riparian owners, after 
areful reasoning and citing of cases, concludes: 


"That the State cannot authorize another than the ripari- 
an owner to interpose between him and tide water and 
cannot take the shore between high and low water mark 
for public use without giving compensation." 

The present rule and practice is that the State may con- 
sider the application of a non riparian owner after the riparian 
owner has had six months' time within which to make the ap- 
plication himself; but the act of March 31st, 1869, provides 
that a grantee who is not the owner of the ripa 

"shall not fill up or improve said lands under water until 
the rights and interest of the riparian owner in said lands 
under water (if any he has) shall be extinguished", 

and this is followed by the method of procedure to conserve 
his rights. 

The act of March 20th, 1891, however, provides that the 
owner of the ripa shall have six months' notice of the applica- 
tion of a non riparian owner, but makes no mention of the 
"rights and interest (if any he has)" in the lands under water 
applied for. 

It would seem as though the owner of lands fronting or 

bounding on a tidal stream had some rights of access to and 

use of the water, which he could not be deprived of without 

due process and compensation. Governor Marcus L. Ward, 

on April nth, 1864 (Legal Doc's 1867, p. 25) in filing, without 

his approval, a bill granting certain lands under water in the 

"South Cove" to Mathiessen and Wiechers, Sugar Refining 

Company, on the ground that the company were not the 

owners of the ripa, used the following language: 

"It appears to me that the owners of lands adjacent to tide 
waters have a better right to those waters for certain pur- 
poses than other citizens of the nation. It would create 
consternation among the owners of such lands through (sic) 
the State, to learn that no respect whatever was to be paid 
to the advantages derived from their adjacency to tide 

This inherent right in the upland or shore owner is recog- 
nized by the State of Pennsylvania: By act approved June 
8th, 1907, a "Board of Commissioners of Navigation for the 
River Delaware and its navigable tributaries' ', was established, 
and the law and pratice of the State is expressed by the board 
as follows: 

"It has never been the practice in Pennsylvania to dis- 


tinguish riparian rights from other rights connected with 
the land: owning to the water line, the owner has the use 
of the water, just as the owner of land abutting on a street 
has the use of a street." 

The contrary view seems to be supported by a decision of 
the Court of Errors and Appeals in this State in the case of 
Stevens vs. The Pater son and Newark Railroad Co., (5 Vroom, 
SJ2), but a writer in a report to the Legislature of New Jersey, 
in 1883, furnishes the following interesting statement of fact 
and citation of cases, in relation to the ground for this decision : 

"We desire it understood that we should not assume to sit 
in review upon any decision of that Court if we conceived that 
the Court itself would still adhere to the decision then made, 
but the circumstances are such as to lead to the inevitable con- 
clusion that the Court which decided the Stevens case would 
overrule that decision were the opportunity to present itself. 
That case was decided in the year eighteen hundred and seven- 
ty, and the point was determined upon legal authorities cited 
by the learned chief justice who delivered the majority opinion. 
Reference was made to the case of Gould vs. Hudson River R. 
R. Co. N. Y. 2 Seld. ^22, and so far as the Court was controlled 
by the American decisions it is safe to say that it made the case 
of Gould a leading authority. But it is perfectly clear that the 
Court sought to ascertain and determined to declare in favor 
of the English rule of law, upon the point as to the right of 
the shore owner. In ascertaining the rule of law upon that point 
as applied by the English Courts, our Courts cited and mainly re- 
lied upon the case of Buccleuch vs. The Metropolitan Board of 
Works, decided by the English Court of Excluquer, the decision 
of which came to hand while our Court was considering of its 
decision in the Stevens case. That decision of the Exchequer 
Court was adverse to the right of the shore owner, and being 
then unreversed was treated by our Court as properly stating 
the English rule of law upon that point; and upon this the Ste- 
vens case was decided adversely to the right of the shore owner. 
Chancllor Zabriskie who took part, however, rendered a very 
elaborate dissenting opinion in which he held that the riparian 
proprietor had a right to the natural privileges conferred on 
his land of which he could not be deprived even by the State 
without due compensation. 

"After the decision of the Stevens case by our Court upon the 
strength of the case (jf Buccleuch vs. The Metropolitan Board of 
Works, as determined in the Ccurt of Exchequer, an appeal was 
taken in the latter case to the House of Lords, and after elab- 
orate argument the decision of the Exchequer Court was on 
April thirty, eighteen hundred and seventy- two, reversed and 
the right of the shore owner established by the highest court 


of England. Law reports 5 (House of Lords) 418. It maybe 
well for us to see just what the House of Lords there decided. 
The case arose as follows: The Duke of Bucclejich was the 
owner of a lease and in possession oi Montagu House vjh'xch. had 
an ornamental garden in its rear which adjoined the river 
Thames, and the natural flow of the water at high tide brought 
it up to his garden wall — the frontage of the garden on the 
river was one hundred and forty-five feet. The Metropolitan 
Board of Works under authority of Parliament constructed an 
embankment along the river Thames which cut off the flow of 
the water to the Duke's Garden. We now cite some of the 
propositions stated by the Judges in the House of Lords: 

" 'The Duke was entitled as riparian owner to the regular 
flow of the water all along the extremity of his garden.' .... 
'Now, the deprivation of the water right is clearly an injurious 
affecting of the premises to which it is annexed within the 
proper meaning of the term. 

" 'No doubt has been entertained by any of the judges 
who have had to consider this case that the plaintiff is entitled 
to compensation in respect to the taking of his causeway and 
the consequent injury to his property by depriving it of the di- 
rect access which that afforded to the Thames.' .... 'The 
plaintiff, as owner of land abutting on a navigable river was 
entitled to a right of access to the stream along his whole front- 
age, and not merely at the spot where his jetty projected.' 
.... 'The Duke had the land constituting the residence 
Montagu Hoitse, with the court yard, offices, and garden at- 
tached and had annexed and appurtenant to it the jetty or land- 
ing place, and although he had not the bed of the river he had 
the easement, or right, or privilege by whatever name it may 
be called, of the flow of the river Thajnes in its natural chan- 
nel up to his garden wall. He had one entire thing! He had 
not the land alone, or the jetty alone, or the right of the flow 
of the water of the river alone; he had all combined together; 
and if any one had done an act injurious to the land or the jetty, 
or to the right to the flow of the water, he would have had a 
legal right of action against him. If the owner of the soil of 
the bed of the river, or anyone else had constructed an embank- 
ment and roadway upon the jetty or landing place, so as to 
shut out the Duke's premises from the river, he could have 
inaintained an action against him for two causes: first, for des- 
troying his jetty ; secondly, for depriving him of his riparian 
right.' .... 'The property of the plaintiff in error in this 
case was what is commonly called riparian property. The 
meaning of that is, that it had a water frontage. The mean- 
ing of its having a water frontage was this, that it had a right 
to the undisturbed flow of the river, which passed along the 
whole frontage of the property in the form in which it had 
been formerly accustomed to pass, that being the state of 


things, this water frontage with these rights which the phiintifT 
in error possessed, were taken for the purposes of the act. Be- 
yond all doubt, the water right was a property belonging to 
the plaintiff, for which compensation was to be made!' " 

And the writer goes on to cite other English cases to the 
same effect, and states that the American rule as determined 
by the Supreme Court of the United States, is in full accord 
with the principles laid down in the English cases cited, follow- 
ing this assertion with references to a great number of adjudi- 
cated cases, and concludes as follows: The conclusion is, that 
these decisions of the highest tribunals both in England and in 
this country have wholly subverted the rule laid down in the 
Stevens case, and afifirmed that the shore owner has such a 
vested right to have the water flow to his ripa as he cannot be 
divested of by the State without the exercise of eminent do- 

I am bound to admit, however, that the decision in the 
case of the Mayor and Council of the City of Hobokcn vs Pennsyl- 
vania R. R. Co. {i2^ U. S., P. 6^6) is rather disconcerting to 
this view. The syllabus in this case holds, generally, that: 

The act of March 31, 1869, is not objectionable under the 
State Constitution on account of its title; that the interest of 
the vState in the riparian lands is a distinct and separate estate, 
and that a State's grantee holds the exclusive title against the 
adverse claim of right of way by a municipality by virture of an 
original dedication to high water mark. 

Although there have been cases in New Jersey where 
application has been made to the State by anon-riparian owner, 
the question of the equity of the riparian owner has never been 
passed on by the Riparian Commission, for the reason that in 
some of these cases, the application has been made with the 
consent of the riparian owner, and in others the riparian 
owner has, before the expiration of the six months, availed 
himself of his right and presented his own application, so that 
the question of the rights or equity of the shore owner has not 

Honorables Abraham Browning, Cortland Parker and 
George M. Robeson, agreed practically that the State had the 
right to dispose of these lands under water without regard to 
the owner of the upland in front of which they were situated; 
and yet, running through the reasoning and decision of all 
these men is a recognition that, up to 1851, the shore owner. 


under what was called the "common law", had certain cour- 
tesies or rights, and these rights have been recognized in the 
decisions of the courts to the extent that any reclamation of 
lands under water between high and low water line, made pre- 
vious to the year 1869, vested the title to such lands in the ri- 
parian owner. 

This custom or principle was affirmed in the great case of 
the Trustees of the School Fund and the Lehigh Valley Rail- 
road vs. The Central Railroad Company of New Jersey, in the 
following manner: 

About the year 1863, the Central Railroad Company bought 
the fringe of the shore, or a strip three feet in width, all the 
way from about where the old abattoir stood on the shore at 
Lafayette around, to and across the mouth of Mill Creek, to 
about Warren Street in Jersey City, and under this ownership, 
as well as under a claim of right through its charter proceeded 
to construct, by building on a trestle, a railroad which is still 
the line of the Central Railroad, to the Central Railroad Ferry, 
and also proceeded to fill in a considerable part of what is known 
as the South Cove or Communipaw Bay. 

In 1865, the Commission appointed to examine into the 
subject of riparian rights and to submit maps, submitted a 
map showing certain basins and lines for improvements in these 
same waters. The Central Railroad Company, disregarding 
these lines, proceeded with improvements and developed and 
filled in large areas. 

In 1872 the Riparian Commission, by direction of the Leg- 
islature, granted to the New Jersey West Line Railroad Com- 
pany, to whose title and charter the Lehigh Valley Railroad 
Company had succeeded, a block of land some five hundred 
feet in width by about four thousand feet in length, running 
through the heart or axis of the lands under water afterward 
granted to the Central Railroad Company, about one-half the 
area of which had been, up to that time, bulkheaded and filled 
in by the Central Railroad Company. 

Now this block of land five hundred feet wide by four 
thousand feet long, was in front of upland to which the New 
Jersey West Line Railroad Company neither had, nor claimed 
to have, any title, but was granted on the assumption that the 
State was the absolute owner of its lands under water, and 
without the courtesy of the six months' notice provided for in 


the act of 1869; but I have an impression that the rights or 
claims of the Van llorne family, who owned most of the upland 
in front of which this land under water lay, were satisfied or 

The Central Railroad Company, which had been requested 
and pressed by the State authorities to either desist from filling 
in these lands under water or to apply to the State for a prop- 
er grant for the same, did apply in 1874, and a grant was made 
in that year to the Central Railroad Company for $300,000, of 
all the lands under water in Communipaw Cove and New York 
Bay, as well as in some other waters of minor importance, 
in front of upland owned by the Company, with the exception 
of the land granted to the New Jersey West Line Railroad Com- 
pany and some others not germane to this phase of the question. 

No attempt was made by the New Jersey West Line Rail- 
road Company to occupy or use the land and land under water 
granted by the State in 1872; but the Lehigh Valley Railroad 
Company, having succeeded to the rights of the New Jersey 
West Line Railroad Company, with the cooperation of the 
Trustees for the support of Public Schools, who were interested 
in the question, proceeded, by suit in ejectment, to establish 
its title to the land in question, and succeeded in this suit as to 
the entire area covered by the grant, with the exception of a 
very small portion lying between the original high water line, 
which had been filled in by the Central Railroad Company 
previous to the year 1869; thus affirming, in a case of stupen- 
dous importance and financial magnitude, the principle above 
set down that previous to 1869 reclamations made between the 
high and low water line became the property of the adjacent 
shore owner, and also that the State was the absolute owner of 
the lands under water and could, with the possible limitations 
above suggested, convey the same to anyone, regardless of the 
shore or upland owner. 

There is an idea or an impression prevalent, even among 
lawyers, that adverse possession does not operate or run against 
the State; that is to say, that the rule that ordinarily applies to 
an individual having had adverse possession of lands for the 
period of twenty years, vests title to the same in such possessor, 
does not apply to the State of New Jersey. This is, however, 
not true. 

A general statute of the State of New Jersey, which will 


be found in No. 2 of the Revision, page 1978, Section 27, pro- 
vides : 

•'That no person or persons, bodies politic or corporate, 
shall be sued or impleaded by the State of New Jersey for 
any lands, tenements or hereditaments, or for any rents, 
revenues, issues or profits thereof, but within twenty years 
after the right, title or cause of action to the same accrue, 
and not after." 

But this fact, while it would, no doubt, vest title in lands 
filled in below high water line, if the State did not assert its title 
within twenty years of the time the encroachment was made, 
the rights of the State to the lands under water in front of the 
same would not in any way be impaired or changed. 

So that the practice, founded on law and subsequent legis- 
lation and decisions of the court is, that a person owning land 
fronting on the navigable water at mean high tide is entitled 
to apply to the properly constituted agent of the State for title 
to the lands under water out to such line or lines for improve- 
ments as may be fixed by the State through these agents, and 
thereafter to attach all the rights and emoluments incident to 
the navigable waters in question, such as the right to fill in and 
build upon and exercise the ordinary property rights as well as 
to collect v/harfage and such rights as are incident to navigation. 
The practical application of these doctrines and of the ad- 
ministration of these interests of the State is that the Commis- 
sion or authority having it in charge make an examination of 
the waters under contemplation and decide where the line for 
solid filling and the line for piers may be placed, which shall at 
once make the shore attractive and useful for commercial de- 
velopment and convenient of approach by vessels, and at the 
same time conserve and not encroach upon or interfere with 
the general navigation by the public of the waters in question. 
Upon receipt of an application for such water rights by the 
owner of the shore or ripa (and in the case of a non-riparian 
owner the proceeding is only delayed six months), the Commis- 
sion having previously fixed the lines above referred to and 
filed a map showing the same, in the office of the vSecretary of 
State, proceeds to acquaint itself with the value of the lands in 
question, or rather, to fix such a price as will adequately com- 
pensate the State for its equity in these lands, at the same time 
seeking not to embarrass or discourage the location of com- 
mercial industries or enterprises desiring the rights. 


When this price has been fixed and agreed to by the appli- 
cant, the question of his title is submitted to the legal advisor 
of the board and upon approval of the same a description and 
formal grant conveying the rights of the State is prepared, is 
signed by the Commissioners, is submitted to the Governor for 
his consideration and signature, if approved, has then the State 
Seal attached and attested by the Secretary of State, and is 
then ready for delivery upon receipt of the consideration. This 
consideration, when received, is paid into the State Treasury, 
and is then invested and the proceeds devoted to the support 
of free public schools. 

A number of interesting questions arise in the administra- 
tion of this trust, which, while perhaps of particular interest to 
the legal profession, are of interest to every thoughtful mind, 
as a part of the administration of the great water front of our 
county and State. 

The question as to the location and direction the lines of 
these lands under water shall take is an interesting one: what 
is known as the Massachusetts Rule has been generally followed 
in this particular, and, briefly stated, it is that where a shore 
line is continuously straight, or practically so, for any consid- 
erable distance, the lines of the lands under water are said to 
run at right angles to this shore line, and the only limitation 
to this principle is, how much of the shore shall be considered 
in the application of this rule. 

In the practice in our own tide waters, before the creation 
of the Riparian Commission, a shore owner at Edgewater in 
Bergen County, in i866 procured from the freeholders, under 
the Wharf Act of 1851, a license to build a dock, and the de- 
scription in this license illustrates one of the phases of this 
branch of the subject: 

The license in question was issued under the act of 185 1, 
and the description is as follows: 

"License to build such dock, wharf or pier in front of his 
said lands, in the Township of Ilackcnsack, in the County of 
Bergen, beyond the limits of ordinary low water mark in Hud- 
son River: 

"Beginning at the northeasterly corner of the lands owned 
by the licensee, where the northerly boundary line of said land 
terminates at low water mark on said river" (you will note the 
presumption is that the licensee already had the right to go out 
to low water mark) "and running thence easterly and perpen- 


dicular to the stream or currents of said river about 500 feet"; 
(it is not difficult to apprehend the confusion that would arise 
from making all of the grants along an ordinary river perpen- 
dicular to the stream or currents of the same); "thence south- 
erly along and parallel with said stream or current, about 100 
feet; thence westerly, on a line perpendicular to said stream or 
current, about 500 feet to low water mark; thence along low 
water mark northerly 100 feet to the place of beginning." 

And this license is signed by G. G. Ackerman, Director, and 
witnessed by M. M. Wygant, Clerk, and is proved by the said 
clerk before Manning M. Knapp, Master in Chancery, March 
12th, 1866. 

But when the Riparian Commission, in 1869, fixed exterior 
lines for solid filling and piers, they took in a much longer 
section of shore front than that contemplated by the free- 
holders, and the consequence was that the line for solid filling 
fixed for the section considered by the Riparian Commissioners, 
was not parallel to the smaller section previously considered by 
the freeholders, and a line at right angles to the line fixed by 
the Commission was not parallel to or coincident with the line 
fixed by the freeholders for the license in question. 

The licensee in this case, after 1869, when the Wharf Act 
was repealed as to the Hudson River, continued the work of 
constructing this dock for which he had the license in 1866, and 
was stopped by the State of New Jersey on the ground that his 
rights had expired, or had become forfeited under the repeal 
of the act, and he was obliged to take out the rights, to con- 
tinue his work, from the State, which he did in 1875, and when 
this grant was made by the State, through its Riparian Com- 
missioners, it was made on the broader principle of lines per- 
pendicular to an exterior line that should parallel a greater ex- 
tent of shore front than that contemplated by the freeholders 
in 1865 ; the result being that a section of land under water, in 
the form of a trapezoid, was left ungranted by the State, and 
was afterwards added to the grant made in 1875. 

Again, the Massachusetts Rule provides that where there 
is a pronounced cove, with jutting capes on either end, causing 
a less frontage on the exterior line than on the shore, it be- 
comes necessary to apportion the frontage on the exterior line 
proportionally to the frontage on the shore ; and a pronounced 
example of this condition is the New York Bay shore, between 
Caven Point and Constable's Hook. 


The principle laid down was equitable and in our State be- 
came leo;il^ for in a suit in ejectment to try the question of title 
to lands on the Passaic River, over which there was a conflict 
arising, from a difference of opinion as to the direction these 
lines should take, the rule above set forth was affirmed by the 
court in the case of the Delaware, Lockatvanna & Wcsiern Rail- 
road Company, vs. Cornelius Ilannon, in 1875, reported in Sth 
Vroow, />. jyd. 

Still another development or modification of this question 
of the bounds of the lands under water arises from the legal 
proposition that accretions made and joining to the upland in- 
ure to and become the property of the owner of such upland; 
but the direction of the side lines of such upland owner across 
this accretion to the new high water line was the subject of 
dispute until adjudicated upon by the courts. 

One can readily see, in the case of an owner fronting on 
the shore, the side lines of whose land approach the shore rap- 
idly converging and leaving but a limited frontage on the high 
water line, if this high water line is extended by land formed 
in front by accretion, that the continuation in straight lines of 
these original land lines might very easily meet before the new 
high water line was reached and the owner be deprived of any 
frontage whatever on the water; or on the other hand, where 
these land lines in question diverge as they approach the shore, 
to continue them in straight lines would unduly increase the 
frontage of such owner by the time they reached the water. 

Another very interesting development of the law of accre- 
tions was very thoroughly shown in a case some twenty-five 
years ago in which the owners or successors in title of the 
Highlands of Navesink sought to eject the Central Railroad 
Company and others from the occupation and use of the pres- 
ent strip of land running between the ocean and the Shrews- 
bury River, between Sandy Hook and Long Branch. 

The title to the locality now known as the Highlands, just 
south of Sandy Hook in Monmouth County, on which the con- 
spicuous Twin Light Houses stand, was vested in the Harts- 
horne family in 1761, and the Highlands were divided into two 
equal parts by a line running very nearly east and west. This 
partition line began at a point back in the country and came 
down in very nearly a straight line by definite courses and dis- 
tances to the "sea". 

About twenty-five years ago the successors to the Harts- 

horne title began suit to eject the Central Railroad Company 

and others from the use and occupation of the strip of land 

running between the ocean and the river, in front of the 

Highlands, on the ground that their title ran to the "sea". 

Their claim was that their title went across the river and across 

this strip of sand to the present ocean or "sea". 

An examination of the very ancient maps in the possession 
of the government in the Congressional Library at Washington, 
as well as the reading of history, disclosed the fact that at the 
time of this deed in 1761, the "sea" did actually wash up 
against the foot of the Highlands; there was no strip of sand 
intervening between the river and the "sea" and Sandy Hook 
joined on the Highlands, at what would be the northeast part 
of the same. The surveys also demonstrated that the distance 
measured from the original starting point ended at the foot of 
the Highlands, west of the River, and did not carry across the 
river to the present shore of the ocean. The government maps 
and history also showed that this strip of sand had grown up 
and joined by accretion to the extension northward of Long 
Branch and Monmouth Beach, and after a very carefully con- 
ducted suit, in which the late Chancellor Williamson and Mr. 
Robert W. De Forrest appeared for the Railroad Company, 
and the present Judge William H. Vredenbergh appeared for 
the successors in title to the Hartshorne family, the courts de- 
cided that the lands in question were formed by accretion, 
joining on to the land to the south, and the Railroad Company 
and others, having taken title through this source, were right- 
fully in possession. 

Dr. Cornelius Brett in his very valuable paper read before 
this Society March 27th, 1908, entitled "The Dutch Settle- 
ments in Hudson County", laying the foundation for a series 
of historical papers, on page 3, says: 

"On certain old maps, immediately after Verrazano's voy- 
age in 1527, there began to appear the name of 'Norumbega. ' 
The maps were, of course, rude suggestions of the outlines of 
sea and shore, without any attempt at measurement ortriangu- 

I have with me this evening a fac simile reproduction of 
a map of this locality, made about the year 16 15, which agrees 
almost exactly with Dr. Brett's description of the map of 1527, 

and where it differs, it is a tribute to the Doctor's delightfully 
literary and yet discriminating- reading and knowledge of maps. 

The Doctor says of the maps of 1527; 

*'The maps were of course, rude suggestions of the out- 
lines of sea and shore, witliout any attempt at measurement or 

This was literally true and describes the map of 1615 ^ 
have before me, except in this map, nearly one hundred years 
later, some attempt has been made to suggest measurement 
and triangulation, for the degrees of latitude are shown. 

The writer of this paper has in his possession copies he 
made in 1882, at the Congressional Library in Washington, of 
maps of this locality made in i68o and 1776, which, with the 
map of 16 15, form an interesting exhibit of the progress of 
cartography in one hundred and sixty years. These maps show 
plainly that, at the time there was no strip of sand, as now, 
forming the Shrewsbury River, but that the sea or ocean 
washed up against the Highlands, and the inlet described by 
Cooper is very clearly snown on the interesting United States 
Coast Survey Chart, published about the year 1844, 

I know of no more attractive and truthful description of 
this locality than that contained in Fenimore Cooper's "The 
Water Witch". He is leading up to the dramatic disappear- 
ance of the beautiful niece of Alderman Van Beverout. The 
worthy Alderman saw no sin in pushing commerce a step be- 
yond the limits of the law, and after a bargaining conference 
with Master Seadrift, of the Brigantine Water Witch, who 
seemed to divide his time between smuggling and love-making, 
the niece disappeared. Shortly afterward, during a storm, the 
Water Witch also disappeared, and the gallant English cap- 
tain, Ludlow, of her Majesty, Queen Anne's Frigate Coquette, 
in love with the niece as well, was much puzzled to account 
for her disappearance. He found, upon sounding the inlet the 
next day, that there were two fathoms of water at high tide, 
thus explaining the disappearance of the Water Witch. 

Cooper's description of this locality, however, agrees so 
closely with the conditions of the coast in his day, as shown by 
the United States government charts, I am impressed with the 
thought that the graceful author used them as the mise en 
scene for his story of happenings back in good Queen Anne's 
time — he says: 


"A happy mixture of land and water, seen by a bright 
moon, and beneath the sky of the fortieth degree of latitude, 
cannot fail to make a pleasing picture. Such was the landscape 
which the reader must now endeavor to present to his mind. 

"The wide estuary of Raritan is shut in from the winds 
and billows of the open sea by a long, low, and narrow cape, 
or point, which, by a medley of the Dutch and English lan- 
guages, that is by no means rare in the names of places that 
lie within the former territories of the united provinces of Hol- 
land, is known by the name of Sandy Hook. This tongue of 
land appears to have been made by the unremitting and oppos- 
ing actions of the waves on one side, and the currents of the 
different rivers that empty their waters into the bay, on the 
other. It is commonly connected with the low coast of New 
Jersey, to the south ; but there are periods of many years in 
succession, during which there exists an inlet from the sea, be- 
tween what may be termed the inner end of the cape and the 
mainland. During these periods, Sandy Hook, of course, be- 
comes an island. Such was the fact at the time of which it is 
our business to write." 

On the subject of maps, I want here to pay tribute to the 
accuracy of the maps of the United States Coast and Geodetic 
Survey. It would require a paper in itself to give any idea of 
the devotion and fidelity of the United States Government 
Engineers to this vitally important work from the selection and 
measurement of the base line, an operation as delicate as the 
most delicate surgical operation; the determination of the Pri- 
mary triangulation, with its development into the Secondar)^ 
and Tertiary; to the filling in of the minutest details, the ex- 
tent and enormous importance of the Hydrographic work to 
the commerce of the world, as well as to the lives of the mil- 
lions of human beings coming to and leaving our shores, is too 
little understood and therefore too little appreciated; but I 
want, here, after an acquaintance with and professional use of 
the Coast Survey Charts of our Government, extending over 
thirty years, to testify that I have found them minutely and 
absolutely accurate and reliable; and I regard the United States 
Coast Survey Department second to none in importance in its 
administration of the affairs of our great nation. 

An interesting decision affecting the law of accretion was 
given in what is known as the "Shriver Case". 

On July 17th, 1897, William Shriver made application, in 
due form, and complied with all the requirements of the board 
in furnishing an accurate survey of the lands in front of which 


the riparian rights were desired, abstract of title, &c. , and after 

consideration of the application and action thereon, the board ^ 
on August 31st, 1897, executed the grant and delivered the 
same. The grant in question covered a strip of land under 
water the width of the lot owned by Shriver, and within the 
side lines of the same, extended from the high water line as it 
existed at the time of the grant, about one thousand feet into 
the Atlantic Ocean, said grant stating that it was conditional 
upon Shriver being the riparian owner. 

Subsequent to the time of the grant by the State the action 
of the ocean was such as to make up or form land in front of 
the high water line as it existed at the time of the grant, and 
upon Shriver taking possession of this accretion, the Ocean 
City Association, in the Supreme Court, brought suit in eject- 
ment against Shriver to recover possession of the land, and 
judgment was rendered against said association. Upon the case 
being carried to the Court of Errors and Appeals, however, the 
judgment of the Supreme Court was reversed and judgment 
given the Ocean City Association. 

The following is a brief statement of the case as presented 
to the Courts: 

The plaintiff, the Ocean City Association, in 1880, pur- 
chased a tract containing several thousand acres of wholly un- 
improved land, known as Pecks Beach, in Cape May County, 
and lying between the Atlantic Ocean and Great Egg Harbor 
Bay. On this tract a summer resort, known as Ocean City, 
has grown up. In 1883 the association caused a map to be 
made, showing a part of the above tract laid out into streets, 
and blocks divided into lots. On this map Ocean Avenue was 
delineated, practically parallel with and distant some 250 feet 
inland from the high water line of the Atlantic Ocean, and the 
space so intervening was undivided. By deed bearing date 
October 29th, 1884, the Association conveyed lot No. 849 to one 
Henry B. Howell. This lot is on the westerly side of Ocean 
Avenue, between 9th and loth Streets. It had between it and 
the Atlantic Ocean, Ocean Avenue and the strip of undivided 
beach above referred to, and was simply described as a lot 
50 X 135, lying between Ocean Avenue on the east and a 15 foot 
alley on the west. H )well, by deed dated April 21, 1895, con- 
veyed this lot by the same description to William Shriver, the 
defendant in this suit. There was evidence that the ocean, 

after 1880, gradually worked inland, carrying away the undi- 
vided beach and Ocean Avenue, or the greater part of said 
Avenue in front of the lot in question, and that in 1895 the or- 
dinary high water came up to this lot. In 1897 the ocean began 
to recede, and the grant of the Riparian Com missioners to Shriver 
in 1897 indicates a high water line in Ocean Avenue and west 
of the centre line of the same. The grant by the Riparian 
Commissioners to William Shriver of August 3rd, 1897, covered 
in terms a tract of land under water, at mean high tide, the 
width of his lot, and within the side lines of the same, extended 
from the high water line as it existed at the time of the grant 
985 feet into the Atlantic Ocean to the Commissioners' exterior 

The syllabus of the opinion of the Court of Errors and 
Appeals, written by Depue, C. J., and dissented from by Magie, 
Ch., and Dixon and Collins, J. J., is as follows: 

"Held that if the plaintiff (The Ocean City Association) 
was the owner of the land on the line of ordinary high water in 
front of this lot, at the time of its deed to defendant's grantor, 
it is the owner of the land obtained by accretion, since the ri- 
parian owner is entitled to all alluvial increase, and defendant 
did not become the owner of the land conveyed by the riparian 
grant, and therefore, an instruction that, if the high water line 
in 1895 advanced to this lot, it became a riparian lot, and what- 
ever alluvial increase the ocean, in its advance, brought to and 
in front of the lot belongs to the defendant was erroneous." 

From the reasoning of the Court in this case, it would seem 
that if land is carried away by erosion of the ocean, the title to 
the land so carried away is not lost, but if the ocean recedes, 
and the land reappears and the original ownership is capable 
of indentification, the subject does not lose his property. 

And this principle is set forth in the famous treatise "de 
jure maris et brachiorum ejusdem," ascribed to Lord Chief 
Justice Hale, the acknowledged authority on this branch of the 
law, in the following quaint language: 

"If a subject hath land adjoining the sea, and the violence 
of the sea swallow it up, but so that there be reasonable marks 
to continue the notice of it, or though the marks be defaced, 
yet if by situation and extent of quantity and bounding upon 
the firm land, the same can be known, though the sea leave 
this land again, or it be by art or industry regained, the subject 
doth not lose his propriety." 

Under this case and adjudication it is of importance for us 

all, in acquiring riparian rights, either as adjuncts to our bus- 
iness enterprises or as part of our sea-shore homes, to learn 
what the position or location of the high water line was at the 
time our title originated. 

A very ancient exercise of the ownership of the State over 
these lands under water took the form of granting to persons 
the right of fishery, and as early as 1783 this right was exercised 
by the State and has continued down to the present time. I 
believe such a fishery right existed in front of the Van Buskirk 
Farm on New York Bay at Constable's Hook. 

These fishery rights consisted of a grant of the right to 
use the shore between high water mark and low water mark 
for the purpose of drawing seines or nets that were used for 
the best known and popular purpose of catching shad, and those 
who have witnessed the extensive operations of the shad fish- 
eries on the Delaware will have some idea of the extent and 
value of these rights. These rights are held paramount to the 
rights of the upland owner to acquire the land under water for 
commercial purposes and must be reckoned with or extinguished 
before they can be disregarded. 

These rights are not so valuable now as they were formerly, 
for the reason that they are not so productive, the shad being 
not nearly so plentiful and in some cases havmg almost disap- 
peared. It will be a surprise to most of us that the catching 
of whales was ever a New Jersey industry, and nothing indi- 
cates in so marked a way the natural changes that take place in 
the course of years as a reference to an act passed by the As- 
sembly of New Jersey in 1693, which recites as follows: 

"Whalery in the Delaware River has been in so great a 

measure invaded by strangers and foreigners" &c 

and enacting. 

"That all persons now residing within the precincts of this 
province or within the province of Pennsylvania who shall kill 
or bring on shore any whale or whales within Delaware Bay 
or elsewhere within the boundaries of this Government, to pay 
one-tenth of the oyl to the Governor." 

In the very interesting paper read by Mr. Daniel Van 
Winkle, President of this Society, under the title "The Dutch 
Under English Rule, 1674-1775", reference is made on page 12, 
as follows: 

"Van Vorst's possessions were separated from the main- 
land by the Mill Creek: a stream of goodly size that wound its 

tortuous way from the bay at about the present intersection of 
Johnston Avenue and Phillips Street, and thence in a northerly 
direction crossing present Grand Street, about 150 feet east of 
Pacific Avenue, continuing thence still northerly through the 
marsh to the Point of Rocks, the present site of the Pennsyl- 
vania Railroad roundhouse, and along the base of the hill, 
around back of Aharsimus Cove, meeting the waters of a creek 
emptying into the bay at Hoboken. 

"This stream was of great advantage to the old Dutch res- 
idents for readily transporting their farm products to the 
markets of New York. A favorite landing place was at New- 
ark Avenue where the West Shore freighthouse now stands, 
and also at the bridge that crossed the stream near Prior's 
Mill, that stood about the present junction of Freemont Street 
and Railroad Avenue. Perhaps we may better realize the 
importance of this stream by inserting the following ad. : 

" 'nth October, 1770, to be sold. — A large white wood 
periagua 5 years old, now in good order, with a new suit of 
sails. She is 32 feet long and 7 feet wide. Suitable for a 
miller or farmer. She now lies at Prior's Mill, in Bergen, 
where any person may view her.' 

This graphic and interesting description leaves in our 
minds a delightful picture of a quiet stream that rose and fell 
with the tides of New York Bay and Hudson River, washing 
the shores of Communipaw and "Mill Creek John Van Horn's 
farm" and on whose bosom floated the commerce of that an- 
cient time, stopping at the busy shipping ports of Prior's Mill 
and others along its line; but the facts to-day are that the 
Creek in question is nearly obliterated. Some sections of it 
remain as the axis of a swamp, but the greater part of it has 
been filled in and is covered by buildings either for dwelling or 
commercial uses. 

Still, the title of the State to the lands originally flowed 
by this ancient stream, so graphically portrayed, remains; and 
even to-day, when property is transferred, any part of which 
occupies the site of the now obliterated Mill Creek, — this "stream 
of goodly size", — it is necesary, before the title companies will 
guarantee and insure the title, for the State to release, by deed 
signed by the Governor and sealed with the Great Seal of the 
State, attested by the Secretary of State, its ancient rights in 
the premises. 


It must have been with some surprise, and, it may be, in- 
dignation, that our neigbors, the Stratfords, in the course of 
the formation of a company in the development of their im- 
portant paper industry on Cornelison Avenue, just south of 
Montgomery Street, as recently as 1905, found it necesary to 
secure the State's title to the lands anciently flowed by Oyster 
Creek, which lazily meandered, a tributary to Mill Creek. 
We can hardly imagine such a thing as taking oysters from this 

In considering the development of the water front of our 
County, we shall find that our early legislators found it neces- 
sary to remonstrate and protest against the actions and attitude 
of our neighbors across the Hudson. This question is not a 
sentimental one as regards the interest and history of Hudson 
County's water front: 

Previous to August nth, 1880, the matter of fixing exter- 
ior lines for docks, etc., on the waters of New York Bay and 
waters tributary thereto, was left largely in the hands of the 
municipalities interested, and resulted in encroachments on the 
waterways that were viewed with alarm by students of the 
subject. I think, without doubt, both New York and New 
Jersey were open to criticism ; but in a report made by a com- 
mission appointed by our Legislature in 1848 to ascertain the 
extent and value of the lands under water in Hudson County, 
reference is made to the boundary line agreement of 1834, as 

"The boundary line between the States of New York and 
New Jersey, . . . shall be the middle of said river," &c. "Since 
the date of this agreement, very extensive alterations of the 
New York shore, &c., have been made, &c., and yet larger ex- 
tensions are in serious agitation. It is respectfully submitted 
that measures should be adopted to ascertain and locate this 
boundary line by survey monuments, &c. , before it is involved 
in incertitude and possible dispute," &c. 

This suggestion was not adopted and the very result pre- 
dicted followed. It was not until 1888, forty years after, that 
the boundary line was definitely fixed, and it was necessary to 
resurrect and reconstruct the maps of the shore line of 1834 in 
order properly to do so. 

This report of the Commissioners in 1848 is a most inter- 
esting one and will repay careful reading in its entirety; but I 
will give some extracts which I think will interest you: 


The report states that the Commissioners met in Jersey 
City on June 6th, 1848, and at subsequent times; that they had 
a map prepared to exhibit the water line of the County of Hud- 
son; that the map was prepared "in a manner entirely satis- 
factory by Andrew Clerk, Esq., of Jersey City;" and a series 
of thirteen written questions were submitted to the corporation 
of Jersey City and others, "and full and explicit replies ob- 

The Commissioners make graceful acknowledgment in the 

following language : 

"The Commissioners desire to make grateful acknowledg- 
ment for these and other facilities, and, indeed, for a kind and 
courteous reception on the part of all with whom they came in 
contact in the prosecution of their enquiries." 

Then follows an interesting description of the shore line 
of Hudson County and a reference to the ancient grants and 
laws affecting the subject. 

I shall refer here to only a few of the questions and an- 
swers above referred to: 

"Fourth: To what purpose or uses are or may the lands 
between high water line and the channel or New York line, be 
Answer by Jersey City: 

"Some of the lands below high water line on the east side 
of Hudson County, are occupied for piers and wharves ; a por- 
tion of said lands have been reclaimed and applied to streets, 
building lots, &c. ; nearly all the flats on the east side of the 
County maybe advantageously applied to the same andkmdred 

"Sixth: To what uses are such lands applied which lie 
south of Jersey City, and to what further uses may they be ap- 
plied, if reclaimed, under the authority of the State, now and 
Answer by Jersey City: 

'•The lands flowed by the tides south of Jersey City, are 
all natural oyster beds, and furnish subsistence to a large num- 
ber of fishermen. If reclaimed, these lands would be valuable 
as building lots " 

"Eighth: How much of the lands formerly covered by 
water has been reclaimed within the limits of Jersey City? how 
reclaimed and to what uses put?" 
Answer by Jersey City: 

"About ten acres of land, formerly covered by water, have 
been reclaimed in Jersey City, by filling in with earth to raise 

it above hij^h water; it is used for streets and buildinj^^lots, and 
is worth at least tivo hundrtd thousand dollars. The entire 
profits of tlie speculation have been received by the "Associates 
of the Jersey Company," who, as pretended owners, either re- 
claimed the land and then sold it in building lots to others; or 
as in most cases, sold . . . the submerged land in its natural 
State, to be filled up by the purchaser. A small portion of the 
reclaimed land is held by lessees of the Associates for a coal 
depot and landing place for the Cunard steamers." 

"Tenth: What was the extent of the projected improve- 
ment north of Jersey City?" 

Answer by Jersey City : 

"The projected 'improvement' so called, is believed to 
embrace at least twelve acres." 

These answers will cause us to smile as we contemplate 
the present development of the water front of our County. 

This same series of questions was propounded to H. South- 

mayd, Esquire, and I give his answer to the eighth question, 

as it gives so intelligent a description of the conditions in lower 

Jersey City at that time: 

"Question 8th: How much of the lands formerly covered 
by water has been reclaimed within the limits of Jersey City? 
How reclaimed, and to what uses put?" 

••Answer: Jersey City, in the year 1804, contained seventy- 
three acres, three rods and thirty links, as will appear by a 
map of Richard Outwater, made about that time. When the 
Associates bought, Mangin's Map was made and laid out all of 
Jersey City, containing seventy- three acres as before stated, 
including twenty-three acres of land under water unreclaimed, 
lying around the city. Eleven acres of this twenty-three are 
still under water and unreclaimed. Nearly four acres of the 
land reclaimed have been reclaimed by the New Jersey Rail- 
road for their depot, and for the depot of the Hudson River 
Railroad Company, for which they paid but a nominal considera- 
tion to the Associates of the Jersey Company, nearly two acres, or 
a block of thirty-two lots, by the Morris Canal Company, also 
paying a nominal consideration — the remainder being one hun- 
dred and four lots, or about six and a half acres by the Associ- 
ates of the Jersey Company and their grantees. Besides this, 
the Associates, thirty or forty years since, reclaimed a strip 
of land east of Hudson Street, of about twenty feet wide, be- 
ginning at Essex Street, and extending to York, about one 
thousand feet; and recently the land now used by the Cunard 
Line of Mail Steamers between Jersey City and Liverpool, 
was reclaimed by the Assosiates, containing about thirty lots, 
exclusive of wharves and streets. The uses for which the 
property thus reclaimed has been put, have been stated, to 


wit: The strip of land east of Hudson Street, the Cunard im- 
provement for the accommodation of that line of steamers; the 
New Jersey Railroad and Hudson River Railroad Depots; the 
Morris Canal Wharf. Some of the land reclaimed is now 
owned by private individuals; that is to say, some lots on Hud- 
son Street, and some on Montgomery Street, and other parts 
of the City, on which dwelling houses, hotels, stores, manufac- 
tories, foundries, &c., have been erected. Forty-eight lots have 
been given for church, school, market and public grounds. The 
manner in which this land has been reclaimed has been mostly 
by building bulk-heads, filling them up with broken rock, stone, 
and by surplus earth from the streets and rubbish from the 
City of New York. Recently the mud outside of the bulk-head 
has been applied to the filling up inside by a dredging ma- 
chine; this, though expensive, is in a measure compensated 
by the greater depth of water obtained." 

J. D. Miller, Esquire, made a general reply to the thir. 

teenth question only: Mr, Miller states that: 

"He is the owner in right of his wife of about two hundred 
feet of shore in township of Van Vorst, in the County of Hud- 
son, extending along and fronting on Harsimus Bay or Hudson 
River. It is an ancient shore against which the tides always 
have and still do flow. It has been held and enjoyed by the 
former owners as a shore, for more than two hundred years. 
.... The land under water in front of this shore has been 
used and enjoyed from time to time, by the former owners, 
to some extent for an oyster fishery." 

Mr. Miller expresses the opinion that he is entitled to the 
right of enjoying and improving all the lands under water in 
front of said shore, subject only to the adjudicated and acknowl- 
edged right of the State of New Jersey, a very wise and 
proper answer, and one that was very much of the same pur- 
port, but sixteen years earlier, than the opinion of Chancellor 

Some of the categorical answers will cause a smile as we 
look at the present development of the water front of Jersey 

In the year 1849, the Legislature passed an act to compen- 
sate these Commissioners, as follows: 
{P. L. 1849, p. 336). 

"To compensate the Commissioners, therein named: 

"Be it resolved by the Senate and General Assembly of 
the State of New Jersey, that the Treasurer of this State be 
authorized and directed to pay to the Commissioners appointed 
by resolution of twenty-third of February^ eighteen hundred and 

f orty- eight, to investigate and report SLSX.O ihe Gyi\.er\\. and value 
of the lands under water owned by the State, within the limits 
of the County of Hudson, as follows: 

"To William H. Leupp, chairman of the said Commission- 
ers, for per diem, mileage and drawing report, two hundred 

"To Martin J. Ryerson, one of said Commissioners, for 
per diem, mileage, and services, one hundred and fifty dollars. 

"To George F. Fort, one of said Commissioners, for per 
diem, mileage, and services, one hundred and fifty dollars. 

"To Andrew Clerk, for preparing map for the State, by 
order of said Commissioners, seventy-five dollars. 
Approved March 2, 1849." 

The Andrew Clerk above mentioned being the partner of 
Robert C. Bacot, Engineer. 

New Jersey seems to have kept its eyes jealously on New 
York, for on March 14th, 1855, the Legislature passed a Joint 
Resolution, (P. L. 1855, p. 800) as follows: 
"In relation to encroachments made in the harbor of New York. 

"Whereas, it is alleged that, by certain erections made 
and contemplated in the East and Hudson Rivers, under and by 
authority of the State of New York, the usefulness of the 
Brooklyn Navy Yard is impaired, if not endangered, and the 
channels of the East River, and the Hudson River much inno- 
vated upon and narrowed to the injury of the main entrance 
channel of the harbor of New York and to the injury of the 
Jersey Shore, and also to the navigation of the Passaic River, 
leading to Newark, the largest port of entry in this State; and 
whereas, also, counter encroachments upon the part of New 
Jersey would greatly injure the navigation of the Hudson, and 
impair the usefulness and capacity of the harbor of New York ; 
and whereas, also, the establishment of a water line, outside of 
which no erections should be made, would seem to be necessary 
to arrest similar innovations in future — therefore, 

"i. Be it resolved by the Senate and General Assembly 
of the State of New Jersey, that the Legislature of the State 
of New York be requested, so far as the same may be within 
its power, to cancel and repeal all grants to build and erect 
wharves, piers, bulkheads and docks, in the immediate neigh- 
borhood of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, the erection whereof, 
would injure and impair the usefulness thereof, and to remove 
the more glaring erections in the East River, to the injury of 
the commerce and harbor of New York, and also to the injury 
of New Jersey, 

"2. And be it resolved, that the Legislature of the State 
of New York be requested, in such manner and by such means 


as it may think best, to survey, lay out, and establish in the riv- 
ers and harbor of New York an exterior water line, beyond which 
no erections shall hereafter be made to the injury of the com- 
merce of New York, or to, either directly or indirectly, injure 
the State of New Jersey. 

"3. And be it resolved, that the Governor of this State 
be requested to forward an attested copy of the above resolu- 
tions to His Excellency the Governor of the State of New York, 
to be laid before the Legislature of said State. 

"Approved March 14, 1855." 

We can hardly think the concern of our early legislators 
for the Brooklyn Navy Yard was wholly imselfish, for this was 
followed up by what must have seemed to the citizens of the 
cities of New York and Brooklyn, an impertinent, if pertinent, 
report to the Legislature of our State, as follows: 


"The Joint Committee of the two Houses appointed in 
conformity with a communication from His Excellency Gov- 
ernor Price, communicating an invitation to meet the Governor 
and the Committee of Commerce of the Legislature of New 
York for the purpose of viewing and considering the encroach- 
ments upon the bay and harbor of New York, 


"That on the thirtieth day of January last, your commit- 
tee, accompanied by His Excellency Governor Price, and E. L, 
Viele, Esq., the engineer of our State Geological Survey, pro- 
ceeded to New York, and at the time appointed met his Excel- 
lency Governor Clark, of the State of New York, the Commit- 
tee of Commerce of said State, the State Engineer, with other 
gentlemen occupying important offices under the government 
of that State. 

"That your committee, in connection with the above-men- 
tioned authorities of the State of New York, the Governors of 
New Jersey and Connecticut, accompanied also by officers of 
the Government in charge of the Navy Yard, with other per- 
sons representing the commercial interests of New York, pro- 
ceeded to examine certain encroachments made, and in progress, 
and contemplated upon the Brooklyn side of the East river. 

"Your committee tipon the first view of the matter regard- 
ed such encroachments as matters with which New Jersey had 
no interest, and should not express any opinion; but upon re- 
flecting they came to the conclusion that such encroachments 
were prejudicial to her; inasmuch as they jeopardized the in- 
terests which New Jersey has, in common with every other 
State of the Union, in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, and the" im- 
mense government expenditures at that point. 

The report then goes on to state the effect of these en- 
croachments at the Navy Yard upon the Sandy Hook Channel, 
affecting the interests of New Jersey, through her water front 
on the Hudson River and New York Bay, and stating the ex- 
tent of the encroachments on the East River, the effect on its 
channels, and, calling attention to the injury done, report their 
visit to Jersey City as follows: 

"The committee also visited Jersey City for the purpose 
of examining, if any, and wliat encroachments had been made 
there, and it was a matter of just pride to your committee that, 
comparatively speaking, no encroachments had been made up- 
on the Jersey side, yet your committee think that the wharves 
and piers lately erected by the New Jersey Railroad Company 
are extended farther than well comports with the interests of 
New Jersey, in this important matter, of keeping unimpaired 
the harbor of New York. 

"By these two docks some encroachment, in the opinion 
of your committee, has been made on the channel of the Hud- 
son River, narrowing and deepening the river at this point. 
The same authority which claims the legal right, and which 
authorized these extensions, could, had they seen fit, have ex- 
tended them by the same claim of power, some thousand feet 
further into the river, producing the same deplorable results now 
existing in the East River, between New York and Brooklyn. 
Your committee are informed that the right by which these 
innovations are made, or claimed to be made, are claimed un- 
der the charter to the Jersey Associates, giving them power to 
improve their lands under water. //" ivoidd seem that a power 
of this kind to impair the great interests of New Jersey in the 
harbor of Nezv York should be found in a strict construct io)i of 
explicit legislation, and if the rights by which these encroach- 
ments are made are restrainable they should, if possible, be 
restrained by timely legislation for the public good." 

The committee then goes on to call attention to the neces- 
sity for the full flow of the tide through the Hudson and East 
Rivers, the Passaic and Hackensack Rivers, in order to keep 
unimpaired the Sandy Hook Channel, and concludes its report 
by saying: 

"Inasmuch as the State of New York has been the cause 
of this triple injury to New Jersey, your committee are of the 
opinion that the Legislature of the State of New Jersey should, 
by resolution, express her dissatisfaction thereat, and request, 
in a friendly way, the State of New York to repeal all fraudu- 
lent grants improperly obtained from the State to the injury 
of the Navy Yard or the harbor, and by purchase, or otlierwise, 

remove other innovations upon the East River that now exist, 
to the injury of New York and New Jersey." 

Two joint resolutions were prepared in accordance with 
the above report, calling attention to the situation as set forth 
in the report, and providing for the appointment of commis- 
sioners to advise as to the proper control of the development 
of these water front lands. 

What the feelings of these ancient legislators would be if 
they could view the changes that have taken place in our shore 
front since their time, is hard to conjecture. They "viewed 
with just pride (in 1855) — " that comparatively speaking, no 
encroachments" (as they called the development of our water 
front) "had been made upon the Jersey side, except the New 
Jersey Railroad Pier and Cunard Dock", and they "regarded 
with concern the power given the Jersey Associates and others 
to improve their lands under water, and thought they should 
be restrained for the public good." 

How fortunate for us, as a county, their fears and fore- 
bodings were not regarded seriously ; or we might still have 
Harsimus Cove as an oyster ground, and the shore of the Hud- 
son River about the middle of Hudson Street. It might, how- 
ever, be some consolation to them to know that the "South 
Cove Grant" is still as it was in 1872, and still a name to con- 
jure with. 

Major William L. Marshall, now Brigadier General, Chief 
of Engineers, United States Army, was asked whether he 
thought the scour of the currents was going to maintain the 
required depth in the "Ambrose Channel," which you know is 
the new and direct channel from the Narrows to the sea. Gen- 
eral Marshall conceived the idea of this important work and it 
is still under his charge, although he is now Chief of Engineers. 
The General smiled, in his good humored way, and replied: 
"Well, if it don't, there are plenty of dredges that will." 

And the direful results which were feared in 1855 have not 
followed; the great development of our water front is ours; 
and if we have to dredge a little now and then, we have the 
commerce that requires it and the means with which to do it. 

On August nth, 1880, Congress passed an act providing 
for the appointment of a board of engineers to be called the 
New York Harbor Line Board, composed of United States Army 
officers, who were necessarily, by their training, also engineers; 

this board to act in an advisory capacity to the Secretary of 
War on all matters relating to the waters of the Bay of New- 
York and waters tributary thereto. 

Since 1880, all applications for the establishment of dock 
lines must be made to the Secretary of War, who refers them 
to this Harbor Line Board, who, after public hearings, advise 
and recommend lines to the Secretary of War for his approval ; 
and under the River and Harbor Act of March 3rd, 1899, no 
structure or filling in is allowed to be commenced in these 
waters unless the lines for the same have been passed upon by 
the Secretary of War. 

The State of New Jersey, as well as the City of New York, 
has been active and persistent in securing the consent of the 
Secretary of War to the extension of the dock lines on the 
Hudson River, New York Bay, and waters tributary thereto. 
Both sides have succeeded in securing extensions until it seems 
that the waterway of the Hudson River could no further be 
judiciously encroached upon. The claim or charge is made by 
New York that Hudson County has been a greater trespasser 
than New York, and instances the extension of the shore line 
of Harsimus Cove some 3000 feet in support of this charge; 
but it must be remembered that Harsimus Cove is or was an 
indentation into the westerly shore of the Hudson River, be- 
tween Castle P(^int and North Point in Jersey City, on which 
Edge's Wind Mill stood, had very little water over it, and the 
filling in of the same was an advantage to the regimen of the 
Hudson River ; while New York has made its greatest encroach- 
ment some 1300 feet into the river at its narrowest point, op- 
posite Castle Point, leaving only a width of half a mile in the 
river at that point. 

We must remember also in this connection that the chan- 
nel of the river is on the New York side of the centre and with- 
in the past month we have been treated to the strange sight of 
an ocean steamer, the Dciiich/and, hgird and fast aground just 
in front of the ferry at the foot of Exchange Place, Jersey City, 
by reason of the northerly winds making an unusually low ebb 

But what compensation time brings! Directly underneath 
where this steamer was held bv the mud of the river bottom, 
busy men were working and construction cars were running to 
and fro through the twin tunnels that will soon connect Ex- 


change Place, Jersey City, with Cortlandt Street, New York; 
and directly under where the ancient ferry boat, D. S. Gregory, 
is shown in the advertisement previously referred to, of lots 
for sale on Hudson Street in 1857, run these two tunnels that 
shall take us, in two or three minutes, to the business centre of 
New York, while, with the D. S. Gregory, it took us half an 
hour at best and sometimes half a day. 

The history of the development of Hudson County would 
not be complete without reference to these tunnels and to the 
courage and genius of the men who have made them an ac- 
complished fact. 

The first tunnel was from Fifteenth Street, Jersey City, to 
Morton Street, New York. 

The tunnel in question has a historyinvolving the financial 
and engineering ambitions and hopes of men long since ruined 
and dead. The river ooze, through which the present con- 
struction to-day so eloquently and convincingly testifies to the 
skill and energy of the engineers who planned and executed it, 
once held in its slimy embrace the bodies of men whose lives 
had been drowned out by the inrush of the waters of the Hud- 
son River, and although the tragedy is now almost forgotten, 
in the New York Bay Cemetery, in Jersey City, stands a mod- 
est shaft surmounted by the figure of a man. On the face of 
the stone the legend reads: "In memory of Peter Woodland, 
aged 32, killed in the disaster at the Hudson River tunnel, on 
Wednesday, July 31, 1880." And he was a man, for he elected 
to drown with fourteen of his workmen in his effort to save 
them rather than save himself. 

The histor)' of this tunnel, or these tunnels, (for there are 
two), each designed for single track, — one eastward and one 
westward, but coming together at either end, — goes back over 
a quarter of a century. 

In the year 1874 a company obtained a franchise and began 
operations. The method of construction adopted was the use 
of compressed air, but the shield, so successfully used by the 
present engineers, was not thought of, and to its absence was 
due the frightful tragedy above referred to. After the accident 
in 1880, work was abandoned until 1890, when a syndicate of 
English capitalists was formed, which prosecuted the work, 
accomplishing about 1,500 feet in the north tunnel and about 
600 feet in the south tunnel. Striking a ledge of rock, how- 

ever, at this time, and no doubt striking much more formidable 
rocks in their financial boring, the project was abandoned. 

Then came Mr. William G. McAdoo, a New York lawyer, 
as President, who associated with himself Mr. Charles M. 
Jacobs and Mr. John V. Davies, the eminent engineers, and 
under the masterly supervision of these men, the River Tun- 
nels are an accomplished fact. 


The total receipts from the sale of riparian lands up to the 
present time amount to about six million dollars, and the 
greater part of this has come from the sale of the water front 
of Hudson County. It is estimated that there are still in the 
possession of the State lands that will come into use within a 
reasonable period valued at, perhaps, three and a half million, 
and still other lands that will have to wait for future develop- 
ment, valued at, perhaps, ten million. 

The administration of this valuable and important interest 
of the State is one requiring careful consideration. It is a 
subject but little understood, it is a matter in which the interests 
of a greater part of the State seem opposed to that of the other 
part, and, as in other important matters, opinions are most 
freely expressed by those having the least knowledge on the 

The policy of the State has been to sell these lands for 
commercial development. This has brought a considerable 
revenue into the State and into the school fund ; it has made 
possible the establishment on our shores of important industries. 
A representative committee, composed of Senators and mem- 
bers of the Legislature, in 1906, who gave this subject careful 
consideration and made a personal examination of the improve- 
ments, stated in their report that they 

"were not prepared to advise that the policy which had 
made possible this development was really wrong," 

and while this is negative praise, it is their opinion after care- 
ful consideration, and if any other conclusion could have been 
reached, it, no doubt, would have been. 

The opinion is expressed by people who evidently do not 
fully understand the subject, that these lands should have been 
"held", as they term it, for the use of the State. 

In the first place, this opinion carries with it an apparent 
ignorance of the fact that, while the State is the owner of the 

land under water, subject to the rights or equities, if any, of 
the shore owner, it owns no upland, has no means of access 
from the land to the water, or of access from the water to the 
land, and, as a practical question, the upland owner is the only 
person who can buy the land under water and administer it. 

Having- in mind the fact that these lands under water are 
appurtenant to upland wholly under the title and control of pri- 
vate ownership, to obtain which, if there was any law making 
such a thing possible, by the right of eminent domain, could 
only be acquired by the State upon payment to such owners of 
the full value of the upland, which value would have reflected 
in it the principal value which is now supposed to be attached 
to the land under water, there would be no practical way in 
which it could appropriate and expend the millions necessary 
to any development, to say nothing of the impossibility of an- 
ticipating what kind of development would meet the require- 
ments and needs of the various enterprises seeking location on 
our shores. 

Some of these tracts, for which the State has realized enor- 
mous sums during the past years, are comparitively smallhold- 
ings, part only of the holdings and works of enterprises already 
located there and forming part of the tangible wealth and worth 
of the State ; many of them unattractive water fronts, needing 
the initiative of interested owners who have sought out and 
induced enterprises to come to this State and locate, and 
who have expended millions of dollars in making the loca- 
tion of these enterprises possible, but only after seeking them 
out and finding just what kind of development is demanded for 
that particular industry. 

In most of these cases these owners have become the pio- 
neers in the development of a section that had theretofore es- 
caped the notice or had not been impressed on men responsible 
for the establishment of manufacturing and other enterprises 
needing water front, and the result of this individual enter- 
prise has been the creation of new communities as well as the 
rehabilitation of older ones. 

It would have seemed not only a commercial absurdity but 
an affront to these men, who, in advance of their time and 
without the encouragement of their fellows, sought out these 
enormous enterprises and brought them to the shores of New 
Jersey, not to have had the cooperation and encouragement of 

the State in their efTorts to induce the holders of capital to lo- 
cate within the borders of our State. 

The impression seems to be in the minds of some that the 
State of New Jersey held in completeness and perfection some 
goings concern, or at least a water front developed as to its dock- 
ing and wharfing privileges, improved and made suitable for 
the erection of buildings and works, with surrounding accommo- 
dations for the housing and schooling and churching of the 
operatives of these works, with the necessary railroad connec- 
tions, and, in short, a city complete and perfect, except for 
the occupants. 

The exact reverse of all this is true. The State owns not 
a single foot of upland. A great deal of the upland in question 
is difficult of improvement and development; a great deal of it 
must be filled up at enormous expense and the railroads must 
be brought to it; and, more than all, in almost every instance, 
the water front itself is not capable, in its present condition, of 
use, but must be made so by the expenditure of large sums of 
money by the owner of the upland in order to create such a 
depth of water as to make the narrow frontage sold by the State 
available for commercial uses. 

In this connection it is of interest to hark back to the report 
of the Legislative Committee on this very subject of the policy 
of the disposition of the State's lands, in which Hudson County 
is so vitally interested, made to the Legislature on January isth, 
1883, over twenty-six years ago; The Committee says: 

"Had this question been considered at the outset of action 
by the State, doubtless much might have been said on both 
sides of the proposition of long leases by the State, but we are 
not prepared to suggest that policy now. It is urged with great 
force that the best commercial results cannot be attained except 
by a title as complete as the State can give." 


A statement of the location and extent of the water front 
of Hudson County, much of which has been reclaimed and im- 
proved, will be of interest: 

From the County Line on the north to the north side of 

Weehawken Cove, — about three miles, — the exterior line for 

improvements is on an average one thousand feet beyond the 

original shore line and comprises about 350 acres. 

This section includes the famous duelling ground where 
Hamilton and Burr fought. 

At Weehawken Cove, in front of the famous Elysian Fields, 

the line for improvements is half a mile beyond the original 

shore, at its greatest distance, and the cove is about one mile 

in length and covers about 130 acres. 

The Elysian Fields was the scene of the murder of the 
attractive tobacco shop girl, Mary Cecelia Rogers, on July 25, 
1841. The Elysian Fields of that day, no doubt, corresponded 
to the Coney Island of a later day. This murder formed the 
foundation for Poe's "Mystery of Marie Roget", which was 
written in Philadelphia and appeared in Snowden's "Lady's 
Companion" in November, December, 1842, February, 1843. 

The facts in this celebrated case that made the Elysian 
Fields famous, or infamous almost the world over, are as follows: 

Mary Cecelia Rogers, when about nineteen years of age, 
was known as "The pretty cigar girl", she having worked in 
John Anderson's tobacco shop at 321 Broadway. New York 
then had a population of 300,000, living mostly below Canal 

Mary's widowed mother kept a boarding house at 126 Nas- 
sau Street. 

A few weeks before her death, she left Anderson's employ 
and assisted her mother in the boarding house, when it became 
known that she had accepted an offer of marriage from Daniel 
C. Payne, one of the boarders, a young man employed as a 
cork cutter at 47 John Street. 

On a beautiful Sunday morning, the 25th of July, 1841, 
Mary told her fiance, about ten o'clock in the morning, that she 
intended spending the day with her aunt, a Mrs. Downing, who 
lived at 68 Jane Street, and she would return by the Broadway 
stage, reaching Ann Street about six o'clock in the evening. 

Although the morning was fair, a violent thunder-storm 
broke out in the afternoon, the rain falling in torrents. The 
storm was so formidable that Payne (who does not appear to 
have been a very ardent lover, although he committed suicide 
soon after the death of his betrothed), did not go to meet 
the stage, thinking Mary, on account of the storm, would re- 
main at her aunt's over night; and it was not until noon of the 
next day that the fact of her disappearance became known ; and 
although probably the best known young woman in New York, 
not a person could be found who had seen her after she left her 
home at ten o'clock on Sunday morning. 

On the Wednesday following, her dead body was found 

floating off Castle Point, Hoboken, bearing every indication of 

having been murdered and plundered. 

Numerous arrests were made, but nothing was discovered 
until John Adams, a New Jersey stage driver, gave information 
that he had seen Mary Rogers arrive in Hoboken by Bull's 
Ferry, accompanied by a tall, well dressed man of dark com- 
plexion, and go with him to a resort near the Elysian Fields, 
known as Nick Moore's, but kept by a Mrs. Loss. Mrs. Loss 
admitted that this was true, and that after partaking of some 
refreshments, the pair had gone in the direction of the woods. 
Two months after the death of Mary Rogers, Mrs. Loss in- 
formed the police that her sons had found the girl's parasol 
and gloves in a thicket nearby. It was now believed that the 
time and place of the tragedy had been discovered, but opinions 
differ as to whether she had been murdered by the tall, dark 
companion, or by one of the gangs of ruffians that frequented 
the Fields at that day. 

It appeared that Mrs. Loss was shot by one of her sons 
(accidentally, he said) on October 24th, 1842, and died on the 
9th of November following. It seems that Mrs. Loss could 
not keep from talking of the Mary Rogers' affair, and it is sup- 
posed that the sons, fearing their mother would reveal the 
secret of the murder, encompassed her death by the alleged 
accidental shooting. 

In 1904, a Mr. Clemens discovered a vital clue in the news- 
paper of August 5, 1841, as follows: "On August 3, the body 
of an unknown man, about 35 years of age, was found floating 
near the foot of Barclay Street. The body had been in the 
water some days. The unknown was a tall, swarthy man, and 
was without a coat." 

The conclusion Mr. Clemens comes to, — and he thinks it is 
strange it should not have occurred to the authorities at that 
time, — is that Mary Rogers and the "tall dark man" were 
marooned by the terrific rainstorm and were killed by the 
sons of Mrs. Loss and cast into the river. 

It is a curious and interesting coincidence that the name 
of "Loss'', so tragically prominent in the celebrated case of 
1 84 1, should be the same as the surveyor who made the map 
of Hoboken in 1804, which is the authority for the original 
shore line, and is mentioned in hundreds of conveyances 


and titles in Hoboken as the "Loss Map of 1804." I do not 
regard this similarity of names as any reflection on the charac- 
ter of the surveyor of that ancient time, any more than I do 
the similarity in the names of the indifferent wooer of the un- 
fortunate Mary Rogers and that of the writer of this paper; 
the old adage, perhaps, applies: "A rose by any other name," 

The front of the City of Hoboken, from Castle Point to 
Hoboken Ferry, — about three-quarters of a mile, — has the line 
for improvements about 1200 feet beyond the original shore 
line, and covers about 150 acres. 

At Harsimus Cove, from Hoboken Ferry to Montgomery 
Street, in Jersey City, — about a mile and a half in length, — the 
line is, on an average, 3200 feet beyond the original shore line, 
and comprises about 575 acres. 

At Communipaw Bay, to the line of Communipaw Lane, — 
about a mile long and three-quarters of a mile wide — contain- 
ing about 475 acres. 

New York Bay to Constables Hook, — about four miles 
long, — the Exterior Line for improvements is about 6000 feet 
beyond the original shore line, covering about 2500 acres. 

Kill von Kull front of Bayonne — three and one-quarter 
miles in length, almost entirely developed, with an average 
distance of 600 feet beyond the original shore line for improve- 
ments, covering about 230 acres. 

With the miles of but slightly improved stretches of New- 
ark Bay and Hackensack and Passaic River shores, comprising 
about 5,000 acres in all, on which now stands the water front 
development of Hudson County. It is a matter of growth 
coincident with the development and growth of the nation, and 
is a monument to the enterprise of the pioneers who brought it 
about and to the spirit of New Jersey that made it possible. 

A talented and enthusiastic young minister, lately called 
to one of our prominent churches, said recently: 

"I am not interested in the past development of the water 
front of Hudson County, but I am interested to know what the 
development is going to be in the future." 

I say to that young man, he can predict, with fair certainty, 
what the future development will be by studying the develop- 
ment of the past, and in no other way. 

What this development would have been if left in the hands 


of the municipalities comprising the county, is entirely con- 
jectural ; hut it may be of interest to recall that the Lej^islature, 
by Act of April 4, 1872, g-ranted to the city of Jersey City, for 
the nominal consideration of one thousand dollars, a tract of 
land under water in the lower part of old Jersey City, lying be- 
tween the extension of Van Vorst Street and Grove Street, con- 
taining about twenty acres. This grant was made conditional 
upon the payment by the municipality of one thousand dollars, 
but so little was thought of this now considered valuable tract 
of land that the municipality refused to pay this nominal sum 
and thus perfect its title. 

Under the presumption that the municipality had forfeited 
its rights to these lands under water in question, the State of 
New Jersey, in 1874, purported to vacate the same, and em- 
bodied them in a grant to the Central Railroad Company of 
New Jersey. Subsequent litigation, however, brought forth 
the decision of the courts of last resort in the State, that the 
title of the municipality of Jersey City to these lands was still 
in force, and the city thereupon carried out the provisions of 
the act and became the absolute owner of these lands. The 
fact remains, however, that from 1872 up to the present time, — 
a period of thirty-seven years, — no use has been made by the 
municipality of this tract of land under water and no develop- 
ment attempted. 

In 1878 the State granted to the municipality of Jersey City 
a tract of land under water on the Hudson River 130 feet in 
width, adjoining Morgan Street on the south, and for some 
reason no profitable use has ever been made of this water front 

In 1886 the State granted to the municipality of Bayonne 
three tracts of land under water; one on New York Bay, near 
the foot of East 35th Street; one on Kill von Kull at the foot 
of Ingham Avenue ; and one on Newark Bay at the foot of 
West 30th Street. 

No development or use has been made of the New York 
Bay tract; a dock has been built on the Kill von Kull tract; 
and a dock has been built on the Newark Bay tract; both used 
by the public. 

These are about the only cases of municipal administration 
of water front property in Hudson County. 



On March 31st, 1869, (P. L. 1869, p. 1017). an act was 
passed creating the present Board of Control of the riparian in- 
terests of the State ; and section ten of that act provided that 
the moneys received from such sales should first be appropriated 
to the payment of the expenses of its administration, then to 
the payment and liquidation of the State debt, and afterward 
invested and the interest paid over to the Trustees for the 
maintenance of free schools. 

On April 6th, 1871, (P. L. 187 1, p. 98), an act was passed 
devoting all moneys thereafter received from the sale and rental 
of lands under water to the support of free public schools. 

On March 19th, 1890 (P. L. 1890, p. 92), an act was passed 
repealing the above and making the proceeds of the sales and 
leases of these lands, made after the passage of the act, applic- 
able to the "necessary" expenses of the State. This was under 
Governor Abbett's administration, but on April 24th, 1894, 
(P. L. 1894, p. 123), under Governor Werts' administration, an 
act was passed repealing the last mentioned act and devoting 
the proceeds of the sales and leases of the riparian lands again 
to the support of free public schools. 

In an opinion by Attorney- General Samuel H. Grey, in 
1901, the learned Attorney-General expressed the opion that 
any money, stock or other property appropriated to the support 
of free public schools under the provision of the Constitution, 
Article 4, Sec. 7, paragraph 6, were constituted a fund that 
could not be devoted to any other purpose than the support of 
free public schools. And in the light of this opinion it is ques- 
tionable whether the use of the moneys from the sale of the 
riparian lands, between the years 1890 and 1894, during which 
period they were diverted to general State purposes, was a 
lawful use of the money; but there is no question that now all 
of the proceeds of the disposition of the State's lands is devoted 
to the support of free public schools throughout the State. 

Article 4, Sec. 7, paragraph 6, of the Constitution of the 
State provides: 

"That the fund for the support of free schools and all 
money, stock and other property which may hereafter be ap- 
propriated for that purpose, shall be securely invested and re- 
main a perpetual fund." 

The board having control of the fund is called '"Trustees 

of the School Fund", and is composed of the Governor of the 

State, the Secretary of State, the Attorney General, the State 

Comptroller and the State Treasurer, 


In conclusion, in connection with the development and 
administration of the water front of Hudson County, it is in- 
teresting to note the names of some of the men who were en- 
trusted with this duty: 

We find that, in 1S4S, a committee, composed of W. H. 
Leupp, Martin J. Ryerson and George F. Fort, were appointed 
"To investigate and report as to the extent and value of the 
lands under water owned by the State within the limits of the 
County of Hudson", and reported to the Legislature. 

It is an interesting fact that the George F. Fort referred 
to in 1848, was Governor of the State of New Jersey from 1851 
to 1854, and is the uncle of the present Governor of New Jer- 
sey, Honorable John Franklin Fort; so the fact appears that 
the administration of this great asset of the State began in the 
same family, in 1848, that is administering it in 1909, sixty-one 
years after. 

In 1864 a committee was appointed to inquire into the sub- 
ject of the riparian rights of the State, and among the commis- 
sioners appointed for that duty we find the name of Jacob R. 
Wortendyke, father of the present Assistant Engineer of Jer- 
sey City, and of Mrs. Watson, the wife of Dr. W. Perry Watson; 
also at that early day we find Robert C. Bacot, Esquire, for 
many years an honored resident of Jersey City, as Superinten- 
dent and Engineer; and it is interesting to note that Mr. Bacot 
continued as such Superintendent and Engineer until the year 
1897, a period of thirty-three years, when, by reason of age, he 
retired with the respect and regret of those associated with him 
in the administration of this trust. 

In 1869 the commission contained the name of Peter Vre- 
denburgh, father of James B. Vredenburgh, the eminent coun- 
sellor of our own city, and of Judge William H. Vredenburgh, 
of Freehold; also the name of Honorable Bennington F. Ran- 
dolph, father-in-law of Governor Joseph D. Bedle; and others. 

No thoughtful person can regard the subject of the devel- 
opment of our water front without interest. 


There stands on a prominent point of land on the east shore 
of the Hudson River, enclosed by a plain iron barrier, under 
the shadow of Grant's Tomb, a simple stone monument, on 
which is inscribed, "Erected to the memory of an amiable 
child"; this stone has stood there a hundred years and more. 
I know of no better spot from which to obtain a view of the 
magnificent development of the water front of the northern 
part of our county than this; and I know of nothing that so 
strongly impresses the mind with the fact of the passage of 

As you look on the resting place of this sleeping child, 
"the world forgetting, by the world forgot", you are back a 
hundred years in the quiet of undisturbed nature. Raise your 
eyes, and you look on another order of things, — the life and 
activities of the commercial world of to-day. 

Or, stand on the upper deck of one of our uptown ferry 
boats, or one of the Staten Island ferry boats, and let your eyes 
thoughtfully rest on the development of the shores of our 
county, — all gained out of the mud and slime of the shoals of 
our water front, — and you will be impressed by what has been 

How easy it is to criticize, and what wonders are not per- 
formed by men whose chief claim to distinction is an abnor- 
mally developed hind-sight. 

But we write of men of the past. What they lacked in spec- 
tacular and sensational activities, they made up in solid worth and 
character, and theirs is an inheritance to be preserved. They laid 
the foundations with dignity and builded with integrity; and 
the Hudson County Historical Society does well to add to its 
archives the names of men, and their achievements, which have 
stood the test of time. 

There stands on a prominent point of land on the east shore 

^£ il-- TT 

1 lierebij cippfi] for meuifiersliip 

in the M^istoricaC Socieiij of Jj^udsoii ioiinii] 

and fieremtH encfose S)offars, amount 

of annua f dues. 

J2ame „ 




Corresponding Secrefanj, 

^n ^or^ Sheet 

(Jersey Ciiy. 

Tf afreadij a mcm6cr, pfease fiand tftis appficaticn fo 
some one u'fio may he interested. 

®l}^ lltatnnral ^nrirtQ nf 
l|u&H0u Qlomtlg. 

"The object of this Society shall be to discover, 
procure and transcribe all records relating to the 
settlement and development of Hudson County, 
and to collect and preserve all relics and matters of 
general historical interest, and to encourage the 
compilation and preparation of papers or books on 
historical matters, and to discover and mark such 
historic sites as may be judicious." 

"The annual dues of contributing and corre- 
sponding members shall be two dollars, payable in 
advance on the first day of January in each and 
every year." 

Members shall be entitled to receive such in- 
formation as may be within the knowledge of the 
Society, and a copy of such publications as may be 

A limited number of such publications will be 
issued and will be distributed only among members 

of the Society. 

Contributions of articles solicited. 

^The Historical Society of 
Hudson County. 

No. 6. 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


President : 

Vice Presidents : 
1st— REV. C. BRETT. 
2d— JOHN W. HECK. 

Treasurer : Librarian : 


Corresponding Secretary : Recording Secretarif : 


Assistant Librarian : 

Board oj Gove7~nors: 

Alexander McLean J john J. Voorhees j 

M. J. CURRIE [• 191^ DeWitt Van Buskirk h 1911 

W. J. Davis i David R. Daly \ 

W. R. Barricklo I DR- G. K. Dickinson y 

David Ramsey > 1912 Brnj. L. Stowe I 

Vreeland Tompkins ' ) 






1 The Elizabeth Town Purchase. 

(i) The successful NicoUs expedition to America. 

(2) The Nicolls grant to Bailey and Associates. 

(3) The Duke's grant to Berkley and Carteret. 

(a) The consequent conflict of grants.. 

(b) The "Concessions and Agreements." 

(4) Ownership of the lands in point of law. 

(5) Conditions during proprietary rule. 

(a) Opposition to quit rents. 

(b) Effect of the Dutch conquest and English reconquest 

(c) Case of Jones vs. Fullerton. 

(d) The Clinker Lot Division, 1699. 

(6) Conditions during the Union Period. 

(a) During Governor Cornbury's Administration, 1703-1708. 

(b) During the other administrations of the I'nion Period, 


2 The Monmouth Purchase. 

(i) The Nicolls grant to Goulding and Associates. 

(2) The apparent settlement between the proprietors and settlers. 

MINISTRATION, 1738-1746 - ID 

1 The Elizabeth Town Petition of 1744 to the King. 

2 Effect of the Newark Riots of 174546. 
(i) Brief account of the disturbances. 

(2) Statements of the contending parties. 

(a) Rioters communication of February, 1746. 

(b) Statement of the Council of East Jersey Proprietors, March. 

1 746. 

(c) Two petitions from the rioters laid before the New Jersey 


(d) Nevill's answer to the two petitions, April. 1746. 

(3) Proposals of rioters for legal determination of land claims. 

3 The gloomy outlook during President Hamilton's Administration. 

(a) Assembly refuses to act. 

(b) Disturbances in Somerset, Morris and Middlesex Counties, 


1 The Accession of Governor Belcher. 

2 The Joint Council and Assembly Committee on the Disorders. 
(i) Delays in meeting. 

(2) Resolutions discouraging rioters' demonstrations. 

3 Two acts passed by the Legislature bearing on the Disorders, 
(i) Act for Suppressing Riots, February, 174S. 

(2) The Act of Pardon, Februarj', 1748 

(a) Terms of the Act of Pardon. 

(b) It fails of its purpose. 

4. The Departments of Government come into conflict, 
(i) The Council and Assembly at odds. 
(2) Governor and Council disagree. 

5 Petition to the Crown. 

(i) The Council's petitions to the King and Secretary of State, De- 
ember, 1748. 

(2) The East Jersey Proprietors' petition to the King, December, 


(3) Governor Belcher appeals for the King's special orders, April, 


6 The action taken by the Home Government. 1750-51. 
(i) The report of the Lords of Trade. 

(2) Preparation of a commission for an investigating commission 


(3) Draft of additional instruction to Governor of N. J. ordered. 

7 Continued disorders in the colony. 

(i) Essex County disturbances of 1749 and effects. 

(2) Perth Amboy disorders of 1752. 

(3) Hunterdon County riots, 1754-1755. 

8 The dawn of peace in some sections, 
(i) Attempt to have a test case decided. 

(2) A show of quiet in Essex County. 

(3) Peace in Hunterdon and Middlesex Counties. 

9 The Elizabeth Town Bill in Chancery, 
(i) The Proprietary Bill in Chancery. 

(2) The "Answer" of the Elizabeth Town settlers. 

(3) Probable attitude of Morris and Belcher. 

(4) The suit interrupted and never renewed. 

10 The outbreak of 1762. 


Paper read before "The Historical Society of Hudson County" 

by Edgar J. Fisher, A. M,, 
February 25, 1909. 


The most annoying and distracting feature of the somewhat 
complicated history of the Jerseys during the Colonial period 
was the adjusting of conflicting land claims. 

Of course, during the eighteenth century as in the other 
colonies, the people of New Jersey, represented by the Colonial 
Assembly, had bickerings with the royal authority, represented 
by Governor and Council, but such disturbances were naturally 
temporary, coincident with the administrations of those Gov- 
ernors, who showed little sympathy for Colonial affairs in New 
Jersey. It was often the case that the contests between the As- 
sembly and the Governor and Council, were precipitated be- 
cause of the conflicting land titles — the Council upholding the 
proprietary interests and the Assembly showing opposition 

Such a division was natural, for the Council members were 
often in a majority of cases holders of large proprietary inter- 
ests, while the Assemblymen represented the people in the dis- 
turbed sections who claimed lands under counter-proprietary 
titles. For the most part, the question of ownership of two ex- 
tensive tracts of land, designated as the Elizabeth Town Pur- 
chase and the Monmouth Purchase, was the cause of the difficul- 

These tracts comprised practically five counties of the pre- 
sent State,' the Monmouth Purchase including the settlement 
of Middletown and Shrewsbury' and the Elizabeth Town Pur- 
chase the towns of Elizabeth Town, Newark, Woodbridge 
Piscataway and Bergen.' At irregular intervals during the 
Colonial Life of New Jersey, after an apparent adjustment of 
claims, the vexatious disputes would again arise to plague the 

(i) Tanner, p. 59. 

(2) Lee I. p. 136. 

(3) Lee I, p. 137. 

From the year 1703, when the East Jersey and West Jer- 
sey proprietors surrendered their rights of government to the 
crown, until after 1738, the year in which New Jersey obtain- 
ed a separate Royal Governor — the Royal Governor for New 
York having been since 1703 appointed to have jurisdiction 
over New Jersey also — there was a period of comparative quiet, 
as regards the land disputes. But during the administration 
of Governor Lewis Morris unrest again became evident and 
continued throughout almost the whole of Governor Belcher's 
long administration assuming at times a very serious aspect. 
For an adequate understanding of the land troubles of the Jer- 
seys after the Union period, it will be necessary briefly to re- 
view the early contests, because for the most part the latter dis- 
sensions grew out of and had their inception in the same gen- 
eral misunderstandings that characterized the early struggles. 



It will be remembered that in 1664 King Charles II had 
granted to his brother James, the Duke of York, the lands ly- 
ing between the Connecticut River and Delaware Bay. Under 
the command of Colonel Richard Nicolls, a fleet was despatch- 
ed by the Duke to take possession of the territory and oust the 
Dutch.* The expedition proved successful and Nicolls was 
the Governor of this territory, which thus included New York 
and New Jersey. In September of that year (1664) some set- 
tlers from Jamaica, Long Island, applied for permission to pur- 
chase some land, which permission being granted by Nicolls, 
these settlers — "Bailey, Denton and Watson, their Associates, 
their Heirs and Executors" — by purchase obtained a deed to a 
tract of land from three Sagamore Indians. In the words of 
the indenture the tract was bounded "on the south by a river 
commonly called the Raritan River, and on the east by the 
river which parts Staten Island and the Main, and to run north, 
ward up after Cull Bay till we come at the first river which 
sets westward out of the said Bay aforesaid and to run west in- 
to the country twice the length as it is broad from the north 
to the south of the afore mentioned bounds".^ Bailey, Wat- 

(1) Whitehead: Settlement of Elizabeth, N. J. 

(2) N. J. A. I, 15. 


son and their associates had this purchase confirmed by a pat- 
ent from NicoUs, with the proviso that they should render a 
certain yearly rent to the Duke of York or his assigns, ac- 
cording to the customary rate of the country for new planta- 
tions. This grant — the so-called Elizabeth Town Purchase — 
contained a tract of great extent, probably between 400,000 and 
500,000 acres.* 

In June, 1664, while the Nicolls fleet was still at sea, the 
Duke of York, evidently anticipating the successful outcome 
of the expedition, granted by deeds of lease and release to 
Berkley and Carteret, that part of his newly acquired territory 
which we know as New Jersey. Of this grant, Nicolls was of 
course unaware when he confirmed the purchase of Bailey, Wat- 
son and associates and indeed he probably was not informed 
of the transfer to Berkley and Carteret until December of that 
year (1664).* 

Thus in these two grants, the one of Nicolls to Bailey and 
associates and the other from the Duke of York to Berkley and 
Carteret, there are two conflicting claims to the same tract of 
land. In this conflict of grants is found the source of those 
disturbances that for decades disturbed what might well other- 
wise have been a period of peace and quiet in New Jersey his- 

After New Jersey was deeded over to Berkley and Carteret, 
the Lords Proprietors commissioned Philip Carteret, a cousin 
of the proprietor, as their Governor. According to the "Con- 
cessions and Agreements" issued by the proprietors, lands were 
to be taken up only by warrant from the Governor, and were 
to be patented by him. Quit rents were not required until 
March twenty-fifth, 1670, after which they were to be paid annu- 
ally, "a halfpenny of lawful money of England for everyone 
of the said acres". The arrival of Governor Carteret in Amer- 
ica was not marked by any disquieting omens, premonitions 
that might possibly have been expected of the two conflicting 
interests which later would assert themselves so positively, and 
indeed indications point to the fact that the settlement was 
quietly made under the concessions instead of under the Nicolls 
grants,* for the fact is that a large majority of the people. 

(3) Hatfield: History of Elizabeth, p. 36. 
{4)N. Y. Col. Doc. III. p. 105. 
(5) Tanner, p. 68. 


sixty-five male inhabitants, swore fidelity to the Lords Propri- 
etors claims.® Newark, Piscataway and Woodbridge were 
settled deliberately under the Concessions and to oppose the 
proprietors came as an after thoug-ht.' 

In point of law, as to the legal ownership of the lands in 
question, the case rests clearly in favor of the Proprietors' 
cause. The emptiness of a claim based merely on Indian pur- 
chase was apparent even to the anti-proprietary settlers them- 
selves. But their position regarding the Nicolls grants can not 
be sustained. Those transfers of lands took place after the 
tracts had passed from James' ownership. By eminent lawyers,* 
the opinion was given, that "The Delegated Power which 
Col. Nicolls had, of making grants of the lands, could last no 
longer than his Master's interest, who gave him that power; 
and the having or not having notice of the Duke's grant to the 
Lord Berkley and Sir George Carteret, makes no difference in 
the law, but the want of notice makes it great equity, that the 
present proprietors shoiild confirm such grants to the people 
who will submit to the concessions and payment of the present 
proprietors common quit rents".** This right in equity the 
proprietors always respected, offering to confirm the grants 
made under the Indian purchase and the Nicolls patent, but 
at the same time justly claiming their right to the yearly rent, 
as prescribed by the concessions. 

The pinch first came with the advent of 1670 and the first 
demand for quit-rent, as authorized by the concessions and 
agreements. There was a general refusal on the part of the 
inhabitants to pay the rent, and Governor Carteret, helpless 
before determined opposition, leaving Capt. Berry as his 
deputy, went to England to impress upon the authorities the 
sad state of affairs existent in New Jersey. The result was 
decisive and the opposition melted, before proclamations of 
the proprietors commanding obedience to Berry, and asserting 
the invalidity of claims held under the Nicolls patent.^" 

Shortly after came the Dutch conquest of New York, to 
be followed closely by the reconquest of the English. Subse- 

(6) N. J. A I. p. 49- 

(7) N. J. Historical Society 2nd Series, I, p. 161, reg. 

(8) N. J. Historical Society, 2nd Series, I, p. 160. 

(9) Elizabeth Bill in Chancery, p. 41 
(10) Lee I, p. 138. 

quent to tliis double chanj:;'c of ownersliip which New York ex- 
perienced between 1673 and 1674 the Duke of York reconveyed 
East Jersey to Carteret. The patent which James obtained 
fiom the Kin^ after the resurrender of New York to the Eng- 
lish was an absolutely new one which according to English law 
annulled previous grants. Hence in the same way, the Duke's 
reconveyance to Carteret gave the latter a new and unques- 
tioned title to his part of New Jersey, and would in point of 
law necessarily rob the Nicolls patent of any possible validity 
which might previously have been claimed for it. And such 
was indeed the case, for with a single exception, all of the orig- 
inal Elizabeth Town associates obtained warrants for surveys 
under the proprietors, as was also quite generally the case in 
Newark and Piscataway. 

For a considerable period there were occasional mutterings 
of discontent heard, but the twenty-four proprietors, into whose 
hands East Jersey had now come, never relaxed in their opposi- 
tion to any recognition of the Nicolls grants, and comparative 
quiet was maintained. This, however, was the lull before a 
formidable storm, which when its power was spent, was a chief 
cause of the surrender of the proprietary government to the 
crown. In 1693, wlien Jones ejected James Fullerton, a land- 
holder under proprietary title, from his land, the ejectment 
suit of Jones vs. Fullerton followed, which in the Perth Amboy 
court resulted in a decision in favor of Fullerton." By an 
appeal to King in Council James obtained a reversal of the 
decision. This decision was the match which kindled the 
smouldering embers of anti-proprietary discontent. The King 
was petitioned to grant relief from the Proprietors, proprietary 
courts were over thrown, and scenes of violence were frequent. 
In the so-called Clinker Lot Division," a great extent of terri- 
tory was surveyed and divided by the Elizabeth Town claimants 
in utter disregard of proprietary rights. 

Indeed the Clinker Lot Right then did not recognize the 
existence of such an inconvenient abstraction as proprietary 
rights. At thi.s juncture, as has been said mainly because of 
the inefficiency of the proprietary government, both the East 
Jersey and West Jersey Proprietors transferred their powers of 

(11) Hatfields, Elizabeth, p. 242. 

(12) Tanuer, p. 79. 


government to the crown, retaining, however, unaltered their 
rights to the soil of the province. 

In the instructions to Lord Cornbury 1702, the first Royal 
Governor of the Jerseys, it was ordered that the right of the 
soil should be secured to the Proprietors by the passage of an 
act of the Legislature." At the Assembly's first session the 
so called "Long Bill" was prepared for this purpose, and in 
part provided for the invalidation of claims to land based on 
the Nicolls patent. Cornbury, disgruntled at what he regard- 
ed as lack of financial support, prorogued the Assembly before 
the passage of the "Long Bill", and this bright hope for a de- 
finite and final decision of the conflicting interests was shatter- 
ed. While Cornbury was surrounded by his inner circle of cor- 
rupt politicians, — a Colonial Tweed Ring — the interests of the 
Proprietors dwindled to a very low state. During his adminis- 
tration, the way was paved for great difficulties to the Propri- 
etors by the illconsidered grants of the two large Ramapo and 
New Britain tracts. During Governor Ingoldby's regime an 
ill-starred attempt to secure the right of soil to the Proprietors 
was made, but was practically smothered in an Anti- Propri- 
etors Committee of the Assembly. 

Upon the succession of Governor Hunter in 1 7 10 proprietary 
affairs began to take on a brighter hue. The new Governor 
took the position that property disputes should be settled not by 
legislative action but by judicial decision." An excellent theory 
that was, and just also, but the conditions were too stoutly op- 
posed to its successful and satisfactory adoption in practice. 

Nevertheless a test case was actually tried in the Supreme 
Court with the natural result, a proprietary victory, for the 
court was admittedly in the Proprietors' favor. Numerous sur- 
veys were then made by the Proprietors and the dissensions 
seemed on a fair way toward settlement, but such a supposition 
subsequently proved to be a delusion, although in 1725, a 
case — that of Vaughan vs. Woodruff — had been decided 
against the Elizabeth Town adherents, they were averse to any 
conclusive settlement. 

In 1 73 1 suits of ejectment were brought against them in 
several cases, the case of Lithgow and Robinson standing as 

(13) N.J. A. II, p. 517. 

(14) N. J. A. XIII, p. 427. 


the test. The tables were ajjain turned, tlie case being decided 
against the proprietary intere.sts. Encouraged by this decision 
the Elizabeth Town associates began bold proceedings. Funds 
were collected l)y assessment with whicli to maintain their 
claims to land title, preparations were made for dividing lands 
not parcelled out in tlie Clinker Lot survey, and in 1737 the 
associates themselves brought an action against one Vail, who 
held his land under proprietary title. 

Tliis case was ultimately decided against the Proprietors, 
but to oflfset the effect of the reversals in the cases of Lithgow 
vs. Robinson and Jackson vs. Vail, the Proprietors had met 
favorable decisions in other cases, resulting from ejectment 
proceedings brought by them against some of their opponents. 

Such was the early history of Elizabeth Town purchase 
up to this time, tlien there had been certain decisions rendered, 
some in favor of the Proprietors, others in favor of this anti- 
proprietary parly. 

Little time need be spent in the consideration of the land 
troubles arising from the Monmouth Patent to 1738. This 
tract was granted in 1665 by patent from Gov. Nicolls to Will- 
iam Goulding and others, who had before the arrival of the 
English expedition purchased the land from Indians. It includ- 
ed lands between the Raritan and "Sandy Point" and extend- 
ing back into the interior for some distance.'* 

Three years from date the patentees were to have settled 
loo families on the lands, and for seven years they were to be 
free from rent.'* When Gov. Carteret arrived, the settlers 
located there refused to recognize the authority of the pro- 
prietary title over the lands. When the quit-rents were demand- 
ed in 1670 resolute resistance was offered, but an agreement was 
finally reached between Berkley and Carteret, and the Mon- 
mouth purchasers, according to which in return for the sur- 
render of the claims under the Nicolls Patent the settlers were 
to have their land granted to them individually in accordance 
with the terms of the Concessions.'" This was more an ap- 
parent than real settlement, for the people of Middletown later 
showed their dissatisfaction, even professing exemption from 
the payment of quit-rents. 

(15) Tanner, p. 61; Whitehead: "E. J. under the Proprietors", p. 45. 

(16) Parker, N. J. Historical Society. 2nd Series III, p. i8. 

(17) Tanner, p, 03. 



The varying successes of their suits seemed to have tanta- 
lized the Elizabeth Town settlers beyond their powers of en- 
durance, and they determined to put an end to the whole bus- 
iness with one fell swoop. To submit their case directly to the 
King was the determining stroke which they agreed upon. Mr. 
Fitch, a Norwalk lawyer, was engaged to draw up a petition 
to the crown.' After stating the early history of the grant 
of New Jersey and the Nicolls patent. The petition asserts 
that Gov. Carteret "was so far from insisting on the said Lord 
Berkley's and Sir George Carteret's right to the lands purchased 
by your humble Petitioners' Ancestors'' that he purchased 
Bailey's share. ^ In many suits, the petition continues, the 
petitioners have been successful, but by their continued eject- 
ment suits the "would be proprietors" reduced the inhabitants 
to distress. The Governor, Chief Justice, Judges and even 
juries were interested against the petitioners and hence there 
was no prospect for the distressed subjects except to be heard 
at "The Fountain of Justice" under Your Majesty's Royal Care 
and Protection.^ The King was asked to hear and determine 
the question, appoint disinterested commissions from the col- 
onies to decide or grant some other relief. There were 309 
names affixed to the petition. It was read in Council July 19, 
1744, and subsequently referred to the Lords of the Committee 
of Council for plantation affairs, and later to the Lord's Com- 
missioners for Trade and Plantations, but beyond that nothing 
is known of it. 

In 1745 serious difficulties arose on that part of the Eliza- 
beth Town Purchase tract where Newark was situated. On 
vSeptember 19, 1745, Samuel Baldwin, a member of a Committee 
of Essex County, chosen to protect the affairs of the people in 
their land rights, was arrested for cutting logs on the so-called 
Van Gesin's tract. The Proprietors alleged that his conduct 
violated a legislative enactment of 17 13, which provided that 
any man cutting trees on lands not his legal property "should 
be fined twenty shillings. " In a demonstration, which must 

(i) Hatfield's: Elizabeth, p. 366. 

(2) N. J. A., VI. p. 209. 

(3) N. J. A. VI, p. 206, reg. 

have loomed before the little town of Newark as a clan;:(erous 
riot, a crowd of Baldwin's sympathizers broke open the county 
jail at Newark, where he was confined, and released him 
Governor Morris thereupon sent a message to the Assembly 
urging that the riotous condition of the province be earnestly 
considered, and that the disorders should not spread, proper 
acts should be pas-ed, either a militia act or other acts/ To 
this suggestion the Assembly replied on October 3d, by deplor- 
ing the lawless riot at Newark, but expressing the opinion that 
existent laws were sufficient to bring their violators to justice.' 
The Governor could get little satisfaction from the lower 
house, for that common cause of dissention, the pulling of the 
purse strmgs, was at this time a bone of contention between 
them. Morris at least relieved his mind by retorting that even 
if the laws were sufficient to punish the rioters the Militia Act 
theie in force could not quell such an uprising as then pestered 
the colony nor could the "Officers and Courts necessary to con- 
vict them, attend that service, — without salaries or some pro- 
vision to defray the charge of prosecution, which are not pro- 
vided, nor, as appears intended to be provided, by your house." 

His Excellency ordered the Attorney General to prosecute 
any who had been active in the riot and at the same time, with 
the advice of his Council, directed the Essex County Sheriff to 
be diligent in the apprehension of the disturbers of the place 
and violatcjrs of the law, committing all such to any jail they 
thought most proper. The diligence of the Sheriff resulted in 
the arrest and commitment to the Newark jail of Robert 
Young, Thomas Sarjeant and Nehemiah Baldwin. But of 
these prisoners, Baldwin was boldly rescued while being taken 
by the Sheriff from the jail to the Stipreme Court, and the 
other two were released from the jail by a crowd of rioters. 
Again the Governor appealed to the Legislature to take steps to 
prevent the defiance of government and contempt of laws, this 
time with more satisfactory results. The Assembly evidently 
saw the light, for a bill for "Better Settling and Regulating 
the Militia" was ordered to be brought in. Indeed the tone of 
the Assembly was so patronizing as to arouse suspicion. 

There now appeared several publications designed to jus- 
tify the acts and claims of the contending parties. A commun- 

(4) N. J. A. VI. p. 399. 

(5) N. J. A. VI. p. 250. 


ication of the rioters (February 1746) upheld the questionable 
proceedings in Essex County on the ground that the Proprietors 
threatened ejectment proceedings against all who would not 
subscribe to certain unreasonable demands. 

It was thus the consequent exasperation of the people, 
that refused to contain itself longer because their "Rights, 
Properties and Possessions" had been invaded by the Propri- 
etors. In a lengthy statement sent forth from a Council meet- 
ing at Perth Amboy in March 1746, the Proprietors, after re- 
hearsing the history of the titles in dispute, pertinently re- 
marked that if any land deeds were taken based on any titles 
whatsoever, except "In the Name of the Lords, Proprietors of 
East New Jersey", according to an act of 1683 such transactions 
were criminal* and by an act of 1703 were invalid unless con- 
firmed by the General Proprietors within six months from the 
date of the act. Responsibility for the confusion in the prov- 
ince was shifted to the rioters who had "Set up sham deeds 
procured from strolling Indians, for a few Bottles of Rum". 
A tract which went by the name of the Horseneck Purchase 
figured largely in the ejectment proceedings complained against 
by the people. James Alexander, Robert Hunter Morris and 
David Ogden were the three Proprietors most heavily involved 
in this tract. According to the proprietary statement these 
men, with Ogden as negotiator, endeavored to have certain 
conciliatory propositions accepted by the people, but failed.' 
Consequently ejectment proceedings were instituted, m any or 
all of which the issue might have been joined, an appeal to Eng- 
land taken if so desired and a settlement definitely obtained. The 
poor deluded people are urged by the Proprietors "To flie to 
the Mercy of the Laws for the Expiation of their criminal 
riots and to the Mercy of the Owners of the Lands they have 
been pillaging." 

Two formal petitions prepared by some of the so-called 
rioters were brought into the New Jersey Assembly and read. 
One claimed to be from inhabitants in the northern part of the 
colony; the other from "eight persons chosen by a great num- 
ber of the inhabitants of the northern part of this province, a 
committee to represent and act for them " On April 26th, 1746, 
Samuel Nevill, an Assemblyman of exceptional ability and 

(6) For the Act of 1683, See N. J. A. VI, p. 302. 

(7) N. J. A. VI, p. 302. 

great prominence in the colony, but also a Proprietor, made an 
elabf)rate argument before the Assembly against the petitions. 
Paragraph by paragraph both petitions were considered 
by the speaker and answered. Nevill concluded by moving 
that the petitions be rejected, but that the Governor ''should 
extend His Majesty's mercy to those people by a general par- 
don, under such restrictions and upon such conditions as lohis 
excellency shall deem proper." The movement toward an act 
of pardon, at this time progressed no farther than the prepara- 
tion of such an act, and this fact together with the impossibil- 
ity of the Council and Assembly's agreeing upon an act to pre- 
vent future riots did not bode well for the peace of the province. 
In April, 1746, a communication was sent to the "House 
of Representatives" signed by seven rioters, reviewing Ogden's 
former proposal of a trial at law and professing their willing- 
ness to join in issue according to the proposal. A preference 
was stated that the action be brought against Francis Speirs 
of the Horseneck Tract. The General Proprietors agreed to 
bring an ejectment suit against Speirs and announced that their 
attorney would be at the next Supreme Court at Perth Amboy 
t(^ sign the general rule for joining issue in the said action. 
Later the rioters complained that they were engaged in their 
opponent's cause and desired the Proprietors to release one of 
their attorneys that he might be engaged to appear for the pro- 
spective defendants. That the Proprietors refused to do on 
the ground that all those connected with their side of the case had 
been in charge of their affairs for some years, that there were 
many other attorneys in New Jersey and New York not engaged 
by "fee or interest for the Proprietors," and that the Supreme 
Court would require attorneys if necessary to serve the commit- 
tee of the rioters.* These preliminaries all came to naught, for 
none of the rioters made application to the Supreme Court for 
attorneys nor took any steps to have a trial on their claims. 

Governor Morris died on May 21st, 1766, and when Presi- 
dent Hamilton, acting Governor, met the Assembly in June, 
he called their attention to the distressed condition of the 
province, the inefficiency of all methods of relief and urged 
them to take rigorous action, lest they suffer the resentment 
of the King and Parliament. L:iter in the year, at President 

(8) N. J. A.. VI. p. 408. 

(9) N. J. A. VI, p. 392. 

Hamilton's request, Alexander and Morris wrote to the Lords 
of Trade complaining of the riots, and to the Assembly's inac- 
tivity, prophesying too that unless quelled the disorders would 
spread and effect the dependence of the plantations. While this 
letter to England was tinted to exaggerate the conditions, 
nevertheless it was true that the colony was not becoming 
quieted. On the first day of November the Assembly, having 
taken no action on the riots, asked to be dismissed, and had 
their request granted. Shortly after, the jail of Somerset 
County was robbed of a prisoner, and threats were made against 
Nevill, then a judge for Middlesex County. The only measure 
which the president could take was to issue a proclamation for- 
bidding the colonists to join the rioters, or assemble with them. 
But disturbances were beginning in Morris County, where one 
Darymple with his family was unceremoniously ousted 
from property which he had held under title from the East 
Jersey Proprietors. 

In June, 1747, one of the most serious of the demonstra- 
tions occurred at Perth Amboy in Middlesex County, where a 
large number of armed men marched against the jail, and con- 
trary to the warning of the Sheriff, forcibly opened it and re- 
leased one Bainbridge, who was held under indictment for 
participation in the attack on the Somerset County Jail. The 
disturbances reduced even Chief Justice Robert Hunter Morris 
to pessimism, for in July, 1747, he wrote to James Alexander, 
that although the Assembly was about to meet he had no hopes 
of any effectual measures resulting, and that the Grand Jury 
at Amboy would hardly indict the rioters for riot, to say noth- 
ing of their holding them on a charge of high treason — the in- 
dictment which Judge Neville had urged upon the jury to re- 
turn. In truth, the outlook for the peace of the province was 
not encouraging, for with no remedy in sight, "persons who 
had long holden under the proprietors, were forcibly ejected; 
others compelled to take leases from landlords, whom they were 
not disposed to acknowledge; whilst those who had courage to 
stand out, were threatened with, and in many instances, receiv- 
ed personal violence." 

Under these conditions there was convened at Burlington 
in August, 1747, the first session of the Legislature to meet 
under the inspiration of the puritanical Jonathan Belcher, the 
new Royal Governor of New Jersey. 





The accession of Belcher had been regarded with jj^reat 
satisfaction by the disaffected persons in the colony, but so far 
as can be ascertained their joy was unavailing. As appearances 
go, it was however, not without foundation, because Belcher 
interested himself in the First Presbyterian Church of Elizabeth 
Town, of which congregation many of the defendants against 
the Proprietors were communicants. 

But the Governor's first message to the Legislature must 
have left a discouraging ring in the ears of the Elizabeth Town 
claimants A committee of the rioters sent a congratulatory 
message to Belcher soon after his arrival, expressing the hope 
that under his wise administration the disorders, which they 
regretted, would cease, and that the "Lord of Hosts" would 
"Arise for the help and succor of the oppressed poor and 
crushed needy ones.'" The good Jonathan assured the rioters 
that his duty led him to support the King's authority and pun- 
ish "breakers of the public peace" but, with evident faith in the 
maxim that "soft words turn away wrath, but the wringing of 
the nose brings forth blood", he promised them his protection 
"in all things consistent with Reason and Justice". In a second 
dutiful petition to the Governor, several of the distressed set- 
tlers frankly confessed that they had no intention or desire of 
sundering the bonds that held them to His Majesty's authority, 
but had acted only in defence of their own and their poor neigh- 
bors' rights which were in danger of suffering great harm. 

In his first address to the Legislature in August, 1747, 
Governor Belcher urged that all departments of the government 
unite in an endeavor to suppress the disorders and restore 
quiet. To this address the Council pledged its support, and the 
Assembly acted in a manner which presaged and augured well 
for a harmonious administration under the new royal executive. 
The Assemlily notified the Council that it had appointed a com- 
mittee of nine to confer with a committee of the Council upon 
the subject as to the ways to suppress riot and disorders, meet- 
ings of the joint committee to be held at the house of the Widow 

(I) N. J. A. VII, p. 63. 


Hunloke in Burlington.^ Much to the Council's impatience 
the proposed meetings were deferred, various excuses being 
given by the Assembly. On December loth, after the Council 
had received news of a riot in Hunterdon County, it pressed 
upon the Assembly the urgent need of meetings of the com- 
mittees. The Assembly ultimately condescended and meetings 
were held. It had been rumored that a "tumultous proces- 
sion" of rioters was about to take up the march to lay their 
grievances before the Legislature. 

The joint committee recommended that each house pass re- 
solutions discouraging any such demonstration Such resolu- 
tions were passed, pointing out that such procedure would be 
not only dangerous to the peace of the province, but would also 
be an infringement on the liberty of the Legislature, inasmuch 
as the intended procession was desired to awe and influence 
the Council and Assembly. In January, 1748, there was laid 
before the joint committee a statement of facts, prepared by 
the Council Committee, concerning the riots and the remedies 
attempted by the government to put an end to them. To what 
extent the work and influence of the joint committee was re- 
sponsible for two acts which were now passed by the Legis- 
lature, designed to put an end to the disorders, it would be 
difficult to state. One of the acts had progressed as far as its 
second reading during Governor Morris's administration, but 
had then been defeated by the Assembly, while the other had 
at least been previously suggested. 

The first act was for"Suppressing and Preventing of Riots, 
Tumults and other disorders within this Colony". It passed 
the three readings and received the Governor's assent in re- 
markably quick time. This act was modelled after the Riot 
Act of Great Britain, which declared it to be a felony "for 
twelve or more, tumultuously assembled together, to refuse dis- 
perse upon the requisition of the civil authority, by proclama- 
tion, in form set forth in the act". This measure was passed 
in February, 1748, as was also the second act, "An Act to Par- 
don the Persons Guilty of the Insurrections, Riots, Tumults 
and other disorders, raised and committed in this Province." 
The act recites that many are thus guilty, and as some had 
prayed supplication of the Governor, this free pardon was 

(2) N. J. A. XV. p 539- 

granted them. Justices of the Supreme Court, or Commission- 
ers appointed for the purpose, were to receive pardc^ns and ad- 
minister the oaths to the penitent culprits. 

The mad rush for executive clemency which some had hoped 
for did not materialize, and it was not until the next August 
that any applied to take advantajje of the act of j^race,'' wh.en 
nine rioters entered into bond and took the oaths. The Council 
advised the Governor not to dissolve the Assembly until the 
rioters had accepted the act of pardon; and the Governor acted 
accordingly. Some of the prominent councilmen felt strongly 
that should the Assembly be dissolved and new elections be 
held, rioting would predominate at the elections and there 
would be returned to the Assembly a large anti-proprietary 
majority. But that was but one horn of the dilemma. When 
this same Assembly met at its next session, what should be done 
with the rioters who had not accepted the act of grace, and 
they were decidedly in the majority? James Alexander, the 
prominent councilman, took the ground that once ignored, 
clemency could not be offered again. His solution naturally 
reverted to the necessity of strengthening the hands of govern- 
ment so that guilty persons could be not only taken, but kept 
and brought to justice. That something needed to be done to 
the "hands of government" was evident, for they now began 
to fight amongst themselves. 

The disturbances continued, new outbreaks occurring dur- 
ing November, 1 748, in the vicinity of Newark and Perth Amboy.* 
They called forth a memorial from the East Jersey Propri- 
etors to the Governor asking him to interpose in support of the 
King's authority, and arguing that the refusal to accept the 
act of grace was a clear proposal on the part of the culprits of 
an intention to throw off their dependence on the English crown. 
This prompted the Governor to again lecture the Legislature — 
the Assembly in particular — on the necessity of suppressing 
the "dreadful confusions". The Council's response was con- 
siderate, but the Assembly insinuated that the laws were not 
fully executed, and said that if this defect was remedied, the 
laws still proving to be inefficient, they would consider the 
matter at the next session. 

This reply of the Assembly afforded ample opportunity 

(3) N. J. A. XVI, p. II. 

(4) N. J. A. VII. p 178. 


for a conflict between the houses, for the Council immediately 
defended the executive officials of the colony, maintaining that 
more effectual enforcement of laws could be obtained only by 
added appropriations for the support of the government. 
Such an imputation upon the Assembly's control of the purse, 
strings was resented and brought forth the resolution among 
others, "that this House have a right to enjoy their own senti- 
ments, in all matters and things that shall come before them, 
without being accountable or censured by the Council for 
the same." The Council, convinced that the Assembly was 
guilty of a brazen neglect of duty, urged the Governor to join 
in laying the condition of the province before the King and his 
ministers. The Governor signified his intention of trying one 
more session of the Legislature before appealing to the King. 
At this juncture the unusual happened. The Governor and 
Council came into conflict! After receiving notice from the 
Council that it wished to give him advice. Governor Belcher 
proudly informed them that when he wanted their advice, he 
would ask for it. A few days later, December 22d, 1748, the 
Council communicated to Belcher the opinion that his stand 
regarding advice was wrong. Again the Council pressed for 
immediate application to the King. These facts can be inter- 
preted as signifying the Governor's lack of sympathy with the 
strong proprietary interests in his Council and a possible influ- 
ence which his religious activities and reputed tolerant attitude 
toward the rioters may have had on his official acts. 

Duty so strongly impressed the councilmen, that notwith- 
standing the Governor's refusal to join with them, an address 
was sent to the King and also to the Duke of Bedford, then 
Secretary of State, urging that such measures be taken as 
should be thought best to secure peace in the province. At 
about the same time, in December, 1748, the Council of Pro- 
prietors of East Jersey also sent a petition to the King, asking 
his protection for their property at this time, when the colonial 
laws were unavailing and it was impossible to execute them. 
The importance of the matter was urged upon Ferdinand John 
Paris, the London agent of the East Jersey Proprietors, by 
Alexander and Morris. Their plan was that Paris should per- 
suade the Secretary of State or the Board of Trade to order 
Governor Belcher to call the Assembly to action, and if it re- 
fused to act, to threaten the sending of troops for the restoration 

of order. Any hopes the Proprietors had of such strenuous 
action were punctured by Paris's letter to Alexander, stating 
that no more than a "stronji' instruction" from the Kin^' to 
Belcher to call the Assembly could be expected. 

The suspicion with which the Proprietors began to regard 
the Governor became evident. A new Assembly had been 
convened in February, 1749, but had taken no measures against 
the rioters, which fact it was charged was a virtual confirma- 
tion of their case. The proprietary agent, dutiful to his clients, 
promised to look with diligence for any possible complaints 
against Belcher in order that the scale might be turned against 
him. But the imputations against the Governor were some- 
what shattered by his message to the Lords of Trade, sent on 
April 22, 1749. The Assembly, he said, had no regard for 
what he directed, there was no hope that they would raise 
money to protect the jails and quell the disturbances, and con- 
sequently the King's special orders would be awaited with 
great expectancy. Notwithstanding this Alexander and Morris 
sent to Paris some charges which could be used against the 
Governor. In justification of his action in no', joining the 
Council in our address to the King, Belcher himself wrote to 
the Duke of Bedford that he regarded it more for the King's 
honour that action should separate, basing his belief on his in- 
terpretation of the character of the Colonial Goverment. He 
renewed his request for special orders from the King. The 
Lords of Trade began their consideration of the conditions in 
New Jersey. 

Dated June i, 1740, the report of the Lord's Commission- 
ers for Trade and Plantations upon the condition of New Jer- 
sey was sent to the Lords of the Committee of Council. The 
report gave in detail the basis of the proprietary claims and a 
lengthy statement of the disorders in the province. After a 
review of the claims of the rioters the report, little sparing the 
feelings of the Elizabeth Town and other claimants, character- 
ized them as a "Set of Freebooters who enter upon any lands, 
and cut down and destroy the timber, tho' the lands have been 
ever so long granted to others under the King's title." 

It was the Lords' opinion that the laws passed in New Jer- 
sey designed to check the disorders should be disallowed, in 

(5)N. J. A. VII. p. ly;. 


accordance with a report of the Attorney-General and Solicitor- 
General. The rise and progress of the outbreaks were due prin- 
cipally to the weakness of the government, consequent upon 
the necessity of the governor's either obeying the popular will 
or being refused support* As to remedies, the report declared 
the most efficient would be to send a "sufficient military force 
under the direction of a commander to be appointed for that 
service. ' ' Or four companies from New York could be sent under 
the command of an authorized person, allowed to act independ- 
ently by having a competent salary settled upon him at home. 
Or if it is believed that either of the above remedies would not 
be efficient, New Jersey may be re-united to the Government 
of New York according to the plan in vogue before 1738. 

The Lords of the Committee of the Privy Council, as a re- 
sult of the above report, in July, 1751, directed the Attorney- 
General and Solicitor-General to prepare a draft of a commission 
to be issued for investigating the grievances of the King's New 
Jersey subjects. The Lord's Commissioners for Trade and 
Plantations were ordered to prepare the draft of an additional 
instruction to be sent to the Governor of New Jersey. The in- 
struction was to be drawn so as to include an expression of the 
King's displeasure with the Assembly for its inactivity, a noti 
fication to the inhabitants that a commission had been ordered 
to inquire into their grievances, and a declaration that the King 
had in consideration "the granting an Act of Indemnity to all 
those who shall appear to have merited the same," v/ith the 
added injunction that the people behave themselves for the 

The Attorney-General and Solicitor- General submitted the 
commission which they had been ordered to prepare. The full 
and impartial report on New Jersey condition. They were 
granted by the commission as drawn full power to receive neces- 
sary information, to examine witnesses and to send for persons, 
books, papers or records that might be useful. This tentative 
commission was transmitted to the Lords of Trade who, in re- 
porting it to the Committee of Council, gave the opinion that 
if the committee was executed "it must be by the appointment 
of such persons to be Commissioners as shall be men of known 
prudence, temper and ability; that these Commissioners should 

(6) N. J. A. VII, p. 521. 


be chosen out of some of tlie neijj^hborinj^ colonies or sent from 
hence, as your lordships shall jikIkc most proper, but we are 
inclined to think that persons sent from hence would be the 
least liable to suspicion of interest, prejudice or partiality.'' 
The Lords of Trade viewed favorably a su;j^jrestion of tlie At- 
torney-General and Solicitor-General that one of the disputed 
property cases be brous^ht up for a final judicial determination, 
which when settled would serve as a rule for all other cases' 
and they remarked that, conformable to that idea it might be 
well to send an additional instruction to the Governor of New 

In the meantime while the authorities at Whitehall were 
evolving ways and means for the reduction of the restless Jer- 
seymen, there was no abatement of that restlessness in the 
colony. The disturbers of the peace indeed seemed inclined to 
regard legislative apathy as a commission allowing them to de- 
fy the law. The counties of Essex, Middlesex and Bergen 
particularly became the scenes of violence. Two men. Ball and 
Bunwell, having been imprisoned, were rescued, but later re- 
turned to confinement voluntarily and petitioned for speedy 
trial. The Assembly urged the Governor to issue a commission 
for holding court of oyer and terminer in Essex County, but 
the Governor, acting upon the Council's advice, refused on the 
ground that lawful and impartial juries could not be obtained 
in the County c^f Essex. In September, 1749, the Governor 
again appealed to the Assembly to take action, but fruitlessly. 
The appeal was renewed in February, 1750, after a riot at 
Horsenecks, but elicited the response from the Assembly that 
legal prosecution was the only measure to be pursued, and the 
disturbances might have been checked if the Governor had 
heeded the request for a commission of oyer and terminer in 
Essex County. 

After a brief respite from disturbances, there occurred in 
April, i7«;2. another jail-breaking and the release of a prisoner 
committed for high treason at Perth Amboy. Although the 
Governor had issued his warrant that extra precautions be taken 
to hold the prisoner, one Wickoff, in confinement, he was spir- 
ited away before the extra precautions could be taken. The 
Council, on being asked by the Governor for advice, stated that 

(7)N. J. A. VIII, p. 90. 


inasmuch as orders might be expected from the home govern- 
ment at any time, they should be awaited.* Belcher continued 
during the summer of 1752 patiently to ply the London author- 
ities for orders. The Council now despaired of any good coming 
from the Assembly, told the Governor it would be useless to 
have another session of the Legislature to consider the state of 
the colon5% and became content with the suggestion that the 
Attorney-General "should proceed according to the known laws 
of the land " 

When the Assembly did meet in May, 1753, it listened to 
the regular exhortation that some action should be taken to 
bring the colony out of its difficulties. But after this session 
of the Legislature the Governor could write to the Lords of 
Trade merely the oft-repeated news that nothing had been dune 
to check the riots, and made the oft-repeated request that the 
King's orders be sent. 

Early in 1754 Hunterdon County became the scene of dis- 
orders, and Governor Belcher issued a proclamation command- 
ing the magistrates to punish the guilty persons.' One year 
later another disturbance occurred in the same county, and 
there followed the usual procedure — the chief executor's request 
for advice from the Council, and the subsequent issue of a proc- 
lamation ordering the magistrates to be diligent and the sheriff 
to suppress the riots. 

By August, 1755, after more than one half a century of 
gloomy land dissensions, the horizon began to clear. That is, 
there came a relief from the intermittent distractions, and the 
development of a disposition on the part of the people to submit 
their land title cases to the regular course of judicial precedure. 
As early as August, 1753, Belcher, doubtless encouraged by the 
less frequent occurrence of riots and the apparent harmony be- 
tween them had written to the Lords of Trade that the province 
was in a "better state of peace and tranquility,"'" and that the 
Proprietors should improve this excellent opportunity by bring- 
ing forth their actions of trespass and ejectment. 

Over a year passed before an answer from the Lords of 
Trade to the above letter reached New Jersey. This answer 
from London, which Belcher laid before the Council in Novem- 

(8) N. J. A. XVI, p. 379- 

(9) N. J. A. XVI, p. 433- 

(10) N. J. A. VIII, p. 151. 


ber, 1754, advised that the Governor use his influence in per- 
suading the Properietors to brinj:: their trespass actions before 
the courts for adjudication. A Council Committee considered 
the matter and after six months elapsed reported to the Gover- 
nor. It stated that after continued offers on the part of the Pro- 
prietors to rioter's committee to join in an action, one Tompkins 
was entered as defendant in 1752, the case to be tried a year later 
before a Middlesex County jury, but delays had postponed the 
trial of the case. In the meantime according to report which 
came to the Council Committee, it was seen that the spirit of 
rioting was disappearing. 

In Essex County at least sixty rioters were indicted, con- 
fessed the indictments, submitted to the mercy of the court, 
were fined and ordered to good behaviour for three years. They 
complied and paid the costs of prosecution. In Hunterdon 
County even more auspicious omens were observed. In the 
trial an action of trespass before the Supreme Court at Bur- 
lington, the plaintiffs were able to set forth their case as so just 
and so evident, that not only were the jury and bystanders con- 
vinced, but even the rioters settled upon the lands involved in 
the case, and the defendant's lawyer, who advised his clients 
"to contend no farther against so clear a title."" The light of 
the proprietary point of view dawned upon the wayward set- 
tlers of Middlesex and Hunterdon Counties, but the majority 
of the people of Essex County had not yet, according to the 
Proprietors, become "sensible of their errors." 

In must be borne in mind that the inhabitants of Middle- 
sex and Hunterdon Counties were not included in the original 
Elizabeth Town Purchase. The determining factor in their 
outbreak had been the influence of the general restless condi- 
tions about them, or as was so often mentioned in the letters 
and reports of that time, the disorders spread. Coupled with 
that was doubtless the hope of substantiating their questionable 
claims against those of the Proprietors and in so doing, freeing 
themselves from the obligation of the quit-rents, which they 
had regarded with such hostility. But in Essex County, the 
seat of the Elizabeth Town Purchase, the outcome was different. 
In Essex County the Elizabeth Town Purchase contro- 
versy came to an end, but not to a legal settlement. On April 

(11) Bill in Chancery, p. 81. 


13th, 1745, there was filed with the Clerk in Chancery (Tho. 
Bartow) the Elizabeth Town Bill in Chancery. This was an 
exhaustive defence of their claims, which the Proprietors had 
had prepared, as complainants, and submitted to the Governor, 
then Lewis Morris. It was signed by James Alexander and 
Joseph Murray, as "of Council for the Complainants." 

After the case of the plaintiffs has been stated, the bill 
concludes, praying that the defendants be commanded to appear 
on a certain day in "His Majesty's Court of Chancery of this 
Province, then and there to answer the Premises". The 
Governor was asked to grant writs of iniunction, commanding 
the defendants and confederates to commit no further "Waste 
or spoil upon the lands in question, by cutting of timber or 
otherwise howsoever, until Your Excellency shall have given 
farther directions therein."" 

The committee of Elizabeth Town engaged William Liv- 
ingston and William Smith, as their counsel, to prepare an 
answer to the proprietary document. This work, "An Answer 
to a Bill in the Chancery of New Jersey", was not completed 
until August, 1 75 1, and was printed the following year by sub- 
scription. Affixed to the "Answer" are the signatures of 449 
freeholders and inhabitants of Elizabeth Town. 

As mentioned above the Bill in Chancery was submitted 
to Governor Morris, who had established a Court of Chancery 
and himself exercised the officer of Chancery. Morris's con- 
nections might naturally have inclined him toward the propri- 
etary cause had he passed a decision upon the case, but his 
death in 1746, over five years before the answer was prepared, 
prevented that contingency. On the other hand, had the case 
been adjudicated before Belcher, there are facts which might 
have suggested his possible leaning toward the defendant's 

The case dragged along, and for unknown reasons 
was not settled before Governor Belcher, in New Jersey Court 
of Chancery. Some of the leading men connected with the 
suit died.'^ Before a decision was rendered the strenuous events 
beginning in the late fifties interrupted further progress. To 
furnish troops for the French War became the paramount ques- 
tion for some time after 1757. Shortly after came the tense 

(11) Bill in Chancery, p. 81. 

(12) Hatfield, p. 372. 


situation caused by the Stamp Act, from which time until the 
outbreak of the Revolution thouj^ht and enerjjy was diverted 
into other channels than a suit in Chancery over disputed land 
titles. During the Revolution there was a suspension of legal 
business, and after the colonies had gained their independence 
and New Jersey had become a State the suit was never again 
reopened. Thus this controversy, which had been a thorn in 
the side of the province for almost a century, was never legally 

There remains to be mentioned one event. During the 
long period of excitement in the colony, due to the events from 
1756 until after the Revolution there is the record of just one 
case of a disturbance in Essex County. In 1762, during Gov- 
ernor Hardy's administration, it became necessary to issue a 
proclamation, because of "unwarrantable proceedings by riot- 
ers." The proclamation is issued to prevent calamaties, such 
as vexed the province "but a few years since." The usual ad- 
monition is given to the civil and military authorities that they 
exercise vigilance in suppressing disturbances, and to the King's 
subjects, that they obey the laws, and refuse assistance to dis- 
turbers of the peace. 




New Jersey Archives. 

Documents relating to Colonial History of New Jersey— Vol. VI, 

Journal of Governor and Council— Vol. XV. XVI, XVII. 
Elizabeth Town Bill in Chancery. 
Learning and Spicer: Grants and Concessions of New Jersey. 

Tanner: The Province of New Jersey (1664-1738.) 
Gordon: History of New Jersey (Trenton, 1834.) 
Mulford: History of New Jersey (Philadelphia, 1851.) 
Smith: History of New Jersey (Second Ed. Trenton, 1877) First Ed. was 

published in 1765. History of New Jersey to year 1721. 
Hatfield: History of Elizabeth, N. J. (N. Y., 1868.) 
Whitehead: East Jersey under Proprietary Governments. 
Proceedings of New Jersey Historical Society. 

Settlement of Elizabeth, N. J., paper read by Wm. A. Whitehead, 

May 20, 1869. 

Second Series, Vol. i, p. I55- 
Monmouth County during the Provincial era. Paper read by Governor 

Joel Parker, May 16, 1872. Second Series, Vol. Ill, p. 15. 
Nicholas Murray: Notes on Elizabeth Town (Elizabeth Town, 1844.) 

* r- 

riic Historical Society of 
Hudson County. 

No. 7. 

Organized January 17th, 1908. 



Vice Presidents, 
1st— REV. C. BRETT. 
2d— JOHN W. HECK. 

Treasurer, Librarian, 


Corresponding Secretary, Recording Secretary, 


Assistant Librarian, 

Board of Governors, 

Alexander McLean) John J. Voorhees > 

M. J. CuRRiE \ 1910 DeWitt Van Buskirk [ 1911 

W. J. Davis j David R. Daly ) 

W. R. Barricklo > Dr. G. K. Dickinson ) 

David Ramsey ,- 1912 Benj. L. Stowe [ 

Vreeland Tompkins j J 




Paper read by DeVVitt Van Buskirk, before Hudson Historl. 
cal Society, October, I90Q. 

Wliile other bold navigators and explorers may have sailed 
past Sandy Hook and through the Narrows before Hendrick 
Hudson, we Dutchmen like to regard him as the discoverer of 
this l)eautiful section of America and the grandest harbor on the 
Atlantic Coast. Though he was an iCnglishman, the enterprise 

"^ was a Dutch enterprise, in the interest of the Dutch East 

\ India Company. 

vs Hudson and his bold crew of the "Half Moon" are accepted 

in history as the first white men to make the harbor and explore 
the glorious river that bears his name. When he cast anchor 
on the third day of September, sixteen hundred and nine, in the 
horseshoe inside Sandy Hook (that beautiful outer harbor of 
this great port), the sight that met his eyes must have been a 
glorious one. The Navesink Highlands to the south, the ex- 
panse of Princess Bay to the west, the Narrows and the heights 
of Staten Island to the north, with the broad ocean, over which 
he had so recently passed, to the east, must have been a picture 
of delight. This spot is to-day the "Mecca" of the yachtsmen 
and the sportsmen. Then, later, as he felt his way through the 
Narrows, past the high wooded shores of Staten Island and 
Long Island and cast anchor, as Winfield's histor>' has it, near 
the mouth of Kill von Kull, he felt safe from every danger of the 
sea, and as quoted from his diary, he found the shores on both 
sides ' ' as pleasant with grasse and flowers and goodly trees as 
ever they had seen and very sweet smells came from them . " Of 
the harbor he says, " we saw that it was a ver\- good harbor for 
all winds." He found the Indians on the Long Island and Man- 
hattan side of the bay unfriendly. One of his best men was 
killed in an attack upon the men who were sent out in a small 
boat to explore the shores of the bay, but he also found the In- 
dians on the New Jersey side of the harbor to be far more 
friendly than those on the easterly side. Winfield says "this 

attack was probably made at the mouth of the Kill von Kull. It 
is also probable that the canoes were from Manhattan, for the 
Indians on the Jersey side visited the ship next day and seemed 
to be ignorant of what had happened." This would not have 
been so had the attack been made by any of the neighbors on 
the west side of the bay. It must also be borne in mind that 
there was no intercourse between the tribes on the opposite sides 
of the river. 

From this place of anchorage of the ' ' Half Moon ' ' explora- 
tion parties were also sent through Kill von Kull and up Newark 
Bay, afterward called Achter Coll, that is the back bay, to dis- 
tinguish it from the New York Bay. Afterwards this name of 
Achter Coll or Arthur Kull was applied to the narrow strip of 
water lying between Staten Island and New Jersey from Perth 
Amboy to Elizabethport. 

It will thus be seen that Hendrick Hudson and his men 
had a very kindly regard for the beautiful stretch of land bounded 
by waters of Newark Bay, Kill von Kull and New York Bay, 
now known as Bayonne. 

With its dense woods and the beautiful foliage, with the 
shores in their natural state, this territory must have been ex- 
tremely attractive. Bayonne can therefore claim, with no un- 
necessary stretch of imagination, to have been the first of the 
territory explored by our distinguished Dutch discoverer. 

I will endeavor, in the time that is allotted me, to trace the 
development of this section of Hudson County down to the pres- 
ent time. This section of the County has been from its first discov- 
ery and settlement, and is now more or less tied up and afiiliated 
with the larger settlements of Bergen, Jersey City and New Am- 
sterdam or the great city of New York. The events of inde- 
pendent historical importance that appertain distinctively to this 
territory have been apparently few. I will endeavor, however, 
to outline what will be of interest to this society. I cannot claim 
very much of original research, but have gathered what follows 
from various sources, including local tradition and recollections 
of some of the old settlers, and I make use of much information 
from Winfield's Historj^ of Hudson County. 

Constable Hook, by reason of its nearness to the Narrows, 
and also because it is at the mouth of Kill von Kull, appears 
to have secured prominence in its early days out of proportion to 

its later importance. This point, as you well know, is a distinc- 
tive name given to that portion of Bayoinic which lies opposite 
New Brighton, Staten Island, and is now the center of a hive 
of oil and other industries. This point, containing one hundred 
and fifty niorgcns (about three hundred acres) was granted to 
Jacobson Roy, a gunner of Fort Amsterdam, hence the name 
Konstable, the title for gunner, and Hockc, Point, Constable 
Hook, or Gunner's Point. 

In those days it was probably, as in later years, and before 
the great industries located there, apiece of rolling land of sandy 
character with salt marshes intervening. VanBoskerck's Point, 
which is really a part of the same formation of land jutting 
out into the bay was to the north of the point, distinctively 
named Constable Hook. On VanBoskerck's Point stood a 
peaked roof one and one-half story stone house of moderate di- 
mensions, until recently torn down by the Standard Oil Com- 
pany, among the first, if not the first house ever built in Bay- 
onne. It was the homestead of one branch of the VanBuskirk 
family who, generation after generation, tilled the soil as farm- 
ers, assisted by slave labor, and marketed their surplus products 
at the growing city of New York. Transportation of produce, 
etc., in those days was by " pierauga," a type of sail boat much 
like a schooner in rig with no jib or topsails. The old house 
remained in the family until recently purchased by the Standard 
Oil Company. Near this house was the old VanBuskirk Ceme- 
tery, where nearly all the old settlers were buried. Here was 
buried old Peter VanBuskirk and his descendants, also the ances- 
tors of the Cadmus, Vreeland, Cubberly, VanHorn, Garrabrant 
and many other old families. This burial place was not much used 
after 1880 and fell into decay and was neglected. The bodies of 
many were removed to other cemeteries and since the purchase 
of the surrounding property by the Standard, the old graves and 
vaults have all been wiped out and oil tanks have been erected 
where these old worthies slept ; the bones of some were not 
cared for and re-interred elsewhere before the ruthless hand of 
commerce laid hold of these historic grounds; they were scat- 
tered and the stones that marked their resting place destroj'ed. 
Many old headstones and records of historic value were thus 
wiped out and are beyond recall. 

Roy received a patent for these lands in March, 1646. In 

1654 patents were issued for lands between Gemonepas and the 
Kilvankol. What was formerly called Pamrapo but then Pem- 
repogh, now a portion of the Third Ward of the city of Bayonne, 
was within this grant. It was an Indian name. 

During this period the growth of the settlement was much 
retarded by the unfriendly attitude of the Indians, who had been 
incensed by the treatment they had received from the Dutch at 
New Amsterdam. The barbarous attacks upon the isolated 
farm houses scattered over this territory compelled the inhabi- 
tants to fly for shelter to New Amsterdam and their houses were 
burned, and cattle driven off. For a number of years it was un- 
safe for them to return to their farms and rebuild. After the 
troubles with the Indians had subsided this section of the coun" 
try became again inhabited by the former owners and by others 
who came with them, until clusters of houses, built near each 
other for mutual protection, formed themselves into villages or 
hamlets. Gradually the Indian disappeared from this locality, 
withdrawing to the interior where he would not be molested by 
the intrusive white. The forests were cleared and as the farms 
were extended the population increased. 

Winfield relates in his history how the villages of Pemre- 
pogh and Mingagque were accused of not contributing their fair 
share to the support of the precentor and schoolmaster at Ber- 
gen. The magistrates of Bergen ordered that all should pay a 
certain portion of this expense. These villages disregarded this 
demand and the authorities in New Orange were called upon to 
compel them to pay their share. The result of this appeal was 
that these inhabitants were ordered to pay up. After this de- 
cision , it is related by the historian that ' ' the schoolmaster con- 
fided to his whip a more artistic flourish and the precentor 
chanted with a clearer voice, but his triumphant cadences were 
soon turned into the doleful minor by the unregenerate stub- 
borness of Mingagque and Pemrepogh. These uncircumcised in 
heart thought Old Hundred and Windham, piping out from 
under the pulpit, very good music for those who were educated 
up to that standard, and were willing to pay for the luxury. 
The schoolmaster, with eyes severe, piloting the bewildered 
urchin through the mazes of the multiplication table by the aid 
of the birch, was Moxy good in his way to those who lived near 
enough to enjoy the blessing of his wisdom. But they reso- 

lutely refused to be thus edified or instructed, and declined to 
contribute to the general expense of such benefactions. Perse- 
vering in their disobedience, another order was made that imme- 
diate execution should issue against these unwilling debtors. 
This put it up to the unwilling debtors either to fight or remon- 
strate against what they considered an oppression. They chose 
the latter. Lourens Andriessen, the ancestor of the VanBuskirk 
family, at Mingagque, and Jooset Vander Linde were appointed 
agents to submit the cause of the people to the authorities in 
New Orange. This appeal, however, was without avail. Other 
disputes arose later, but were ultimately compromised without 

Almost all of the lands of Greenville and Bayonne were 
used as common lands for cattle grazing, and it was not till sub- 
sequent years that these lands were divided into severalty among 
their respective owners. 

Nothing of very marked historical importance seems to have 
occurred after this period until the time of the Revolutionary 
War, nor did this locality grow very largely in population. It 
still consisted of isolated farm dwellings and two or three small 
hamlets. During the Revolutionary period it seems to have 
been to some extent a thoroughfare for the fighting forces be- 
tween Staten Island and New York and Northern New Jersey. 
Winfield relates that when Admiral Howe's fleet came into the 
harbor he anchored off the mouth of Kill von Kull and his troops 
landed on Staten Island. Fearing an attack from Staten Island, 
General Mercer, on July 4th, 1776, placed a guard of five hun- 
dred men at Bergen Neck. 

Later, it appears that the force of men that had been placed 
in this locality was not sufficient to protect it, and it was pro- 
posed to send the Pennsylvania militia to Bergen Neck. The 
different passes in Bergen Neck were to be fortified. There were 
skirmishes between the outlying forces during all the time 
Howe's fleet was within the harbor, and this continued along 
the entire shore of Bergen Point to Elizabethport. Evidently 
some of the British forces had occupied Constable Hook. Later, 
when the British got in full occupancy of New York, the Conti- 
nental troops were wnthdrawn from this section and the Tory 
and the English contingent occupied the neck of land, and Fort 
Delancy was used as an outlying post by the Tory forces. This 

fort was located, as far as can be determined, on the high ground 
near the old homestead of Hartman Vreeland (recently torn 
down) about at 52d street, west of Avenue C. 

During the remainder of the Revolutionary War the Tories 
were in practical control of this neck of land, and no events of 
Revolutionary interest occurred there. The bushwackings and 
skirmishings were of a trivial character between small bands of 
soldiers or hangers-on. No event of historical importance ap- 
pears to have transpired in this section during the period after 
the Revolutionary War, and until the War of 1812, nor during 
that war, although the harbor of New York was undoubtedly 
the scene of naval activity. 

Later, during what is known as the "Cholera Year," which 
was in the '30's, a large number of the inhabitants of this 
place were taken down with this scourge and died. Tradi- 
tion attributes the scourge to the fact that bedding or 
other stuff, which had been upon some ship infested with 
cholera lying in the harbor, had been thrown overboard and had 
drifted to the shores of Bayonne and some of the people had 
come in contact with it, either by using the bedding or other- 
wise, and thus the disease got a foothold, which swept over the 
entire neck, leaving devastation in its path. 

The inhabitants of this section, afterwards comprising Bay- 
onne, were scattered, but might be considered as divided into 
about four very small settlements or groups. One was at Bergen 
Point near the ferry landing to Staten Island. This ferry was at 
first propelled by horse power and many an involuntary voyage 
toward New York or Elizabethport was taken, while crossing, 
because the power generated was not sufficient to stem the swift 
tide of the Kill von Kull. Later, these inconveniences were 
overcome by the introduction of the steamboat. This, however, 
was many years afterwards. A postoffice was established here, 
known as Bergen Point Postoffice. 

A second and possibly the oldest settlement was at Constable 
Hook. In this section, there were about five or six families. Here 
afterwards, were the farms of the Vreelands, VanBuskirks and 
Terhunes. The old tidal mill located on a tidal creek near where 
now stands the works of the Oxford Copper Company, was in 
operation to grind the farm products, wheat, rye, buckwheat of the 
farms of Bergen Neck and Staten Island. The mill was known 

as Terhuiie's Mill. From this point also, where Kill von Kull 
joins New York Bay the transportation by boat to New Amster- 
dam wtis cheap and easy. 

The first factory to invade this territory was the Bergen Point 
Copper Company, prior to 1848; then came White's Sulphur 
Works, located here in 1850. Now, the whole Hook is covered 
with the tanks and stills of the Standard Oil Company and the 
factories of other large corporations. 

The third settlement was at Centreville. This connnunity 
consisted of several farm houses located near together. Later, how- 
ever, quite a group of houses clustered around the country store, 
located near what is now the corner of 22nd street and Avenue D 
or Broadway. In the later days, Hanson Carragan's store, located 
there, was the general dispensary of the dry goods, wet goods, 
groceries, clothes, tobacco, farm utensils, drugs, paints and every 
conceivable kind of merchandise needed by the farmer or fisher- 
man. Here, also, a postoffice was established, called the "Cen- 
treville Postoffice." 

Afterwards, a road house of considerable proportions, known 
as the "Mansion House," was built at the corner of 21st street, 
or Old Hook Road and the Plank Road, and owned and run by 
one Dodge, afterwards called the "City Hotel" and kept by one 

The fourth hamlet or settlement was at Pemrepough, after- 
wards called Saltersville. One historian says that in 1680 there 
were about twenty families comprising this hamlet. In later 
years, when the neck of land had become more thickly populated, 
a postoffice was established here, which was called ' 'Saltersville. ' ' 

Civil War. 

At the breaking out of the War of the Rebellion, it is doubt- 
ful whether there were more than four or five hundred people 
residing in the limits of Bayonne. It was still a rural commun- 
ity. It was, however, intensely loyal. It has been difficult to 
get any satisfactory record of the men who went from Bayonne 
to serve as soldiers in this war, but a large number of men en- 
listed with Newark or Elizabeth companies. 

At the outbreak of the War, a militia company was orga- 
nized, known as the "Close Light Guards." It was so named 
from the fact that Joseph B. Close, who was then quite a wealthy 

resident and property owner here, provided money for some of 
the equipment. It was a company of about sixty men, captained 
by John J. VanBuskirk, afterwards promoted to Major. The 
company formed a part of the Second New Jersey Volunteers, and 
went to the front in April, 1861. These men were among the 
first who enlisted under the three months' call of President Lin- 
coln. It was then thought that the war could be quickly termi- 
nated, and that three months would be sufficient to end it. After- 
wards, most of these men re-enlisted in the Twenty-first New 
Jersey Volunteers, of which Hiram VanBuskirk, afterwards 
Colonel of the Fourth Regiment, was Major. The Colonel of 
this regiment was VanHouten. 

Andrew VanBuskirk and John Vreeland were captains in this 
regiment, both of them residents of Bayonne. They drilled in 
the ball room of a hotel which was located on the Old Plank Road 
near what is now 50th street, for a time kept by Egbert Wauters. 

Among the old residents and veterans of the Civil War still 
living in Bayonne are William Dexter, Nicholas Cubberly, John 
Vreeland, Jacob Oliver, Fred Boorman and James C. VanBuskirk. 
James C. VanBuskirk served through the entire war from '61 to 
'65, and was for four and one-half months a prisoner in the prison 
pens of Anderson ville, Georgia. He served in many of the 
prominent battles of the war, as did several of the other veterans. 


The earliest inhabitants at first subsisted by trade with In- 
dians, farming a little, where the lands could be easily cleared, and 
supplementing their agricultural activities by fishing and oyster- 
ing. Fish and oysters were abundant in these waters. Whit- 
comb in his history of Bayonne says: " Money was almost un- 
known, the unit of value being a beaver skin, and the currency 
being provided by bits of clam and periwinkle shells deftly cut 
and polished. They traded honorably and gave and received 
fair values. Yankee tricks were unknown to them. They were 
slow to form new acquaintances, but were firm in their friend- 
ship. On early mornings, probably once a week, it was a com- 
mon occurrence to see a group of Dutchmen with their sugar- 
loaf hats and leather breeches, together with their wives in their 
multiplied petticoats and other paraphernalia, entering skifiFs on 
the New York Bay Shore to convey them to New Amsterdam. 

There they would spend the day trading tlicir fruit, vegetables, 
oysters and fish for clothing, beer, tools and the like, and gos- 
siping with their friends. A road, or at least a path, led from 
this section over to Bergen Town, over which these settlers would 
travel occasionally for the same purpose that took them to New 

Later, as the heavy growth of timber, the forest primeval, 
was, bit by bit, cleared away, the land, which was ver>- fertile, 
was devoted to farming, the commons or common land being 
open for grazing to the cattle of the neighborhood. Many of the 
inhabitants devoted their whole -time to the water vocations. 
The inhabitants secured a good living by these means and were 
contented and happy. 

When the slave was introduced to assist in the farming and 
to be the servant of these humble Dutch settlers, I have not been 
able to learn. That there were slaves in several of the more 
prosperous families and that some of their descendants still live 
in this section is an undoubted fact. Slavery was not abolished 
in this State until the year 1846. Previous to this, however, 
through the efforts of the Quakers, several legislative acts were 
passed in New Jersey, penalizing slave holders and tending to- 
wards the gradual abolition of slavery. An important act of this 
nature was passed in 1804. In 1790, Bergen County, of which 
Hudson County was then a part, had twenty-three hundred 
slaves, and these comprised about one-sixth of the population. 

In 1800 there were 12,500 slaves in New Jersey. 

1810 " 


1820 " 


1830 " 


1840 " 


These negroes, in many cases, assumed the family names of 
their masters, so that to this day you will find some dusky \'an 
Horns and VanBuskirks in the directories of Bayonne and Jersey 
City. Many of them, after their liberation, continued to live in 
cabins located on the farms of their former masters and were 
aided and looked after more or less by them. 

As the population increased, the variety of vocations in- 


creased also. The residents seldom visited New York except to 
market their products. 

Gradually, the loveliness of this section, its beauty of loca- 
tion nearly surrounded by the waters of New York Bay, Kill 
van Kull and Newark Bay, and its healthfulness, attracted busi- 
ness men of New York and Jersey City. Improvements were in- 
troduced, streets laid out, the sections grew together and the 
city was born. 

The present city of Bayonne is the southerly part of Bergen 
Township, former^ known as Bergen Neck. This township 
was one of the component parts of the County of Hudson, which 
was set off from the County of Bergen in 1840. 

Legislation relating to that part of Bergen Township lying 
south of Morris Canal, looking toward making it an independent 
municipality, was first enacted in 1857, when a legislative com- 
mission was appointed to survey and lay out streets and avenues 
in said locality. Messrs. A. D. Mellick, Jacob A. VanHorn, 
Jacob M. Vreeland, Hartman Vreeland and Egbert Wauters were 
the first commissioners named and they were to be paid for their 
services one dollar per day each, for each day employed. Rather 
modest pay when compared with allowances to present day com- 

Afterwards, this section of Bergen Township was named the 
Township of Bayonne, this being the name originally given to 
that part of the township, now known as Central Bayonne, and 
extending from 30th street to 38th streets, from New York Bay 
to Newark Bay. 

Messrs. Benjamin F. Woolsey, Erastus Randall, Peter Bent- 
ley, David Smith and associates bought the entire Cadmus tract, 
locally known as the Jasper Cadmus and the John Cadmus or 
Cadmus farms, and laid them out into building lots with streets 
and avenues. They planted shade trees, graded and laid side- 
walks and beautified and developed the property. Many dwell- 
ing houses were erected by them and other improvements were 
made. The name "Bayonne' ' was taken from that of the French 
city of the same name and seemed peculiarly fitting to this 
locality, by reason of its delightful situation between the two 

In 1869, the city of Bayonne was chartered, and since that 
time its growth has been remarkably rapid. 


Population 1870 3,834 

1880 9,372 

1885 13,000 

1890 19.033 

1900 32.722 

1905 42,000 

1906 44,170 

1909 48,000 

In the early days, this section of Hudson County, or as it 
was then, Bergen County, was very sparsely inhabited. Holland 
Dutch farmers occupied nearly all of the lands extending from 
Kill von Kull to Bergen. In the upper section, the farms ran 
from New York Bay to Newark Bay. Besides the Cadmus 
farms alluded to above, there was in this section the Jacobus 
VanBoskerck farm, which he divided between his four sons, 
James C. VanBoskerck, David VanBoskerck, Abraham VanBos- 
kerck and Cornelius VanBoskerck. 

Adjoining this farm on the north was the Jasper Cadmus 
farm, one part of which was entailed to his son, Jasper Cad- 
mus. North of this was the farm of Richard Cadmus, locally 
known as "Uncle Dicky Cadmus." Then came the \'reeland 
farm, part of which was afterwards sold to David B. Salter, and 
part was acquired by Hartman Vreeland. This was bounded on 
the north by the Thompson farm, afterwards acquired by James 
Currie. This property is still in part held by the Currie family. 

The more southerly portions of the Neck and extending to 
Bergen Point, were owned by the Zabriskies, Garretsons, Cad- 
muses, Vreelands, VanHorns and other well known Dutch fam- 

Constable Hook, now a noisy, busy hive of industrial activi- 
ties, where the great plants of the Standard Oil Company, Tide- 
water Oil Company, Pacific Coast Borax Company, General 
Chemical Company. Orford Copper Company and other industries 
are located, was originally all owned by the VanBuskerck and 
Vreeland families. 

Roads and Transportation. 

The first road through this neck was located on the westerly 
side near Newark Bay, and parallel thereto, west of what is now 
the Boulevard or Avenue A. 


There are several places where traces of this road are plainly- 
visible yet. Then the Bergen Road was laid, which became 
afterwards the Plank Road, known as the Jersey City and 
Bergen Point Plank Road. The new plank road was built by a 
stock company and was a toll road. This continued as a toll road 
until the incorporation of the city. When the new plotting of 
the city was finally accepted, and streets were graded in ac- 
cordance therewith, the old Plank Road fell into disuse and has 
since been abandoned and vacated, except where its line was co- 
incident with the line of Avenue D (now Broadway), one of the 
principal arteries of the city. 

The other old road which ran longitudinally through the city 
was what was called the "back road" and is now Avenue A, or 
from 36th street north, the Boulevard. This road in the early 
days ran through a most delightful stretch of woodland. 

The Kings Highway, leading from Paulus Hoeck to Bergen 
Point, was laid out in 1764, and this was the old road laid nearer 
Newark Bay Shore. This became part of the stage route between 
New York and Philadelphia. 

The Bergen Road was laid in 1796. The first means of pub- 
lic conveyance between Bergen Point and Jersey City was by the 
stage coach. Winfield says: "in 1764 we first set up to start 
from Paulus Hoeck for Philadelphia via Bergen Point and Blaz- 
ing Star Ferries. The vehicle used was a covered Jersey wagon 
without springs. Three days were consumed in dragging it to 
Philadelphia. It was modestly called a 'Flying Machine.' " 

About 1840 a steamboat line was established, running to 
Newark. Soon afterwards this boat, the "Passaic," began 
making stops on her trips to and fro through Kill von Kull at 
Enyard's Dock, Bergen Point, which was located near the foot of 
Ingham avenue. This afforded quite quick transportation to New 
York. Afterwards, other steamboats running to other points, 
Elizabethport, Perth and South Amboy, stopped here for passen- 
gers and freight, either regularlj^ or on signal. Prior to the con- 
struction of the Central Railroad from Elizabeth to Jersey City, 
the company had operated a ferry from its Elizabethport termi- 
nus to New York, and the residents of the Bergen Point section 
of Bayonne were afforded good and quick service for those days 
by means of these steamboats, which made regular stops each 
way at a dock near the foot of Avenue C, although the original 


dock for these landings was furllier east. The first of these 
boats was the "Red Jacket," afterwards rebuilt and called the 
"Chancellor;" also the "WyominK^." Afterwards the "Kill 
von Kull," a large cattle, freight and passenger boat, was built 
and put in commission on this route. The latter boat continued 
to operate especially to accommodate the freight traflic of licrgen 
Point and Elizabethport long after the railroad was in operation. 
This boat was used during the War of the Rebellion to transport 
a troop of artiller>' from New York to Annapolis. 

About 1850 a local stage route was established by Jacob 
Merseles and was operated by him and afterwards by George 
Anderson from Centreville, at the Mansion House, corner of the 
Hook Road and the Plankroad to Jersey City and New York. 
This was the only means of public conveyance between these 
sections in use until the construction of the "Dummy Railroad" 
by the Jersey City and Bergen Railroad Company, about 1860. 

Jersey City and Bergen Railroad Company. 

The following are extracts taken from a report of condition 
of the Jersey City and Bergen Railroad made to its stockholders 
in June, 1867: 

The Jersey City and Bergen Railroad, from Jersey City 
Ferry to Bergen Hill, was incorporated in 1859 and construction 
was commenced in Februar\', 1860, and opened for travel July 
4th, 1860. The branch to Pavonia Ferry was built during the 
summer of 1863, and the cars placed on this line October 15th, 
1863. The road to Bergen Point was commenced in the sum- 
mer of 1862, and opened for travel to Bayonne May 13th, 1863, 
and to Bergen Point October 14th, 1863. The distance from 
Jersey City Ferry to Bergen by either the Plank Road or Hud- 
son City route is about three miles. The distance from Newark 
Plank Road or Dummy Junction to Bergen Point is six miles. 
The act of Legislature compelled them to change their route 
from the Jersey City and Bergen Point Plank Road through 
Bayonne, to a line between Avenue C and Avenue D and run 
under the Central Railroad. 

Quoting from the report: "According to agreement with 
the land owners, a substantial bridge was built over the Morris 
Canal, wide enough for double track railroad and the accom- 


modation of vehicles. The cost of land to date is $60,732.16; 
of equipment $76,696.30, 

The stable, feed house and car house on Bergen Hill, and 
engine house at Bergen Point, are substantial and commodious 
buildings, built of brick. The passenger house and shops at 
Bergen Point, and house for employees at Bergen Point, are of 
wood. The repair shop at Jersey City is under the rear build- 
ing of Taylor's Hotel, this right having been reserved in the 
sale of the property to the Messrs. Taylor. 

'The company have in their road 8/^ miles of track, laid 
with rails of the Philadelphia pattern, 45 lbs. per yard, 2% 
miles grooved rail, 27 lbs. per yard, laid on Pavonia avenue 
Line, Communipaw Line, &c., and 8/^ miles of saddle rail, 
36 lbs. per yard, on Dummy Road and Bergen Hill. 

"The company own 

160 horses, 1 cart, &c., shops, tools, 

40 cars, harness, 

4 stages, 6 steam passenger cars, 

11 sleighs, shops, stationary en- 

3 wagons, gine and tools." 

The total value of the property, including right of way and 
franchises, was placed at $544,000 at the date of this report. 

The incorporators were Dudley S. Gregor^^ Jacob M. Mer- 
seles, Matthew Armstrong, Peter Bentley, John H. Cornelison 
and such other persons as might thereafter be associated with 
with them. 

Capital stock, $250,000. By certificate filed with the Secre- 
tary of State, September 28, 1883, dated July 20, 1883, the 
capital stock under Act of March 23, 1883, concerning horse 
railways, was increased to a total of $500,000. It was further 
increased by statement filed September 15, 1887, with the Secre- 
tary of State, to $1,000,000. Mr. John W. Heck, through whose 
kindness I was enabled to secure the authentic data concerning 
this railroad, given herein, informs me that when the railroad 
was transferred to the Consolidated Traction Company $400 per 
share was paid for the entire capital stock of the road, making 
a total of $4,000,000 for the road. That this franchise is easily 
worth $10,000,000 to-day. 


The company was empowered to "construct a railroad 
from some point on the Kill von Kull, at or near Bergen Point, 
to the Newark Turnpike Road, leading from Jersey City to 
Newark, with the privilege of constructing one or more branches, 
extending to the several ferries in the County of Hudson south 
of the city of Hoboken, said road not exceeding 60 feet in 
width, except in cases of excavations and embankments, &c." 

The motive power to be used was limited to horse power. 
This limitation was removed by Act of 1863, page 284, in which 
it is enacted that said company may use and run upon their road 
steam passenger cars similar to those now owned by them, built 
by Grice & Long and known as dummy cars, and such steam cars 
only, but said cars shall not be run on any part of said road at a 
greater speed than twelve miles an hour, nor in the cities of 
Jersey City and Hudson at a greater speed than eight miles an 
hour; further power to regulate and control speed, &c., given to 
the several cities; the act contains also the following proviso: 
"That said company shall not construct a road on that part of 
Avenue D as laid down on the map of Bergen Township, south 
of the Morris Canal, in the County of Hudson, which lies 
south of Thirty-seventh street, as laid down on said map, but 
shall locate and construct the same between Avenue C and D, 
as near equi-distant from each as practicable, from Thirty- 
seventh street to Fifth street on said map; and said road shall 
not cross the Central Railroad of New Jersey on a level there- 
with, but shall be so constructed as to pass over or under the 

A Supplement, Laws 1867, page 1018, allowing them to use 
upon that part of the road from the Newark Plank Road in the 
Town of Bergen to the Kill von Kull, their cars and steam 
dummy engines free from all control or interferences by any of 
the municipal authorities of any town or township except in the 
Town of Bergen where the Council might regulate the speed of 
the cars at not less than six miles per hour, and not faster than 
ten miles an hour; and prohibit the running of cars on Sunday 
except for funerals south of the Newark Plank Road, and that 
whenever the carriage way outside of the rails should be paved 
on Ocean avenue from the Newark Plank Road to Myrtle ave- 
nue, then the company to pave their tracks between their rails 


and to use horse instead of steam power thereafter between said 
Plank Road and Myrtle avenue, 

By Act of 1873, page 1458, the company was empowered to 
lay a railroad to connect with the tracks of the "railroad known 
as the New Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company, at or 
near the place known as the Bergen Cut in Jersey City and to 
be operated in connection therewith and to extend the railroad 
hereby authorized through the County of Hudson to some 
point on the Kill von Kull at Bergen Point, to establish a ferry 
across the Kill von Kull to Staten Island; and there to connect 
with any other railroad now built or hereafter to be built." 

By ordinance of the City of Jersey, approved June 17, 1864, 
the use of steam or dummy engines on any of the tracks of any 
horse railroad company in Jersey City laid on any of the streets 
was prohibited, with penalties, &c. 

The early ordinances of the city of Bayonne on the matter 
are as follows: 

(2). Passed Sept. 15, 1885, D. W. Oliver, Mayor, authoriz- 
ing the laying of tracks on Avenue C from the city line and 
Morris Canal to Meigs street; to Avenue D; to Linnet street; to 
Orient street; to Fifth street; to Avenue R; to First street; and 
a branch on Twenty-seventh street from Avenue C to Avenue J; 
fare not to exceed five cents for any distance within city or from 
any point within the city to or from any point in Jersey City on 
the Greenville route. Cars to run at least once every half hour 
each way between six in the morning and eight in the evening 
and hourly between eight in the evening and midnight. 

(i'). Ordinance passed Sept 24, 1886, to lay rails in Avenues 
D and S to Meigs street to Fifth street. 

(J). Ordinance passed April 20 , 1888, to lay tracks on Fifth 
street and Avenue R to Avenue A; on Avenue A to First street 
and on First street to the Old Dummy Road , connecting with the 
tracks on Avenue R. 

The act passed by the Legislature March 28, 1882, regulat- 
ing fares on horse cars in cities of the first class, introduced by 
the Hon. James C. Clarke, fixed the fare at five cents for each 
passenger; prior to that, excess fare was charged to certain por- 
tions of the city and Bayonne, aggregating eight and ten cents. 

"The Junction" at Grand street and Communipaw avenue, 
derived its name from the fact that it was the junction where the 


dummy road started for Bayounc; some time afterward tlie use of 
duuuny cars were prohibited in Jersey City iu 1S64. 

The cars used on this, our first railroad, were coml)iiiation 
cars, with the steam en;^ine in the front portion and passenger 
space behind, with only a light wood partition between. The 
engine was an upright low power affair. The cars had small 
driving wheels and were a slow, unsatisfactory means of travel. 
They had a very bad habit of jumping off the track. This con- 
sisted of a light iron rail, laid on triangular wood sleepers and 
these resting on ties embedded in the earth, no ballast being used. 
The result was that the road was never in fit condition to carry 
the cars with safety for reasonable speed, had the engines been 
capable of speeding, and the schedule of time could not be main- 
tained. Besides, after a time, Jersey City would not allow the 
steam propelled cars on its streets, so that a transfer to horse cars, 
at first at the Junction, and later at Claremont, was necessitated 
with its incident delays and inconveniences. 

The passengers were often called upon to assist the composite 
engineer and firemen, and the conductor, comprising the train 
crew, in "boosting" the car on the track or in assisting it up the 
steep grades. 

At what is now 28th street, a turntable was built in the woods 
surrounding a hotel and picnic resort, known as "Bayonne 
Grove." Here many of the cars terminated their trips and were 
sent back to Jersey City. This grove was a very popular resort 
for a time, ha\-ing a large dancing pavilion, swings, &c. It was 
immediately in the rear of the first school house built in Bayonne, 
known as the "Little Red School House," fronting on the Plank 
Road, afterwards Avenue D. 

The dummy cars were discontinued shortly after this, al- 
though the Jersey City and Bergen R. R. Co. kept its franchise 
alive in a desultor>- way by running horse cars drawn by mules 
until the introduction of the "trolley" cars. 

The line of this road through Bayonne began at Avenue D 
and Morris Canal, and ran thence along Avenue D to what is 
now 32nd street, where the road turned to the northwest to about 
midway between x\ venues D and C, and ran thence over a private 
right of way direct to West Eighth street, where it passed under 
the Central Railroad near the Eighth street depot and continued 


on to Kill von Kull or First street, terminating along side of the 
Latourette House. 

Later, the horse car route was abandoned, and through the 
urgent influence of David W. Oliver, when he was Mayor of 
Bayonne, the Jersey City and Bergen Railroad Company ob- 
tained the franchise to build, and built its road in Avenue C and 
Avenue D over the route now operated by the Public Service 
Corporation and equipped it with electricity for trolley cars. 

This means of transportation afterwards had the competition 
of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, which company, under an 
act of the Legislature of 1860, was authorized to bridge Newark 
Bay between Elizabethport and Bergen Point and extend its road 
to Jersey City. This extension was completed and opened for 
travel in 1864. 

The building of the Central Railroad of New Jersey fur- 
nished the first real and satisfactory transportation facilities to 
and from Bayonne to New York and to Elizabeth and towns to 
the west. Through the courtesy of Mr. William G. Besler, Vice 
President and General Manager of this railroad, the following 
history of the development of the road and its construction 
through Bayonne and Jersey City has been prepared, and I take 
the liberty of incorporating this in my paper. 

Scraps of History Concerning Central Railroad of New 


The Central Railroad of New Jersey was built between 
Somerville and Elizabethport in the years 1834 to 1842 by John 
Owen Stearns and CojB5n Colkett, and after completion was leased 
to and operated by them. In 1846, after liquidation of the prop- 
erty, these two men purchased it and reorganized it. Mr. 
Stearns was elected Superintendent. Later, the Somerville & 
Easton Railroad was organized and built to the Delaware. The 
new and old company were consolidated in 1849 as the Central 
Railroad of New Jersey, and Mr. Stearns became its Superintend- 
ent. He continued in this position until his death in Novem- 
ber 1st, 1862. During the later years of his incumbency the line 
from Elizabethport to Bergen, now Jersey City, was projected. 

The act authorizing the extension was passed in 1860 and 
the road was opened for travel into Communipaw Ferry on 


August 1st, 1864. The l)ridge across Newark Bay was not yet 
completed. At that time the road reached the water front at 
Jersey City by a trestle one mile in length, extendinjs' from just 
east of the present Communipaw Station to the North River 
front. The filling of this trestle began immediately and street 
dirt and rubbish of every description was hauled from New York 
on scows and dumpd in tlie trestle. Within a few years the en- 
tire trestle was filled to the bulkhead front along the river. 

A very primitive frame structure was erected for a station 
and occupied the site of the present Central Railroad of New 
Jersey Terminal Building. The ferry between Jersey City and 
New York, known as Communipaw Ferry, was the first legally 
established ferry between Manhattan Island and the Jersey shore. 
It was originally located at the foot of Communipaw avenue and 
was established there in 1661. William Jansen was in charge of 
it. Prior to the entry of the Central Railroad into Jersey 
City, with ferr>' facilities to the foot of Liberty street, all passen- 
gers were taken to the Elizabethport water front and transported 
from there by steamer to New York. 

With the establishment of the line of railroad from ICliza- 
bethport to Jersey City began the development of that section of 
the country from Bergen Point to Jersey City. In the begin- 
ning the track was laid upon the natural surface of the ground, 
up hill and down dale and through meadow. A steam shovel 
was put to work in the cut just east of Bay Bridge and afterward 
in the vicinity of what is now 33rd street, and also at Commu- 
nipaw, to provide a graded surface for a roadbed, and the track 
was laid upon it as fast as it was completed, a single track upon 
the graded roadbed being operated first in connection with the 
track laid upon the natural surface of the ground referred to 
above. Shortly after, the second track upon the graded roadbed 
was completed and the temporary track was removed. 

Benjamin S. Moore, who, until four years ago, ran a pas- 
senger engine for the Central Railroad of New Jersey, handled 
the first passenger train from Bergen Point to Jersey City over 
this temporary track. The engine was brought from Eli/.abeth- 
port on a float to the end of the trestle work that was under 
course of construction from the Bayonne shore westward, and 
had reached a short distance out into the bay. and was then 
drawn up from the float on to the trestle by inclined rails with 


block and tackle under the supervision of Samuel Moore, who 
was then the General Master Mechanic of the Central Railroad 
of New Jersey. This engine was called the "Clinton," and was 
also used in work train service hauling dirt from the steam shovel 
while the construction of the roadbed was under way. The car 
used for transporting the passengers was an ordinary light flat 
car with temporary seats built upon it. 

The bridge across Newark Bay, connecting Blizabethport 
with Bayonne, was commenced in 1861 and completed in 1865, 
at a cost of $327,653.49. The draw span was operated by hand 
power, two men being employed in the day time and two at 
night. Under the tracks of the Central Railroad of New Jersey, 
in close vicinity to what is now the subway at West Eighth 
Street Station, there was a steam dummy line which ran from 
Bergen Point to Jersey City, through what is now the Bayonne 
district. The neighborhood of what is now East 49th street was 
then called Saltersville and was one of the most important 
points in that locality. It was the headquarters for the contract- 
ors building the road. Their employes, who lived across the 
bay, came from Elizabethport to Bergen Point by steamer and 
there took the dummy line to Saltersville. This dummy line 
consisted of a small car propelled by steam, the boiler in the 
engine being located in a small compartment in the forward part 
of the car, the passengers occupying seats in the second or rear 
compartment. The car, while simple in construction and plain 
in appearance, was a dwarfed representation of the gas electric 
cars now manufactured. 

The first station built by the railroad to serve the public was 
near the location of the present West Eighth Street Station. At 
that time Bayonne consisted of a number of small communities 
scattered along at intervals through that district, and were 
known by the names of Bergen Point, Centerville, Pamrapo, 
Saltersville and Bayonne, all of which were afterwards consoli- 
dated into what at this time constitutes the city of Bayonne. 

When the railroad ran between Elizabethport and Somerville, 
only three trains were operated in each direction. After its 
tracks were extended into Jersey City, and Newark Bay Bridge 
put in operation, several additional trains were put on the schedule, 
and as business warranted an increase in the number of trains y 
others were added until the present train service was reached. 


One of the foremost men in the development of the New 
Jersey Central Railroad was Mr. John Taylor JohTiston, who 
served as president of the company from 1848 to 1H77. It was 
he who projected the line from IClizaheth to Jersey City throii).jh 
Bayonne. From a railroad publication, to which I have had ac- 
cess throu^^h the kindness of Mr. Besler, I have cnlled two letters 
written in 1S63 and 1864 by Mr. Johnston to his wife, which 
throw an interesting side light on the conditions then existing. 

"Jersey City, Jnly 25. 1S63. 
"Yesterday I spent on the extension, taking M'^ssrs. Dodge 
"(William K. Dodge, Sr.), and Green (JohnC.) and Chancellor 
"Williamson, over the route for the first time. The party con- 
"sisted of six. They were pleased and astonished at the pur- 
"chases at Bergen Point, etc., that had been made, and the su- 
"periority of the character of the peninsula through which the 
"route runs. The work on the road is at last fairly under good 
"headway, and I begin to think that the time will come, one of 
"these days, when I can have the first faint glimmer of an idea 
"of what can be accomplished this season. At Bergen we lunched 
"under the trees on provender brought with us from Jersey Cit>' 
"and had rather a good time. The bay was crossed in a boat, 
"stopping to see the work on our great pivot pier. Here, on 
"the bridge, and on the road west of the bridge, I was quite up- 
"lifted in spirit by finding everything further advanced than I 
"had dared to expect. At Eliznbethport we found a lot of 
" 'Secesh' prisoners and wounded, mostly wounded, which had 
"Sfcome down the road waiting transportation by the United States 
"to David's Island, East River. I talked with a number of the 
"men and found them generally civil, decent fellows, and rather 
"talkative than otherwise. Some of the wounds were fearful. 
"There were many whose arms had been amputated at the 
"socket, and one poor fellow had his lower jaw almost entirely 
shot off. The only way that they could give him water or 
"nourishment of any kind was by pouring or throwing it into 
"what little mouth he had left. There was another lot on the 
"road coming down, and they expected to send about 10,000 
"down in this way. What is the reason for sending them so far 
"I cannot say." 

The second letter deals with the celebration which took 

( c 


place on the occasion of the formal openmg of the extension 
from Elizabeth to Communipaw, and is of absorbing and historic 
interest. It reads: 

"Plainfield, July 30, 1864. 
"My Dear Wife: 

"I telegraphed you last evening, before leaving the city, 
"that the excursion had gone off splendidly. There were no 
' 'mishaps of any kind to be overlooked or apologized for. The 
"day was fine, hot in the afternoon, but a good breeze always. 
"The train stopped for me on its way to Fleming ton, and the 
"excursion proper started from there at 11.30 a. m., stopping at 
"the different stations for the invited guests. At Elizabeth the 
"bulk of the guests joined, and from there we left with two 
"trains of ten cars, each well crowded. At least 1,000 people 
"were in the two trains. Now came the new road, but we went 
"on to Newark Bay Bridge, one and one-half miles long, over 
"the celebrated draw that is exercising the Newarkers so much, 
"and then stopped to let the excursionists get out and see the 
"draw (216 feet long) revolve on its axis to let sundry craft 
"through. It all worked well. A blunderhead of a schooner 
"went through with a double wiggle that looked as if she would 
"run into the bridge, but she didn't, and several other craft 
"went through with a rush, all loudly cheered by the crowd. 
"The train only stopped again at the 'steam paddy,' which 
"tickled the party so much that I had hard work to start away 
"again. Arriving safely at Communipaw, there was the 'Cen- 
"tral," and on board they went. Two long tables were set 
"through the carriage ways, from end to end of the boat, and I 
"had arranged to have a blessing asked at each before they set 
"to work, but before any such thing was possible, all hands and 
"mouths were hard at work, and it is very doubtful if twenty on 
"board knew whether we went down the bay or up the bay, or 
"both, as we did, They did find abundance of time, however, 
"to praise the boat. She is universally admitted to be a beauty, 
"even by those interested in running her down. The fifty bas- 
"kets of champagne and forty baskets of claret (don't tell John 
"Bard or the Doctor) began now to disappear with marvelous 
"celerity, and though, as a whole, the crowd behaved well, yet 
' 'as soon as we saw some beginning to get noisy, we stopped off 
"the wine and kept the fun within bounds. Before we landed I 


"got on one of the tables and made them a short speech, thank- 
"iiiS them for their attendance, makinj:; a suitable allusion to 
"John O. Stearns, and givinj; the necessary information about 
"the return trains. Then they began cheering for one another, 
"and at 4.45 I had the satisfaction of landing them at Pier 2, 
"North River, without accident or drawback of any sort. It 
"was a successful opening and it was a decent one. So far as 
"I saw there was not a drunken man or even half seas over in 
"the lot, and we had plenty who do that same occasionally. 
"For the day President Johnston was a very popular man, and 
"was complimented right and left. 



In the colonial days, far more than at present, the life of a 
community revolved around the church. It was the hub of 
ever)' activity and this was particularly true of a Dutch commu- 
nity with its inherited religious proclivity. The settlers of Ber- 
gen Neck were almost exclusively of Dutch descent. 

Prior to 1828, the residents of this locality had been sup- 
porters of the old Bergen Church. 

From Dr. Brett's research, it appears that the Rev. \Vm. 
Jackson became the first pastor of the church in 1753, although 
there had been a church organization there since 1661. Reli- 
gious services were held in the schoolhouse located at Bergen 
Square, as early as 1662, and the first church was built there in 

In this church the inhabitants of the hamlets, settlements, 
or villages, as you choose to style them, of Greenville, Pamre- 
paw, Centervnlle and Bergen Point, were constant attendants. 

Dominie Jackson also had charge of the Dutch Reformed 
Church on Staten Island, and each Sunday he drove down from 
Bergen to Bergen Point and crossed the Kills to Port Richmond. 

After a time some found it more convenient to attend the 
church at Staten Island than to drive or walk the long distance, 
often over muddy or almost unpa.ssable roads, to Bergen. 

This led to the organization of a congregation and the build- 
ing of a church known as the Dutch Reformed Church of Ber- 
gen Neck. 


It was during the summer and fall of 1828 when this church 
was built. The building cost $1,600. Dr. Brett, in an histori- 
cal sermon delivered in the First Reformed Church of Bayonne, 
in commemoration of the seventy-fifth anniversary of that church, 
says: "Preceding the application (to the Classis of Bergen) for 
organization, a number of members of the church in full com- 
munion, and heads of families adhering to the church, entered 
into an agreement among themselves, dated December 9th, 1828, 
which read as follows: 

"We, the subscribers, inhabitants of Bergen Point and Neck, 
being desirous of promoting public worship and the means of 
grace among us, do by this, our voluntary act, associate our- 
selves into a friendly society and congregation, hereafter to be 
known and distinguished by the name of the Reformed Protest- 
ant Dutch Church of Bergen Neck in New Jersey, for which 
purpose we do most cordially set our signatures to this paper, 
praying the great head of the church \vnll prosper our undertak- 
ing. ' ' 

At this time the church building had been completed and 
stood on the easterly side of the Plank Road, afterwards Avenue 
D, now Broadway, at 29th street. The grounds were donated 
by Richard Cadmus, and a part of the grounds are now owned 
by the Bayonne Hospital and Dispensary. 

The petition to Classis for church organization was signed 
by Richard Cadmus, Thomas Cubberly, Jacob Cubberly, Mary 
Cubberly, wife of Jacob, James VanBuskirk, Jacob Van Horn, 
Catherine Van Home and Ann Vreeland. 

The first pastor of the new church was Rev. Ira C. Boice, 
who was installed September 15th, 1829, who served as such until 
1844, and was succeeded by Rev. James Romeyn, who was in turn 
succeeded by Rev. J. C. Dutcher in 1850 to 1854; Aaron X,. Still- 
well, 1854 to 1864, and Theodore W. Wells, 1865 to 1873. He, in 
turn, was succeeded by Rev. Charles H. Stitt, D. D., who was be- 
loved by all and served until his death. Rev. Dr. W. W. Knox, 
now of New Brunswick, was his successor. 

In 1852, the Reformed Dutch Church of Bergen Point was 
formed, and a church building erected on lands donated by Albert 
M. Zabriskie, located on what is now Lord avenue, between Sec- 
ond and Third streets. This congregation is now known as the 
Fifth Street Reformed Church, of which the Rev. F. S. Wilson is 


pastor. The first pastor of this church was Dominie Dutchcr, who 
left Bergen Neck Church to take this pastorate. The church 
building on Lord avenue was destroyed by fire on Sunday, I-'eb- 
ruary 24th, 1901. 

The congregation of the Bergen Neck Church discontinued 
the use of its old building in 1867. The new and more commo<lir)us 
building, corner of 33rd street and Avenue C was comj)leted in 
1867 and the old builing was afterwards sold to Solon Hmnphreys, 
Esquire, who donated the use of it for a time to the Trinity Epis- 
copal Church for a mission. Later, it was purcha.sed and used 
by the Bayonne Republican Club for a club house and recently 
was sold to a German Lutheran Church organization. The old 
structure was moved to a lot on West Twenty-ninth street, near 
the Boulevard, and it is now again in use for religious pur])oses. 

The name of the Bergen Neck Church was afterwards 
changed to that of the First Reformed Church of Bayonne, of 
which the Rev. \V. H. Boocock is now pastor. 

A very few of the old Dutch families are still represented in 
the membership or connected with this church, such as the Cad- 
muses, Vreelands, VanBuskirks, Cubberlvs. 

Methodist CImrch. 

The first Methodist congregation in Bayonne was incorpo- 
rated on June 22nd. 1844, as the Bergen Neck Church. This name 
was changed by the Legislative Act on Februarj- 26th, 1868, to 
Madison M. E. Church, Bayonne. The first church building 
was erected near the corner and on the westerly side of the Old 
Plank Road (now Broadway) and formerly 29th street, now 24th 
street. This was a ver\' small frame building and by reason of a 
trivial incident was called the "Bee Hive." It seems that the 
building was so rarely used and was so badly cared for (no janitor 
being employed in those days) that the boys of the neighborhood 
had damaged some of the windows and it took so long a time for 
the church officers to have these damages repaired, that a swarm 
of honey bees got into the church and formed a nest in the upper 
part, near the roof, and began to deposit their honey there. These 
bees on a Sunday, after a time, became too attentive to the dis- 
courses and to the members of the congregation who attended 
there, so that it became a question of who should vacate, the con- 
gregation or the bees, and it was only after the expenditure of 


considerable energy and a marked exhibition of courage on the part 
of the human occupants, that the bees were finally dislodged. 
The name, however, remained, and it was called the "Bee Hive 
Church' ' as long as the church building remained in that locality. 
The old building was abandoned and a more modern and larger 
structure was erected nearly opposite this on the easterly side of 
what was Avenue D (now Broadway) corner of 24th street, which 
remained the meeting place of the congregation until about 1868, 
when the old building was moved to the corner of Avenue D and 
what is now 32nd street, and stood for many years where Garrett's 
or the City Hotel now stands. This building was afterwards sold 
and torn down and the congregation moved to its present and com- 
modious building, corner of Avenue C and Thirty-first street. This 
has always been a very flourishing congregation, and since its or- 
ganization there have been outshoots from it to the north, 
where at the corner of 46th street and Avenue C, the present 
46th Street M. E. Church is located and another congregation 
formed at the Bergen Point section, and they have a very neat 
structure with a very active congregation , at Avenue C and Sixth 

The Roman Catholic Church, 

The first organization of a Roman Catholic Church in Bayonne 
was started in the year 1852 by the celebration of mass at the 
house of one John Walsh by the Rev. John Kelly, of St. Peter's 
Church, Jersey City. A congregation was organized and a church 
built in 1860 on Evergreen street and was called "St. Mary's 
Church." It was then a mission and continued until August, 
1863, when it was formed into a parish and the Rev. Peter P. 
Neiderhauser was its first rector. He was succeeded by the Rev. 
Patrick McGovern. In August, 1876, Father Killeen was as- 
signed to the pastorate, who retired in 1896. 

The present church at the corner of Avenue C and Four- 
teenth street was erected in 1880, through Father Killeen's efforts, 
but the church building has been since enlarged to double its 
original size and sisters' building and school buildings have been 
added, besides the erection of the priest's house. 

Father Killeen was succeeded by the Rev. Isaac P. Whelan, 
in 1896. 


The present pastor is Rev. Andrew M. E^^an. The congre- 
gation is said to comprise over five thousand souls. 

Since the or^^anization of St. Mary's Church, Bayonne has 
acquired a ver\- cosinojjohtan population and nearly even,- natiou- 
ahty is represented there. It is stated that nearly one-half of the 
population of the city is affiliated with one or the other of the 
Catholic churches. 

To accommodate their worshippers, the Catholic Church has 
built in the city of Bayonne a large number of buildings since 
St. Mary's. 

St. Henr>''s Church, located on Avenue D (now Broadway) 
near 26th street, has a large following and they have recently 
purchased an entire block of land lying between Avenue C and 
the Boulevard, 27th and 28th streets, on which they propose to 
erect a new church building with rectory, school and other build- 
ings. This will mean a large expenditure of money, and facili- 
ties for taking care of an extensive parish will be afforded. 

St. Vincent's Church is located at Avenue C and Forty- 
seventh street, — a young organization, but a very flourishing one. 

Besides these, there is an Italian church, a Greek Catholic, 
a Hungarian, and a Slavish or Polish church. 

The Episcopal Church. 

The first organization of an Episcopal Church in Bayonne 
was effected through the instrumentality of Messrs. Solon Humph- 
reys, David Latourette, John VanBuskirk, Charles Davis and S. 
G. Brown, and others. The strict Calvinistic doctrine, as 
preached in those days in the Reformed Dutch Church, then 
located on Lord avenue, near Third street, was not in accord with 
the more liberal views of some of the very many excellent men 
who had come to the beautiful shores of Bayonne to make it a 
place of residence and they resented some of these doctrines atid 
determined to have an organization of their own under the juris- 
diction of the Episcopal Church. For that purpose, a meeting 
was called at the Latourette House, on Kill von Kull, on the 13th 
day of July, 1859. The first vestry consisted of Messrs. Solon 
Humphreys and David Latourette as Wardens and the Vestrymen 
were Messrs. A. L. Rowe, S. G. Brow'n, Charles Davis. J. H. 
Watson, Joseph Hewlett, John VanBuskirk and Cornelius Simon- 
son. Plans for a church building were accepted on August 11th, 


1859, and building was started at once. Prior to this they held 
services in the old school house, situated on Dodge street and 
Avenue D. 

The church building was destroyed by fire on December 17, 
1879, Plans for the present church edifice were immediately 
made and the building started . The church was opened on Sun- 
day, July 10th, 1881. 

The rectors have been the 

Rev. F. S. Rising, - - 1860-62 

Rev. Thomas Jaggar, - - - 1862-64 

Rev. G. Z. Gray, - - 1865-1876 

Rev. G. H. Walsh, - - - 1876-1883 

Rev. Harold Arrowsmith, - - 1883-1896 

Rev. F. M. Kirkus, - - - 1896-1905 

Rev. A. L. Ivongley, - - 1905 

There is also Calvary Episcopal Church, now located on 
Avenue C near 45th street, which serves the population in the 
north end of the city; and also St. John's Episcopal Church, lo- 
cated on Avenue C and 34th street, Bayonne. The two first 
named churches have always been rather of the low church 
affiliation. St. John's Church has been considered that of a high 
church tendency. 

The Baptist Church. 

The First Baptist Church in Bayonne was organized in 1882. 
This church drew very largely from the membership of the First 
Reformed and the Methodist congregations. Mrs. Mary E. Srerell 
had always been a very earnest worker in the Baptist Church be- 
fore her removal to Bayonne, and even after she lived here at- 
tended worship occasionally at Dr. Parmley's Church in Jersey 
City. She was instrumental in the organization of the First Bap- 
tist Church in Bayonne. This was in October, 1882. The church 
building was erected in 1884 and 1885; was dedicated April 5th, 
1885. This building is located at the corner of 33rd street and 
Avenue C. The congregation is comparatively small, but is very 

A Baptist Church has also been formed in the Centreville 
section and is really the outgrowth of the removal of the First 
Baptist Church from that section where it was originally started 
to 33 rd street. 


There is also a Baptist Church located at Berpcn Point which 
is in very excellent condition. They have a very pleasant com- 
modious church located at Fifth street and Huniplireys avenue. 

Presbyterian Church. 

The residents of Bayonne who have had Presbyterian affilia- 
tions were for many years cared for in the Reformed churches, 
but about fifteen years ago a company of comnnuiicants of the 
First Reformed Church, feeling that they could support an inde- 
pendent congregation, formed a Presbyterian congregation, and 
they afterward erected a building corner of Forty-second street 
and Avenue C, and have built up a very fine organization kuowu 
as Christ Presbyterian Church. 

For a time there was located in the Bergen Point section a 
Presbyterian Church which was an offshoot of the Lord Avenue 
Reformed Church. This congregation afterward merged with the 
Reformed Church of Bergen Point and became what is now the 
Fifth Street Reformed Church, reuniting the two sections which 
had been estranged for a time. The Presbyterian congregation, 
while they were separated, had erected a very appropriate brick 
building, corner of Fifth street and Newman avenue and had 
worshipped there for a number of years under the ministration 
of the Rev. H. W. F. Jones as pastor. On the reuniting of these 
two congregations, Mr. Jones retired and Mr. Wilson was called. 
Additional property was purchased and new buildings added, and 
is now one of the most progressive and thriving congregations in 
this city. 

There is also the Third Dutch Reformed Church, which is 
under the Classis of South Bergen, and the congregation is made 
up almost exclusively of persons of German descent, who have 
a church corner of Twenty-first street and Avenue C. 

There are several organizations of the various sects of the 
Lutheran Church and the German Church located in Bayonne, 
each having their churches or meeting places, and other organiza- 
tions of religious character that have no church buildings. 


The first school building erected in Bayonne was a small 
one-story structure, built probably by private subscription, on a 


plot of ground now occupied for a fire engine house, adjoining 
the present club house of the Democratic Club, on Avenue D 
(now Broadway) near Twenty-seventh street. It was known as 
the "Little Red School House," the schoolmaster being sup- 
ported by the payment of a small sum per month for each child. 
John Carragan was one of the first schoolmasters, and school was 
held only in the winter months, the children having been too 
useful as help to care for the farms or in the other occupations 
of their parents, to be spared during the other seasons. 

About 1850, this little school building became too small to 
accommodate the rising generation of this growing community, 
and a larger building with a second story school room was 
erected. The school assembled in this building, which was lo- 
cated on the same plot of ground, was taught by various school 
masters, among others John Carnrick and John E. Andrus, both 
of whom were afterwards quite successful in the business world, 
and the latter is still living and is or was Congressman from the 
Yonkers district. New York State. 

For very many years, the children who wished to attend 
school in this section from Greenville to Bergen Point had to 
travel to the little red school house. Later, a building was 
erected on Dodge street, at the Bergen Point end, to accommo- 
date the children of that section. And later still a similar build- 
ing was erected in the Saltersville or Pamrepo section. These 
three schools were the only ones in existence in the Township of 
Bayonne when the city was incorporated. 

Now, by reason of the rapid growth of population, we have 
ten commodious school buildings and are engaged in the erection 
of a high school building at a cost of nearly $300,000, which in 
its appointments will compare favorably with any school structure 
in the State. 

We have a very efficient Board of Education, appointed by 
the Mayor, and politics has been eliminated from this depart- 
ment of city government. We have on the rolls of our public 
schools over eight thousand pupils. 

Besides these, there are several very largely attended paro- 
chial schools maintained by the Roman Catholic churches. St. 
Mary's parish has a school building which cost $60,000, and 
they have over fifteen hundred pupils in attendance. 



The banking for this section was all done in the early days 
through the banks of Jersey City. The old Hudson County 
Bank and the Bee Hive or Provident Institution for Savings in 
Jersey City were the favored depositories for the fanners and 
the modest capitalists of this conununity. 

In 1872, three years after the incorporation of the city, sotne 
of the energetic business men of the place obtained a charter 
from the Legislature for the establishment of a banking institu- 
tion in Bayonne and selected the name of the Mechanics' Trust 
Company. They were, however, ahead of the times. The panic 
of 1873 came along and real estate and other values fell flat. 

Nothing was done under this charter until 1886, when the 
business men of the city again took up the matter, obtained the 
necessary subscriptions to the capital stock and with $25,000 
paid in of an authorized capital of $100,000 commenced business 
at No. 203 Avenue D, on the first day of March, 1886. This 
capital was afterwards increased to $50,000. This company now 
has deposits aggregating over $3,500,000. 

There are now three other banking institutions in the city, 
namely. The First National Bank of Bayonne, Bayonne Trust 
Company and the City Bank of Bayonne. 

The aggregate deposits of all the banking institutions is over 
five and one-half millions. 

The city's growth has been more rapid than any other city 
of the State. Large and important manufacturing industries have 
located here. Great diversity of activity is represented in these 

We manufacture or refine and ship from Bayonne more oil 
than any other city in the world. It is .said to be a fact that the 
foreign shipment of this one product from this city exceeds in value 
all the foreign shipments from the Port of Boston. We send 
away enormous quantities of copper, nickel and their amalgums; 
also borax, boric acid, soap, sulphur, silks, bedsteads, electric 
and submarine cables, motors and motor boats, automobiles, 
whiting and its by-products, boilers and engines, perfumes and 
various extracts, chemicals, various by-products of oil, and coal 
in large quantities is shipped from this point for the eastern as 
well as for the local markets. 


The water frontage of Bayonne is unexcelled. The city is 
growing rapidly, as a magnificent manufacturing and shipping 

Much of the most valuable of this frontage is still undevel- 
oped. The improvements now being made by the U. S. Gov- 
ernment in and around the waters surrounding Bayonne in deep- 
ening the channels, &c., and those in contemplation, both in 
New York and Newark Bays, will add largely to the waterfront- 
age of Bayonne, available for docks, warehouses, railroad or 
steamship terminals or for large manufactories. 

The construction of a channel along the east side of Newark 
Bay, to ascertain the cost of which by a survey, a government 
appropriation was recently secured, would at once convert about 
four miles of shallow shore land of comparatively little value 
into manufacturing and dock sites. 

It is not within the scope of this paper for me to assume the 
role of prophecy. I cannot refrain, however, from predicting 
for the city of Bayonne, particularly from a commercial stand- 
point, a most flourishing future. 

It is becoming and is to be essentially a commercial and 
manufacturing town. Its beauty of location, practically sur- 
rounded as it is by the waters of New York Harbor, has been 
its undoing as a place of residence. The encroachments of com- 
merce in the adjacent territory and the ever-increasing value of 
water frontage upon New York Harbor has attracted to our 
shores some of the largest industries in the country. The beau- 
tiful residences which lined our bays and the Kill von KuU only 
a few years ago are rapidly disappearing. The families have 
nearly all moved away. The older members have died and 
the encroachments of the factory are gradually converting the 
handsome residences into ofl5ce buildings or causing their removal 
and the grounds are being covered with factory buildings. 

The Port of New York is the gateway of the railroads from 
the West and the point of transhipment of the products of the 
Western grain fields as well as the landing place of the foreign 
manufactured goods. This will make the water frontage of New 
York Harbor an asset, ever increasing in value. The wharves of 
Manhattan Island can no longer afford economical space for the 
transaction of this great and ever increasing business. The over- 
flow must come to the Jersey shores and bring with them the 


manufacturers whose plants must Ijl- located on tidewater where 
the ocean vessel can land the raw products and take from the 
factory the manufactured output for distribution either along the 
coast or to foreign shores. 

New Jersey has long been held back 1)y the jealousy and 
narrowness of the dominant interests in the city of New York, 
but the commercial instinct is prevailing and a broader view of 
the situation is being taken. The advantage of location of the 
New Jersey frontage being on the continental side of the harbor 
is causing investors to appreciate our superior situation. 

It is my prediction that within twenty -five years the popula- 
tion of Bayonne will increase fourfold and its commercial impor- 
tance will be enhanced in far greater proportion. With Newark 
Bay, Passaic and Hackensack Rivers, Arthur Kill and Kill von 
Kull forming a part of the great Harbor of New York, and all 
the commerce of this section originating in or passing through 
or by Bayonne, this important little city must grow tremendously, 
commercially and every- way. The growth of the country is as- 
sured and cannot be interrupted for any great period of time; 
therefore Hudson County wnll have no cause to be ashamed of 
the responee which our city will make to the demands of com- 
merce and to the growth and well being of the County and State. 

The historical Society of 


Hudson County. 

\ic. % 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


President : 

Vice Presidents : 
1st— REV. C. BRETT. 
2d— JOHN W. HECK. 

Treasurer : Librarian : 


Corresponding Secretary : Recording Secretary : 


Assistant Librarian: 

Board oj Governors: 

Alexander McLean ) John J. Voorhees 

M. J. CuRRiE \ 1910 DeWitt Van Buskirk \ 1911 

W. J. Davis ) David R. Daly 

W. R. Barricklo ) DR- G. K. Dickinson 

David Ramsey J- 1912 Benj. L. Stowe 

Vreeland Tompkins 


Particularly with reference to the Jersey City supply. 

Paper read before "The Historical Society of Hudson County" 

by Edlow Wingate Harrison, 

Thursday evening, November 18th, 1909. 

WATER being a prime necessity of life, the works required 
for its collection, conservation and distribution are 
among the most enduring of the monuments which mark the 
progress of the human race all over the earth, and in all periods ; 
in fact back into the darkness before recorded history. 

As in the past, so it will be in the future, and when the 
earth in time becomes a cold, dead globe like the moon, the last 
monuments to show that it once was the abiding place of man, 
will be the ruins of mas'^ive masonry which formed parts of the 
water supplies of its former population. 

Indeed, if we can judge from what scientists have discov. 
ered of the life history of the universe, the last ages of man on 
the earth will probably be marked by life and death struggles 
among the peoples for the control of the fast diminishing sup- 
plies of water. 

There are wells and cisterns, dug before Abraham's time, 
still in use, and as well known on the great trade routes of 
Asia and Africa, as Chicago and St. Louis on our railroad lines. 

The first artificial water supply in Hudson County, and the 
State of New Jersey, was probably from three wells. 

In 1633 the Dutch East India Company erected two houses, 
one at Communipaw, occupied in 1634 by Jan Evertsen Bout, 
and one at Ahasimus, occupied in 1636 by Cornelius Van Vorst, 
and in the same year, 1633, Michael Paulusen erected a hut on 
Paulus Hook, where he purchased peltries from the Indians. 

As all these locations are on the sand dunes, then sur- 
rounded by salt water, it is likely the necessity of potable water 
for man and beast was satisfied by digging shallow wells into 
the water bearing substratum, just as the settlers and their fore- 
fathers had done in the sand dunes inside the dykes of Holland. 

As, before the introduction of a public supply, a good well 
was seldom abandoned, tliere must he tradition still in exist- 

ence which can locate the positions of these three first marks 
of civilization in this County and State, and it would be inter- 
esting if this Society could obtain the information and preserve 
the record. 

In February, 1643, occurred the atrocious massacre of the 
peaceful Tappan Indians on the shore of Communipaw Bay, at 
Jan de Lacher's Hook near the mouth of Mill Creek, by the 
orders of Governor Keift. 

The uprising of the natives, which followed this brutality, 
brought on an Indian war covering all the country from the 
Raritan to the Connecticut, and resulted in driving the few 
settlers then in New Jersey to the protection of the Palisades 
of New Amsterdam. 

On the restoration of quiet, a few settlements were made 
in the County, it would seem, generally along the shores of the 
Hudson and Bay, at Pamrepaw, Caven Point, Communipaw 
and Weehawken, and it is to be presumed that each household 
had its well. 

But it was not until 1660 that Governor Peter Stuyvesant, 
old soldier that he was, carried into effect his plan of having 
a central fortified place, in which the settlers could build their 
houses secure from the attack of enemies, and pass to and from 
their tillable lands in the outlying country. 

This was the foundation of the Town of Bergen, first made 
up of a square bounded by palisades set along the lines of four 
narrow streets, at present called Newkirk, Vroom, Van Reypen 
and Tuers. 

In the centre of the open space, now Bergen Square, was 
dug a public well, which still exists under some feet of filling 
and paving and the rails of the trolley line. 

This well may be considered the first public water supply 
in the County, and the State. 

No better monument could be set up to commemorate the 
settlement of Bergen, than to dig out this old well, and erect 
a handsome canopy over it, with the proper inscriptions, and a 
roster of the first settlers. For about two centuries, this old 
well was used by the neighborhood. 

For nearly two centuries, wells and cisterns furnished the 
potable water supply of the County, while the change took 
place from Colony to State, and population slowly grew. 

On November ist, 1847, Messrs. Clerk and Bacot reported 


a plan for a public supply to be taken from a small reservoir in 

the cutting of tlie New Jersey Railroad, now Pennsylvania 
Railroad, just west of the present Boulevard crossing-. The 
largest quantity available was about 250,000 gallons per day, 
which it was proposed to elevate to a distributing reservoir to 
be made on top of the Hill, not less than seventy-five feet 
above tide. This lower reservoir had been excavated by the 
Railroad Company for use in supplying its engines. 

By an Act of the Legislature, dated March i8th, 1851, 
Edwin A. Stevens, Edward Coles, Dudley S. Gregory, Abra- 
ham L. Van Buskirk and John D. Ward were constituted a 
Board to be known as the Water Commissioners for the Town- 
ship of Hoboken and Van Vorst, and the City of Jersey City. 

The members of this Board were empowered to employ 
engineers, surveyors, and such other persons as they might 
deem necessary in order to enable them to report on a plan for 
supplying these places with a sufficient supply of good and 
wholesome water, with an estimate of the expense of carrying 
out such plan. 

No compensation was allowed the Commissioners. 

At this time it was estimated that the population requiring 
water and likely to use it in the three communities, was about 
17,000 in number. 

The Commission estimated that the whole space lying east 
of the Hill in Jersey City and Hoboken, and, on the Hill, lying 
south of a point sufficiently elevated to form a site for a dis- 
tributing reservoir, would in time be occupied by 250,000 

Their estimate based on experience, probably obtained 
from English sources, was that an average of thirty (30) 
imperial gallons a day would be required for each person, and 
they therefore looked for a supply equal to furnishing seven 
and one half million gallons. In order that sufficient head 
should be available for fire purposes, the elevation of the reser- 
voir, it was decided, must not be less than 125 feet above high 

The supply needed at first was estimated at about 500,000 
gallons per day. 

They engaged Wm. S. Whitwell, late chief engineer of 
the Eastern Division of the Boston Water Works, as an ex- 
pert, and employed Messrs. Clerk and Bacot, city surveyers, to 

compile a connected map of the proposed water district, show- 
ing the built up portions, and the length and sizes of service 
pipes required. 

To show what Jersey City escaped, it is interesting to read 
over the different projects seriously proposed and examined in- 
to by the Commissioners. 

The proposition to use the small reservoir in the railroad 
cut was rejected, as it was not capable of supplying more than 
fifteen gallons per head, and also, the water was found, on an- 
alysis, to contain sixteen grains of inorganic solids per gallon — 
about the amount of inorganic solids found in rather thin city 
sewage to-day. 

Examinations were made of the small streams coursing 
down the west side of Bergen Hill toward the Hackensack 
River, and a suggestion was considered for using the west slope 
of the Hill for a gathering ground, catching the rain water in 
a net work of sub-soil drains, and conducting it to a reservoir 
from which it could be pumped to a distributing reservoir on 
the heights. 

This plan was rejected, very fortunately, as it was found 
that the storage required would be abnormal, and the quality 
of the water not as good as desired. 

Rockland Lake in New York State was considered, but 
objected to as being in New York State, and the supply being 
only equal to a delivery of two million gallons per day. The 
expense of the long conduit was also against this plan. 

Some one suggested a plan for a dam across the Hacken- 
sack River, and the meadows, at a point not far above Newark 
Avenue, with the idea of keeping the salt water out, and form- 
ing a great shallow lake, from which water could be drawn by 
a side cut to the foot of the hill, and there pumped to the reser- 

The expense and certainty that the vegetation in the water 
would render it unfit for potable use, led the Commission to 
pay little attention to this scheme. 

One plan suggested is of interest, because it was almost 
directly in the line of what has, at last, been done to provide 
the present supply. 

Roswell L. Colt, President of the Society for the Promo- 
tion of Useful Manufactures at Paterson, offered to furnish 
from the canal above the Falls, at a head of io6 feet above tide, 


nine and one half million imperial gallons per day of upper 

Passaic water, at a price of $4,000.00 per annum. 

This represents a capitalization to-day, at four per cent, 
of $100,000.00, or just about one half the rate paid for the di- 
version of the new supply from the upper Pa.ssaic Valley, at a 
head of 305 feet. This shows that the value of water powers 
in New Jersey have declined since that day. 

Another proposition from the same interests, was to furn- 
ish about five million gallons per day from the Passaic River 
above the then projected Dundee Dam, or from Dundee Lake, 
at a cost capitalized at four per cent of $75,000.00. 

The expense of the long conduit, and the total cost which 
would have entailed a very heavy burden upon the small com- 
munity, and also the danger of entering into a contract with the 
Society as a joint lessee with other parties, led the Commission 
to reject these offers. 

If the first had been accepted, it is possible the whole his- 
tory of water supply in New Jersey might have been materi- 
ally changed. 

A proposal was considered to take the water from the 
Bloomfield level of the Morris Canal, at an elevation of 174 feet 
above tide, and deliver it by gravity in the distributing reser- 
voir on Bergen Hill, at an elevation of 140 to 150 feet. The 
scheme proposed raising the dam at Greenwood Lake, which 
was afterward done. 

The quantity of water proposed to be drawn was seven 
million, five hundred thousand gallons per day. The price asked 
by the Canal Company was $250,000.00, and the estimated cost 
of works $719,396.00, or a total of $969,396.00. 

Doubts were raised as to the right of the Canal Company 
to use the water in this way without legislation. There was 
also an objection to becoming possibly involved in joint owner- 
ship in water rights, and fear of litigation with owners on the 
Pompton and Wynokie Rivers. 

While these plans were being considered, the engineer, 
Mr. Whitwell, seems to have been putting in a rather indust- 
rious summer, with the result that the Commission finally de- 
cided to take the water from the Passaic River at Belleville, 
pumping it to a reservoir on Barbadoes Neck, or Coppermine 
Ridge, at an elevation of 150 feet, and then by gravity to the 
distributing reservoir on Bergen Hill. 


The estimated costs, without land damages, for a supply 
sufficient for a population of 66,666 persons, at 30 gallons per 
head per day, was $653,359.00. Land damages were estimated, 
on the basis of the same item on the recently completed Croton 
works, at 3^ per cent of the whole, or at $26,131.00, making 
total estimated cost $679,493.00. 

At that time the debt of Jersey City was about $24,625.00. 
The city property was estimated to be about $33,730.00. The 
assessed valuation was $7,761,618.00. 

The distance the water was proposed to be brought to the 
distributing reservoir was 41,800 feet. 

In the estimate of revenue to be received from sale of 
water, the following items were included: — 

2,500 houses with one bath and one closet; 

15 bakeries; i brewery; two printing offices; 

^2 steam engines, 10 horse power each; 6 slaughter houses; 

I soap manufactory; 10 hotels (where are they?); 100 tavern 
saloons, &c. ; 

26 ocean going steamers per annum; 

15 locomotives; 

250 horses and cows. 

The direct income was estimated at $42,045.00 per annum. 
The saving in insurance at $20,000.00 per annum; saving in 
expense of fire department $1,000.00, and in public cisterns, 
wells, pumps, $3,000.00. Total — $66,045 per annum. 

It was noted that the apparatus for extinguishing fires is 
more abundant, and the firemen more numerous in Jersey City 
and Hoboken in proportion to population and value of property 
exposed, than in New York, and the water was less abundant 
than it ever was in New York. 

The estimated cost, which was not exceeded in construc- 
tion, was equal to about $37.50 for each individual, computed 
at 17,500 requiring water. The Croton Works had cost $43.00, 
and the Cochituate Works at Boston $35.00 per head. The new 
supply from Boonton will cost, when purchased outright, about 
$30.00 per head. 

Thus the first Board completed their work and reported to 
the Legislature of 1852. 

It is a refreshing commentary on our advance in the science 
of city government to compare this plan considered and settled 
upon in one year, involving a burden of $37 50 per head, with 


the weary years which it took for the officials who were charged 
with this duty between 1882, when the demand for a new sup- 
ply became urgent, and 1899, when the contract was fin- 
ally let, to formulate plans contemplating a much lighter com- 
parative expenditure, and in the face of a typhoid death rate 
running four or five times the normal. 

The first Commission consisted of the very gentlemen 
whom we are often told by fervid statesmen of today, bartered 
away the birthright of the city, its water front and streets; 
p'aced upon the city the burden of railroads and canals, owned 
legislatures, and were very much in the over-lord class, but in 
this work they showed very clearly that they were leaders of 
men by natural right, and loyally and without cost gave to the 
public the advantage of the great powers which had proved so 
successful in their personal enterprises. 

On receiving the report, authority was given March 35, 
1852, to a new Commission to raise the money and carry out 
the recommendation. 

This Commission, for the first years, was partly appointed, 
John D. Ward, Dudley S. Gregory, and Moses B. Bramhall ; 
also the President of the Board of Aldermen for the time being, 
and one person to be elected at the first charier election fol- 

After 1855, one Commissioner was to be elected each year, 
the terms being for four years. 

The new Board received twenty-two proposals for their 
first offering of $300,000 six per cent, loan, the aggregate of 
the offers being $1,434,000. 

The bonds brought a premium of a little over two percent. 

Mr. William S. Whitwell, the engineer who had made the 
preliminary examinations, was appointed chief engineer. 

The works were commenced and completed substantially 
on the same lines except as to the enlargements made from time 
to time, as they exist to-day, partially abandoned for use. 

Work was commenced August, 1852, and the pump was 
started at Belleville June 16, 1854. 

This pumping engine was an interesting feature in the 
work; it was the largest steam pumping engine in America, 
and one of the largest in the world, with a steam cylinder 80 
inches in diameter; it was of the Cornish type, an improvement 
upon the Boulton and Watts engines_used extensively in- Eng- 

land for water works service, and had a capacity of raising 
about 4,000,000 gallons 157 feet in twenty-four hours, at nor- 
mal speed. 

Its net efficient horse power v/as about 120, and at that 
time it was looked upon as marking an epoch in water supply 

The engine was built by Robert P. Parrott of the West 
Point Foundry, who afterward designed and built the celebrat- 
ed Parrott guns, used extensively in the Civil War. 

The choice of this type of engine was brought about by a 
circumstance which is another instance of the great influence 
upon American material progress of a well known Hudson 
County family. 

Some thirty years before this Mr. John Stevens, while in 
England purchasing material for the infant Camden and Amboy 
Railroad, designed and had rolled and shipped to America the 
first T rails. 

In 185 1 Mr. Edwin Stevens, while a member of the origin- 
al Water Board, was in England, very probably with his yacht 
the America, which that year won the Queen's (now America's) 
cup. He employed Mr. George A. Phipps, an English engineer, 
at his own expense, to examine into and report as to the econ- 
omy and advantages of different types of pumping engines used 
at the London water works, with the result that the Cornish 
type was recommended. Mr. Stevens reported in writing to 
the Commission. 

From time to time the works were enlarged until in 1882 
their capacity was equal to delivery of about twenty million 
gallons per day. 

A little before this, Hoboken had severed her connection 
with the supply, and contracted with the Hackensack Water 
Company for a supply from the upper Hackensack, but this loss 
was partially made up by a contract with Bayonne, which 
only lasted a few years on account of the growing polluted con- 
dition of the Passaic River at Belleville. 

At the time of the installment of the Jersey City works, 
the Passaic River was justly considered one of the purest sources 
of supply in the country, based on the then known and accepted 
standards. Newark was a small town, and did not extend much 
above the present Turnpike Bridge. A bar in the river below 
Belleville held back the tidal flow. Passaic was a village, and 

Paterson a small town grouped about the mills below the Falls. 
There were no sewers dischari^ing into the stream. 

In iS7i John P. Culver, then chief en^jineer, called the at- 
tention of the Board to the rapidly increasing pollution by 
sewers. He calls the water still pure, but notes bad taste and 
odor during- the summer. 

In 1873 a chemical examination was made by Profs. Wurts 
and Leeds. This shows in the light of present day knowledge, 
the river was too greatly polluted for safe use as a supply. 

At that time, and f(jr fifteen years afterward, the whole 
science of bacterial pollution was unknown, or only guessed at. 

In 1874 the bar below Belleville had been removed by the 
U. S. Government with the result that the incoming salt water, 
with a proportion of Newark sewage, began to show at the in- 
take of the supply. 

In 1882 the evil had become glaring and dangerous; the 
occurrence of a very dry period, and consequent low water in 
the river, intensified the trouble. Typhoid became prevalent 
in Newark and Jersey City, and the Water Boards of the two 
cities commenced agitation for a remedy or a new supply. 

Then followed a period of several years of floundering 
and ignorant mismanagement on the part of the city authorities 
and their advisers. 

The situation was embarrassed by reason of the unsettled 
state of knowledge as to the effect of sewage pollution upon a 
water supply. While large volumes of sewage were being 
poured into the stream at Paterson, the action of the oxygen in 
the water, and re-aeration below that city, removed the organic 
before the lower river was reached as far as could be determined 
by chemical analyses, and some of the greatest chemists in 
America, and medical men of high standing, as late as 1888 
went on record that the supply, though unpleasant in taste and 
odor, was harmless to health. 

In the meantime the typhoid death rate grew, and the 
gases from the city sewers was ascribed as the cause. 

In 1888 Passaic put her sewage into the river and rein 
forced the partially nitrified water from Paterson with a new 
dose of organic filth. 

Yet in a suit in Cliancery to restrain the work, the claim of 
the appellant city of Newark that, though the chemical analysis 
showed destruction of organic in the flow of some hours, bacter- 


ial examination disclosed the presence of pathogenic germs. 
This evidence was ignored, and the Court gave an opinion, that 
the science of bacteriology had not yet established its right to 
consideration in the Court of Chancery. 

In 1 89 1 Newark secured a new and pure supply from the 
Pequannock water shed, but Jersey City still blundered along, 
until in 1895 the typhoid death rate had reached eighty (80) m 
a 100,000. The rate now is about fifteen, and the city was 
daily losing population and wealth. 

Mayor P. Farmer Wanser then performed the most merit- 
orious act which can be credited to any Mayor of Jersey City 
for a generation, and cutting the knot, made a contract with the 
East Jersey Company for a temporary supply of pure water, 
thus saving many hundred lives. 

In 1899 a contract was entered into with the Jersey City 
Water Supply Company for the water rights, land and plant 
necessary for a present supply of fifty million gallons of water 
per day, and the rights and lands necessary to extend to seventy 
million gallons, with gravity delivery from the Rockaway 
River at Boonton. 

Financial troubles of the company delayed the work of 
construction for two years, but in 1904 the water was turned 
on and has been used without interruption ever since, though 
a tedious litigation over minor details of the contract has de- 
layed the actual acquirement of the works by the city. 

The contract price of the new works is $7,595,000.00, of 
which seven million may be fairly taken to represent the cost 
of the fifty million gallons daily supply, and $595,000.00, the 
added cost on account of the right to draw the additional twenty 
million gallons per day. 

This is at the rate of $140,000 per million per day for the 
initial supply, and about $30.00 per head of population. 

The first works, exclusive of capitalization of cost of oper- 
ating pumps, cost about $340,000 per million gallons per day. 

The original Croton Works for New York cost $360,000 
per million per day, and the original Boston Works, $500,000 
per million per day. 

The estimate for the new Catskill supply to New York is 
somewhat over $300,000 per million per day. 

Jersey City has no cause to grumble at her bargain. The 
works could not be duplicated for $12,000,000.00 to-day. 

1 1 

The Jersey City supply presents some interesting and or- 
iginal features of construction. 

The aqueduct, about 23.6 miles long, includes 17 miles of 
six foot diameter riveted steel pipe, at the time of construction 
the longest steel pipe of as large dimension constructed. 

A large part of the pipe is under a pressure over one hun- 
dred pounds per square inch. 

There are about four miles of reinforced concrete conduit 
on the line, the first instance of such construction being used 
for water supply, and an example which has since been followed 

The main dam at Boonton ranks as a structure with the 
great dams of the world. It is 3,150 feet long, 2,150 feet being 
of masonry, and 1,000 feet of earth with concrete corewall. Its 
maximum height is 114 feet, with a width at base of 77 feet, 
and 17 feet at the top. 

There are about 260,000 cubic yards of masonry in the 
structure. A mass which would make a block which, stood on 
end, would cover four city lots and tower seven hundred feet 
in the air. 

The masonry of the dam is the first instance in modem 
engineering of a method of construction which has since been 
adopted for nearly all the larger dams designed in the United 
States, including the completion of the Croton, the irrigation 
dams in the West, and the greatest dam in the world, now be- 
ing constructed at Shokan for the new supply for New York. 
This masonry consists of enormous blocks of granite, rough as 
from the quarry, dropped into a semi-liquid mass of concrete, 
into which they sink and bed themselves. This form of con- 
struction was given the name of Cyclopean Concrete by the 
engineers, and the name has passed into the language and is 
now generally used in describing such work. No skilled labor 
is required in this construction, very rapid progress is possible, 
and the work is enormously strong and water tight. The daily 
and monthly records of construction on the Boonton dam ex- 
ceeded any previous records made up to that time. 

The top of the dam is 310 feet above the sea, and the lake 
empounded is 100 feet deep at the deepest point, over two 
miles long, and about half a mile wide, and is one of the most 
attractive bodies of water in the State. 

In excavating for the foundation of the dam in the triassic 


sandstone, some very interesting fossils were found. Some 
twenty feet below the rock surface many tracks of dinosaurs 
appeared in the stone as they had been left in the mud of the 
ancient sea or lake, and some ten feet deeper numerous layers 
of fossil fish were found, pressed between the layers of shale, 
as flowers between the leaves of a book. 

An amusing incident occurred apropos of these fossil fish 

The State geologist spent some time at the work, making 
a collection of specimens, and one day a party of Jersey City 
people visited the ground, accompanied by several reporters. 

The fossils were a subject of conversation, and one of the 
reporters, in search of a story, asked the professor, "About 
what date were these fish swimming?" 

"Date!" was the reply, "we don't reckon geologic periods 
by years." 

"Yes, but I want to make a story — can't you say a thou- 
sand years, time of Moses, or Adam, any old time." 

"Well," said the professor, "let us see. You know there 
was a time we call the glacial period. Since that period the 
great canyon of the Colorado has been cut down a mile or so, 
and the whole topography of upper North America altered. 
Well, suppose we say the glacial period was yesterday. Then 
on the same scale we can say these fish were swimming a week 

There is another new thing which has had its origin in the 
Jersey City works, which is worthy of note, and i.s, in my opin- 
ion, likely to result in enormous advantages to the world. 

In the Chancery suit between the city and the company, 
the question of the true intent of the contract as to the stand- 
dard of the purity of the water, and the point where that stan- 
dard should prevail was at issue. 

It was decided by the Courts that the water, as a whole, 
delivered to the city, complied with the standard of the speci- 
fications, but, there were some indications that at some times, 
for a short period, under a rare combination of circumstances, 
the water might be a little below this standard, and that it was 
the duty of the company to prevent this. 

The danger was very remote, and to install a bacterial fil- 
ter plant was equivalent to taking a twelve inch gun to kill a 

The company, through its sanitary officer, Dr. John L. 

Leal, and its consulting sanitary engineers, Messrs. Rudolph 

Hering, George W. Fuller and George A. Johnson, commenced 

a series of experiments to find a means of insuring the absolute 

purity of the water at all times. 

The result of these experiments has been the discovery 
that, by the introduction of fifteen one hundredths of a part 
per million of potential oxygen obtained by the use of five 
pounds of bleaching powder, per million gallons of water, any 
pathogenic bacteria in the water could be practically annihilated. 

This method has been used now since the latter part of 
September, 1908, with the result that Jersey City has been re- 
ceiving a practically sterile water, the bacterial count running 
below fifty per cubic centimeter, with a total absence of the 
Bacillus Coli. 

To those who fear that this process may have ill eflfect up- 
on the users of the water, it is reassuring to know, from the 
highest scientific authority, that, from careful examination for 
any indication of the treatment in the water, as delivered in 
Jersey City, it is estimated that a person would have to drink 
one gallon per day of water, for eight thousand years, to get a 
medicinal dose of chlorine, such as is sometimes administered 
to patients suffering from typhoid fever. 

The results here have interested the authorities in charge 
of the water supplies of many cities, and it is very probable 
that the process will, in a few years, be very extensively used, 
where the circumstances are similar to those in Jersey City. 

The Historical Society of 
Hudson County. 

No. 9 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


President : 

Vice Presidents : 

l3t— REV. C. BRETT. 
2d-J0HN W. HECK. 

Treasxirer : Librarian : 


Corresponding Secretary : Recording Secretary : 


Assistant Librarian : 

Board of Governors : 

John J. Voorhees \ Alexander McLean 

DeWitt Van Buskirk I 1914 M. J. Currie 

David R. Daly ) J. W. McKelvey 

*v. R. Barricklo j Dr. G. K. Dickinson | 

Samuel Drayton V 1915 Benj. L. Stowe V 

Vreeland Tompkins j ) 



Read before the "Historical Society of Hudson County" 

January 14th, 1913, 
No. 9 by Daniel Van Winkle. 

♦I^ECAUSE of the failure of Michael Pauw to comply with 
Jjt^ the terms and conditions of his grant, all that recjion 
lying on the west bank of the Hudson, called Pavonia, which 
included the present territory of old Jersey City, came again 
into the possession of the Dutch West India Company. 

This tract is described in the original grant to Pauw 
dated November 23d, 1630, as "Aharsimus and Arresick extend- 
ing along the river Mauritius and island Manhattan on the 
east side and the island Hobocan Hacking on tlie north, and 
surrounded by marshes serving sufficiently for distinct 

To those who are not familiar with the early topography 
of this region, the above description probably appears some- 
what indefinite, and consequently a more detailed explana- 
tion may appropriately be given. Of course, to appreciate 
more fully the conditions then exisisting, all present changes 
and improvements must be mental!}- obliterated and the whole 
territory relegated again to its primitive state. Jutting out 
into the waters of the bay and river, we find a tract of land 
of irregular elevation and contour, reaching from about 
present Essex Street on the south, to First Street on the 
north, bisected by streams and low lying marsh, frequently 
completely covered with tide water. On the south, this tract 
bordered on the waters of Communipaw Cove, which at that 
time covered the land now occupied by the New Jersey 
Central Railroad Terminal and all improvements located 
south of Essex Street. On the north, by Harsimus Cove and 
Hoboken Creek, or the division>line between Jersey City and 
Hoboken. On the west by the marshes lying at the foot 
of the hill east of the line of the West Shore branch R. R. 
With the exception of three mounds or sand hills, a deep 
marsh which was overflowed by tide water, covered the 
whole tract. One of these mounds bordered the bay and 


was located south of Montgomery Street and East of 
Warren, another lying between York Street and Rail Road 
Avenue and reaching from Barrow westward to Monmouth. 
The third between Henderson and Cole Streets, reaching from 
First Street to and above Hamilton Square. 

On the mound bordering the bay and first mentioned, the 
Dutch West India Company had established a trading post in 
charge of Michael Paulus, as appears from a letter written by 
Captain David De Vries dated May 20, 1633. "Coming to 
the boat on Long Island, night came on and the tide began 
to turn so that we rowed to Pavonia and were there received 
by one Michael Paulus, an officer of the company." From this 
fact and from its curvature at the outer end, the projection 
of land became known as Powles Hoek, or Point of Paulus, 
Hoek signifying Hook or Corner. 

June 17, 1634, Jan Evertsen Bout succeeded Paulus as 
the company's superintendent, and he in turn, two years 
later, was followed by Cornelius Van Vorst, whose descendants 
have been closely identified with the growth and development 
of our city. 

The first conveyance by the West India Company of lands 
within the limits of Pavonia was to Abraham Isaacsen Planck, 
dated May i, 1638, as follows: "This day date underwritten 
before me, Cornelius Van Tienhoven, Secretary of New 
Netherland; appeared the Hon., wise and prudent Mr. 
William Kieft, Director General of New Netherland, on the 
one part, and Abraham Isaacsen Planck on the other part, 
and mutually agreed and contracted for the purchase of a 
certain parcel of land called Powles Hoek, situated westward 
of the island Manhattan, eastward of Aharsimus, extending 
from the North River unto the valley which runs around it 
there, which land Mr. Kieft hath sold to Abraham Planck, 
who also acknowledges to have bought the aforesaid land for 
the sum of 450 guilders, calculated at 20 stivers the guilder, 
which sum the aforesaid Abraham Isaacsen Planck promised tc 
pay to the Hon. Mr. Kieft in 3 yearly installments." 

As the value of one stiver in our money is 5 cents, the 
amount paid by Plank for Paulus Hoek was $450. He here 
established his farm or bouerie and remained in possession of 
same for upwards of sixty years. 


April 5, 1664, Governor Peter Stuyvesant, who succeeded 
Kieft, granted to Cornelius Van Yorst a plot of ground at the 
head of Harsimus Cove, southwest of the wagon road, which 
became his home lot, and at the same time other additional 
property lying to the south of Aharsimus and extending to 
Jan De Lachers Hook, for all of which, after the acquisition of 
New Netherland by the English Government 1664, he received 
from Governor Carteret a confirmation deed. 

North of Van Vorst's holdings, and reaching to the limits 
of Hoboken, was an unappropriated tract of land. It will be 
remembered that at the time of the surrender to the English, 
the property rights of the Dutch were guaranteed in following 
terms: "All people shall continue free denizens and shall en- 
joy their houses, lands and goods wheresoever they are 
within this country and dispose of them as they please. As 
this tract was included in the grant of Peter Stuyvesant to the 
village of Bergen and no claimant appeared, it became part 
of the common lands of Bergen and after the occupation of 
the territory by the English it became the common property 
of the Duke of York, on whom Charles II bestowed the 
country of New Netherland; and hence became known as 
"The Duke's Farm." It will thus be seen that all the land 
lying east of Bergen Hill and south of Hoboken to Communi- 
paw Cove was divided between Planck, Van Vorst and The 
Duke's Farm, and was under the control and within the 
limits of the township of Bergen by virtue of the grant of 
Peter Stuyvesant, dated October 26, 1661. 

September 13, 1698, Cornelius Van Vorst purchased from 
Planck, Paulus Hook under the same description as conveyed 
by the West India Company to Planck sixty years before, and 
he therefore became the sole owner of all the land below the 
Hill between the Duke's Farm and Communipaw Cove. He 
here maintained his farm and ruled over his household 
with feudal power. He died at a good old age and his 
descendants continued closely identified with the growth and 
development of the modern city. Cornelius Van Vorst, the 
5th in the line of descent from the old pioneer — who officiated in 
the early days as Pauw's superintendent — deserves more than 

a passing- notice, as he was the connecting link between colonial 
and more modern times. 

He was noted for his many activities. While cultivating 
his farm land assiduously, he was a great lover of out-door 
recreation and indulged freely in the sports common to those 
early times. He established a race course on the high ground 
near Montgomery and Varick Streets in 1753, and horse racing 
continued until the Revolutionary War. In 1764 he established 
a ferry to New York, in great part to afford facilities for the 
citizens there to attend the races. As advertised in the New 
York Mercury of July 2, 1764: "The long wished for ferry 
is now established and kept across the North River from the 
place called Powles Hook to the City of New York. Good 
crafts will be ready at each ferry to convey over all persons 
who may incline to see the races — good stables with excellent 
hay and oats will be provided for the horses, and good accom- 
modation for the grooms. To start at 2 o'clock precisely on 
each day." These races continued until the war great at- 
tractions for the sporting men of the neighboring city, as well 
as for the|^ farmers in the adjoining territory, who sometimes 
surprised other participants by securing first honors and prizes. 
In connection with the ferry a road was established leading 
from the landing along the line of present York Street, turn- 
ing northwesterly at Washington across to about Warren near 
Newark Avenue and afterward extended along the line of 
Newark Avenue across the marsh through Van Vorst's land to 
and over Bergen Hill. Another road ran from the ferry road, 
approximately along Railroad Avenue to Prior's Mill, which 
was located near the junction of Fremont Street with Rail- 
road Avenue, becoming part of the post road, continuin'^ 
along and ascending the easterly side of the hill on the route 
of Mill Road to Mercer Street, and thence across to Bergen 
Avenue, forming the stage route from Paulus Hook to 

Because of its favorable location Paulus Hook was con- 
sidered a point of vantage during the Revolutionary War, and 
was early seized upon by the British as a base of operations. 
It remained in their possession throughout the whole war and 
was the scene of the raid by Light Horse Harry Lee in 1779, 


the details of which have become familiar through its recent 
celebration. Van Vorst espoused the Patriot cause with his 
customary energy and was appointed Lieutenant-Colonel of 
the Bergen County Militia by the Provincial Congress June 
29, 1776. 

For several years Paulas Hook was but the abode of a 
small agricultural community and served as a landing place 
for travellers to West or South. A stage line was established 
in 1764 in connection with the ferry, from Paulus Hook via 
Bergen Point and Elizabeth to Philadelphia in three days. In 
1769 a new route was opened via Newark, Elizabeth and Bound 
Brook. 1772 John Mesereau left Povvles Hoek three times a 
week and runnin.^' to Philadelphia in i^ days. The next year he 
left Paulus Hook Tuesdays and Fridays at or before sunrise 
and went to Princeton, there meeting the stage from Philadel- 
phia and returning the next day. For the accommodation of 
passengers one Michael Cornelison built a dwelling near 
present Grand Street, east of Greene, which served likewise 
for a tavern and ferry house. 

After the close of the Revolution, in common with the 
rest of the country, Paulus Hook and the surrounding territory 
passed through a period of readjustment and soon all traces of 
the war were obliterated. The ferry and stage lines resumed 
their operations and the farmers cultivated their fields in- 
dustriously, encouraged by the excellent market they found in 
the neighboring city. As may be imagined, the ferry was as 
yet in a very primitive condition, being composed of a landing 
with steps down to the water, and periauguas or flat bottom 
boats, which were often at the mercy of the wind and tide, the 
intervals of crossing being regulated thereby. In order to 
transport their produce the farmers were obliged to unload it 
from their wagons and carry it on the boats, transhipping it 
in the same manner on arrival on the opposite side. Their 
teams were left at the landing until their return. The stages 
remained on this side of the river likewise while theii 
passengers crossed on the boats, and having transacted their 
business recrossed and resumed their places in the coach for 
the return trip. About 1800, Major Hunt leased the ferry and 
hotel property and erected additional sheds and stables for the 


accommodation of the stage lines centering at this point. 
These were the only buildings in Paulus Hook at that time, 
the entire population numbering fifteen persons of all ages. 

At last the natural advantages of Paulus Hook were 
recognized. February 8, 1804, John B. Coles, a New York 
merchant, purchased the Duke's Farm and preparations for 
the improvement of the property were at once undertaken. 
Survey was made and maps prepared, dividing the plot into 
292 blocks of 32 lots each. 

Shortly after, Anthony Dey obtained a perpetual lease 
from Cornelius Van Vorst of Powles Hook with following 
limitations as expressed in the conveyance, "Bounded on the 
east by Hudson's River. On the north by said river or the 
bay commonly called Harsimus Bay. On the south by the 
said river, or the bay commonly called Communipaw and on 
the west by a line drawn from a stake standing on the west 
side of said tract (from which stake the flag staff on Ellis Island 
bears S 1-20^ E and from which the chimney of the house of 
Steven Vreeland on Kayman bears S 56". lo^ W. From which 
the steeple of the Bergen Church bears N 50°- 20^ W) N 26". 30' E 
to Harsimus Cove aforesaid, with the right of ferry from the 
said tract or parcel of land across Hudson's River and else- 
where, and the right and title of the said Cornelius Van Vorst 
under the water of Hudson's River and the Bays aforesaid op- 
posite the said premises as far as his right to the same extend." 
Dey likewise took immediate steps for the improvement of the 

Associated with him were other New York merchants as 
appears from the Sentinel of Freedom of March 13, 1804, as 
follows : 

"We understand that Anthony Dey, Richard Varick and 
Jacob Radcliff, Esqs. , of the City of New York, have obtained 
from Mr. Van Vorst a perpetual lease of the land and premises 
known as Paulus Hook. Application has been made to our 
Legislature for an act of incorporation for themselves and 
associates and leave given to present a bill at the next sitting. 
It is contemplated to level the place and lay out a regularly 
planned city. It will be laid out in 1,000 lots valued at $100 
each, requiring of every original adventurer 6</c, which amounts 


to $6,000, equal to the sum agreed to be paid Mr. Van Vorst 
annually. We further understand that some of the most 
wealthy and influential citizens, both of New York and this 
State, have embarked in the undertaking; and who knows 
but that a very few years will make it the emporium (jf trade 
and commerce of the State of New Jersey." 

In order to effect a proper organization for the holding 
and development of tlie property, Anthony Dey, April 18, 
1S04, conveyed to Abraham Varick of New York City the 
property at Paulas Hook, who the next day conveyed to 
Richard Varick. Jacob Radcliff and Anthony Dey lands on 
Paulus Hook as shown on a map made by Joseph T. Mangin of 
the City of New York "also the present wharves and rights of 
soil from high to low water mark, to extend from north to 
south the breadth of 480 feet on Hudson Street and the right 
and title to the land under water in Hudson's River opposite 
to the said premises above granted, together with the ex- 
clusive right of ferry from Paulus Hook to the City of New 
York and elsewhere." 

The act alluded to above was passed November 10, 1804, 
incorporating "The Associates of Jersey," giving them a per- 
petual charter with almost absolute rights and power, and 
arrangements were made for putting the property on the 
market at once. 

The following Prospectus was issued: — "The Proprietors 
of Powles Hook have lately completed their purchase and 
agreed with Major Hunt, the present occupant, to deliver the 
possession of the premises to them (except the ferry buildings 
now occupied by him) and they give notice they will commence 
the sale of lots at Powles Hook at public vendue on Tuesday, 
the 15th day of May next at Powles Hook; and on the succeed- 
ing day at the Tontine Coffee House in the City of New York. 
The sales will commence at 12 o'clock noon on each day. A 
map of the whole ground will be exhibited and the conditions 
of the sale made known by the first day of May next at the 
office of Mr. Dey, No. 19 Pine Street, in the City of New York, 
and also on the days of the sale. An accurate survey of the 
premises is now making, which v^ill include the extent of the 
grounds both at low and high water mark and the soundings 

in the river to the depth of i6 feet at low water, for the pur- 
pose of building docks or wharves, at proper distances in the 
channel, which closely approaches the shore along the whole 
front upon the river. The different elevations of the ground 
will also be accurately taken in order to ascertain the proper 
height for the central streets, from which the most advantageous 
descent will be given in every direction to the water. It is 
proper to notice that the whole premises will be surrounded 
by the waters of the Hudson." 

"The tide at present, unless obstructed, flows through a 
small ditch in the rear, which extends from the North to the 
South Bay. A straight canal along the line by which the 
property is bounded on the West, is proposed to be opened, of 
sufficient depth and dimensions for the passage of flat bottom- 
ed boats by which the whole tract will be insulated and possess 
the benefits of navigation on every side." 

"The natural shape of the grounds with these and other 
advantages will also furnish a fair opportunity to determine 
by experiment how far local situation with the aid of proper 
regulations will tend to protect the health of its inhabitants. 
This is an object that shall receive early and strict attention." 

Thus early were the splendid commercial possibilities of 
our city recognized, but the same paralizing influences pre- 
vented the execution of the project, that even to this day hinder 
and delay the carrying out of important needful improveme .j. 

The property was laid out into 1344 lots. Hudson Street 
at times overflowed by tide water, was the eastern boundary, 
Harsimus Cove and First Street the northern; a line drawn 
from about the corner of Washington and First Streets to South 
Street or Communipaw Cove, formed the westerly boundary, 
while the waters of the bay limited the southerly extent. 
The intersection of Grand and Washington Streets, being the 
highest part of the town, established the grade for the whole 
plot, inclining from this point in all directions. The north- 
erly side of Montgomery Street was washed by waters of a 
goodly sized creek and the westerly side of the plot just be- 
yond Washington Street descended into a deep marsh which 
was intersected along Warren Street by a tidal creek which 
continued along the line of Newark Avenue and emptied its 


waters into Harsimiis Cove at Henderson Street. Boats of 
goodly size frequented this creek which was the landing place 
for the many shad fishermen who frequented the waters of 
the bay; for the discharge of their cargoes. 

Notwithstanding the efforts made to attract investors, the 
development of the plot was slow. The persistent claim of 
ownership by New York of all lands under water to low water 
mark on the New Jersey side of the river, caused the new 
enterprise much embarrassment. This claim was of course 
denied by the Associates, who, notwithstanding the warnings to 
desist from building wharves, continued their operations, but 
the uncertainty in reference to the water rights greatly inter- 
fered with the projected sale and only a few lots were disposed 
of with following results: 2 lots on Morris Street at $225 each, 
and I at $230, 2 lots at $250, i lot on Montgomery Street at 
$200 and I at $250. Robert Fulton located his ship yard on 
the river bank at Greene and Morgan Streets and received 
deed dated November 3, 1804. The controversy over the vexed 
question of riparian ownership continued for 30 years and was 
not definitely settled until 1834, when New York relinquished 
her claim but insisted upon the continuance of her jurisdiction 
over the bay and harbor. 

The old Van Vorst holdings were divided by will in 1814, 
his son John Van Vorst receiving the old original homestead at 
Pavonia and the lands adjacent thereto, and nephew Cornelious 
that portion lying between "Harsimus and Jan Le Lachers 

He (Cornelius V. V. 5th) built a homestead on the rise of 
ground near the northeast corner of present Wayne Street and 
Jersey Avenue. It was a commodious mansion of the comfort- 
able colonial style with a wide porch extending along the en- 
tire front and shaded by a group of large willow trees. For 
many years it was the centre of social enjoyment and continued 
to be occupied by descendants of the family until the 
erection by Cornelius the 7th of the building on the southerly 
side of Wayne Street nearly opposite the site of the old home- 
stead, when it was demolished. In the sidewalk in front of this 
building was placed the stone that formed the base of the 


equestrian statue of George III which had been erected at 
Bowling Green, New York, before the Revolution, but which 
was destroyed at its outbreak. This was an object of inter- 
est and invited inquiry from the passerby, because of the three 
indentations in which the hoofs of the horse had been imbedded. 

In April, 1805, the Jersey Bank was organized and shortly 
after a building was erected on the corner of Greene and Grand 
Streets. This venture was found to be not remunerative and 
about six years after, or March, 1811, the directors obtained 
a New York charter under the name of the Union Bank and 
removed to Wall Street, New York City. 

McCutcheon's Hotel on York Street near Greene, with its 
extensive stables reaching through to Montgomery Street, was 
the terminus of the numerous stage lines from different points 
West and South. Near the ferry at the foot of the street a 
circular open space was reserved, around which the stages were 
driven, on arrival, to discharge passengers at the landing and 
then return to the stables. In 1805 a hotel on Grand Street 
west of Hudson was built, afterward called the Hudson House. 

The first house built under the new regime was in 1806 on 
Essex Street, which locality, before the march of improve- 
ment obliterated its natural beauties, was most attract ',oiy 
situated for residential purposes. High and commanding, the 
ground sloped gradually to the shore, affording a wide unob- 
structed view of the bay, bordered by the hills of Long and 
Staten Island in the distance. It naturally became in the 
early days of the city the choice location for residences. 

Notwithstanding the utmost efforts of the Associates, the 
gfrowth of the embryo city was slow. Although laid out into 
blocks and lots, the streets were ungraded as well as unlighted. 
The water supply was unsatisfactory' and no definite system of 
governing and control had been established. In order to se- 
cure a general water supply, the Associates in 1807 offered a 
bounty of $1.00 per foot toward the cost of digging wells, 
provided they were at least five feet deep. Under this offer 
one Amasa Jackson dug a well 5 feet wide and 17 feet deep at 
the foot of Sussex Street, receiving therefor the sum of $17. 

August 10, 1 8 16, Colonel Varick purchased 3 lots on 
Essex Street, directly fronting the bay, and erected a double 


brick dwelling ; others followed him and in a short time the 
shore was lined with comfortable attractive homes, with the 
dormer windows affording a convenient and attractive outlook 
over the bay, and the quaint gothic structure of Captain 
Rogers', located on the northwest corner of Essex and Hudson 
Streets, is still distinctly remembered by many old residents. 
At that time the shore of the bay at high water mark curved 
southwesterly from Morris Street, along and above the west- 
erly line of Hudson to near the foot of Greene Street on Com- 
munipaw Cove, and the captain was obliged to build a sea 
wall for the protection of his door yard which was filled in be- 
hind it. It may be wondered why, when vacant lots were 
so numerous, the captain located his domicile in such close 
proximity to the water, but a long continuance of sea life had 
made him somewhat of an amphibian and it was his delight to 
walk his front porch in the face of a fierce southeast storm, as 
though pacing the deck of his vessel in years gone by. Others 
located along the northerly side of Essex Street, among them 
Phinehas C. Drummer, the proprietor of the glass works and 
afterward mayor of the city, Messrs. Halsey, Wintringham, 
Ruggles, Vroom and others. 

November 13, 181 9, the Associates applied to the Legis- 
lature for the passage of an act to incorporate the City of 
Jersey in the County of Bergen, which act was passed January 
28, i860. 

Under this act the control of the city passed under a 
Board of Control consisting of five freeholders called select- 
men and the limits of the city determined as follows: 
"Bounded on the west by a creek between the Associates of 
Jersey and lands of Cornelius Van Vorst, east by the middle 
of Hudson's River, north by Harsimus Cove and south by 
Communipaw Cove and South Street. The amount of the 
annual tax levy was limited to $100, and in 1825 Joseph 
Kissam, who had been appointed tax collector, reported 
collections amounting to $18.45, balance arrears. This amount 
was increased in 1828 to §39.87, balance arrears. 

The selectmen met at the hotel on Grand Street and paid 
for all accommodations including light, heat and stationery, 
the sum of $1.00 for each meeting, increasing the revenue by 


fining themselves for tardiness 25 cents and for absence 50 cents. 

Because of the defects and limitations of this act, no im- 
provements could be carried forward, taxes could not be col- 
lected or assessments levied, and enlarged powers of govern- 
ment were found necessary. 

January 23, 1829, this act was repealed and an act In- 
corporating the City of Jersey City in the County of Bergen 
was passed, by which the number of selectmen was increased 
to seven and the amount of tax levy to $300, but the power of 
levying assessments for improvement was omitted. Progress 
was slow. The total population at this time was 1,357. 

In order to encourage the permanent settlement and de- 
velopment of the city the Associates set apart for church 
purposes a tier of lots running through the blocks between 
York and Sussex Streets, directly opposite the present No. i 
school building. The lots fronting on Sussex Street were 
assigned to the Episcopal denomination, those directly in the 
rear of these and fronting on Grand Street to the Presby- 
terians — afterward in 1830 turned over to the Reformed Dutch — 
opposite and fronting on the north side of Grand Street to the 
Catholics and in the rear of these and fronting on York Street 
to the Methodists. These two latter plots were located 
directly on the edge of the marsh, and the unstable founda- 
tion caused much trouble. The little frame building of the 
Methodists was built on piles and because of the difficulty in 
entering the building on account of the rise of the tide, a 
raised plank path from the high ground a few feet to the east, 
was required. 

The Catholics, however, were much more embarrassed, for 
their deed from the Associates contained the stipulation that 
the building should be erected of stone with walls of certain 
demensions. Unfortunately proper consideration had not been 
given to the character of the ground, for when partly erected 
the foundation gave way and the westerly wall fell. The 
restrictions were partly removed and the church opened in 
1837. The Episcopal and Reformed Dutch Churches had 
previously been opened and the original building of the latter 
denomination was, in later years, when greater accommoda- 
tion was needed, moved to the opposite side of the street and 
named Park Hall. 


This building became the favorite meeting place for al] 
public gatherings and in later years, at the outbreak of the 
Civil War, it was the recruiting office for the Communipaw 
Zouaves and throughout the continuance of the war a resting 
place for many regiments on their way to and from the front. 

In 1815 Isaac Edge, was among the first to locate at Powles 
Hook, obtained from tlie Associates a plot of land bordering 
on the Hudson River and erected a grist mill at about the pre- 
sent intersection of Greene Street with the Penn. R. R. 
embankment. He constructed a wharf on the easterly side for 
the convenience of farmers who brought their grain by water. 
This was the favorite mode of transportation in those days. 
Farming and fishing were usually combined, so that every far- 
mer owned his own boats, and their communication with the 
New York markets was by means of sail boats or, as they were 
called, periauguas. 

In 1824 the glass works were located at the foot of Wash- 
ington Street, corner of Essex, and the next year the Jersey 
City Pottery, one block west on the corner of Warren. These 
were noted institutions in their day and constituted an import- 
ant element in the industrial activities of the new city, furnish- 
ing employment to a majority of the wage earners located here. 

In 1828 a distillery was built on Hudson Street by one 
Murray, and a saw mill at the foot of First Street by Van 
Vorst. This was destroyed by fire in 1835, 

The oldest industries of our city and having a continuous 
life to the present time are Colgate & Company's soap 
works established 1806 and the Joseph Dixon Crucible Company, 
established 1827. These enterprises have developed into the 
most extensive manufacturies of their respective products in 
the world, and the superior quality of their productions have 
given them a well established world wide reputation. 

In the original plan of the city a market place, after the 
plan of Washington Market in New York, was designed to be 
located on Communipaw Cove, foot of Washington Street, but 
the design was never carried out. This plot was bisected on 
the construction of the Morris Canal, and during the cholera 
epidemic a pest house was erected on the outer section, and 


afterward it was used as a refuge for the city's poor. In 1868 
it became the site of the Jersey City Charity Hospital and so 
remained until the property was absorbed by the sugar refinery. 

On the south side of Essex Street along the shore of Com- 
munipaw Cove was the Thatched Cottage Garden, which be- 
came a noted place of amusement. Fire and target compan- 
ies from New York frequented the garden on their excursions, 
and dancing, bear baiting, baloon ascensions, and other ath- 
letic excercises were offered as attractions. Truly they were 
sporting characters in those early days as witness item from 
Jersey City Gazette June, 1835: "An immense concourse of 
spectators from New York assembled at the Thatched Cottage 
Garden to witness the race between the Wave and Eagle, boats 
belonging to two companies of New York amateur boat clubs. 
The crews were composed of those far famed Whitehallers, 
who on this occasion gave further evidence of their skill. The 
race was for $1000 and $50 additional to winner given by the 
proprietor of the Garden. The distance rowed was from the 
Garden around Bedloes Island and back. The Wave came in 
about 200 yards ahead. Time, 17 minutes 15 seconds." 

The first horse ferry boat carried no cabin above deck and, 
in case of inclement weather the passengers retired to the hold 
where a room was suitably fitted up for their accommodation. 
Boxes of stones were moved about the deck to counterbalance 
any unequal weight of the wagons ferried across, and in case 
any special attraction drew the passengers to one side of the 
boat, its equilibrium was greatly disturbed, much to the con- 
sternation of the nervous or timid. 

The first steam ferry boat was launched January 17, 181 2, 
and called Ihe Jersey. Fulton's description says, "She is built 
of 2 boats, each 10 feet beam, 80 feet long and 5 feet deep, 
distant from each other lo feet, forming a deck 30 feet wide 
and 80 feet long. The propelling wheel was hung between 
these hulls so as to protect it from injury when entering the 
dock or from ice." The boats were guided between the piers 
by means of floating platforms of triangular shape with the 
wide part at the shore end and tapering to a point at the outer 
end of the pier. Trips were made every hour by St. Paul's 
clock in New York City, as stated by the Sentinel of Freedom: 

"The first trip drew thousands of spectators to both shores, 
attracted by the novel and pleasing scene. One may now 
cross the river at the slight cost of fifty cents, the same as on 

In 1813 the Vorl' WAS added and the trips doubled, or as 
stated "every half hour by St. Paul's clock in New York." 
The rate of ferriage was 12)4 cents each way. This imposed 
a daily tax of 25 cents on each resident for regular trips. An- 
other cause of the slow growth of the city. 

The first postmaster at Powles Hook was Samuel Beach, 
appointed January I, 1807. Early letters were sent to New- 
ark or New York and remained at the post-oflfice in those cities 
until called for, or were addressed in care of one of the whole- 
sale dealers in those places, with whom the local business men 
were in communication. In later years letters were delivered 
through the agency of friends and neighbors who called at the 
post-offices for personal or neighborhood letters. Saturdays 
being the designated market days, farmers and others congre- 
gated at that time for barter and trade and the opportunity 
was taken advantage of for the distribution of letters. 

The first post-office in the newly incorporated City of 
Jersey City was established in 1831, with William Lyon as 
postmaster. The post-offices were located to suit the con- 
venience of the different incumbents, as appears from follow- 
ing item of May 6, 1835. "We learn that William R. Taylor 
has been appointed postmaster of Jersey City in place of 
William Lyon, resigned We hope that our citizen will now 
be accommodated with an office in a central location. The 
present residence of the new postmaster is altogether out of 
the way and not a proper location." 

As an evidence of the characteristic shrewdness prevailing 
in those early days it may be refreshing to note the rigid 
economy exacted in the post-office department, as shown from 
a proclamation published in the Jersey City Gazette August 
22, 1838, as follows: 

"To the hirelings in my employ in the post-office depart- 

"Whereas, it is the desire of the department to make the 
best possible show of economy and wisdom in the best conduct 

of its business, and as the day of small things is not on any 
account to be despised, and 

"Whereas, in a wise arrangement in our national currency, 
many fractions of cents may be made in giving change for 
specie or bank bills and the Spanish coin in use in our land." 

"Now, therefore, the numerous hirelings in the employ 

of the department will take particular notice that it is expected 

of them in all cases, that in receiving money they will 

reckon pence as cents and thus receive 4 per cent, on the amount ; 

and in paying out money they will observe the contrary 

course, reckoning cents as pence and share another 4 per cent., 

by which means the government will realize 8 per cent, upon 

all sums passing through the department. And '^ addition 

to my former recommendation as to the use of paper and 

twine, I would direct all my hirelings that in cutting the 

twine tied around the packets of letters and papers, they be 

particularly careful to cut near the knot if indeed the knot 

cannot be untied, which they will do if possible. 



Dated at Washington, D.C., August 3, 1838. 

A number of burglaries occurring just after the organ- 
izing of the city government , the Board of Aldermen resolved 
themselves into a police force and divided in two sections, one 
part remained on duty from 9 P. M. to 12, the other performed 
service the remainder of the night. Conjugal discipline, how- 
ever, demurred at the continuance of this method, and shortly 
afterward two officers were appointed for night duty. 

The present police department was organized in 1856. 

Previous to 1829 protection from fire was through the 
medium of bucket brigades and the water supply was obtained 
from the river, and passed by means of buckets along long 
lines of men to the scene of conflagration. September 21, 1829, 
Liberty was organized and at first housed in M. Cutcheon's 
stable. Afterward a house was built on Sussex Street, adjoin- 
ing the Town Hall, and in later years was located on Greene 
Street north of Montgomery and adjoining the N. J. R. R,, 
the R. R. Company donating a plot of ground for the purpose. 
In March, 1836, Arraseoh 2, was organized and for a time 


reposed peacefully adjuininy Liberty i in Sussex Street, hut 
as was the case in the old volunteer days, feuds frequently 
broke out between these companies and the glass house boys 
who joined Arraseoh 2, delighted in the scrimmages resulting 
from the strife for "first water." 

Empire hook and ladder i was organized April i, 1842, 
and located at Grand and Van Vorst Streets, and was con- 
sidered the aristocratic company of the city, and the Saturday 

night wassails of clam chowder and lived long in the 

memory of the participants. 

The favorite "swimming hole" was in the mill creek at 
the foot of the hill where the West Shore depot now stands, with 
fine sandy bottom and pure clear water from 10 to 15 feet in 
depth, dependent upon the state of the tide. All along the 
brow of the hill and extending back some distance a dense 
cedar grove afforded a good hunting ground for rabbits and 
small game. In later years, after the emancipation of slaves 
in this State, the section where the City Hospital now stands 
was chosen for the meeting place of the colored people for 
their "Bobilation" celebration. 

In 1835 the New Jersey R. R. and Transportation 
Company opened their route to Newark as the first link of 
their projected through line to Philadelphia and announced 
in the Jersey City Gazette of that date. 

' 'The public is respectfully informed that the New Jersey 
R. R. is now open for public use between Newark and New 
York and cars will commence running to-morrow eight trips 
each way daily, fare 37)^ cents, ferry to New York 6^ cents. 
New York and Easton stage passengers will cross the river 
from foot of Cortland Street to Jersey City, then take post 
coaches through Springfield, Chatham, Morristown, Mendhane 
etc., and arrive in Easton same evening. Morristown 
stage will leave Newark every day at half past one o'clock, so 
that the passengers who leave New York in the morning by 
the Hoboken stages, the steam boat Ncivark at 10 o'clock or 
the R. R. cars at half past eleven will be in time to dine at 
Newark and take the stage for Morristown." 

Before the completion of the cut through Bergen Hill, 

cars were drawn over the hill by horses and steam connection 
made at Marion, 

November 26, 1836. 

An experiment was made a few days since, says the 
Newark Daily Avertiser, to ascertain the time required to 
transport express mail over this road from Jersey City to New 
Brunswick, distance 30^ miles. It was performed as follows : 
From Jersey City to Newark by horsepower, 8 miles in 27 
minutes, Newark to East Brunswick by locomotive, 22^ miles 
in 40 minutes. Total ist trip, i hour 7 minutes. Returning 
from East Brunswick to Newark 40 minutes, Newark to Jersey 
City, horsepower 25 minutes, total returning, i hours minutes. 

With the completion of the New Jersey R. R. came the 
passing of the lumbering stage coach which gradually dis- 
appeared, being transferred to Newark and New Brunswick 
to connect the northern parts of the State with the R. R. 

The Paterson and Hudson R. R. terminated at Marion 
and there connected with the New Jersey R. R. upon its 
completion. The rolling stock consisted of "three splendid 
and commodious cars, each capable of accommodating 30 
passengers, with fleet and gentle horses for motor power. " 
Afterward when steam was introduced it must have been with 
many misgivings, for a subsequent advertisement states "The 
steam and horse cars are so intermixed that passengers may 
make their selections and the timid may avail themselves of 
the latter twice a day." 

The location of the ferry to New York was changed to 
Montgomery Street at Hudson and its equipment consisted of 
a gallows frame on each end of which chains were passed which 
were fastened at one end to the floating landing bridge, which 
adjusted itself according to the state of the tide, and the other 
end to a box of stones suspended so as to constitute a balanc- 
ing weight for the bridge. Up to this time communication 
with New York had been of a somewhat desultory nature and 
confined to day trips. Dudley S. Gregory, who had become 
a resident of Jersey City in 1834, perceiving the possibilities 
of a proper development of its natural advantages, threw his 
whole energy to the general advance and improvement of the 

city and advocated more frequent ferry service. lie urged 
upon the Associates the importance of night boats. A meet- 
ing of representative men from Newark and Paterson as well 
as from the home city was called for the furtherance of this 
object, and as a result the Associates acceded to the request, 
as appears from following item published May 27, 1835 : "It 
gives us much pleasure to inform the inhabitants of Jersey 
City and its vicinity that the steam boat George Washington is 
now undergoing repairs preparatory to being placed on the 
ferry as a night boat. This step of the Associates removes the 
only objection to a residence here * * * * On Monday next, 
the night ferry commences. It is the intention of the Associ- 
ates to commence the night boats as soon as the day boats stop 
and to run regularfy every half hour from each side of the 
river until one o'clock A. M. The price of passage has been 
fixed at 6^ cents, the same as that charged in the day time. 
We congratulate our fellow citizens as well as those of 
Aharsimus, Bergen, Newark and Paterson, on this occasion, as 
we will now be able to interchange civilities with our friends 
in New York, and also to participate in the numerous rational 
amusements with which that city abounds. We understand 
there have been several sales of lots by private contract the 
present week." 

The ferry service was greatly improved and an in- 
crease in the residential population followed. As indicating 
one of the chief industries at this time we find following con- 
gratulatory notice under date of May 16, 1835 '■ "The shad 
fishery has closed for the season and our fishermen have all 
drawn their stakes. We learn with pleasure that they have 
all done a profitable business, the season having been more 
lucrative than for years past," 

The improvements in transportation facilities gave a new 
impetus to real estate operations, auction sales of lots were 
held and the eflfect of the new enthusiasm made manifest. In 
June, 1835, lots on Essex and ^Morris Streets sold for nearly 
$1,500 each, and the following month Montgomery Street lots 
brought $1,050 to $1,425 and the Washington Street corner 
$1,500. Considerable activity in building now followed. The 
choice residential section spread through Sussex and Washing- 


ton to Grand, and many of the most substantial citizens 
located there. A row of frame dwellings was erected on 
Grand Street east of Washington and opposite the Hudson 
House, Goodman Alley, running from Grand to Sussex Streets, 
bisected the block between Greene and Hudson and was 
bordered by several frame cottages. 

An item in the Jersey City Gazette of Ji ^e, 1836, states 
that "$4500 was refused for a lot 25x100 corner of Greene and 
Sussex Streets which three years ago could have been bought 
for }i that sum ;" also 

"The large two story and basement modern brick house 
corner Greene and Grand Streets, with two lots of ground 50 
feet on Grand Street and 100 feet on Greene Street was sold 
for $10,000, and the three story brick with two lots of ground 
same dimensions directly opposite on Grand Street brought 
$7500;" as yet no grading could be undertaken except 
through individual operations. Petitions for improvements 
were received, but as there was no power to raise money for 
such purpose conferred by the charter, nothing could be done. 
Finally February 22, 1838, a new charter was passed and Jersey 
City incorporated as a separate and independent municipality. 
Up to this time it had been a part of the township of Bergen. 
It thereupon became a full fledged city under the title, "The 
Mayor and Common Council of Jersey City." The vote on 
the adoption of the charter was almost unanimous in favor? 
only 9 votes out of 286 being recorded against. The first meet- 
ing of the Council was held April 16, 1838, and was composed 
of the following gentlemen: Dudley S. Gregory, Mayor, 
Councilmen Peter M. Martin, James M. Hoyt, William Glaze, 
Henry Southmayd, Isaac Edge, John Dows, John Griffith, 
Peter Bentley, Jonathan Jenkins and Ebenezer Lewis. The 
city now received a new lease of life. Authority was given 
the officials for the carrying out of their respective duties. 

The Common Council now had power to enforce its or- 
dinances and collect unpaid taxes and assessments. Finances 
were placed on a firm, substantial basis. The Town Hall was 
built on the north side of Sussex Street west of Washington, 
part of which was appropriated for school purposes. Nathaniel 


Ellis was oppointed city marshal and pound keeper and locat- 
ed in Town Hall. 

The gathering place for many of the public spirited citiz- 
ens was at David vSuiith's store, corner of Greene aud Grand 
Streets, and public measures were here discussed with an earn- 
estness and fidelity that would put many of our modern con- 
claves to shame. Here was originated the project for furnish- 
ing a general water supply, for lighting and policing the city, 
banks and insurance companies were organized and many civic 
improvements determined upon. 

In the early 40's Edge's firework manufactory was estab- 
ished, the first enterprise of this nature in this country. It 
soon became noted for the excellence and variety of its produc- 
tions, and furnished the pyrotechnical displays for the principal 
cities of the Union. No small undertaking, for at that time 
no 4th of July celebration was considered complete without a 
display of fireworks. In 1845 Mr. Edge presented on the 
Boston common the first display of moving fireworks seen in 
this country, representing the bombardment of the forts at 
Vera Cruz during the Mexican War by the United States ves- 
sels, described as "one of the most realistic pictures that could 
be produced." 

A printing ofBce was established on Sussex Street between 
Greene and Hudson by Stephen Southard, the principal busi- 
ness of which was the printing of lottery tickets. He lived in 
the only house on the north side of Montgomery Street be- 
tween Greene and Washington, and surrounding him were 
garden plots and corn fields. 

On Saturdays the farmers from the surrounding country 
drove in with their produce, which was sold to the residents, 
or disposed of by barter to the storekeepers. 

On the southeast corner of York and Greene Streets, 
Grinnell's jewelry factory was located, and adjoining on the 
east was the Pioneer Sugar House where pyramid sugar was 
moulded, so called from the shape of the mould. It was 
wrapped in blue paper and disposed of to the grocer, who 
broke it off in such quantities as his customers desired, who in 
turn broke it in small pieces to be used as loaf sugar only on 
special occasions. This industry languished after a few years 


and both this and the adjoining property passed into the owner- 
ship of Colgate & Company. 

A bakery was established on the corner of York Street 
and Greene in the building still standing, and another on the 
south side of Sussex Street between Greene ?' a Washington. 
This was afterward removed to the corner ot Montgomery and 
Washington. Kingsford's starch factory located at Wayne above 
Monmouth, and a rope walk extended from the west side of 
Jersey Avenue north of Railroad Avenue to and above Varick. 

At the time of the separation of present Hudson County 
from Bergen, the first court presided over by Chief Justice 
Joseph Hornblower was held in the Lyceum Hall in Grand 
Street and continued in that locality until 1843, when the 
court was removed to the "Newkirk House," Five Corners, 
where it remained until the completion of the Hudson County 
Court House in 1845. 

Allusion has been made to the printing of lottery tickets. 
Before the early 50's lotteries were in vogue and considered a 
legal and reputable business. One of these was regularly 
drawn at the American Hotel on Montgomery Street west of 
Hudson. The tickets were dropped in the wheel and drawn 
by a blindfolded boy. As fast as the numbers were announced, 
they were attached to the wings of carrier pigeons to be 
carried to different places of destination. They were also dis- 
played on large flags so that they could be easily deciphered 
from the opposite shore. Several years after a wave of excite- 
ment broke over the city and the lottery business received a 
new impetus. In 1858 Noah D. Taylor drew the capital prize 
in a lottery, of $60,000 and free entertainment was given by 
him in every public house in the city, to all who wished to 
participate. Taylor at once rose from an obscure errand 
runner to a prominent citizen. He was illiterate but genial 
and large hearted and turned a listening ear to many tales of 
woe. Exchange Place had been extended and the ferry re- 
moved to its present location, and Taylor purchased a plot of 
ground in i860 on which part of the Commercial Trust Build- 
ing now stands, and erected thereon Taylor's Hotel which be- 
came at once a famous hostelry. Its proximity to the ferry 
made it the favorite place of resort for sporting characters 


from tl:e neighboring city, and its convenience for railroad and 
steamer passengers added greatly to its clientage. Taylor 
was elected to the Assembly and afterward ran against 
Isaac W. Scudder for Congress from this district. He was 
defeated and from that time his star began to wane. 

In 1840 and 184 1 a temperance wave swept over the city. 
The saloons had become very numerous, and in some cases 
facilities for obtaining liquor by their employees, were provided 
by manufacturers. The temperance element endeavored to 
awaken a public sentiment antagonistic to these, through fre- 
quent meetings. An association was formed under the name 
of the "Washingtonians". Two halls were built especially 
designed for their use, one near Gregory and Henderson 
Streets, the other at Newark and Jersey Avenues. In these 
meetings were held and appeals made to the Common Council 
to restrict the number of licenses granted, but as at the present 
time, political influences were too strong, and the money re- 
ceived for licenses too potent an advocate to permit the curtail- 
ing of this source of supply. Nevertheless the agitation con- 
tinued and as a consequence the manufacturers forbade the 
drinking of liquors on the premises, but the saloons continued 
to gain in prosperity, a heritage handed down through succes- 
sive generations to modern times. 

Political enthusiasm in the early days was even more in- 
tense than now, and the severe denunciations of the opposition 
and fierce appeals for popular support could not be surpassed 
even by the much venerated Bull Moose leader. 

In 1840, during the Harrison campaign, a log cabin was 
erected near the ferry and a live coon guarded the premises. 
On either side of the entrance was placed a large card labelled 
"Hard Cider", which at times was generously distributed, and 
at the close of the campaign the sympathy of the victors was 
extended to the defeated candidates in the following poetical 
effusion: — 

"The journey is rough, but never mind that, 
For an experienced steersman is political Matt. 
Full many a dark passage he's treaded before, 
And he'll land you all safe on that wide-spreading shore" — 

Salt River. 


The advantages of Jersey City as a seaport is set forth in 
a petition of S. Cunard as follows, October. :846, "That your 
memorialist has visited New York for the jjurpose of selecting 
a suitable docking and of making arrangements for the erection 
of buildings for coal and other stores necessary for the accom- 
modation of Atlantic steamships " 

"That your memorialist is convinced that Jersey City offers 
as great advantages for this purpose as any other place in the 
bay of New York. That he has entered into a provisional ar- 
rangement for the requisite accommodation for a term of 
years," and submitting map and plans. 

This was supplemented by a petition from the N. J. R. 
R. and Trans. Co., dated November 13, 1846, to the Common 
Council of Jersey City, "for consent to extend the dock and 
pier and to erect the buildings required by S. Cunard for the 
accommodation of his line of Liverpool steamers." Petition 

As a result the Cunard line of steamers located at the foot 
of Grand Street December 20, 1846, the Hibernla being the first 
vessel to dock. This was an occasion of great rejoicing, and 
her arrival was signalized by a salute of 100 guns. It was cus- 
tomary to announce the arrival and departure of each vessel by 
the firing of a cannon, until through absentmindedness the 
gunner neglected to withdraw the ramrod, which, upon the 
discharge of the gun, was projected through the smoke stack, 
narrowly missing some of the passengers. The risk was con- 
sidered too great to continue the practice, which was conse- 
quently abandoned. 

The White Star line of steamers also located for a short 
time near the present Erie ferry at Long Dock, but the ex- 
pense and inconvenience of transporting the cargoes to and 
from New York City was so great that both terminals were re- 
moved to that city. 

As the growth of the city progressed, considerable incon- 
venience was experienced because of the lack of local banking 
facilities. In some cases the leading business men became the 
depositories of their less favored fellows, but more often some 
cunningly devised receptacle concealed the much cherished 
hoard. Sometimes the banks of the neighboring cities of 


Newark and New York were the custodians of such surplusage as 
accumulated. In 1839 the Provident Institution for Savinjjs 
was incorporated and regularly organized September 39, 1843. 
The beehive was adopted as its insignia, by which name it is 
still known. The first deposits were received only in the 
evening, and the money received, placed in the safe of Dudley 
vS. Gregory, whose office was located in the Darcey Buildmg, 
corner of Hudson and Montgomery Streets, now known as the 
Fuller Building. 

The Hudson County Mutual Insurance Company was also 
organized, and having no local habitation, the applications and 
policies were sent by messenger, for investigation and signa- 
ture, to the officers at Bergen, where they resided. 

A cosmorama was erected near the ferry landing at Hud- 
son Street which, by a proper adjustment of mirrors, present- 
ed a moving panorama of the river with all its activities, and 
views of the adjacent territory. 

In 1 85 1 the Hudson County Bank was organized as a bank 
of deposit and discount, and in 1853 the Mechanics and Traders 
followed, which in 1864 became the First National Bank, and 
on the extension of Exchange Place built on the s. e. corner of 
Hudson Street, its present location, and one Davidson erected 
a row of brick buildings adjoining on the east. 

Even as late as September 22, 1849, we find route for "a 
canal from a point near "Strawberry Hill" and contiguous to 
the Morris Canal, and from that to continue in a northeasterly 
direction to the railroad and under the same near the Point of 
Rocks on the east side of Bergen Hill, thence continuing along 
the foot of the Hill to the Arch Bridge (on Newark Avenue 
near West Shore R. R. crossing) which should be enlarged and 
the Turnpike Road raised so as to admit of large boats navig- 
ating the canal, to pass under the same, thence continuing 
along the foot of the Hill to near the Hoboken Road, and so 
on to the bay between Hoboken and Coles Street wharf." 

In 1849 ^^ epidemic of cholera in New York caused pre- 
cautionary measures to be adopted in Jersey City, and notwith- 
standing the virulence with which the disease raged in the 
neighboring city (June 25th to 30th, 208 cases and 89 deaths), 
none were reported in Jersey City. 


Until a comparatively recent time ? not inconsiderable 
portion of the territory of old Jersey City was devoted to farm- 
ing and trucking, and the editor of the Jersey City Gazette 
under date of October 23, 1838, thus launches forth in praise 
of the accomplishments of two of the prominent citizens of 
those early days. 

"Mr. Mills of Harsimus has an assortment of vegetables 
at the American Institute Fair in Castle Garden, New York, 
sufficient to supply the larder of a Granum boarding house for 
one-half year. Among the items is a pumpkin weighing 163 
pounds and of just right color and shape. We should like ex- 
ceedingly to be sentenced to starve upon it for a week, proper- 
ly condimented and culinated." 

"Charles F. Durant exhibited the different stages of silk 
manufacture, from the &%^ of the worm, through all its trans- 
formation to the perfect silk, and also some beautiful twist 
prepared with common rope walk machinery. Both of above 
secured prizes for their proficiency." 

In those early days the water supply was limited and pro- 
cured only from wells, the cost of which was assessed on the 
property in the immediate neighborhood, contained within a 
circle, the radius of which extended half way to the next 
pump. So that the water should be kept free from pollution a 
keeper of the pump was selected from among the nearby resi- 
dents, and while operating under no enacted ordinance, it was 
considered that the preservation of his own health would cause 
him to exercise due watchfulness against contamination or 
pollution. Water was also carted about the streets in casks 
and sold at the rate of one penny a pail. 

March 18, 1839, the westerly boundary of the city was ex- 
tended to Grove Street from First Street on the north to Com- 
munipaw Cove on the south. The territory north and west of 
these division lines remained a part of Bergen township until 
March 11, 1841, when by act of Legislature it became separate 
and distinct under the name of Van Vorst Township, with fol- 
lowing boundaries : On the north by a creek following from 
the bay, separating it from Hoboken. On the west and south 
by Mill Creek, following to Communipaw Cove to Grove Street 
and on the east by Grove Street and Harsimus Cove. The 


first township commissioners being Cornelius Van Vorst, 
Thomas Kingsford, Matthew Erwin, Jeremiah O'Hara and Elias 
Whipple. Owing to the inconvenience of reaching the norther- 
ly section of Van Vorst Township its growth was slow, and 
nntil the establishment of the Erie Ferry in i86i, attracted no 
particular attention. 

As early as 1733 Archibald Kennedy received from George 
III the "sole right to run ferry boats or scows and to erect 
wharves for same between a place called Pavonia, alias Aharsi- 
mus, on the New Jersey side of the Hudson and the New York 
side of the river." He forfeited this right through his neglect 
to carry out the provisions of his grant. Twenty years after, 
May 23, 1753, a petition was submitted to the Common Council 
of New York for a ferry from "the west end of Pearl Street to 
Harsimus," but no action seems to have been taken. February 
28, 1849, the Pavonia Ferry Company was incorporated, but 
it remained for the Erie Railway Company '. o establish and 
operate the Pavonia Ferry on the completion of the Bergen 
tunnel in 1861. The first three boats on this ferry were secured 
from the Brooklyn Ferry Company and were named the 
Niagara, Onalaska and Onata. 

The terminus of the Erie R. R. was at Piermont on the 
Hudson, whence passengers and freight were conveyed by 
boat to New York, a long and tedious route. An increasing 
demand for adequate transportation urged the establishment 
of a more expeditious route. 

In the winter of 1855 the New Jersey Legislature granted 
two charters, one, empowering the New York and Erie R. R. 
Companies to purchase land in New Jersey and to complete 
the Paterson and Hudson River R. R. The other, incorporat- 
ing The Long Dock Company, with "the right to construct a 
railroad to connect with any other railroad then constructed 
or organized to be constructed according to law," and granting 
certain ferry privileges. Under these grants steps were at 
once taken to secure an outlet on the lower Hudson for the 
traf^c of the Erie. A large tract of unoccupied land between 
Jersey City and Hoboken was purchased. It consisted of 212 
acres and is the property now occupied by the Erie R. R. at 
Long Dock. 


The Long Dock Company was formed and under an 
arrangement with the Erie began the improvement of the 
property. The Paterson and Hudson R. R. terminated at 
Marion, and at this point connected with the tracks of the New 
Jersey Transportation Company (now Penn. ) and continuing to 
the depot at Exchange Place. 

To avoid this detour the tunnelling of Bergen Hill was 
determined upon, and at that time was a tremendous under- 
taking. Meanwhile the work at Long Dock was pushed for- 
ward and at the completion of the tunnel the present route 
came into full operation and the adjacent property rapidly de- 

In the very early days, Bergen was the principal settle- 
ment in what is now Hudson County, and the only place offer- 
ing religious and educational advantages. Until about 1830 
the old Dutch Church at Bergen was the only organized con- 
gregation, and the Columbia Academy, located at Bergen 
Square, was justly noted for the excellence of its training, and 
many of those who went forth from its walls became promin- 
ent in various lines of activity. Among its regular attendants 
were many of the residents of Paulus Hook and Van Vorst 
Township. All the doctors lived at Bergen, and when there 
was any need for medical attendance in old Jersey City, a mes- 
senger was sent to the Hill to procure it. Doctors Horn- 
blower, Gautier, Cornelison and Cadmus were all clustered 
about the Square, while the lawyers naturally gravitated 
toward lower Jersey City, and "there were giants in those 
days." A. O. Zabriskie, J. D. Miller, Peter Bentley, Edgar B. 
Wakeman, Jacob R. Wortendyke, were able representatives of 
the legal fraternity. Among the names enrolled on the records 
of the old Bergen church, were the Van Vorsts, Traphagens, 
Garretsons, Van Kleecks and others. 

For the convenience of the residents of Aharsimus a road 
was constructed from about present Henderson and Fourth 
Streets, crossing the marsh at about Monmouth to Railroad 
Avenue, following its route to the mill and connecting with 
the old post road and along this route many of the residents 
of Van Vorst Township wended their way to the old church. 
Even after nearer facilities for worship were offered, the older 


generations continued their connection with the old church, 
and some of their descendants were regular attendants at the 
weekly services after the establishment of churches at Paulus 
Hook and Van Vorst. 

The growing population of Van Vorst Township encour- 
aged the attempt to form a local religious organization, and in 
January, 1846, a movement to that end was instituted. Corne- 
lius Van Vorst offered a suitable plot of ground on Wayne Street, 
together with a contribution of $1,000. The following March a 
regular organization was effected under the title of "The First 
Reformed Church of the Township of Van Vorst." 

The next year an Episcopal Church organization was start- 
ted on Grove Street near Newark Avenue, afterward in 1853 
erecting the present Grace Episcopal Church building. Other 
denominations followed. 

In 1844 the Presbyterian organization secured a plot of 
ground on the northeast corner of Washington and Sussex 
Streets and removed to that location "the stone steepled meeting 
house" that stood on the north side of Wall Street, New York 
City. This building was demolished and removed with such 
care that it was possible to reconstruct it on the identical lines 
and plan on which it was first designed, thus presenting in its 
new location the same appearance as the original building. 

The first school was started in the Town Hall in Sussex 
Street west of Washington in 1809. In 1838, William L. Dick- 
inson opened a classical school on the south side of Grand 
Street and about the same time the Catholic Parochial School was 
opened almost directly opposite. This latter organization de- 
veloped into St. Peter's Parish with its splendid equipment, 
much of whose success and growth being due to the wise fore- 
sight and prudent initiative of the Rev. Father Kelly, whose 
energies were freely given to the civic as well as moral develop- 
ment of our city. The first school of Van Vorst township was 
located on Third Street near Grove with Isaac Coriell as 

We learn from the message of Mayor Peter Martin in 1840 
"That a public school has been established on such liberal 
principle that any resident of the city, however poor, may avail 
himself of its benefits. The highest price for tuition per 

quarter is $i oo, the lowest 50 cents, but children whose 
parents or guardians are not able to pay for their tuition, are 
not on that account debarred from the privileges of the 

July 23, 1843, an ordinance was adopted by the Council of 
Jersey City which recites "That all monies that may hereafter 
be received from tavern licenses, the city quota of the surplus 
revenue, the interest of the city proportion of the Bergen Cor- 
poration Fund, be and the same are hereby appropriated to the 
support of Public School No. i, kept in the Town Hall, and 
such other public schools as the Common Council may 
from time to time erect and establish." 

Albert T. Smith was the first teacher of the school in the 
Town Hall, and February, 1847, he became principal of the 
first yV^^ public school in Jersey City, and George H. Lindsley 
his first assistant. In 185 1 Mr. Smith resigned and he was 
succeeded by Mr. Lindsley, who held the position continuously 
until the time of his death, a period of over 50 years. 
The early mayors of Jersey City were as follows: — 

Dudley S. Gregory, serving 1838-39. 

Peter Martin, 1840. 

Dudley S. Gregory, 1841. 

Thomas A. Alexander, 1842. 

Peter Bentley, 1843. 

Phineas C. Dummer, 1844-47. 

H. J. Taylor, 184S-49. 

Robert Gilchrist, 1850-51. 
The disadvantage under which the people labored before 
the advent of this age of luxury and conveniences, is alluded to 
in a communication published in the /ersejy SenttJiel November 
20, 1846, as follows: "You would confer a great favor on the 
undersigned, if you would call the attention of the Com. on 
Pumps and Wells to that section of our city west of Warren 
Street. We have been sadly neglected all Summer and Fall, 
Our pumps are nearly always out of order, and most of us have 
to go to Van Vorst Township for water, when by a little atten- 
tion and expense we might have an abundant supply. 
We in reality pay a great deal more than our proportion of 
taxes and have the least done for us. We therefore claim as a 

right that our City Fathers take more care of their children in 
this community. 

Many Taxpayers— Sundry Housekeepers— Justice demanded." 
John D. Ward, whose stately fif^ure made him a marked 
man wherever he appeared, was particularly insistent that 
some provision should at once be made for a sufficient supply 
of good wholesome water. Time and again he urged upon the 
Common Council the necessity of immediate action. October 
4, 1844, he pre.sented a plan for the erection of water works at 
Belleville, on the Passaic River, the waters of which at that 
point was clear and free from all impurities and the supply 
abundant. Finally, March 25, 1852, the Legislature authoriz- 
ed the work, and the reservoir was completed June 30, 1854, 
and the following August the city mains were supplied. 

One of the most noted characters of Van Vorst Township 
was Robert Harriott, more familiarly known as "Micky Free." 
He was a firm believer in squatter sovereignty and provided 
his house with wheels to facilitate the practical carrying out of 
his peculiar doctrine. He finally settled permanently among 
the rushes on the south side of Newark Avenue near Sixth 
Street, where he ended his days in contentment surrounded by 
his ducks and myriads of mosquiioes. 

Another individual who made himself well known was one 
Ashcroft, who constituted himself a prophet, foretelling the 
dire calamities to befall the people of Jersey City on account 
of their wickedness, and standing, sometimes at the street cor- 
ners, often on the brink of the high Point of Rocks (where the 
P. R. R. round house now stands) with hands outstretched over 
the city, his voice was frequently heard crying out "Woe, woe, 
woe to Jersey City, the day of vengeance is at hand." 

Among the industries established during the infancy of our 
city and still continuing are Colgate & Co. Soap Works, Joseph 
Dixon Crucible Co., J. H. Gautier & Co. Crucible Works, and 
Steele & Condict. The products of these firms are scattered 
world wide and have probably located Jersey City in the minds 
of foreign nations more effectually than any other influence. 

March 18, 185 1, Jersey City absorbed Van Vorst Township, 
the first step to the general consolidation, that has resulted in 
our present city of such magnificent possibilities. 


By the subsequent absorption of the neighboring munici- 
palities of Bergen, Hudson City, and Greenville, its territory 
was greatly enlarged, and its growth and development will 
doubtless continue until the whole county will be united as one 
great city, a consummation to be hoped for, as a community of 
interest and a consolidated government will tend to a more 
economical government and uniform development. 

The Historical Society of 
Hudson County. 

No. 10. 

Organized January 17, 1908. 


President : 

Vice Presidents : 


2d— JOHN W. HECK. 

Treasurer : Librarian : 


Corresponding Secretary: Recording Secretary : 


Assistant Lidrariati : 

Board of Governors : 

Alkxandkr McLkan | Wm. R. Bakricklo 

M. J. CuRRiK V ti;i6 Charles W. Carrick ^ 1918 

J. W. McKklvkv ) Vrkeland Tomtkins 

DeWitt Van Buskirk i Library Rep. : 

David R. Daly r 1917 Dr. G. K. Dickinson 

Samuel Drayton ) David W. Lawrence 


Paper read before The Historical Society of Hudson County 

January 25th, 1915 
No. 10 by Rev. CorneHus Brett, D.D. 

I offer another paper in the historical series of Hudson 
County because several of our members who are g-atherinjj 
material have not yet had the time to put their data into shape 
for this annual meeting: of the vSociety. 

In telling the story of the men who have ministered in 
spiritual things to successive generations in our churches, you 

may omit names which are deserv- 
ing of a place in the annals of our 
religious life. If, therefore, any 
of you miss the mention of men 
whose names are as household 
words in your own families, please 
pardon the omission. I shall care- 
fully exclude from consideration 
all my contemporaries who are 



During my first pastorate on 
Long Island, the father of a large 
family brought a son for baptism, 
RKv. coKNELiuo ^hett by request of the parents I 

gave the name of Abraham Lincoln to the babe, the ladies of 
the congregation turned one to the other, wittily saying, he 
has run out of family names and has begun on great men. As 
I was a very intimate friend. I told him of the criticism, and 
he replied, "Some of the family v/ished me to give the boy the 
name of Lincoln Grant, but I made up my mind that I would 
never call a child of mine after a great man, until he had passed 

We must expect to find the early members of the clergy 
in what is now Hudson County, among Dutch dominies. The 
church of Bergen was not only the first church in the County 
and State, but for 150 years it continued to minister to this 
communitv in dignified solitude. Until the year 177 1 the 


Dutch Reformed churches were missions under the care of the 
Classis of Amsterdam, in Holland. The church of Bergen, al- 
though organized in 1660 with a Consistory, was under the 
charge of ministers of the church of New York. 

As there was no road in the early days between Paulus 
Hook and Bergen, these distinguished gentlemen were ferried 
from the Battery to Communipaw, and thence over the old 
road following Communipaw to Summit, and Summit Avenue 
to an extension of what is now Foye Place to Bergen Avenue, 
where they found themselves at last enio)ang the hospitality of 
one of the pioneers of the Village of Bergen. 

Among these dominies from New York, two are worthy of 
special mention as the earliest clergymen of Hudson County, 
Henry Selyns and Gualtherus Du Bois. 

Henry Selyns was one of the most distinguished ministers 
of the church of New York. After spending a short time in 
the service of the church of Holland, he was called to the new 
church of Brooklyn, on a four-year contract. At the end of 
his term he insisted on returning to his native land to gladden 
the hearts of his aged parents. He was chaplain in the Dutcn 
army and pastor of another church in Holland, when in 1671 
he returned to New Netherland and became pastor of the 
church in New York. He was for several years all alone in 
this most important charge. He was a statesman as well as a 
minister, and when the English governor opposed the treaty 
rights of the Dutch Church, he stood nobly for religious liber- 
ty, and finally secured the first charter given to a church in the 
province of New York. He was officiating during the Leisler 
episode, which time forbids us here to rehearse. He opposed 
Governor Leisler and exulted in his downfall, With all his ex- 
acting duties in New York he found time to cross the river and 
look after the affairs of the little colony of Bergen. The first 
"List of members" of that church is in his handwriting. The 
page photographed by the Holland Society, which will be pub- 
lished in the Year Book of 19 15, is a replica of his own hand- 

Gualtherus Du Bois, having been ordained by the Classis 
of Amsterdam, came to New York as a colleague of Selyns 
during the last year of the 17th century. He is described as a 
man of purely wise judgment, whose conciliatory dealings with 


the many opposinj; interests added j^reatly to llu- establishment 

of the Reformed churches in the 

Province of New York and New 

Jersey. He was more like a bishop 

than a pastor of a single churcli ; 

and he gave to Bergen more than 

its share of devoted ministry. He 

entered upon his ministry as a 

bachelor, but found a helpful 

spouse in Helene La Roelen, a 

half sister ni that Catherine Roin- 

bont who is the mother of all tlie 

Bretts of New York. 

Although a Dutch minister, his 
family were probably refugees kkv. guai.thkkus dv uuis 
from France. His father, Peter Du Bois, served in the old 
Church of Amsterdam. Many of his descendants are to be 
found in this country. 

A paper on the Clergy of Hudson County would be in- 
complete without the mention of the faithful Voorlezers, who 
kept alive the church of Bergen in the absence of the ordained 
ministers. The Voorlezer was a regularly licensed lay min- 
ister. His duties were enormous. Every day, except Satur- 
day and Sunday, he taught the children of the Dutch in the 
common school. On Sunday he gathered the faithful in the 
old Octagonal church, led them m singing a psalm to the wor- 
siiip of God, offered prayer, read The Law, and a sermon from 
an approved collection of Dutch homilies. He kept the rec- 
ords of the church, wliich are still in existence, and have been 
printed by the Holland Society of New York. The Voorlezer 
also officiated at funerals, he was custodian of the two palls, 
one large enough to cover a man's coffin as he was carried to 
the tomb, and a smaller one for the dear children who from 
time to time might be taken from their earthly homes. When 
the dominie finally arrived in Bergen, the name Voorlezer was 
dropped, and that official was called the clerk of the church. 

Under such administration, with the help of the visiting 
clergy from New York, the church of Bergen continued to live 
and thrive for about ninety years. They had failed to secure a 
pastor not because the congregation was unable to contribute 

to his support, but because it became almost impossible to per- 
suade the worthy dominies of the old country, so comfortably 
settled in their luxurious homes, to endure the privations of 
the new settlements. About the year 1750 the little commun- 
ity of Bergen was greatly rejoiced to hear of the arrival of the 
Rev. Peter DeWint, and the willingness of the clergy of New 
York to install him as pastor of the church. DeWint came 
over with full credentials of ordination from the Classisof Am- 
sterdam. He took up his residence in Bergen and immediately 
became immensely popular. He is described as a man of great 
eloquence in the pulpit and winning manners in social life. 
But the voice of scandal followed him from his old home, and 
it was openly charged that DeWint had forged his certificates 
of license to the Classis of Amsterdam, and the Classis had 
therefore declared his ordination void. A letter from the 
church of Bergen to the Classis of Amsterdam had been print- 
ed, in which they asked that their beloved pastor be permitted 
to remain with them. They speak of their love for him, and 
his usefulness to the church, as he not only preached on Sun- 
day, but during the week on Wednesday. It is interesting with 
this letter in evidence, to carry back the beginning of onr mid- 
week service, which has become so universal in all the churches 
of our county, and which is almost as universally ignored by 
the people. The Classis of Amsterdam, however, denied the 
petition of the church, and insisted on maintaining its discip- 
line. DeWint was obliged to retire, and the Voorlezer re- 
sumed his duties. • 

The first regular minister was called in 1753. Wm. Jack- 
son was the son of Patrick Jackson, a Scotsman, who found his 
way to New York early in the i8th century, married a Dutch 
lady and, in the absence of a Presbyterian church, became 
identified with the Dutch church of New York. He brought 
with him the stalwart piety of his native land, and when Pres- 
byterian preaching was reckoned a crime in New York, he in- 
curred the risk of fine and imprisonment by opening his own 
house for the services in English, of Presbyterian ministers. 
He was a successful man and left a goodly heritage to his only 
son, William. ■ -'" 

A generation before, Theodorus Jacobus Frelinghuysen 
had'left a comfortable settlement in Holland to enter the ser- 

vice of the Dutcli communities of America, and luckinji^ his 
saddlebags over his horse's neck, i)lunj4ed into the forests along 
the Raritan, where a few clearings had been already made, and 
a scattered group of churches awaited the service of preachers 
of the Gospel. He found piety at a low ebb. and immorality 
duiniuani among ihc youtli of liis large parish. He opened his 
home for students of theology, as no theological seminary had 
as yet been established, and when his son, the Rev. John Fre- 
linghuyson, took his father's place, he continued his efforts 
to instruct consecrated young men in theology, and the duties 
of their noble ministry. \Vm. Jackson was one of the students 
of John Frelinghuysen, at Raritan, which is now the village of 
Somerville, N. ]. William found opportunity in the intervals 
of his study to pay his devoted attentions to the daughter of 
the household, Anna Frelinghuysen, whom he afterwards 

Owing to the difficulty of securing a competent and regu- 
larly ordained minister, the churches of Bergen and Staten Is- 
land had waited long for pastors. When his preceptor thought 
Jackson competent to preach, he advised him to accept the 
united call from Bergen and Staten Island, which stipulated 
that he should go to Holland, continue a term of years at the 
university, and receive his ordination from the Classis of Am- 
sterdam. The churches united in the payment of bills for the 
support of the young student, who finally returned and was 
installed pastor of the Bergen church in the year 1757. The 
congregation built a parsonage on the site which had been held 
for more than a century for this purpose. The old stone house 
stood on the site of the porch of the present edifice, corner of 
Bergen and Highland Avenues. The church at that time stood 
in the middle of the cemetery, on the corner of Vroom Street 
and Bergen Avenue. After a service of about thirty years, 
Jackson began to show signs of an aberration of mind. He 
was wont to use unseemly language in the pulpit, and his dis- 
courses were voted too long, even for the generous discourses of 
that day. He was in his day an evangelistic preacher, and 
compared with Whitefield. He preached one Sunday at Somer- 
ville, when the throng was so great that he made his pulpit at 
the door, so that the congregation seated in the pews, and those 
standing around t!ie church, might both listen to his discourse. 


He had a beautiful voice and was a finished orator. When his 
preaching days were over, the congregation of Bergen settled 
on him the use of his parsonage for life, and for twenty-four 
years he and his goodwife lived together under the care of Mr. 
and Mrs. vSimmons, whose descendants are still worshipping 
with the congregation of Bergen. 

When I became pastor of Bergen, an old lady used to tell 
me how as a little girl in her father's house, she shared in the 
ministrations to Mr. and Mrs. Jackson. They are entombed 
in the old cemetery, corner Bergen Avenue and Vroom Street 
Their only surviving son, Rev. John Frelinghuysen Jackson, 
was afterwards pastor of the church of Harlem. A memorial 
window in the Bergen church was the gift of William Jackson's 
great granddaughters. On the retirement of Mr. Jackson, the 
xmion with Staten Island was severed. 

A new church had been organized at English Neighbor- 
hood (now Englewood and vicinity), and the Rev. John Cor- 
nelison was called to be pastor of this new congregation as well 
as of that of Bergen. In 1793 the homestead of Cornelius Sip 
on the n. w. corner of Bergen Avenue and the Square was pur- 
chased for the church parsonage, and was used as such until 
the erection of a new parsonage on the corner of the Square 
and Academy Street. After a few years he relinquished his 
charge in English Neighborhood and gave himself entirely to 
the service of the church of Bergen. He was greatly beloved 
by all his people and by his colleagues in the ministry. He 
was especially devoted to the colored people of his charge and 
admitted many of the descendants of the slaves, who were ser- 
vants in the old families, into the communion of the church. 

The first Sunday School was held m the parsonage, where 
Mrs. Cornelison gathered the little girls of the neighborhood to 
study the Bible. One of the members of this class survived 
until a good old age, and I have frequently heard her tell the 
story of her love for Mrs. Cornelison. 

During the later years of Mr. Cornelison's ministry other 
churches were organized and other ministers came in to share 
with him the responsibility of the county. A primitive Metho- 
dist church was organized near the Five Corners, but we have 
no records of its ministry. This was the predecessor of the 
Simpson Methodist Episcopal Church, which is still prosperous 
and has through all these years exerted a wide influence on the 

spiritual life of our community. A small settlement was also 
effected around the ferry at Paulus Hook, now lower Jersey 
City, and ever alert to preach the Gospel, the Episcopalians 
entered this new and hopeful field. 

On August 2 1, 1808, the Rev. I'^dmoiul I). Barry, D. U., 
conducted services in the upper room of the Town Hall, and 

from 1809 to 18 1 6. He then re- 
moved to Baltimore, where he re- 
mained eight years, during which 
time the little church dwindled 
away. In 1824, at the request of 
the Bishop of the Diocese, he was 
induced to enter upon the charge 
anew, and persevered in his un- 
dertaking until a congregation was 
again collected. A corner stone 
was laid and a substantial church 
erected and dedicated, known as 
St. Matthew's. In June, 1844, Rev. 
RKv. el.moni) IX bakhv a. C. Patterson became assistant 

and continued until the Spring of 1847, when lie was succeeded 
by Rev. Charles Aldis, who resigned in 1849, and Rev. James 
Bowden was called to supply the vacancy and entered upon his 
duties July of the same year. 

Meanwhile in the year 1807 the first attempt was made to 
establish a church of the Reformed Dutch persuasion there. 
Rev. John M. Cornelison of Bergen, and Peter Stryker of Belle- 
ville, informed the Classis of Bergen, that the inhabitants of 
Jersey City desired a congregation to be formed under the 
jurisdiction of that body ; that the Associates of Jersey had 
offered them a grant of land on tlie south side of Grand Street 
provided they would build a church of certain dimensions 
thereon, within two years. A committee was appointed 
by the Classis to further the object, and ministerial supplies 
were provided for several Sabbaths. 

In April, 1808, the Committee reported the impractibility 
of continuing the organization, owing to tlie insufficient num- 
ber of male members to form a Consistory. Another effort 
was made for the same object, resulting as before, in conse- 
quence of the limited number of inhabitants and their inability 

to sustain it. In 1828 the Associates deeded the land referred 
to above, to the First Presbyterian Church of Jersey City for 
the purpose of erecting a church edifice thereon, to be occupied 
as a place of worship by the congregation then worshipping in 
the old Town Hall under the pastoral care of Rev. Mr 01c )tt. 
(At this time, 1828, Rev. Dr. Yates, the former pastor of Re- 
formed Church in this city having just completed his theo- 
logical studies in the seminary at New Brunswick, was invited 
by the Presbyterian congregation to preach to them in the old 
Town Hall and there delivered his second sermon ) 

On the 31st of January, 1830, the people then constituting 
the First Presbyterian Church, the pulpit of which had become 
vacant by the removal of the Rev. Mr. Olcott, submitted 
through the trustees and session to the congregatiDU, the 
propriety of becoming a Reformed Dutch Church under the 
care of the Classis of Bergen. By an almost unanimous vote 
the congregation decided to unite with said Classis, and a 
petition signed by forty-eight heads of families and thirty-eight 
communicants, was presented to the Classis on the 15th of Feb- 
ruary same year. It was favorably acted upon and a consistory 
elected and ordained, the church duly constituted, and the Rev. 
Mr. Meeker of Bushwick, L. I., installed as pastor May 9, 1830. 
On the 20th of October following, the connection was dissolved 
at his own request, and February 8th, 1831, Rev. J. R. Tal- 
madge was called, who continued until January, 1833, when he 
resigned. November 19th, 1833, Rev. Matthias Lusk was in- 
stalled as pastor, and continued until October 26th, 1848, when 
he requested a release, which was granted, and Rev. John 
Austin Yates, D.D., of Schenectady, was called as pastor. The 
call was approved by the Classis of Bergen and the 3d Sabbath 
of September, 1849, appointed for his installation, but his 
sudden death occurred August 26th, 1849. His successor was 
Rev. Daniel Lord of Piermont, N. Y., who was installed 
June, 1850. 

These three churches, — the primitive Methodist Church 
north of the Five Corners, — St. Matthew's — and the little Pres- 
byterian Church of Jersey City, were the only religious organ- 
izations existing in the year 1828. 

On the death of Rev. John M. Cornelison, the Rev. Benj- 
amin C. Taylor was called from the church of Acquackanonck to 

,'Ktivr service forty- four 


the church of Bergen, and was in 
years. As a pastor lie was wel- 
comed in every home from Bergen 
Point to Bergen Woods, and mem- 
bers of his congregation were 
found even in Hoboken, Harsinius 
and I'lininiiinipaw. 

I'^rom all these widely scatter- 
ed hamlets, men and women crowd- 
ed the old clnirch which hatl been 
erected during the ministi'y o f 
Jackson. It was necessary about 
1S40 to erect the present si:)acious 
edifice. Dr. Taylor was pre-emin- 
ently a man of affairs. His counsel kkv. bknjamin c. t.wlok 
was sought by the American Board of Commissioners for 
Foreign Missions, whose headquarters were in Boston. He 
witnessed the Charter of old Jersey City with its west boundary 
at Grove St., rejoiced in its growth when the township of Van 
Vorst was added, and also lived through the years of organiza- 
tion of the independent cities of Bayonne, Bergen, Hudson 
City and Hoboken. He lived to see Jersey City stretch out 
her enfolding arms and take to herself the villages of Lafayette 
and (ireenville, with the cities of Bergen and Hudson City. 

He was at one time superintendent of the public schools 
of old Bergen. He was a true bishop among the churches, 
assisting at the organization of every Reformed church in Hud- 
son County, and many of those in Essex. He retained an alert 
mind until within a few days of his departure, but his physical 
infirmity made it necessary for him to resign the active pastor 
ate and become Pastor Emeritus in 1871. He lived ten years 
longer, frequently taking part at the public services of the 
church, until he finally won his crown of rejoicing after an en- 
eriretic and most useful career. 

Before indulging in my personal reminiscences with con- 
temporaries with whom I have had the privilege of working for 
the last thirty-nine years, a few names may be mentioned of 
faithful men who labored in the several parts of our county 
previous to the year 1876. 

Although located at r^nglish Neighborhood, because of his 




labors in the northei-n part of Hudson County, Rev. Philip 
Duryee may, with justice, be claimed as among our early min- 
isters. A number of his parish- 
ioners at English Neighborhood 
lived at and about New Durham, 
aud Dt)minie Durvee, as he was af- 
fectionately called, conceived the 
idea that a Dutch church should 
be organized in that part of the 
county. Accordingly he travelled 
from English Neighborhood to 
the little school house that stood 
at that time at the foot of Church 
Lane on the Hackensack Plank 
Road, and gathered the people to- 
REv. Philip DuKYEE gether for Divine Service. Their 

number increased to such an extent that the propriety of organ- 
izing a church was suggested, but it was not until four years 
later, in the year 1839, that the Reformed Church of New 
Durham was organized. Dr. Duryee was continued as tempo- 
rary pastor for one year, until a regular pastor could be secur- 
ed. He was a man of earnest purpose and won the love and 
affection of all with whom he came in contact. 

A Roman Catholic church, St. Peter's, was on the north 
side of Grand Street, Jersey City. The new church was 
finally built on the corner of Grand 
and Van Vorst Streets, and the old 
building used for St. Aloysius 
Academy and college. 

In 1844 Rev. John Kelly came 
to Jersey City and assuniL-d charge 
of the existing parish, lie was a 
man of indefatigable energv and 
may be considered the real j^ioneer 
of the Catholic religion in Hudson 
County. His love for the peoj^le 
and care for the children endeared 
him to all of whatever denomina- 
tion. During the draft riots of kj. v. John keli.v 
1863 he brought order out of chaos by a simple priestiv word. 

I I 

To meet the growing demands of his persuasion he founded 
new parishes aiul built churehes in all parts of the eounty. 
Durin}^ the constrncti(jn of the Erie tunnel he saw the oppor- 
tunity for a new organization in that section of the county and 
determined to form a church. Me secured a small frame build- 
ing on Hopkins Avenue, and Rev. Aloysius Venuta was ap- 
pointed in charge. 

Father W-nuta came from Sicily. He had become involv- 
ed in political disturbances there and was obliged to flee the 
countrv. On his ai'rival here he officiated in several different 

places until his appointment at St. 
Joseph's. He was possessed of 
great personal magnetism and soon 
drew together a large congrega- 
tion. He found it necessary to 
procure a new site and provide a 
larger church, and the present 
flourishing organization located on 
iJaldwin Avenue is the outcome of 
his labors. During the construc- 
tion of the Erie tunnel numerous 
labor disturbances occurred, and 
Father Venuta was often instru- 
REv.LuiGi ve.nuta mental in not only quelling them, 

but preventing more serious outbreaks. He also started the 
parish of St. Patrick's and built a small frame church near 
Library Hall, which was placed under the charge of Rev. 
Patrick Hennessy. Father Venuta died January 22, 1876. 

Because of the changing character of the population in 
lower Jersey City, the original congregations have been oblig- 
ed to abandon their houses of worship and transfer them to 
other nationalities. A Polish Roman Catholic church occupies 
St. Matthew's, the old First Reformed is occupied by a Greek 
organization, and old Trinity by a Polish Catholic church. 

Dr. Bany's family remained after his decease and took a 
deep interest in the philanthropic work of the county. Miss 
Barry will long be remembered as the organizer of the Daisy 
Ward of Christ Hospital, and as the editor of the little paper 
still printed .uid named by her as "The Daisy", in which she 
sought from month to month to interest the children of our 

T 2 

Stale, the sick children lying first in the Daisy bed and after- 
wards in the Daisy Ward of that magnificent hospital. 

The early years of the (jrand St. Reformed church was a 
period of continuous struggle and pastors followed each other 
in quick succession. 

In A])ril, 1857, Rev. David H Riddle was duly installed 
and entered upon the duties of his 
pastorate. At the same time the 
new church building was dedicat- 
ed. Dr. Riddle entered upon his 
work with great enthusiasm, and 
tlie growth and increasing interest 
of his congregation gave abundant 
evidence of his earnest labors. 

Henry Martyn Scudder was the 
son of the pioneer missionary first 
in Ceylon, then in Aicot, India, 
whose descendants have become 
beacon lights in that great conti- 
nent. He was born on missionarv „ t^ ^t t. 

Rev. d.avid H. Riddle 

ground and returned to America 
with broken health, and yet with 
a continued desire for service in 
the ministry. Some of you may 
remember ihat magnificent series 
of lectures on "The Religions of 
India" which were his contribution 
to the historical religious thought. 
He was an eloquent preacher, and 
during his ministry the church of 
Grand Street was crowded to the 
doors. He left Jersey City for San 
Francisco because a larger field 
REV. HENKv M.AKTVN scuDDER was promiscd, and an opportunity 

to minister to the oriental church and population was likewise 


Another pastor of the Grand St. church was the Rev. 

George Peek. He was unusuallv tall and he and his brother 

Alonzo became known as the "Peeks of Tenerifife." He was 

afterwards succeeded by the Rev. 
Wm. W. Hallovvay, Jr., who was 
pastor from 1871 to 1876 and after- 
wards found his life work in thr 
Presbyterian church at Dover. 

Previous to the Civil War the 
ministers of Jersey City were pre 
eminently conservative. The y 
were especially reticent concern 
ing African slavery. This condi- 
tion of affairs led to the organiza- 
tion in 1858 of the First Congre- 
gational church. The spacious 
Tabernacle, as it was called, on 


the corner of York and Henderson 
Streets, was erected, and nearly 
all the families of New England 
origin were gathered into their 
congregation. The platform of 
this church became an open forum 
for the discussion of civil affairs, 
and the building was made avail- 
able for concerts, lectures, and 
commencements. The first past<-)r 
who died in its service was the 
Rev. lohn Milton Holmes, wIkj is 

Rev. John Mii.ton Holmes 

everywhere mentioned as a man of 
highest culture, and with a noble 
enthusiasm for the rights of man. 

The Rev. Ira C. Boice, who 
was pastor of Bergen Neck, now 
the First Church of Bayonne, is 
still remembered by a few of the 
very old people, who revered and 
loved him. 

Rev. Chas. H. Stitt. D D , be- 
longed to an old New York family 
and was a graduate of our insiitu- 

Kev Ika C. BdICE 


tions at New Brunswick. He served the First Reformed 

church of Bayonne from 1874 until his death, which occurred 

in April, j88i. 

The Park Reformed church of 
Jersey City also had its succession 
of noted preachers who g^ave their 
best services to this district. The 
Rev. Wm. J. Romeyn Taylor was 
the son of the venerable pastor of 
the Bergen church. He served 
both in Wayne Street and the Park 
church, and for a time was secre- 
tary of the American Bible Socie- 
ty. He was for many years after- 
wards pastor of the Clinton Ave- 
nue church of Newark He gave 
Rev. Wm. j. ro.mevn Taylor three sons to the ministry who are 

all serving mfluential churches. 
The Rev. Cornelius Wells, D. 

D , son of tlie Rev. Dr. Rainsford 

Wells, pastor of the First church 

of Newark, was the Park Re- 
formed church pastor for a little 

while. He was one of the most 

active ministers the Reformed 

church had ever known. An earn- 


Rev. Cornelius Wells 
est practical man in every way. 
His life work was given to the 
church of Flatbush, L. I. 

Rev. J. Romeyn Berry was an- 
other descendant of that famous 
Romeyn family of Hackensack; 
was also in the succession of the 
ministers of the Park Reformed 


In l^'chruary, 1844, Rev. John Johnstone, then pastor of 
the Jane Street Presbyterian elnirch, New York City, was in- 
vited to preach on Sabbath evenings in the Lyceum located on 
(jfand Street, Jersey City, and the followinj^ A]n\\ the First 
Presbyterian cluircli was regularly organized. 

It was erected on the corner of Sussex and Wasliington 
Streets. The building was originally located on Wall Street, 
New York City, but was taken down stone by stone, and 
ferried across the Hudson on barges, and was erected like a 
child's toy house. Rev. John Joiinstone was installed as reg- 
ular pastor May JoLh, 1844, and remained until May, 1850, 
when he resigned and on June 12th of that year Rev. David 
King was installed. 

Methodism was originated in old Paul us Hook, or what 
was then legally known as the City of Jersey, through the in- 
strumentality of some members of the Methodist church of New 
York City. The first meeting was held in a private house in 
Morris Street, between Greene and Washington. In 1829 a 
small frame church was erected on tlie south side of York 
Street on four lots given by the Jersey Associates, l)ut it was 
not until 1835 that Jersey City became a separate station, and 
the Rev. John McClintock appointed to the charge. The congre- 
gation greatly increasing, the brick building still standing, was 
erected on the old site, and was dedicated in 1843. Tliis build- 
ing has since been known as Trinity church. Among the 
Methodist pastors who served in 
old Trinity, the people of old Jer- 
sey City remember the Rev. Dr. 
Dashiel with peculiar affection. 
He was a man of the people and 
in the days of the old Volunteer 
Fire Department, when the fire 
house was the Young Men's Club, 
he was the self-appointed chaplain 
of the department and made fre- 
quent visits during the evening 
hours to obtain a personal in- 
fluence over the "boys". 

Another pastor of Trinity in 
the (lays of Old Jersey Cit\- was 






]<y\ . K. I.. n\~iiiK.i 

rtvercMii wltc siini^ui 

the Rev. Mr. Corbett. He \va.s a noted fig-ure of his time, of 
commanding presence, swarthy complexion, high cheek bones 
and long straight hair; he possessed all the characteristics of 
the American Indian. He was a powerful preacher, although 
.•^Diiv-wliat eccentric, antl his reproofs from the pulpit to the ir- 

and effective. 

Rev. Julius A. Bungeroth was 
the first duly ordained minister of 
"St. Matthew's German Evangel- 
ical Lutheran church of Jersey 
City." The church was organized 
in 1 86 1 and at first occupied the 
building- erected by "The Particu- 
lar Baptist church of Jersey City 
and Harsimus", on Barrow Street 
near Newark Avenue, but in 1863 
secured the building of "The Be- 
thesda Baptist Church", located on 
the south side of South 4th (now 5th) 
ke\-. JULIUS A. BUNGEROTH Strcct. Rcv. Buug^eroth was cam- 
est in his work and a popular preacher among- our German citi- 
zens. He officiated from 1862 until the time of his death, 1866. 
He was succeeded by the Rev. Geo. Ewh, who was installed in 
1S66 and continued in charge until his death April 7, 1881. 

Rev. Hiram E. Eddy was installed as ija-^twrof the S cond 
Presbyterian church of Jersey City, May 187!, and con inucd 
his pastorate there until 1875. He 
was a powerful and acceptable 
preacher, and under his care the 
church grew and prospered. He 
was a man of impressive appear- 
ance, tall, and his large head was 
covered with a copious growth of 
grey hair. After he ceased to be 
pastor of the Second Presbyterian 
church he continued his labors in 
Jersey City for several years as 
pastor of amission on Erie Street. 
Since 1876 every pastor in Hud- 
son County has been my personal rev. hiram e. eddv 

friend, and the closing- part of this paper will take the foi'ni cf 


I do not believe that any city 
of its size has ever been served 
with so faithfnl and efficient a 
body of elercjy as Jersey Cily. 

Durinji the years when lower 
Jersey City was still a delightful 
place of residence and a social 
center, the Rev. Dr. Abcrcrombie 
was rector of St. i\[atthew's church. 
He was a man of fine physical pro- 
portion and magnificent presence. 
St. Matthew's under his adminis- 
tration became a mother of 
churches in different parts ot the rkv. r. abkkckomhie 

county, and by his energy Christ IIosi)ital was founded and 

Rev. Dr. Imbrie was pastor for forty yeai's of the First 
Presbyterian church. Tie was a graduate of Piinceton Univer- 
sity and a tvpical old-fashioned Presbyterian minister, an in- 
structive and beloved preacher. 
He believed in the personal and 
imminent c(>ming of the Lord, and 
believed that it was impossible to 
do more than tone up the world a 
little by the ministry of the church, 
until Christ should come to judg- 
ment, with authority to break 
down every evil and reign in right- 
eousness. When the removal of 
members of his congregation to 
the Bergen section made it impos- 
____________^_^^_ sil)le to continue the organization 

RE^^k^iSL^iuHiE of the First Presbyterian church, 

the property was sold, and the proceeds expended in enlarging 
the First Presbyterian church of Bergen, on Emory Street, 
which received the remnant of the membership and took the 
title of the older organization, the I-^irst Presbyterian Church 

m **^ 


of Jersey City. Dr. W - ht. Er Imbrie was made pastor emeritus 
and worshipped in the new church home until his death. 

The Rev. Whcelock H. Parm- 
ly, D.D., pastor of the First Bap 
tist church, served the church and 
city for a ])eriod of more than for- 
ty years. His resemblance to 
Henry Ward Beecher was marked, 
and his eloquence in tlie pulpit 
far-famed. He continued after 
his retirement for several years as 
pastor emeritus, and after his 
death the church assumed the title, 
the Parmly Memorial church. The 
old building has been recently 
sold and a new and beautiful edi- ,<kv. wherlock h. p.^r.mly 
fice erected by the congregation on the corner of Fairmount 
Avenue and Boulevard. 

In the Wayne vStreet church Rev. Paul D Van Cleef serv- 
ed as pastor and pastor emeritus for more than fifty years. 
When he was installed, the church was outside the boundaries 

of Jersey City, which at that time 
extended only to Grove Street. 
The corporate name of the church 
is the First Church of Van Vorst. 
The township of Van Vorst ex- 
tended from Grove Street to the 
foot of the Hill, and to the Erie 
ferry on the north, and was named 
after the family who had purchas- 
ed it in early days. Cornelius Van 
Vorst, the father of the family, 
was the factor of Michael Pauw, 
who was the patentee of the whole 
REV. Paul d. v.\n Cleef water front extending from Wee- 

hauken to Perth Amboy, and named by him after himself, Pa- 
vonia Dr. Van Cleef was a graduate of Rutgers College and 
the Theological Seminary of New Brunswick. He was an elo- 
quent and practical preacher, genial in his manners and greatly 
beloved by his parishioners. His last sermon was exceedingly 

dramatic. It was preached in the Grand Street chiircli on the 
eve of dissohition. He was strick- 
en with apoplexy wliile pieacliinjjf 
and tor several weeks hung be- 
tween life and death. Althouj^h 
he lived for several years, he never 
was able to preach ajjain. 

In the Second Presbyterian 
chnrch the Rev. Alexander Mc- 
Kelvey, D.D , ministered most ef- 
ficiently when there were lar,L;e 
conj^rej^aiions still attendin_o- the 
down town churches. He was one 
of the most eloquent preachers 
jersey City has ever known. ,^p^ Alexander mckelvey 

In the Third Presbyterian Church, known later as the Mc- 
Kensie church on account of the magnificent gift of the mil- 
lionaire sewing machine manufacturer, two pastors are worthy 
of mention. 

Rev. Dr. James Harkness was 
one of the early pastors of the 
Scotch (afterwards Third) Pres- 
liyterian church of Jersey City. He 
was installed October 2 1, 1862. At 
that time the congregation was 
located on Erie Street, but during 
the pastorate of Dr. Harkness, the 
brick building on Mercer Street 
above V'arick, was erected and this 
afterward became their church 
home. Dr. Harkness was a notable 
preacher, of high scholarly attain- 
REv. James Harkness ments. He was well versed in He- 

brew, Latin and Greek languages and firmly believed in the 
second coming of Christ and in the literal rendition of the 
Bible. His m nistry covered a period of sixteen years and was 
eminently successful. He was born in Scotland in 1803 and 
was graduated from the Edinburgh Cnivcrsity. After gradua- 
tion he studied itiedicine and received his full degree. He car- 
ried on the double work of practicing medicine and preaching 


the Gospel for manv years. He was one of the originators of 
the Gamma Sigma Society. 

Another noted minister was the Rev. David Mitchell, wlio 
for a period of ten years labored faithfully in the parish of the 

Scotch Presbyterian church in 
Mercer Street, Jersey City. He 
was an earnest and forceful preach- 
er and was greatly interested in 
city welfare work and the cause of 
education. He established the 
John Knox Presbyterian church 
on Manning Avenue as a mission 

Rev. Mr. Mitchell was born in 
Glasgow, Scotland, May 3d, 1833, 
and at an early age, shortly after 
graduation from Glasgow Univer- 
rev. David Mitchell ^ity, he was called to the pastorate 

of one of the largest parish churches in Scotland. He came to 
this country in 1864 and became pastor of the Canal Street 
Presbyterian church in New York City. In 1875 he was called 
from thence to the Central Presbyterian church in Toronto, 
Canada. At the end of eleven years' successful pastorate in 
this field in 1886, he came to Jer 
sey City, and the remainder of his 
life was devoted to church work 
until, on account of ill health, he 
was forced to retire to private life, 
remaining in Jersey City until his 
death in December, 1898. 

In the Park church ministered 
for twenty five years my dearly 
beloved friend, J. Howard Suy- 
dam. He was genial in his greet- 
ings to all, a preacher of rare ex- 
cellence and popular with all 
classes. During his pastorate spe- rev. j. Howard suvdam 

cial music in the Park church was attracting crowds to the 
church on Hamilton Square. 

Rev. Win, X'erriiulcr bceainc the pastor of Union Baptist 
church of Jersey City, whicli was afterwards orjjanized as the 
First Baptist Church in 1849. In iSt;^ he resijjned his pastor- 
ale to devote himself to tlie (gen- 
eral reliij;ions woik of leisey City. 
The Jersey City Mission and Tract 
Society was organized and Mr. 
\'errin(ier was the city missionary. 
He leathered around him a faitliful 
hand of co workers from cluirches 
of all denominations, divided the 
cily into districts and secured the 
distribution of tracts jirinted l>y 
the American Tract Society in all 
the homes of the city. Althoujih 
many of these i)ublications were 
theological rather than practical, rev. wiluam 

and were found dull reading- to the average household, the 
visit of a cliristian worker once a month, was au untold bene- 
diction. Mr. \'errinder was also appointed by the Board of 
Freeholders ( f Hudson Count}', chaplain of the county institu- 
tions and often trudged through snow and sleet to Snake Hill, 
that his services might not be interrupted. He personally 
conversed with prisoners in their cells and sick in the hospital, 
often administering the last consolations of the Gospel to the 
dying. He was loved and respected by everybody and onlv 

ceased his labors when the infirm- 

r" ' ilies of age prcxstrated him. He 

\ (lied in the year 1X91. 

Rev. Dr. J C. Egbert continued 
^ the succession of long pastorates 

in Hudson County by serving the 
Presbyterian church of West Ho- 
boken for over forty years. Jersey 
City appreciates the valuable ser- 
vices of his son, Prof. James C. 
ICgbcrt, who was president of the 
jersey Cily lioard of Education 
when our Dickinson High School 
rkv. I. c. Er.BERT ^vas erected. 


Residents of old Hudson County will remember a stalwart 
Scotch preacher in the Second United Presbyterian church, the 
Rev. Roiicrt Armstrong, D.D. The Scotch Presbyterians of 
the whcjle county honored and revered him. He was a pulpit 
orator of ijreat power and an old-fashioned pastor, welcomed 
in every home. 

Dr. W. V, V. Mabon was installed in the church of New 
Durham (now known as the Grove Church of North Hudson) 
in 1846. He was esjiccially distinguished as "The Friend of 

Education". He served as active 
pastor for thirty-five years. At the 
i^e^inning of his labors the sur- 
rounding territory was occupied 
by a farming community with lit- 
tle hamlets scattered here and 
there. Ab^ut 1850 a German im- 
migration began that greatly 
changed social and civic condi- 
tions, and Dr. Mabon opened his 
church for a German service. 
From this beginning two German 
churches have been established. 
rkv. w. v. v. Mabon He served as county superinten- 

dent in the public schojls and received into his family young 
men whom he prepared for college and the Gospel ministry. 
It was a fitting tribute to his skill in pedagogy, that the Re- 
formed church elected him in 1 88 1 
its Professor of Theology in the 
Seminary at New Brunswick. 

In Trinity church, afterwards 
St. Mary's near the Five Corners, 
the Rev. Dr. Spencer M. Rice 
was the rector when I came to 
Jersey City. After his retirement 
from the rectorship he lived among 
us as rector emeritus, and was a 
prominent figure in the social life 
of our city. He served in earlier 
years in Grace church, Van Vorst. 
One of his parishioners, a Mr. kkv. si'encek m. rice 

Hlakely Wilson, died in Ej^ypt while on a health tour of the 
Nile. He was buried in that historical land, but his family 
greatly desired to remove his body and have it laid in the fam- 
ily cemetery. The pastor was commissioned to undertake the 
task, and visited E^ypt with a commission from the family to 
accomplish the work. It was exceedingly difficult to overcome 
the prejudice of ignorance and greed, but after indefatigable 
labors he succeeded, and made a return voyage as custodian of 
his friend. Assisting at the funeral of Mr. Wilson, whose wife 
was a member of our church, was one of the first pul)lic duties 
assigned to me as pastor of the Bergen church 

Rev. Daniel Frederick Warren, D.D., was born in Middle- 
boro, Mass., in the year 1826. His ancestors came over in the 
.Ifayjlint'cr and he was a lineal descendant of General Warren, 

of Bunker Hill fame. Dr. Warren 
received his classical education at 
Geneva, N. Y., and was prepared 
for the ministry at the General 
Theological Seminary, New York 
City. His first parish was Mar- 
sellus, N. Y. ; from there he went 
to Auburn Prison aschaplain, then 
became first rector of Church of 
the Ascension, Buffalo, N. Y., 
then rector of St. Mary's. Mott 
Haven, now Borough of the Bronx. 
He was called to be the first rec- 
tor of Trinity Church, Elizabeth, 
N. J., in 1859. After seeing that 
parish well established, he left Elizabeth in 1869 to assist Dr. 
Lawrence at the Church of the Holy Communion, New York 
City. After a few years he was called to St. Mark's, Chicago, 
then to Pottstown, Pa , and Edgewater, X. J., Church of the 
Mediator. Then to Holy Trinity, now St. Mary's, Jersey City, 
in the year 188&. This was his last parish and one he loved so 
well. The best work of his ministry and the best years of his 
life was given to it. St. Mary's of Summit Avenue stands as 
a monument to his faithful and wise devotion to the parish. 
Dr. Warren was chaplain of Christ Hospital, Jersey City, and 
chaplain to both the .societies of "Patriots and Founders" and 

Rev. Damki. Fredkrick Wakken 

Rev. Fernando C. Putnam 

"Descendants of The Mayflower" of New York. He died Oc- 
tober loth, 1903. May Light Eternal shine upon him. 

With four of my neighhor.s I was in very close touch until 
they were called to their reward. The rector of St. Paul's 
Episcopal church was the Rev. Dr. 
Putnam. He was like a father 
among the families of his charge, 
and likewise to many other old 
Bergen families. He was an elo- 
cutionist of rare power. One of his 
colleagues told me that often when 
he was tired and found it difificult 
to discover a topic for discourse, 
he would call on his frind Putnam, 
lie down on his sofa, and ask him 
to read the Gospel and Epistle, 
Psalter and lessons for the next 
Sunday, and he was sure that the 
intonation of his friend's voice 
would call his attention to some hidden meaning in these lines. 
Another friend was the Rev. Edward French of the First 
Presbyterian church. Before any Presbyterian church had been 

organized in the Bergen section, 
Presbyterian residents worshipped 
in the Bergen Reformed church. 
During the days, however, when 
considerable emphasis was laid 
upon the difference between the 
Old School and the New, a num- 
ber of progressive Pi'esbytcrians 
organized a Presbyterian church, 
affiliated with the New Sclioul 
Presbytery, and thirty-one of the 
first members were dismissed from 
the mother church to effect their 
organization. They built their 
edifice on Emory vStreet near Ber- 
gen Avenue and called as pastor the Rev. Edward French. He 
was a hn-able and wise man and remained until his deatli, whiih 

Kev. EtiWARD French 

came after a very short illness, one of the most efTicient, spirit- 
ual leaders in all the eily. 

Another pastor of tlie United 
Presbyterian ehurch, beloved by 
all who knew him. was the Rev. 
Andn.'w Henry, I). I)., who was 
the second pastor of the First 
Ignited Presbyterian church on 
Barrow Street to nK)ve into the 
Bertjen section By his energies 
was erected the church on the C(;r- 
ner of Sip and Tonnele Avenues. 
With only a short illness of warn- 
in^i^, he too was taken from us. 
My dear friend, the Rev. Ar- 
KKA. .A.Ni.KKu iiKNKs- Hcv S. Biddlc, D.D., LL.D, was 

pastor of the Summit Avenue United Presbyterian church, 
which he organized as a colony from the First United Presby- 
t.rian on Barrow Street. He was descended from one of the 
Quaker families who were among 
the founders of the city of Phila- 
delphia. His mother was of the 
sturdy Scotch stock. He was a 
graduate of the college in Mon- 
mouth, 111., and of the Allegheny 
Theological Seminary. He was a 
leader in every enterprise of the 
Kingdom, and was especially noted 
as a friend of the working people. 
He was especially useful as secre- 
tary of the organization to which 
he belonged, having been in early 
days a court reporter. He was kkv. .\knkv s. biddi.k 

prominently affiliated with the Sunday School Association of 
the county. On his way to the city hall, to present to the 
commissioners of Jersey City, a plea for the paving of Mont- 
gomery Street with wooden blocks instead of stone, when in 
front of his own church, and near the City Hospital, he was 
suddenly stricken, and was cairied dead to his own home 
near by. 


More than ^ity years ago the ministers of Jersey City of 
all denominations organized a club, wliich is still in existence. 
Meetings are he'd each fortnight, usually at the homes of the 
members, where papers are read on topics connected with 
theology, church government and general religious interest of 
the community. In the earlier days, arrangements were made 
at Gamma Sigma for meetings during the week of prayer, and 
other union service. Dr. Biddle was the efficient clerk of the 
society from 1889 until his death. 

In the most recent loss from the ranks of the Jersey City 
clero-y is that of the Rev. George S. Bennitt, D. D., who was 
pastor for twenty- seven years of the Grace Protestant Episcopal 
church (Van Vorst). He was eminently successful both as 
preacher and pastor and an efficient supporter of Christ Hos- 
pital. This chnrch was duly organized for Christian service 
and the wdiole city mourns his loss. 

Nor must we forget the church of Lafayette, where for so 

Rev. Wm. R.^nkin Duryee Rev. T. J. Kommers 

many years the Rev. Wm. Rankin Duryee, D.D,, was the 
faithful pastor. On his father's side he was descended from the 
Dutch of Manhattan and Long Island. His mother was a Ran- 
kin and w^as of Scotch descent. Dr. Duryee was a man of cul- 
ture, fond of poetry, and in recognition of his literary attain- 
ments he was called to be professor of English in Rutgers Col- 
lege. He was followed in the pastorate of the Lafayette church 
by a studious young man, born in the Netherland, but possess- 
ing a true American spirit. His name was T. J. Kommers. 

lie wa> liiiiulicappcd durinj; his ulmlc ministry by ;i i)hysic;il 
weakness, which culminated in his last illness. His sun went 
<l()\vn while il was yet noon. 

The Rev. Alexaiuler H. V>um;;w:is horn in Louisville, 
Ky., in the year i8.v^ After serving- in several pastorates of 

the soiiihiin Presbyterian church, 

he was called to be the first pastor 

^B^ <^' the new church of Greenville, 

W^ X. J., orj^^anized in 187 i, and con- 

* :^'^iP^ tinned in that service twelve years, 

during- which lime he p^athered a 
prosperons conoreg^ation and built 
the chai)el which was at first used 
tor the Sunday service as well as 
the llible school. A splendid 
church building, with beautiful 
stained glass windows, was after- 
wards erected. 

ukv. Ai.K.x.wnp-.R H. You.vG After leaving- Greenville, Mr. 

Young was occupied for several years in business enterprises 
and finally accepted a call from the Presbyterian church in 
Matawan, N. J , which was his last service 

One of tlie more recent pastors of the Greenville church 
was the Rev. Mr. Eggleston. He 
wasagradu;ite of the Unicjn Theo- 
logical Seminary in New York- 
City. His studies led him along 
the line of advanced Sunday School 
methods. After a few years' ser- 
vice in Greenville, he was called 
toa Presbyterian church in Brook- 
lyn, where he had an opportunitv 
to organize a large modern Sun 
day vSchool, thoroughly graded 
He was in great demand by Sun- 
day School instructors, to uhnm 
he explained his methods of organ 
ization. His zeal and energv ex 
ceeded iiis physical strength, and 
wear and tear of an earnest life. 

he earlv succumited to t!.e 


James N. Fitzgerald as a Methodist minister served in the 
limits of the present Jersey City several times, first at the Pal- 
isade M. E. church from 1864 to 1867, and then at Centenary 
M. E. from 1874 to 1877. Befcjre entering the ministry he had 

studied law and was admitted to 
practice as a counsellor-at-law of 
New Jersey, practicing for a short 
time at Newark. His legal studies 
and inclinations left their impress 
upon his mind. He carried his 
methods of legal reasoning into 
the pulpit and became noted for 
the logic and force of his sermons, 
and at the annual conferences for 
his argumentative ability. In de- 
bate, and particularly upon par- 
liamentary questions, he was the 
despair of presiding bishops, when 
Rev. James N. FiTZGERAi-D episcopal authority encroached 
upon the privileges of the plain clergyman. His executive 
abilities were early recognized, and he moved surely and stead- 
ily upward to the Episcopacy. 

He was reared in an atmosphere of holiness, and no doubt 
favored his mother in inherited tendencies; holiness meetmgs 
conducted by "Mother Fitzgerald" at her home and camp 
meetings were religious happenings of note in their day. He 
possessed a warm and sympathetic nature which often express- 
ed itself in song, and when moved, his melodious voice would 
break forth into song from the pulpit. One of his favorite songs 
being "The Ninety and Nine". 

His favorite pastime was the game of chess, at which he 
notably excelled. 

While returning from the Orient on a trip to the mission 
field, he was suddenly smitten and passed away in the full vigor 
of his activities as a Bishop of the Methodist church. 

Bishop Henry Spellmeyer was one of the most noted men 
of the New Jersey Conference. He was engaged in active 
pastoral work for thirty-five years, and his activities and devo- 
tion to the church interests attracted general attention, and as 
the result, he was elected bishop in 1904 by the largeat vote 


ever cast for that hij^h otFice. I lis 
allotment to Trinity church, Jer- 
sey City, inaujiurated a season of 
deep relijjions conviction. He 
was a preacher of su})erior ability, 
and liis sermons attracted large 
and interested congreijations. 

He possessed a charming per- 
sonality, gathering to himself 
many choice friends, and through 
a judicious and practical tninistry 
endeared himself to all who came 
in contact with him. He was horn 
in New York Ciiy November 25th, 
1847. and died March 12th, 1910. kkv. hknkv spki.ln.kvkk 

Rev. Edson W. Burr served as pastor of Methodist churches 
in Jersey City for nine years; six years at Centenary M. E. 
church, 1872 to 1S74, 1884 to 1887, and three years at Lafa- 
yette M. E. church, 187S to 1881. He came of a noted New 

England family whicli furnished 
the ministi'v with men of high re- 
pute, among tliem bi-iug his broth- 
er, Rev. J. Keisey Burr, a biblical 
scholar of renown, and pastor of 
the Hoboken M. E. churcli at 
three different periods 

Edson \V. Burr was small in 
stature, tnit ver}' active, untiring 
and methodical in all his work. 
After his .student }-ears he taught 
in several seminaries. Among 
his studies, the languages and na- 
tural science were favorites. His 
sermons indicated his special fields 
<^f study, and often became lectures on astronomy, or other 
branches of science extolling the handiwork of the Creator. 
The teachings of modern science he found reconcilable with 
biblical doctrine. His appeals to his listeners were largelv 
through their intellect, not ignoring the value of the emotions 
in pointing tlie way t-) eternal life. He impressed all by his 

Rev. Kkso.v W. Bukk 

deep piety and sfncerity, and the consistency of his life. His 
memory is cherished by many in our city for his labor in their 
behalf, and in leading them into the path of spiritual peace and 

Dr. John Atkinson was another noted Methodist preacher 
identified with early Methodism in Hudson County. He was ap- 
pointed to the pastorate in Jersey 
City four times, once at Emory, 
twice at Trinity, and at the West 
Side Avenue churches. As a preach- 
er he was clear, logical, convincing 
and intense. He was emphatically 
a Methodist preacher and believed 
in Methodist experience and Meth- 
odist methods. In every church in 
which he preached he influenced 
the brethren to pay their debts and 
improve their property, and left the 
churches in a better condition than 
he found them, both spiritually and Rev. John Atkinson 

financially. For forty-two years he labored in the Gospel field, 
faithfully and earnestly. He was born in Salem County, New 
Jersey, December 6th, 1835, and died in Haverstraw, New York, 
December 8th, 1897. 

Dr. Atkinson's literary efforts were noteworthy. He was 
painstaking in his investigations, and his researches threw new 

light on the early history of Meth- 
odism. He was a great lover of 
music and was the author of the 
hymn "We shall meet beyond the 
river", as well as of other musical 

Rev. Daniel K. Lowrie, another 
famed Methodist pastor, before en- 
tering the ministry', studied medi- 
cine for two years, but gave up 
that profession to become an itin- 
erant minister. In 1862 he was re- 
ceived on trial by Bishop Baker in 
Rev. danif.i. R. Li.wrie Hedding Methodist Church, Jersey 

City. He was appoiiili'd to ICinorv cluucli, jerst-y City, lMh7- 
69, to St. Paul's cluiich, jersey City, 1873-75, to the Methodist 
church at Ilobokiu, 187'^-81. He was made presiding elder of 
Jersey City, and appointed to Kniory church 1892-'M). Thus 
twenty years of his ministry were spent in jersey City. His 
ministry in ivny place was unusually successful, and resulted in 
enlarj:;ed and interested congregations. 

For the last thirteen years he was manager of the Methodist 
Missionary Society. As a pastor he was faithful and industrious, 
and was naturally kir.d, sympathetic and social)le. To the young 
he seemed as young as any, and to the older ones a loving com- 

He was born at Paisley, Scotland, September 8th. 18.V1. and 
departed this life .\ugust 17th, 1899. 

John Wesley Young was born 
in Pennsylvania Januar}'3lst, 1833, 
and died March 23d, 1913. He was 
a member of the Newark Confer- 
ence for 53 years, remaining in the 
active pastorate until 1891. At that 
date he became secretary to the 
Committee of .Apportionment of the 
Missionary Society and officiated as 
such until 1912. He devised new 
plans for increasing the efficiency 
of the societv, which were found 

very effective. In 1 87 1 he was finan- 
cial agent for the Centenary Colle- 
mati' Institute. He was located at 
Grace Methodist church. 

The story of the clergy of Hud- 
son county would not be complete 
without some reference to the Ger- 
man pastors with whom it has been 
inv good fortune to co-operate. 
Pastes- Ivwli of St. Matthew's Lu- 
theran church in jersev Citv exer- 
cised a widt- uit^ueiice among his 

Rev. George Ku h 

countrymen. He was a thorough German but had embraced the 
cosmopolitan spirit of our American institutions. At one time 
the church gathered all the German population of lower Jersey 
City. The church at its organization occupied a small brick 
building which is still standing on Barrow Street, having bought 
it from the Particular Baptist church. The congregation then 
purchased a larger building on Fifth Street and now worships in 
the magnificent temple with its chime of bells. 

The Rev. Leopold Mohn, D.D., of Hoboken, came to this 
country as a young man who had just graduated from the Ger- 
man Gymnasium. He had an evangelical spirit and was very 
anxious to do missionary work among his countrymen. On his 
arrival, Dr. Mabon was president 
of the Hudson County Bible Socie- 
ty and employed young Mohn as 
colporteur, to distribute Bibles in 
the county. He speedily acquired 
a speaking knowledge of the Eng- 
lish language and was specially use- 
ful among the Germans, where he 
left many copies of the Word of 
God. A single incident I think will 
interest you. At the Synod of 1881, 
held in the city of Schenectady for 
the purpose of electing a professor 
of theology, there was a division in «ev. Leopold Mohn 

the church between the conservative and progressive elements, 
each having its candidate for office. Many ballots were taken 
without an election. A single vote was cast on the first ballot 
for Dr. Mabon. In all subsequent ballots that vote reappeared, 
and finalh'when the two parties began togetdiscouraged they began 
to increase the Mabon vote until at last, with practical unanimi- 
ty, he was chosen. That vote was cast by his old protege, Leo- 
pold Mohn. Dr. Mohn canvassed the whole county' with a view 

of establishing German churches where they might be needed. 
Through his influence many of the churches where the German 
language is still preached, were founded. I shall never forget 
the funeral of Leopold Mohn. All Hoboken turned out to see 
the cortege pass. Thechurch could not begin to hold the throngs 
who sought admission. It was their universal appreciation of a 
good man. 

A similar scene was enacted when the Kev. Dr. Meury, of 
North IIiulsDii, was carrird to his last resting place. He had 

served for twenty-five years as pas- 
tor of the Second church of Hudson 
City. He was a native of Kern, 
Switzcrlaiul. He could preach in 
English as well as in German, hut 
confined his labors to the German 
speaking people, and to his own 
young people who were outgrowing 
tlie speech of their fathers. His 
labors with the prisoners in our 
Hudson County jail, and especially 
with nun under sentence of death. 
whom he on several occasions ac- 
kkv. k. a. nucl kv companied to the scaffold, will 

never be forgotten. 

Many of us enjoyed a delightful friendshiii with two of the 
Roman Catholic clergy, who were 
members of the Cosmos Club. 

Father Hennessy of St. Patrick's 
possessed the face and figure of an 
old saint. He was a holy man. In 
the discussion of matters pertain- 
ing to religious life, he gave ex- 
pression to ennobling sentiments 
with deep religious fervor. He was 
buried near the corner stone of his 
church on the corner of Bramhall 
and Ocean Avenues. 

Father Corrigan, of St. Mary's, 
Hoboken, was a saint of a jolly rev Patrick hennessy 

type. He possessed a fund of Irish wit which caused explosions 
of laughter during his criticism of affairs in general. At one of 
the entertainments of the Cosmos Club held in the rectory in 
Hoboken, he offered champagne for the delectation of the com- 
pany, with the remark that there were a few bottles that the 
bishop had left. He had quarreled with his bishop, when a spe- 
cial messenger of the Pope, Monsignor. afterwards Cardinal 
Satolli, was sent to America to calm the disturbance. He gave 

a great banquet to the cardinal, which I had the honor to attend. 
I may close with one of Father Corrigan's old stories, which all 

the older members of the Cosmos 
Club remember. The temperance 
question was under discussion, and 
Father Corrigan told of his efforts 
to establish what he called "Tee- 
total Society" of St. Mary's. He 
had talked of it at every mass for a 
month and finally, on the day when 
the society was to be organized, he 
urged the whole body of men in the 
congregation, perhaps eight or nine 
hundred being present, to come at 
once to the parish hall and organ- 
Rf.v. Patrick- coKRiGAx ize the society. After disrobing, 

he went to the hall and found it empty, took a seat at the head 
of the table, and waited for the members to appear. About half 
an hour later Charlie Scott, as he expressed it, "the only nagur 
in the parish", put his reluctant head through the door. He said 
to himself, "Great Scott", then turning to his African member 
cried out, "Come in, Charlie, don't be afraid, come and sign 
3'our name to the pledge." Charlie's name was the onl}' signa- 
ture obtained that day, but he announced on the following Sun- 
day to the Teetotal Societ}', that it would take a vacation for a 
few weeks. He then worked up the matter privately and a large 
and flourishing society was founded. 

Since this paper has been read at the annual meet- 
ing of the Historical Society, it has been revised with 
the addition of manv names. 

The author of this paper acknowledges his indebted- 
ness to Mr. Daniel \'an Winkle and Mr. John Heck for 
valuable memoranda. Also to Mr. Daniel \an Winkle 
for his efilicient aid in securing portraits of many of the 
ininisters to whom allusion has been made. 

i\»'i>'\\M v"> ', V".' >' ■■ ,\ ■' 1 ilmii 

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