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I and of the 

Old Village g/^" Bergen 


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History of Hudson County 

and of the 

Old Village o/" Bergen 

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The founders of Bergen erected a palisade 
of logs around their settlement on the site 
of what is now Bergen Square, Jersey City 

1(3)" " "m 



and of the 

Old Village of Bergen 

^ Being a brief account oi th& 
fou7idation and growth of what 
is now Jersey City and of the 
many advantages now offered 
the inhabitants thereof in the 
newly constructed buildiiig of the 
Trust Company o/'New Jersey 

Issued by 


Jersey City, N. J. 

^ / ^ ^ / «a 

(Copyright 192 1 by the Trust Company of New Jersey 


'Designed, Engraved and 'Printed by Bartlett Orr Press, JA(ja/ York 


The Old Village of Bergen 
cyf History of the First Settlement in New Jersey 

HEN the first representatives of the Amsterdam 
^ Licensed TradingWest India Company built 
four houses on Manhattan Island in 1610- 
1 6 1 2, one could hardly consider the territory 
crowded. Those ancestors of New York and 
New Jersey, however, had more spacious ideas 
than are held by their apartment-dwelling descendants. The 
charter of the Dutch East India Company, which had granted 
the trading monopoly to its West India Company, designated 
NewNetherland as comprising"the unoccupied region between 
Virginia and Canada" — a little tract that must forever inspire 
pained admiration in modern real estate dealers. It was 
bounded approximately on the south by the South River, as 
the Dutch called the stream that the Enghsh afterward re- 
christened the Delaware. And because the Delaware was 
South River, the river explored by Henry Hudson in 1609, 
which first was called Mauritius River in honor of Maurice 
of Nassau, Prince of Orange, came to be referred to as North 
River, which explains why we today call it Hudson River or 
North River, just as the words happen. 

Henry, we may suspect, always had remained a little 
disappointed, if not indignant, about that river. He had no 

T^he History of Hudson County 

The Coming of tie K'hite Men 

genuine interest in rivers. He was one of the many dreamers 
who for two centuries had been butting against the coast line, 
hoping for that rainbow thing, a passage to the golden East 
Indies. But the steady-minded Dutch traders who followed 
him thought very well of it. They saw it as a perfect water 
highway to the fur country, giving them almost direct access 
to the fur-trading Indian tribes of Canada, whose offerings 
passed from hand to hand down to Albany, while all along 
the banks could be gathered the almost equally rich tribute 
from the fur lands of Adirondaclcs and Catskills. 

Its beauty, too, was loved by the Dutch. Dutch commercial 
instinct, Dutch thrift, never made the Dutchmen dull to the 
good art of living. They loved the straight wild cliffs of 
the Palisades. They loved the squall-darkened broad reach 
that they named the Tappan Zee. They loved the sweet 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 

Fro7Ji the Mural by Hoivard Pyle, Hudson County Court Home 

tranquility of the vastly stretching sea meadows at its mouth, 
where flowed the rivers Hackensack and Passaic, the deep 
sound of the Kill von Kull, and many pleasant little streams 
that have been filled in long ago and are covered now by 
streets and towns. 

They looked out from their New Amsterdam, and despite 
all ample Manhattan Island north of them, the western shore 
invited prettily. Its river mouths and undulating sea-grass 
plains and shining sleepy coves reminded them of home. 
Men who had come so far were not men to sit down and sink 
root in one little spot. The performances of Captains Hen- 
drick Christaen and Adrien Blok are recommended earnestly 
to the attention of those who imagine that the Dutchman is 
a large body that moves slowly. Adrien Blok sailed from 
Holland in 1614. He arrived at Manhattan Island in 1614. 

8 '^he History of Hudson County 

His ship was destroyed there by fire in 1614 and he built 
himself another in 1 6 1 4. Their handful of men built those four 
houses, and for good measure a fort, Fort Amsterdam, on 
the land above what later was known as Castle Garden, and 
now is the site of the Aquarium. They sailed up the North 
River and established a trading post. Fort Orange, on an 
island below Albany. They sailed through Hell Gate, which 
even now is no place for timid navigators, though it is not 
one -tenth as dangerous as it was then. They explored the 
whole great Long Island Sound to Cape Cod. They looked 
thoroughly into that tract which afterward became the Rhode 
Island Plantations. They investigated the Connecticut River. 
And they started the opening up of New Jersey by establishing 
atrading poston thewestsideof the North Riveroppositelower 
Manhattan, following it some years later with a small redoubt. 

They might have left records as romantic as the narrative 
of Captain John Smith, for they explored and traded every- 
where, from Cape Cod to the Delaware. But they were not 
men of the pen. We are not sure even of their exact names. 
The few scattered records refer with generous freedom to 
Adrien Blok, Adrian Block, Hendrik Christaen, Hendrick 
Christianse and Hendrick Christansen. The best people in 
that time were more than liberal in spelling, and many of the 
most important official documents have a sprightly way of 
giving two or more quite different spellings to the same name. 

All around the handful of Europeans were Indians. Sea- 
coast Indians came in canoes through the marsh thorough- 
fares and from the high lands beyond the Raritan. Warrior 
Indians came down the river in war canoes from their forests, 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 

From an Old Print 

Prior^s Mill, located near ivhal is r.oiv the Corner of Fremont Street and Railroad Avenue 

where they were well accustomed to contest the hunting rights 
with other tribes. For a long time there was little strife between 
them and the Dutch. The men of Holland were sharp traders, 
but they were not robbers or tyrants. From the very first they 
purchased instead of taking, and so, though Indian wars finally 
came into even their quiet history, they were wars not caused 
by attempt to snatch lands or other possessions from their 
savage neighbors. 

They left the Indians to live their own free life, and the 
red men were well satisfied to exchange their furs, maize and 
tobacco for the strange and tempting goods that had been 
brought across the great salt water. The Dutchmen smoked 
their long pipes in peace, cultivated tulips in the alien soil, 
drank their aromatic Hollands in taverns that were Holland 


Hhe History of Hudson County 

In the Old Dutch Days 

transplanted, and walked forth in untroubled dignity with 
enormous guns to shoot the wild fowl whose wraithlike flights 
filled that sky which now is filled by wraiths of smoke from 
Sandy Hook to the Highlands of the Hudson. 

During the next fewyears the silence of their bay was broken 
at rare intervals by a cannonshot below the narrows. Then all 
New Amsterdam gathered at the Battery and watched for wide 
sails over a wide ship — a ship almost as wide as long, but in all 
dimensions so small that we of today would think it no small 
adventure to make a mere coasting voyage on her. Out of the 
ship would come arrivals from Holland in wide breeches and 
noble Dutch hats, solid as the Dutch nation itself 

The passenger lists of these occasional ships could find 
room on small scraps of paper, yet the pioneers plainly felt 
that there was too much pressure of population, for only a few 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


Fro7i: the Mural by Hoivard Pyle, Hudson County Court Home 

years after Adrien Blok builtthe first four dwellings some New 
Amsterdammers moved over the river. They selected a lovely 
wooded ridge that looked down on a green, water-cut foreland 
and temptinglyacross at the little Dutch houses of Manhattan. 
Unfortunately these settlers did not leave a precise record, 
for they did not realize that they were making history by 
establishing the first settlement in New Jersey. Therefore we 
know only that "sometime between 1 6 1 7 and 1 620 settlements 
were made at Bergen, in the vicinity of the Esopus Indians 
and at Schenectady." We cannot even be sure that these first 
settlers in New Jersey were Dutch. "It is believed," says 
another historian, "that the first European settlement within 
the limits of New Jersey was made at Bergen about 161 8 by 
a number of Danes and Norwegians who accompanied the 
Dutch to the New Netherland." 


I'he History of Hudson County 

Various chronicles allege that the name "Bergen" was 
intended by these people of Scandinavian stock to perpetuate 
the name of the old city of Bergen in Norway. Others maintain 
that it was to recall Bergen op Zoom in Holland. But the 
word "bergen" also means "hills" or "mountains," and thus 
would have been an obvious title for the Dutch to give the 
ridge. Most of the names of early land-holders as recorded in 
the deeds of the succeeding epoch seem indubitably Dutch. 

The Amsterdam Licensed Trading West India Company 
did not succeed in extending the colonization of the new 

old Octagonal Church 

Corner of Bergen Avenue and Vroom Street 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 13 

country very largely, and really energetic efforts were lacking 
till 1 62 1 , when powerful and rich Hollanders formed the great 
Dutch West I ndia Company. 1 1 was of the semi-governmental 
form then common in companies for undertakings over seas, 
and thus had the wealth and power of the States-General of 
Holland behind it. The Licensed Company was taken over 
by it, and ships were sent to all parts of the coast from Cape 
Cod to the Delaware. By 1623, there were settlements on 
Long Island and at Fort Orange, near Albany, while New 
Amsterdam on Manhattan Island gained rapidly increasing 
importance as headquarters for the Company and its officers. 

In 1 629, the Company granted the famous charters to men 
who would undertake to found settlements, and who bore the 
title of Patroon. These charters conferred exclusive property 
in large tracts of land (sixteen miles along a river "and as far 
back as the situation of the occupiers would permit") with ex- 
tensive manorial and seigneural rights. In return the Patroon 
bound himself to place at least fifty settlers on the land, provide 
each with a stocked farm, and furnish a pastor and a school- 
master. The emigrants were bound to cultivate the land for 
at least ten years, bring all their grain to be ground at the 
Patroon's mill, and offer him first opportunity to purchase 
their crops. 

Various directors of the West India Company, among 
them Goodyn, Bloemart, Van Renselaer and Pauuw, obtained 
charters as Patroons, and sent ships with agents to select land 
and make settlements. The land granted to Pauuw was Staten 
Island and a large tract along the North River shore opposite 
Manhattan Island. This holding along the river, "Aharsimus 

14 T^he History of Hudson County 

and Arresinck, extending along the River Mauritius and 
Island Manhatta on the east side and the island Hobocan- 
hackingh on the north" became the Patroonship of Pavonia. 
The name is said to have been based on the Latin equivalent 
for the Dutch word paaun, meaning peacock. Michael Pauuw, 
or Pauw as some records have it, was a burgher of Amster- 
dam and Baron of Achtienhoven in South Holland. Hobocan- 
hackinghjwhichwas Indian for"the place of the tobacco pipe," 
later became known as Hoebuck, and is so referred to even in 
Revolutionary annals. Today it is Hoboken, and the tidal 
streams that made it an island havebeen long covered by streets. 

After a few years, the Company sought to revoke Pauuw's 
Patroonship on the ground of non-fulfilment of contract; but 
they evidently found him a bird rather tougher than a mere 
peacock, for the records show that they had to buy him out, 
paying him 26,000 florins, or about 1 10,000. We find what 
look like echoes of that old dispute when we search through 
the meager history of the period; such laudatory remarks, for 
instance, as that "the Boueries and Plantations on the west 
side of the river were in prosperous condition," and such 
pessimistic reports as "in 1633 there were only two houses in 
Pavonia, one at Communipau, later occupied by Jan Evertsen 
Bout (who had come over as Pauuw's representative), and one 
at Ahasimus, occupied by Cornells Van Vorst," who was suc- 
cessor to Bout. 

In that same year of 1633, Michael Paulus erected a hut 
on a shore front of sand hills as a government trading post 
where the Indians could bring their product by canoe. The 
place became known as Paulus Hoeck. Some records give this 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


Van Wagenens Cider Press. (Academy Street, west of Square) 

trader's name as Paulaz, others call him Paulusen. For a time 
the Dutch name of the "Hoeck" was lost entirely, having 
been changed by ready spellers to "Powles's Hook." Then 
the original name came back, and that part of the shore was 
so known long after Jersey City was made into a municipality. 
With the elimination of Patroon Pauuw, Paulus Hoeck was 
leased in 1638 to Abraham Isaacsen Verplanck. The sand 
, hills covered about 6^ acres, and they became popular for 
tobacco planting. In the past generations there has been so 

1 6 'The History of Hudson County 

much filling in of shore front that the site of Paulus' trading 
post is more than a thousand feet inland. 

Jan Evertsen Bout, the lone house-holder of Communipau, 
got a lease of Communipau from the Dutch West India 
Company in the same year, 1638. His yearly rental was set 
as "one quarter of his crops, two tuns of strong beer and 12 
capons." Presumably the New Amsterdam representatives of 
the Company knew what to do with the two last items. In 
1 641, Hobocan-hackingh, or Hoebuck, was leased to Aert 
Teunisen Van Putten for twelve years, for a rental of "the 
fourth sheaf with which God Almighty shall favor the field." 
These, and a Bouerie in the Greenville section occupied by 
Dirck Straatmaker, were apparently the only notable settle- 
ments then existing in the large tract that afterward became 
the township of Bergen. 

The conveyances of the lands that had belonged to the 
Patroonship of Pavonia were made by Director- General 
William Kieft. It is a melancholy duty to say that William 
Kieft lacked that equable disposition which so distinguished 
most of his fellow colonists. His zeal for the interests of the 
Dutch West India Company was perhaps sincere but certainly 
injudicious. When he went so far as to demand tribute of 
maize, furs and other supplies from the Indians, with threats 
of force if they refused, they responded in their own injudicious 
way by capturing or killing cattle. The peaceful intercourse 
of the past ceased, and mischief followed on mischief. Finally 
Kieft ordered an attack on an Indian encampment behind 
Communipaw, or rather Communipau, as it was called till 
well into the Nineteenth Century. The order was obeyed with 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 17 

unhappy punctuality. According to the records, "eighty 
soldiers on the night of February 27, 1643, under Sergeant 
Rodolph attacked the sleeping Indians and massacred all." 
From the Raritan to the Connecticut, red runners carried the 
news. There came an uprising of tribes so sudden and so 
terrible that almost over night the whole territory was swept 
clear of white men, "not a house was left standing and all 
Boueries were devastated." 

The settlerswho succeeded in escaping madetheirmiserable 
way into New Amsterdam with the plaint: "Every place is 
abandoned. We wretched people must skulk with wives and 
little ones that are still left, in poverty together by and around 
the Fort at New Amsterdam." 

What happened thereafter stands as a good memorial to 
the sober sense and the stout intelligence of these Dutchmen. 
In their misery, with the fruits of years of hard toil gone as 
in a whirlwind, they might have been excused for giving way 
to rage and hate. They might, as did many other pioneers 
in similar circumstances elsewhere, have cried for a war of 
extermination. They did not. These Holland men ran true 
to the Holland history of straight thinking. They complained 
to the States-General against the Director-General (or Gover- 
nor, to use a common term for his office) and demanded his 

Holland was far away, Kieft did not lack friends, and 
governments move slowly. So it was 1646 before there was 
a decision; but when it came, it was the best that could have 
come, for the man who arrived in 1647 ^^ govern the Colony 
was Petrus Stuyvesant — Petrus the hot-headed, Petrus the 

Hhe History of Hudson County 

hot-hearted, Petrus who in his person exemplified in dramatic 
degree all that obstinacy side by side with tolerance, that 
courage mingled with liking for peaceful ways, that shrewdness 
grained with a deep honesty that has made the small Dutch 
nation a power in the world to be reckoned with, both in 
peace and war. 

The great Petrus Stuyvesant — and he was indeed one of 
the greatest of the men who had come into the New World 

up to that time — was emphatically 
no pacificist. But he knew when to 
fight and when not to fight. Little 
by little he restored something of 
the old good relations, until settlers 
again dared to enter New Jersey. 
For ten years they planted and 
traded in peace. Then in 1654 the 
killing of an Indian girl on Man- 
hattan Island caused another war. 
The Indians brought it home to 
New Amsterdam itself. On the New 
Jersey side they swept the country 
almost as before. " Not one white person remained in Pa- 
vonia." Twenty Boueries were destroyed and three hundred 
families were collected in the Fort on Manhattan Island. 

Governor Stuyvesant had been away on a little war against 
the Swedes who had settled along the South River (Delaware) 
in defiance of Dutch claims. He returned quickly and again 
conciliated the Indians, even agreeing to pay ransom for their 
prisoners whom they held at Paulus Hook. Gradually peace 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 19 

returned, but there was not the old feeling of security. On 
January 18, 1656, the Director-General (or Governor as we 
shall call him hereafter) issued an Ordinance commanding 
all settlers to "concentrate themselves by the next spring in 
the form of towns, villages and hamlets so that they may be 
more effectually protected, maintained and defended against 
all assaults and attacks of the barbarians." To enable them 
to restore their holdings, another Ordinance exempted them 
from tithes and taxes for six years on condition that they obey 
the concentration order by establishing villages of at least 
twelve families. 

The Dutch did not like to live in fear, and they did not 
like to live huddled. They were a sociable people but they 
wholly lacked the timid herd instinct. It was impossible for 
them to look over the rich valleys and bottom lands and 
remain content in close settlements. They had stout bodies 
and stout weapons — two arguments generally recognized as 
excellent for acquiring title to coveted domain. Yet despite 
the bitterness of two Indian wars, they still preferred more 
commonplace methods of real estate transaction. In January 
30, 1658, Governor Stuyvesant and the Council of New 
Netherland acquired by purchase from the Indians a tract of 
land lying along the west side of the North River. This 
territory was signed over for the red men by the Indian chiefs 
Therincques,Wawapehack,Seghkor, Koghkenningh, Bomo- 
kan, Memiwockan, Sames and Wewenatokwee (which pre- 
sumably was a casual approximation to their real names by 
the honest Dutch scribes and notaries) to "the noble Lord 
Director-General Pieter Stuyvesant and Councill of New 

20 "The History of Hudson County 

'■'■There Came an Uprising of Tribes" 
From the Lunette by C. T. Turner, Hudson County Court House 

Netherlandt." It is described as "beginning from the Great 
Klip above Wiehachan and from there right through the land 
above the island Sikakes and therefrom thence to the Kill 
von Coll, and so along to the Constable Hoeck, and from 
the Constable Hoeck again to the aforesaid Klip above 

The word "Klip" was Dutch for "cliff." It is hardly 
necessary to explain what places were meant by Wiehachan 
and Sikakes. Merely as a matter of superfluous accuracy we 
mention apologetically that they were Weehawken and 
Secaucus. Secaucus was scarcely an island. It was a strip of 
firm land surrounded by tidal marsh. For some reason it was 
highly prized by planters. Its name was Indian for "place 
of snakes" and it and Snake Hill or Rattlesnake Hill, appear 
frequently in subsequent land transfers. 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


Paying for the Land 
Frotn the Lunette by C. T. Turner, Hudson County Court House 

For the territory thus sold, which included all the land 
between the North and Hackensack Rivers and the Kill von 
Kull, the Indians received"8ofathoms of wampum, 2ofathoms 
of cloth, 12 brass kettles, i double brass kettle, 6 guns, 2 
blankets,and one-half barrel of strong beer." It does not seem 
much; but wampum was good Indian money, and 8o fathoms 
is 480 feet, and 480 feet of good money would seem not 
insignificant even today. One wonders, however, how the 
tribes divided the one "double brass kettle" and who drank 
the beer. In 1920, this territory was assessed for taxes on a 
valuation of 1671,141,067. It seems to have been one of 
those excellent transactions that permanently satisfied both 
parties to the bargain. 

Despite the purchase, the concentration orders and the 
remission of taxes remained in force, and on August 16, 1660, 

22 The History of Hudson County 

a petition for farming rights was granted to several families 
on condition that, first, a spot must be selected which could 
be defended easily; second, each settler to whom land was 
given free must begin to build his house within six weeks 
after drawing his lot; third, there must be at least one soldier 
enlisted from each house, able to bear arms to defend the 

In November of the same year the village of Bergen was 
founded "by permission of Peter Stuy vesant, Director-General, 
and the Council of New Netherland," and thus Bergen, 
(described as being "in the new maize land") besides being 
the earliest settlement in New Jersey also holds the honor of 
being the first permanent settlement in New Jersey. 

The site of the original village is marked by the present 
Bergen Square and the four blocks surrounding it, the bound- 
aries being Newkirk and Vroom Streets north and south, 
Tuers Avenue east and Van Reypen Street west. There were 
two cross roads, and they are still represented today by exist- 
ing streets. The present Bergen Avenue was the road to 
the Kill von KuU and also to Bergen Woods, now known as 
North Hudson. Academy Street of today was then the 
Communipaw road. From their height the inhabitants looked 
over island-dotted and stream-divided meadows of tall sea- 
grass, swarming with wild fowl andrichwith fish. Those bright, 
unstained expanses gave them mighty crops of salt hay for no 
trouble save that of harvesting it. They were crops that could 
not fail so long as the tides ran. Everywhere the salt tides were 
the Dutchman's friend. He utilized high flood to bring craft 
close to his farms for easy loading or unloading. He used the 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 23 

ebb to help him to the bay and so to market at New Amsterdam. 
He used the flood to help him home again. Indeed, his very 
land-roads were tidal; for the lower reaches to Paulus Hook 
and other shores were often under sea in the full-moon tides. 
In the center of the village, which was in the form of a 
square 800 feet long on each side, its founders established 
a vacant space, recorded as being 160 by 225 feet. In great 
part this remains as today's Bergen Square. Around the whole 
village was a palisade of strong logs, with openings at the 
two cross roads. Daniel Van Winkle, Bergen's accomplished 
historian, says that Tuers Avenue and Idaho Avenues on the 
east and west, and Newkirk and Vroom Streets on the north 
and south, mark the line of these palisades. In the evening, 
or when there were rumors of Indian trouble, the cattle were 
driven in and the openings barred by heavy gates. The farms 
expanded throughout the surrounding country, and were 
called "Buytentuyn." 

On September 5th, 166 1 , the Director-General and Council, 
in response to a petition by the inhabitants, granted the 
town "an Inferior Court of justice with the privilege of appeal 
to the Director-General and Council of New Netherland, to 
be by their Honors finally disposed of, this Court to consist 
of one Schoutwho shall convene the appointed Schepens and 
presideatthemeetings." By this Ordinance, Bergen becamethe 
first civic government to be establishedin the Colony. The first 
Schout was Tielman Van Vleck. The Schepens were Michael 
Jansen (Vreeland), Harman Smeeman and Caspar Stynmets. 

The creation of this Court gave Bergen the dignity of seat 
of government for all the surrounding country, for the grant 


T^he History of Hudson County 

of 1660 had conveyed to the inhabitants "the lands with the 
meadows thereto annexed situated on the west side of the 
North River in Pavonia, in the same manner as the same was 
by us purchased of the Indians." Thus the freeholders of 
Bergen held all of what is now known as Hudson County. 
The Schout and the Schepens soon had their hands full. 
The placid Dutchman had a placid way of insisting stubbornly 

Second Church, Erected Ijy^ 
Bergen A'venue and 
Vroom Street 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 25 

on his rights. One of their first cases was that of WiUiam 
Jensen or Jansen to whom they had granted the right to 
operate a ferry between Bergen and the Island of Manhattan, 
at fixed rates for daytime and fair weather, while in stormy 
weather or at night the rates were to be "as the parties might 
agree." We may guess that there were deep argviments 
between the ferryman and the passengers as to exactly what 
constituted stormy weather. That the parties did not man- 
age to "agree" is shown by his strenuous complaint to the 
Schout and Schepens that the people ferried themselves over, 
"much to his loss and discomfort." The people, however, 
made so plain that they did not intend to let the ferryman 
monopolize a Httle thing Hke the North River that the Court 
formally decreed that each one had the right to keep and use 
his own boat or "schuyt." 

Most numerous of all were the disputes over land bounda- 
ries. The government grants were beautifully vague, and 
some of the cases must have made the official heads ache, as 
for instance, in the case of title such as Claus Pietersen's, 
which called for "138 acres bounded west by the Bergen Road 
and north by Nicholas the baker," or the town lot deeded to 
Adrien Post as being "on the corner by the northwest gate 
in Bergen, and a garden on the northwest side of the town." 

There were other famous cases that shook the community. 
Their records have, unhappily, been lost, but their tenor is 
'Uustrated by the appeals that came before the Council in after 
years. One was the great hog case which Captain John Berry 
carried indignantly to the Council on appeal against the Schout, 
complaining that the Schout and Schepens had "instituted 

26 T^he History of Hudson County 

actions against him for carrying off some hogs as if he had 
obtained them in a scandalous manner, by stealing" whereas 
he had simply taken his own hogs from an enclosure where 
they were being withheld from his possession. The Schout 
informed the Council that the Captain had not been charged 
with stealing but simply with "inconsiderate removal of the 
hogs." The Captain, thus pressed, acknowledged that per- 
haps he had "rashly removed the said hogs." The Director- 
General and Council, after deep deliberation, solemnly cleared 
Captain Berry of the suspicion of theft, but found that he 
"had gone too far in inconsiderate removal of the hogs" — 
and fined him one hundred guilders. 

The surrounding little settlements also did not always 
agree with the Schout and Schepens. The latter had to com- 
plain in 1674 to the General Council that the inhabitants of 
"the dependent hamlets of Gemoenepa, Mingaghue and 
Pemrepogh" had refused to carry out an agreement "res- 
pecting the making and maintaining of a certain common 
fence to separate the heifers from the milk cows, and that 
they also refused to pay their quota for support of the 
Precentor and the Schoolmaster." 

The men of the three hamlets were so indignant that they 
almost issued a Declaration of Independence. There were 
great ferriages to the Fort at Manhattan to fight it out. The 
Council debated and decreed. So fierce became the contest 
that arbitrators were appointed and greater debates ensued. 
The arbitrators met the fate of all arbitrators. Gemoenepa, 
Mingaghue and Pemrepogh did not Hke their decision, and 
therefore unanimously called it no decision at all. Loureno 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 27 

Andriese, Samuel Edsall and Dirk Claesen went to the Fort 
on behalf of the hamlets and demanded that the Schout and 
Schepens be ordered once and for all to "leave the petitioners 
undisturbed about the fence." In the end the Council 
evidently got impatient, for it issued a decree ordering the 
hamlets to attend to both the fence and the quota, and to do 
it at once. The records do not show if they did. Knowing 
the fine, upstanding firmness of the race, it may be that the 
cows and the Precentor and the Schoolmaster passed away 
from old age with the matter still unsettled. 

Petrus Stuyvesant soon had more serious things to consider 
than appeals from decisions of Schout and Schepens. In 1664, 
Charles II of England in his large, generous way granted his 
brother, the Duke of York, a royal charter for the "whole 
region from the west bank of the Connecticut River to the 
east shore of the Delaware." The Duke, without pausing for 
the trivial details of proving title, promptly conveyed to 
Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret all the territory that 
now is New Jersey. The early voyages of the Cabots were 
the foundation of the EngHsh claim. The small fact that these 
voyages were made in 1498 was not permitted to disturb the 
legal mind. 

Colonel Richard Nichols with three ships of 130 guns and 
with 600 men appeared before New Amsterdam. Everybody 
knows how brave old Petrus wanted to blow up the fort and 
all within it rather than to surrender, and how the burgers 
declined to go to a glorious death. 

The English took the place and immediately renamed it 
New York. It seems to have been the most important change 


like History of Hudson County 

The Coming of the Englhh 

that they made. The inhabitants remained Dutch in every- 
thing save the flag that flew over them, and they accepted that 
emblem philosophically, holding fast to their ways, their trade 
and their lands, and letting emblems be emblems. The new 
rulers were more concerned with keeping the Colony than 
with changing it. They confirmed all the old grants, or most 
of them. 

At first the New Jersey territory was called Nova Cesarea, 
but the name New Jersey soon became the common one. 
In a charter granted on September 22, 1668, by Sir Philip 
Carteret, brother of Sir George and Governor of the new 
province, he confirmed the original grants to "the Towne and 
the Freeholders of Bergen and to the Villages and Plantations 
thereunto belonging." The township was estimated in this 
deed as comprising 1 1,520 acres, which was probably a mere 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


From the Mural by HoivarJ Pyle, Hudson County Court House 

guess since it seems to have been too little by half. It was 
about sixteen miles long and four miles wide "including the 
said Towne of Bergen, Communipaw, Ahassimus, Minkacque, 
and Pembrepock, bounded on the east, south and west by- 
New York and Newark Bays and the Hackensack River." 
By the conditions of the charter the freeholders were bound 
to pay "to the Lords Proprietors and their successors on 
every twenty-fifth day of March fifteen pounds as quit rent 
forever." The boundaries fixed in this charter remained 
unchanged till the Act of Legislature that in 1 843 constituted 
a new County of Hudson. 

Among other confirmations of previous grants we find a 
record of a deed "to Laurence Andriessen of the land in the 
tract called Minkacque under the jurisdiction of Bergen, north- 
east of Lubert Gilbertsen, southwest of Derrick Straetmaker, 

30 The History of Hudson County 

comprising fifty Dutch Morgen(a Dutch land measurement) 
for a quit rent of one penny English for each acre," and a con- 
firmation of patent to "Isaacsen Planck for a neck of land 
called Paulus Hook or Aressechhonk, west of Ahasimus." 

On July 30, 1 673, during the second war between England 
and Holland, a Dutch fleet took New York, and re-christened 
it New Orange. Aside from changing the name and calling 
on all the inhabitants to swear allegiance, which they did with 
cheerful good will, things remained as they had been; and when 
the peace of 1674 definitely turned over New Netherland to 
England, the colonists changed flags again unruffled and — 
remained Dutch. The record of the Oath of Allegiance to the 
Dutch government enumerates "78 inhabitants of Bergen and 
dependencies, of whom 69 appeared at drum beat." A report 
of 1680 describes Bergen as "a compact town" containing 
about 40 families. 

Gradually, to be sure, English people came in. New York 
was growing into a great town, and it drew merchants and 
adventurers from all parts, becoming indeed so metropolitan 
that even the pirateis of the seven seas esteemed it as an 
excellent market for their plunder. But on the western bank 
of the river the old habits of Holland remained so fixed that 
we still find characteristic Dutch traits, Dutch architecture, 
even Dutch customs from the Hudson to the Ramapos. 

In 1682, the Province of New Jersey was divided into four 
Counties — Bergen, Essex, Middlesex and Monmouth; and 
in 1693 ^^^^ County was divided into townships. In 1714, 
an Act gave a new charter to "The Inhabitants of the Town 
of Bergen." 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 31 

With the growth of population Paulus Hook became an 
important place. The Van Vorst family had acquired it in 
1669, and it remained in their possession till well into the 
Nineteenth Century. It was the natural terminus for ferries 
to New York and stage Hnes had been estabhshed early. By 
1764, Paulus Hook was more than a mere ferry landing. It 
was the terminus of the stage routes from Philadelphia. In 
the New York Mercury of that year we find the announce- 
ment that "Sovereign Sybrandt informs the PubHc he has 
fitted up and completed in the neatest Manner a new and 
genteel stage Waggon which is to perform two Stages in every 
week from Philadelphia to New York, from Philadelphia to 
Trenton, from Trenton to Brunswick and from Brunswick 
to the said Sybrandt's House and from said Sybrandt's House 
by the new and lately estabhshed Post Road (on Bergen 
which is now generally resorted to by the Populace, who 
prefer a Passage by said Place, before the Danger of crossing 
the Bay) to Powles's Hook opposite to New York where it 
discharges the Passengers. Each single person only paying 
at the Rate of Two Pence Half-Penny per mile from said 
Powles's Hook to said Sybrandt's House and at the rate of 
Two Pence per Mile after. — N. B. As said Sybrandt now 
dwells in the House known by the Sign of the Roebuck 
which House he has now finished in a genteel Manner and 
has laid in a choice Assortment of Wines and other Liquors, 
where Gentlemen Passengers and others may at all Times be 
assured of meeting with the best of Entertainment." 

Michael Cornelison also operated a stage line to and from 
Philadelphia and a ferry to New York. He had a tavern on 


T^he History of Hudson County 

¥ir%t Voyage of the Clermont y l8oj 
From the Lunette by C. T. Turner, Hudson County Court House 

Paulus Hook, and he was firm with passengers. They had to 
arrive from New York the day before. Between sunset and 
sunrise CorneHson considered the river officially closed. 

Paulus Hook also had a race track. It was established in 
1 769 by Cornelius Van Vorst and it was pounded democratic- 
ally by the hoofs of blooded horses belonging to New York 
sports and by the larger hoofs of the corpulent steeds belong- 
ing to the country side. There was a noble race in 1771, 
"round the course at Powles Hook, a match forThirty Dollars 
between Booby, Mug and Quicksilver, to run twice around 
to a heat, to carry catch riders." In the Bergen woods, the 
gentry had regular fox hunts on horseback in English style. 

No greater things excited these peaceful people till the time 
of the Revolution. Then, though that country was spared 
any great battles, it had its share of marches and counter- 
marches, skirmishes and alarms. It was a raiding ground, for 

and of the Old Village of- Bergen 33 

Waihin^on and His Officers 
From the Lunette by C. T. Turner, Hudson County Court House 

it was rich in fat cattle and plentiful farm produce, and as 
always in war, the non-belligerent population suffered all the 
hardships without any of the glory. It appears humorous now 
to read the wail of certain burghers who were stopped by a 
raiding party on their way home from church and stripped of 
their breeches; but undoubtedly it seemed a bitter thing to 
the owners. There were more serious things, too, and in 
plenty. There were sudden raids at night, with burnings and 
killings, or at the least with plundering that left homesteads 
stripped bare of cattle and goods. 

After Long Island was evacuated by Washington's troops 
and it was decided impossible to hold New York, much of the 
artillery and stores and many wounded were taken to the New 
Jersey shore for transportation to Newark. An account dated 
"Paulus Hook, September 15, 1776," says: "Last night the 
sick were ordered to Newark in the Jersies, but most of them 

34 T^he History of Hudson County 

could be got no further than this place and Hoebuck, and as 
there is but one house at each of these places, many were 
obliged to lie in the open, whose distress when I walked out 
at daybreak gave me a livelier idea of the horror of war than 
anything I ever met with before. About 8 a, m, 3 large ships 
came to sail and made towards the Hook. They raked the 
place with grape and killed one horse. On the night of the 
17th, the garrison tried to burn the ships which had anchored 
3 miles above. They grappled the Renown of 50 guns but 
failed. She cannonaded us again later. Colonel Duyckinck 
this morning retired to Bergen leaving Colonel Durkee on the 
Hook with 300 men." After three days' cannonading by 
ships, the Americans withdrew and thereafter the British held 
Paulus Hook. Bergen remained the headquarters of the 
American forces till it too was evacuated. 

The British were not permitted to hold even the Hook 
undisturbed. American parties made daring raids again and 
again, the most famous of these being known as the Battle of 
Paulus Hook. On the night of August 19, 1779, Major Lee 
(the celebrated Light Horse Harry of Revolutionary annals) 
brought his men across the Hackensack and through enemy 
territory along a perilous causeway through the swamps, falling 
on the British so suddenly and fiercely that he was able to 
carry back with him 7 officers and 100 privates. 

The loyalist I<iew York Gazette of August 28, 1780, said: 
"General Washington, the Marquis de la Fayette, Generals 
Greene and Wayne with many other Officers and a large body 
of Rebels have been in the vicinity of Bergen for some days 
past. They have taken all the forage from the Inhabitants of 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 35 

Columbia Academy^ Northeast Corner, Bergen Square 

that Place and left them destitute of almost everything for 
their:present and Winter Subsistence." 

The editors of the New York papers may be excused. They 
existed by grace of the British military authorities, and the 
military authorities had a hard time explaining why all their 
troops and warships and other plentiful means could neither 
force a passage of the Hudson past West Point nor break that 
"pitiful line of ragged Rebels" that held the long line all the 
way from the Ramapos to the upper Hudson. So they in- 
dulged themselves in the thin comfort of printing sarcastic 
things about them. The Royal Gazette^ published by the 
notorious Rivington, "printer to His Majesty in New York," 

36 T^he History of Hudson County 

was particularly martial about it, and it was this journal that 
delighted its readers with a succession of verses called "The 
Cow Chace" in which the Revolutionary Generals were agree- 
ably pictured as rustics, drunkards and dunces. 

"The Cow Chace" based on a raid by General Anthony 
Wayne on a British block house at Bull's Ferry near 
Hoboken, was the work of a young British officer named 
Major Andre. If he was a little crude in literary etiquette 
and a very poor poet indeed, he knew how to die as a brave and 
honest gentleman. He is said to have given the last canto 
of his epic to the editor of the Royal Gazette on the day 
before he left New York for his disastrous conference with 
Benedict Arnold at West Point. The final verses appeared 
in the edition that was published on the very morning when 
the gay, gallant young fellow was captured : 

'^Tet Bergen cows still ruminate 
Unconscious in the stall 
What mighty means were used to get 
And lose them after all. 

:;: * * :i: :^ 

And now I've clos d my epic strain 
I tremble as I show it, 
Lest this same warrior-drover, Wayne, 
Should ever catch the poet" 

The Nineteenth <3:W Twentieth Centuries 

HE first important changes in Bergen and its 
surrounding territory were brought by the 
development of transportation, and this de- 
1^ velopment was due chiefly to the rapidly 
growing business between New York and 
Philadelphia. Stage route terminals on the 
North River meant short ferriage as against the bay ferriage 
involved in the alternative New Brunswick-Amboy-Staten 
Island route. The thoughtful ferrymen of Paulus Hook 
did not permit the public to remain bhnd to it. Their adver- 
tisements are full of humane warnings against the " Dangers 
of the Bay." 

It was not a trifling consideration in the days before steam, 
when even the river ferriage was an adventure. The first river 
ferries were rowing skiffs or, more simply, canoes of hollowed 
soft wood logs. The river was no more tranquil than it is now 
and its width was far greater, for today there are parts on both 
shores where more than a thousand feet have been filled in. 
As late as 1 8 1 6, the mail was carried across in rowboats, and we 
have a dramatic narrative of a twenty -four hours' battle to 
rescue a mail carrier and his negro boatman from the ice-pack. 
Another narrative, not so well authenticated, but so pleasing 
that it ought to be true, is that of a Dutch planter and his wife 
who were in mid-stream when "a large fish leaped into their 
skiff" and knocked a hole into it. With admirable intelligence 
the honestly built wife sat on the critical spot and by virtue of 


'^he History of Hudson County 

her many and vast petticoats defeated the river's passionate 
attempt to sink them. 

As traffic increased, rowboats were supplemented, though 
not driven out, by sailing craft of a type known as periagua — 
a word presenting such difficulties to the casual spellers of the 
time that nearly every reference in early print enriches us with 
a different version from "peraga" to "pettiaugre." They were 
built of white-wood, modeled largely on the plan of the dug- 
out, and in time were made large enough to carry horses and 

Early in i 800 the ferrymen installed "horse boats" pro- 
pelled by horse-driven machinery. They held their own for 
many years after the Albany Gazette announced that "The 
North River Steam Boat (Robert Fulton's "Clermont") will 
leave Paulus Hook on the 4th of September (1807), at nine 
o'clock in the evening. Provisions, good berths, and accomo- 
dations are furnished. The charge for each passenger is as 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


follows; Newburgh, fare ^3, time 14 hours; Po'keepsie, fare 
I4, time 17 hours; Esopus, fare $5, time 20 hours; Hudson, 
fare $5^, time 30 hours; Albany, fare $7, time 36 hours." 

John Stevens who had bought Hoboken in 1 804, installed 
the first steam ferry in the world in 181 1. It made its trial 
tripinSeptemberandranbetweenHobokenand Barclay Street, 
New York, but before long the horse boat was reinstated. 
Similar lack of success attended the installation of the steam 
ferries "Jersey" and "York" built by Robert Fulton for the 
York and Jersey Steam Boat Ferry Company and put into 
operation in 18 12. Although an enthusiastic account had it 
that "we crossed the river in 14 minutes in this safe machine," 
cynics alleged that the safe machines more often needed an 
hour, and that when the "York" and the " Jersey " met in mid- 
stream there was time for painfully long contemplation before 
they succeeded in passing. 

These ferries were not small. Their length was 80 feet, 
only 20 less than that of the " Clermont" which was considered 

One of the Early Sleam Ferries 


The History of Hudson County 

A Stubborn Competitor of Steam, iSjO 

a great vessel. There were two hulls braced with the paddle- 
wheel suspended between, and with a deck over all 30 feet 
wide. The passengers sat in the open, but there was a hold 
for refuge in bad weather. 

In 1 8 16, the company had succeeded in earning only one 
dividend (of five per cent), which explains why Philip Howe 
who leased the West Hoboken or " Weehawk" ferry in 182 1 
contented himself with two sailboats and a horse boat. John 
Stevens also adhered to sail and horse after abandoning his first 
steam terry, and did not try steam again till 1822. By that 
time, however, it had become practical. The Canal Street ferry- 
boat "Pioneer," which went into commission in 1823, had a 
ladies' cabin warmed with open fireplaces and was lavishly 

In land transporation, steam met similar difficulties. In 
1830, Peter Cooper's locomotive "Tom Thumb," with Peter 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


One of the Firs: Steam Trains, iSjI 

Cooper himself in charge, was sadly defeated by a stubbornly 
unprogressive stage proprietor who raced it with a single horse 
hitched to the same kind of coach that was drawn by the loco- 
motive. All the stage companies in the land spread the glad 
news. They also told with infinite joy how the foolish and 
heinously dangerous locomotives showered passengers with 
flaming wood embers so that they had to protect themselves 
with hoisted umbrellas which, alas! caught fire themselves. 
Therefore though optimists went on laying rails, the stage 
business continued to prosper so healthily that in 1 832 at least 
twenty stage Hnes were crossing Bergen in all directions. 

In that year the Paterson and Hudson Railroad completed 
its tracks and began operation with a rolling stock of "three 
splendid and commodious cars each capable of accommodating 
30 passengers, drawn by fleet and gentle horses." Locomotives 
were introduced a little later, but with excellent caution the 

42 The History of Hudson County 

company announced that "the steam and horse cars are so in- 
termixed that passengers may make their selection & the timid 
can avail themselves of the latter twice a day." This is the 
road that was absorbed by the Erie Railroad and served as its 
route to tide-water till the Erie Tunnel was pierced in 1861. 

The main stage route to Philadelphia in early 1 800 is sup- 
posed to have been about along the present line of Grand, 
Warren, York and Van Vorst Streets, crossing a marsh at Mill 
Creek, following a road to old Prior's Mill, and connecting 
with the Old Mill Road. An old Eighteenth Century plank 
causeway over the meadows to Newark that "trembled under 
foot" was replaced about this time by the Newark Turnpike. 
It had dangers of its own. The records show that the great 
cedar swamps on both sides had to be burned off to drive out 

By 1 8 13, four stage Hnes were in hot competition for the 
New York-Philadelphia business. The title "stage-waggon" 
became too tame for these fervid rivals, and one of them in- 
vented the title of "machine." Mightily stirred by this poetic 
imagery, another named his stages "flying machines." From 
that day so long as a stage survived, every self-respecting 
stage driver referred to himself as operating a flying machine. 
The fastest flying machine of 1 8 13 left New York at i p. m. 
and did not fly into Philadelphia till 6 a. m. next day. 

In 1 820 the disintegration of Bergen Township began with 
the incorporation of the City of Jersey, re-incorporated in 
1 829 as Jersey City. Except for a moderate increase in popu- 
lation, the teritory in that period was little difl^erent from its 
aspect and manner in the old days. There were compararively 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


Park^ Homestead. (Vroom Street and Bergen A'venue) 

few inhabitants not of Dutch descent, and Dutch habit and 
thought were dominant. There were no buildings except dwel- 
Hngs and farm structures, and practically all the dwellings 
were of the stoutly typical long, low, comfortable Dutch style. 
From their ridge the Bergen men, looking down on what is 
now lower Jersey City with crowded factories and piers, saw 
a shore-land that still was largely amphibious, and when high 
tide covered the marshes, they could still distinguish the three 
"islands" that originally comprised the only solid land in that 
tract. Paulus Hook was the same pile of sand as in the begin- 
ning, with little except fishermen's huts here and there besides 


The History of Hudson County 

the race track and ferries. Northern Jersey City's water-front 
was practically empty save for a ferry house. Hoboken's Elysian 
Fields held unmarred the beauty which had won the high- 
sounding title, and a single little tavern sufficed to entertain 
holiday makers there. The placid population made barely 
enough employment for the single Court at Hackensack and 
for a few local Dutch justices of the peace. It was a happy 
land that made no history. 

Steam was winning, however, and soon its early demands 
gave a great impetus to the mechanical hand-crafts that it was 
destined to destroy. Jersey City, which had only about 300 
inhabitants at the time of its incorporation in 1820, is credited 
in a record of 1 845 with having 4000 population at that date. 
Among its larger industries were the works of the American 
Pottery Company, the Jersey City Glass Company employing 
about a hundred men, a famous fireworks establishment, a 
candle factory and many shops owned by individual me- 
chanics. There were two foundries. One was Fulton's at the 

The Monitor, iSb. 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 45 

corner of Morgan and Greene Streets, and it was at this 
foundry that some of the first ironclads for the Civil War 
were fabricated later. 

Fulton also had a dry dock. It appears to have had ample 
business, for by 1 845 the water-front business had become 
sufficient to justify the building of a vessel, the "Dudley S, 
Gregory," constructed at Burlington expressly for Jersey City 
trade. Two years later, Jersey City celebrated the docking of 
its first Cunarder, the "Hibernia." 

Bergen adhered to its agriculture and other old ways longer 
than the surrounding communities. Its inhabitants looked 
serenely down on Jersey City's accumulating factory chimneys 
and saw its increasing bustle and wealth without apparent 
desire to emulate it. Years after gas had made the streets 
below their height look like far-trailed strings of beads, they 
remained content with candles and sperm whale oil, and as 
late as 1858 there were only 60 gas consumers on the whole 

Bit by bit its less restful constituent parts broke away, much 
as the offspring of the good old burghers themselves was 
breaking away from the good old customs. In 1837, Bergen 
County's opulent girth was sharply reduced by taking away 
enough to make Passaic County. In 1 840 another legal opera- 
tion set off the County of Hudson. Bergen Township was like 
a fine Dutch cheese exposed to busy mice. It was nibbled at 
from all sides. In 1841, two years after full rail traffic had 
been opened between New York and Philadelphia by the New 
Jersey Railroad and Transportation Company, Van Vorst 
Township was nibbled off. Another nibble in 1 842 bit off the 


T^he History of Hudson County 

Bergen Square, l8j2. (From an Old Print) 

part north of the Pennsylvania Railroad, and made North 
Bergen from which Hudson City and Hobolcen were set off 
before i860. By the time Bayonne and Greenville had been 
cut out of Bergen, it was in much the same condition as the old 
families whose ancestral plantations had been reduced by suc- 
cessive street encroachments to mere town lots. When, in 
1868, a new charter was given to the City of Bergen, its area 
had decreased in inverse ratio to its wealth and real estate 
valuations. Finally, on March 17, 1870, popular vote con- 
soHdated Bergen, Hudson and Jersey City into the Greater 
Jersey City. 

T^he Trust Company ^New Jersey 

► HiLE workmen were excavating at Sip and 
Bergen Avenues for the foundation of the 
new eleven-story building of the Trust 
Company of New Jersey, they unearthed 
an ancient well. It was 45 feet deep, reach- 
ing down to a subterranean stream. The 
hollow logs that formed it fell apart as soon as they were 
handled. At such wells the early Van Vorsts, Van Homes, 
Van Winkles and others drew the water for the houses within 
the old palisades; and it was such a well, with troughs for 
cattle around it, that was dug in the center of Bergen Square 

Old Dutch Well 

48 T^he History of Hudson County 

by order of the Schout and Schepens of Bergen, ratified by 
the Council at New Amsterdam on February 9, 1662, 

If these men of 1660 had returned to Bergen a hundred 
years later they would have found no marvelous changes. 
Even in i860 they would have found much that was un- 
changed, despite steamships and railroads, streets lit with gas, 
and busy factories. All local transport still was done with 
horses, there were enough cattle, sheep, pigs and goats at large 
to keep a pound-keeper fully occupied, the salt meadows were 
lively with flights of duck and snipe, and sea fish and sea turtle 
still were being taken in the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers, 
the Kill von Kuil, and in Newark and New York Bays. 

It was left for the period within our own generation to 
change the world so colossally that today those Dutch ances- 
tors would indeed imagine themselves to be among sorcery 
and witchcraft. Automobiles flashwhere they plodded behind 
oxen and fat slow horses. Where the old windmill on Paulus 
Hook ground corn less than a hundred years ago, there stand 
and float implements of commerce whose use they could 
not comprehend. Their descendants are shot in electric 
trains under that North River which they ferried with 
labor and fear. 

Most amazing of all, however, would be the tall buildings; 
and it would be almost impossible for them to believe that the 
vastly reared piles of marble and granite are not palaces of 
their High Mightinesses the States General of rich Holland, 
but simply the modern successors of their little trading posts 
under trees where, with scales held in the hand, they weighed 
furs in exchange for wampum. 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 49 

They would not know what to make of a modern banking 
institution with mighty steel vaults; for wampum, the cur- 
rency of sea shells, was the leading medium of the New 
Netherlands during more of a century, and what little gold 
they possessed was " banked" in hiding places under the floors 
or in the gardens. 

The sea-shell currency was known by the Indian names of 
wampum or seawant. The first Dutch arrivals found it in 
general use among the savages, and adopted it partly from 
choice, but largely from necessity. Dutch currency was not 
only scarce and precious, but it was unknown to the Indians, 
and thus it occurred naturally that the financial system of the 
new colony estabhshed itself on a shell basis instead of a gold 

The shells were of a special kind and occurred in two colors, 
black and white. The Indians prized the black shells at a ratio 
about double that of the white. To the Dutch traders it seemed 
immensely like making money by magic to obtain valuable 
furs for common shells ; but as commerce grew, it happened 
inevitably that wampum could not be confined to trading with 
the Indians, and it had to be accepted by the Dutch in dealings 
among themselves. 

Soon the "easy money" revenged itself as easy money 
always has done. Wampum was held to be worth a stiver for 
three black shells or for six white ones, and as twenty stivers 
equaled a guilder (about 40 cents) it encouraged many finan- 
ciers to engage in the business of fishing industriously for the 
precious shell-fish. There was no law to forbid anybody from 
thus operating a submarine mint; and even if we repudiate 


'^he History of Hudson County 

Washington Irving's libelous insinuation that Director- 
General Kieft gave grants to his friends to rake and scrape 
every shell-bed from the Delaware to Cape Cod, it remains 
undeniable that the wampum financial system became fright- 
fully inflated. 

In 1690 there must have been almost a wampum panic, for 
the Council issued a Proclamation: "Whereas with Great Con- 
cern we have observed both Now and for a Long Time past 
the Depreciation and Corruption of the loose seawant, where- 
by occasion is given for repeated Complaints from the In- 
habitants that they can not go with such seawant to the Market, 
nor yet procure for themselves any Commodity, not even 
a White Loaf, we ordain that no loose seawant shall be a 
Legal Tender except the same be strung on one string: that 
six white or three black shall pass for one stiver; and of base 
seawant, shall pass eight white and four black for one stiver." 

Tht Old and Neiv Hudson County Court Houses, Jeney City 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 51 

Today wampum seems a ludicrously worthless currency; 
but centuries after wampum had vanished, governments and 
peoples continued to dream that government edicts and laws 
could establish values. There are no doubt many Bergen 
families that still possess, as historical souvenirs, such currency 
as the "shin-plasters" that were issued by Jersey City in 1862. 
Such money, issued by Federal, State and local governments, 
was, after all, simply a paper form of wampum; for, though 
it may have had more or less tangible value behind it, its chief 
characteristic was the value that had been given it by edict. 

It was left for our own era to establish a financial system 
founded on a sound basis. How sound that basis is was proved 
when the great war broke on the world. This, the greatest 
economic catastrophe that the modern human structure has 
known, immeasurably more calamitous than any other that 
ever occurred, was borne by the financial system of the United 
States almost without a tremor. 

Integrity of asset values is the one and only thing which 
made this extraordinary strength. The shock has been so 
tremendous that it tested the foundations of everything 
that man has devised, and only absolute soundness could 
resist it. But even had there been no catastrophe of war, the 
integrity of our modern American financial system has been 
tested in our time in a manner equally searching. 

During the past quarter century we have had a growth of 
commerce that has led us from terms of thousands of dollars 
to terms of millions, and from terms of millions to terms of 
many millions until we have learned to contemplate even such 
gigantic sums as billions. There could be no better illustration 

Bergen and 
Lafayette Branch 
Monti cello Avenue 
and Brinkerhoff 
St reel, Jersey City 

Hoboken Branch V\ 
12 and 14 
Hudson Place 

Toivn of Union 

Bergenline A'venue 
and Hackensack 
Plank Road 
Toivn of Union 

People's Safe 
Deposit "Branch 
Central A'venue 
and Boivers Street 
Jersey City 

Branch Offices of The Trust Company of New Jersey 

'The History of Hudson County 


of this great change and growth than is presented in the 
records of the Trust Company of New Jersey. It is only 
twenty-five years ago since four men, schoolmates in their 
youth, A. P. Hexamer, Henry Mehl, John Mehl, Jr., and 
William C. Heppenheimer met in the office of Russ & Hep- 
penheimer and organized the People's Safe Deposit and Trust 
Company. That was in the spring of 1896, and a bank was 
established at the corner of Hutton Street and Central 
Avenue, Jersey City, as Main Office, with a branch in the 
Town of Union. The venture was a success from its inception, 
as is evidenced by the first statement issued by the bank, cover- 
ing the nine months ending December 31, 1896: 

Capital SI00»000.00. 

Safe Deposit and Trust Company, 



President, • . WM. C. HEPPENHEIMER. 
Vice-President, - - - WM. PETER. 

Treasurer. - . . . JOHN MEHL. Jr. 

Secretary and Cashier, - - WM. T. VIDAL. 


Wm. Petir, Henrv Bkauticam. 

Hemby Mehl, Rudolph F. Ra£E, 

Richard Schlemm. M. D., 
John Mehl, Jr.. Alex. P. Hexamer, 

Wm. C. Heppenheimer, Edward Russ. 




Safe Deposit and Trust Company, 

Jersey City. N. J. and Town of Union, N. J. 


Cash on Hand and In Bank, - $143,441.03 

Loans and Discounts, ... 69,838.07 

nortgages, 9>,3>3-36 

U. S. Qov. Bonds, .... 90,046.87 
nuniclpal Bonds, .... 17,293.50 

Banking House, Furniture and Fixtures, 25,117.18 

$437.050-0 1 


Capitai, . - . • $100,000.00 

Deposits, . - . . 328,019.30 

Certified Cliecks, - - 7,308.31 

Undivided Profits (E»penses& Taxes Palil), 1,722.40 

Jersey city. N. J , 
Jairatr; l«. I89r 




54 The History of Hudson County 

In the spring of the year 1899, the same group of business 
men concluded to organize a trust company in the city of 
Hoboken, operating as a branch of the People's Safe Deposit 
and Trust Company of Jersey City. They were met by the 
law of 1899, then on its final passage in the Legislature, pre- 
venting the operation of branches which theretofore had been 
permissible. Nothing daunted, they organized the Trust 
Company of New Jersey in Hoboken, which also was suc- 
cessful from the start. 

In 1902, the Bergen & Lafayette Trust Company was 
founded in the Bergen Section of Jersey City, and in 1 9 1 1 , the 
Carteret Trust Company was organized and located in Journal 
Square at the Summit Avenue tube station, Jersey City. Both 
these companies were founded by the same men as the other 
two, and were similarly successful. 

In 19 13, the Legislature of the state of New Jersey passed 
an act permitting the consolidationof trust companies and their 
operation as branches with one main office. In accordance 
with this act, on the 20th day of September, 19 13, the 
People's Safe Deposit and Trust Company with its branch in 
the Town of Union, the Bergen & Lafayette Trust Company, 
and the Carteret Trust Company all went out of existence and 
were taken over by the Trust Company of New Jersey, with 
Hoboken as the main office. Since that date the other institu- 
tions have been operated as branches under the names of 
People's SafeDepositBranch,Townof Union Branch, Bergen 
& Lafayette Branch, and Carteret Branch. 

The following gentlemen formed the Board of Directors 
of the consolidation which had thus become the Trust 

and of the Old Village of Bergen SS 

Company of Newjersey : F. E. Armbruster, George A. Berger, 
Ernest Biardot, Chas. A. Coppinger, Walter M. Dear, Robert 
R. Debacher, Lawrence Fagan, John Ferguson, Louis Formon, 
Ephraim De Groff, Joseph Harrison, Edward V. Hartford, 
Ernest J. Heppenheimer, Robert E. Jennings, Anthony R. 
Kuser, John P. Landrine, Edward P. Meany, Walter 
Meixner, Wm. L. Pyle, John T. Rowland, Jr., C. Howard 
Slater, Edw. H. Schmidt, Edward J. Schroeder, Emil 
Schumann and J. Hollis Wells. 

The assets of the combined institutions at the date of their 
consohdation on September 20, 1913, were $17,656,778.78. 
On June 30, 1921, the total resources of the Company were 

With the completion of the new building at Bergen and Sip 
Avenues, Jersey City, it was decided by the Board of Direc- 
tors to move the main office there. The Hoboken office thus 
becomes the Hoboken branch, continuing the same Hne of 
business as heretofore. 

AfiV Main O^ice Buiuiing, Bergen an J Sip A-ienua, Jo ie\ Ql\ 

The New Building 
of the Trust Company ^New Jersey 

d^owERiNG from the crest of Bergen Hill, with 

command of view that includes the whole 
panorama of the Island of Manhattan, the 
Hudson River, the great harbor, and New 
Jersey inland to Newark and the Oranges, 
stands the new building of the Trust Com- 
pany of New Jersey. 

Located on the southwest corner of Bergen and Sip Ave- 
nues, Jersey City, it has a situation that not only gives it the 
utmost convenience of access from New York and all sur- 
rounding suburbs and towns, but that also makes it central 
to all the business activities of this industrial and commercial 
New Jersey territory. 

Past its doors go the principal trolley lines, as well as 
jitney and bus lines that radiate through Hudson County. 
It is on the lines of the Hudson and Manhattan River Tube 
trains, and branch of the Pennsylvania Railroad. 

Throughout its design and construction there has been a 
consistently executed plan for combining the most complete 
modern utility and comfort with the greatest beauty attainable 
in these tall structures which so admirably lend themselves 
to splendid effects. Its architects, Clinton & Russell, have 
made it a perfect expression of the Italian Renaissance style, 
attaining height and magnitude with effortless grace. 


T^he History of Hudson County 

-**^ .^v^r 

The Banking Room 

The building is of eleven stories and basement. Of these, 
the basement, besides accommodating a part set aside for the 
mechanical plant that serves the building, contains the fully 
equipped large safe deposit and storage vaults of the Trust 
Company of New Jersey. 

The banking room of the Main Office of the Trust Com- 
pany is on the first floor, the entrance to the offices being 
on Bergen Avenue and the entrance to the bank being on 
the corner. These premises are designed not only to give 
customers all modern banking conveniences, but to provide 
them with surroundings that shall satisfy a high sense of 
beauty. The decorative scheme is in the rich Italian marble 
known as Botticini, and the accompanying details are worked 
out in bronze and mahogany as the appropriate metals and 

and of the Old Village of Bergen 


woods. There is a ceiling in plaster with finely wrought 
decoration in flat relief. 

The upper ten stories are wholly for tenant purposes, there 
being about 60,000 square feet of space for offices. They are, 
of course, served thoroughly with all conveniences of the 
highly modern office building. 

There are three elevators, and they are of the high-speed 
traction type, thus assuring adequate service under peak load 
conditions. The completely fire-proof construction is sup- 
plemented with two flights of fire stairs, fire stand-pipe, hose 
connections, and many exits. 

Besides hot and cold water, steam and electricity, the 
building is provided with a system of pipes that convey 
hygienically cooled drinking water to all premises. The win- 
dow spaces are large, and plate-glass panes assure clearness 
of vision as well as good appearance within and without. The 
tiling and plumbing, as well as all other accessories for daily 
convenience, are of the best modern sanitary construction. 

Safe Deposit Faults 


Typical Floor Plan, Fourth to Tenth Floon inclusi-ve. New Mair Office Building of 
The Trust Company of New Jersey 

7>^^ Trust Company ^New Jersey 

Bergen and Sip Avenues (Journal Square) 
Jersey City. JA(\ J. 

Resources, June 30, 1 92 1 . . $37»343»633.43 


12 and i^ Hudson Place, Hoboken 


Central Avenue and Bozvers Street, Jersey City 


Monticello Avenue and Brinkerhoff' Street, Jersey City 


Bergenline Avenue and Hackensack Plank Road, Town of Union, N. J. 


William C. Heppenheimer, President 


Edward P. Meany, Fint ^ice-president Edwin H. Stratford, Secretary and Treasurer 

Walter Meixner, SixtA Vice-president William C. Veit, Assistant Treasurer 

Henry C. Perley, Comptroller 

F. E. Armbruster, Third Vice-president Joseph Harrison, Fourth Vice-president 

_ TT L • /f • T John T. Minugh, Assistant Treasurer 

Eugene Huberti, Assistant treasurer J ° ' 

TOWN OF UNION BRANCH ^ ^ _ o j rr- v 

George A. Berger, Mcond Vice-president 

Louis Formon, Fifth Vice-president EivizrA A. O'Toole 

Rudolph Sievert, Assistant Treasurer Assistant Secretary and Assistant Treasurer 


F. E. Armbruster ...... Third Vice-preiident 

George A. Berger ...... Second f^ice-president 

Ernest Biardot ......... Retired 

Chas. A. Coppinger . . . . . . . D. D. S. 

Walter M. Dear . . . Treasurer Evening Journal yissociation 

Robert R. Debacher . . . President ffm. Schimper & Company 

John J. Pagan ...... President Fagan Iron fVorks 

John Ferguson ...... President F. Ferguson & Son 

Louis Formon ....... FiJiA ^ice-president 

Ephraim De GrofF ........ Physician 

Joseph Harrison ...... Fourth ^ice-president 

Edward V. Hartford .... President Edward V. Hartford, Inc. 

Ernest J. Heppenheimer . . President Colonial Life Insurance Company 

Wm. C. Heppenheimer . ...... President 

Robert E. Jennings ........ Capitalist 

Anthony R. Kuser, President South Jersey Gas, Electric and Traction Company 
John P. Landrine ........ Hardivare 

Edward P. Meany ....... First Vice-president 

Henry Mehl ..... Treasurer John Alehl & Company 

Walter Meixner ....... Sixth Vice-president 

Wm. Peter .... President fVm. Peter Brewing Company 

Wm. L. Pyle ^Physician 

John T. Rowland, Jr Architect 

C. Howard Slater Real Estate 

Edw. H. Schmidt . . . . E. H. Schmidt Hygiene Ice Company 

Edward J. Schroeder .... Edtvard Schroeder Lamp fVorks 

Emil Schumann ........ Real Estate 

J. HoUis Wells Clinton & Russell 

Functions of 
7>^^Trust Company of New Jersey 

This Company transacts a general Trust Company and 
Banking business, and 

Receives Savings Deposits, and pays interest thereon, at the 
rate of 4 per cent per annum. 

Receives deposits subject to check, as in a bank, payable at 
sight or through the clearing house, allowing interest thereon 
at the rate of 2 per cent ; also issues certificates of deposits 
bearing interest. 

Lends money on approved security. 

Acts as Trustee under any mortgage or deed of trust, or for 
any individual who desires to provide for members of his 
family or others. 

Acts as Executor, Trustee, Administrator, Guardian, Receiver, 
Committee, Assignee or Registrar. 

Acts as Fiscal or Transfer Agent tbr any State, municipality or 

Accepts securities for safe keeping, remitting interest and divi- 
dends to the depositor. 

Acts as Agent in this State for corporations organized under 
the laws of the State of New Jersey. 

Rents Safe Deposit Vaults from $5.00 upward. 

This Company makes a specialty of the accounts of per- 
sons who, through lack of experience, desire assistance and 
advice in the management of their investments. 


.,1^ lillii:llll;illiilllilJlliilliill!ilyililli:lliilllH 

M 014 206 390 6 % i^'-.^