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From Historic Roadsides of New Jersey by The Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey, 1928
Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2002


This County, organized from the southern portion of Bergen County in 1840, is the smallest county in the State.

"Village of Bergen" founded 1616 by Dutch Colonists. Perhaps named from Bergen in Norway. Land purchased from the Indians 1658-9 by Director General Stuyvesant and Council of the New Netherlands. After the Colony passed into the possession of the English, a charter granted by Governor Carteret to the town and freeholders of Bergen provided for a church and free school supported by a tract of land exempt of tax.

During the Revolution the Americans built a fort near the center of the village on land belonging to one Newkirk, while the British built a fort about a mile southeast of Van Vorts Hill. The battle of Bergen took place July 19, 1780.

Stephen Ball was murdered at Bergen Point by Tory Refugees September 15, 1781. At the close of the Revolution, Cornelius Hetfield, leader of the refugees fled to Nova Scotia. In 1807, on returning to Jersey, he was arrested for the murder of Ball, but discharged on habeas corpus by Judge Pennington, who held that he was within the protection of the Treaty of Peace of 1783.

The Dutch Church at Bergen, organized in 1660, is the oldest in the State. In 1680 the church was replaced by one of stone, octagonal in shape. In 1773 this church was removed and a new one was erected. In 1664 the first public school in the State was established with Engelbert Stenbuysen, the church clerk as master.

Points of interest:
  1. The Sip Manor. Erected 1666 by Claas Ariance Sip, owned by his male descendants in 1902. Lord Cornwallis and his staff spent a night here in 1776 and tradition says hanged three spies on a willow tree in the garden before leaving next day.
  2. Appletree House. Academy Street off Bergen Square. Home of Herman Wagenen who owned it when Washington and Lafayette dined under the great appletree in the orchard, which was still standing when Lafayette visited Bergen in 1824.
Statue of Peter Stuyvesant, Jersey City
Marking the Site of the Village of Bergen, the First Permanent Settlement in New Jersey

Scene of the Battle of Paulus Hook
Now Grand and Greene Streets, Jersey City

In 1630, the patroonship of Pavonia was created in Michiel Parew of Amsterdam, embracing Hoboken. He did little to comply with the terms of his grant and the company bought him out. In 1633 the Company built two trading posts, one at Communipaw and one at Ahasimus or Jersey City. A third was built at Paulus Hook, named after Michael Paulusen, the patroon.

Points of interest:

  1. Grand and Greene Streets. The battle of Paulus Hook took place here August 19, 1779. The British fort, then on an island, now in the heart of the City, was at or near Grand and Greene Streets. Stormed by "Light Horse Harry" Lee and three hundred men, including Allen McLane's dismounted dragoons, with a loss of two killed and three wounded.
  2. Prospect Hall. End of Essex Street. Home of Col. Richard Varick, for thirty years President of Society of the Cincinnati. Erected 1807 by Major Hunt, mentioned by Washington Irving in Salmagundi. Varick, one of Washington's Secretaries and Mayor of New York while it was the national capitol. Lafayette entertained here in 1824.
  3. The White House. Site at northwest corner Sussex and Hudson Streets. Owned by Colonel Varick, rented to a Mrs. Hedden, who here entertained Aaron Burr while he wrote or arranged his memoirs in 1830.
  4. Van Vorst House. Wayne Street. Home of Cornelius Van Vorst. Sold by him to Edge family. Kitchen step was stone base of the statue of George III, Bowling Green, New York, which was overturned and melted in 1776. The stone which prior to becoming step to Van Vorst kitchen, was used to mark grave of Major John Smith of Royal Highland Regiment is now in New York Historical Society.
  5. Prior House. Wayne Street. Quarter of a mile from Van Vorst House. House and mill of Jacob Prior used by General Mercer, General Greene, and Lord Stirling. Stopping point of Lee returning from Paulus Hook.
From Hobocan-hackingh "the place of the tobacco pipe." In 1643 a farm house and brew house were built north of Hoboken by Aert Van Putten, but town did not grow. In 1783 John Stevens purchased site of Hoboken for eighteen thousand three hundred and sixty pounds and put it on sale in town lots in 1804.

Points of interest:

  1. Castle Point. Home of Colonel John Stevens. Part of the confiscated Bayard Estate. House built about 1784. Stevens workshop in Hoboken where he experimented and built the Phoenix Steamboat was on or near the site of Stevens Institute.
  2. Astor Villa. Corner of Washington and Second Streets. Home in 1828 of John Jacob Astor. Fitz-Greene Halleck, the poet, Martin Van Buren, and Washington Irving often visited Astor here.
Probably from Awiehawken, name of a stream.

Places of interest:

  1. Highwood. Site of home of James Gore King lying between Bulls Ferry Road and River near Stevens Estate. Two of the King family descended from Rufus King, were men of note-Chas. King, President of Columbia College and James Gore King, a banker known as "The Almighty of Wall Street." Here were entertained many people of note e.g., Daniel Webster, Nicholas Biddle, Charles Dickens and wife.
  2. Dueling ground on King Estate where July 11, 1804 Alexander Hamilton was killed by Burr on the spot where his son, Philip Hamilton, had been killed. DeWitt Clinton, Commodore Perry, and others fought here.
Bust of Alexander Hamilton
Marking the Scene of His Duel with Aaron Burr, Weehawken
Retirement Hall, Greenville
GREENVILLE or Pamrapaugh
Three miles south of Jersey City. (now part of Jersey City, editor's note)
Retirement Hall. Built 1760 by Captain Thomas Brown, one of the chief slave dealers in the Colonies. Brown adhered to the Colonies. In September, 1781, during a storm, Prince William Henry, later William IV, took refuge at Retirement Hall. Passed out of hands of Brown's heirs and became finally home of Greenville Yacht Club.

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