Citizens semi-centennial association, Ridgewood.

Ridgewood, Bergan County, New Jersey, past and present online

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Paranuis, November 2, 1776 ;

General Clinton was informed of return of Deputy Treasurer from
Paramus, November 27, 1776 ;

General Clinton was at Paramus December 17, 20 and 21, 1776,
and January 7 and 13, 1777 ;

General Heath was at Paramus, December 19, 1776 ;

General Clinton sent scouting parties from Ramapo as far as Par-
amus December 23 and 29, 1776 ;

Colonel McClaughey's regiment w^as at Paramus, January 1, 1777;

Stores at Paramus were under guard of eighty or one hundred men,
May 9, 1777;

Tea stored at Paramus w^as stolen, June 17, 1777 ;

Washington's army was cantoned from P^ort Defiance to Paramus,
August 9, 1779;

Headquarters of Major Henry Lee were located here, August 22,
1779, and September 4, 1779;

Headquarters of Lord Stii'ling were located here, on October 8, 1780.

On September 8, 1780, occurred the death of General Enoch Poor
at Kinderhamack, a few miles east of Paramus. His body was brought
to Paramus and on September 10th he was buried in the graveyard of
the First Reformed Dutch Church in Hackensack.

For a long time a branch of Washington's army was stationed in
the Ramapo Valley along the section now the Havemeyer estate, and
from there small detachments were thrown out across the country.

Paramus, lying between this station and the Hudson River, was
subject to the march and countermarches of troops belonging to both

At the time the American Army was retreating across New Jersey,
and before it was half-way to Trenton, General Heath came down from
his station in the highlands of the Hudson River and by the way of
Paramus made an attack upon the British and Tories at Tappan, New

It was on the route of the American Army as it moved from Newark
to King's Ferry, July 5, 1778; while one division of the French, in
the march of the allies to Yorktown, passed through Paramus to the

Under the "Old Elm," located in Ho-Ho-Kus on Franklin Turn-


pike (which starts near the Paramus Church), a granite marker was
placed on May 30, 1914, by tlie Kainapo Valley Chapter, Daughters
of the Kevolution, as marking the route of General Washington and
his troops from Fort Lee to Ramapaugh during the Revolutionary War,

When Aaron Burr was api)ointed in 1777 a Lieutenant-Colonel in
the American Army, he Joined his regiment at Ramapo, where it was
then stationed. At Paramus resided Mrs. Provost, the widow of Colonel
Provost, of the British Army. It is stated that while Burr commanded
the American lines at Fort Washington, he frequently came over to
Fort Lee, obtained a horse, and rode to visit the widow at Paramus,
returning to his headquarters before daylight. Mrs. Provost afterwards
became the wife of Burr and according to tradition was married to
him in the old Paramus Church.

It was while stationed here that Burr achieved his first military
success. His regiment had encamped at Ramapo, in September, 1777,
Avhen intelligence was brought that the enemy was in Hackensack in
great force and advancing into the country. Colonel Burr immediately
marched with all effective men, except a guard to take care of the
camp, and arrived at Paramus, a distance of sixteen miles, before sun-
set, where he found considerable bodies of militia in great alarm and

Colonel Burr set some of the militia to repairing fences which had
been destroyed by them in their endeavor to mobilize. Having taken
measures to secure the troops from surprise and also to provide pro-
tection for the corn fields, he marched immediately with about thirty
of the most active of the regiment and a few militia to ascertain the
position and numbers of the enemy.

About ten o'clock at night, when wdthin three miles of Hackensack,
Burr, receiving Avord that he was within a mile of the picket guard
of the enemy, led his men into a wood, ordered them to sleep until
he awakened them, and went alone to discover the enemy's position.
Returning about half an hour later, he awakened his men and ordered
them to follow, forbidding any man to speak or fire under pain of
death. Thus ])roceeding, they came shortly within a few yards of the
picket guard before their approach was suspected. Burr then gave the
word and his men rushed upon the enemy before they had time to
secure their arms. The greater part of the enemy were killed, a few
taken prisoners, and some accoutrements brought off without the loss
of a man.

An express was immediately sent to Paramus by Burr to order all
the troops to move and to rally the country. His success had so
encouraged the inhabitants that they turned out with great alacrity
and put themselves under his command. The enemy, however, probably
alarmed by these threatening appearances, retreated the next day, leav-
ing behind them the greater part of the plunder Avhich they had taken.

One of the detachments thrown out by the patriot army stationed
in the Ramapo Valley, was located at Hoppertown, now Ho-Ho-Kus,
and operated as a sub-base for smaller parties. The presence of this
force at Ho-Ho-Kus, together with the larger encampments at Ramapo


and at Paramus, subjected the country to the depredations of the British
and Tories in their numerous attempts to reach the American stations
and to destroy the possible sources of supplies. Some of these sorties
were as follows:

About January 1, 1776, shortly after General Clinton had garri-
soned his troops at Ramapo, the British, numbering between five and
eight hundred troops, arrived at Haekensack. After imprisoning a
numljer of the citizens in sympathy with the American cause, they
marched on to Paramus, where they plundered some of the inhabitants
of that neighborhood^ afterwards returning to Haekensack with citizens
of Paramus, whom they also confined in tlie Haekensack jail.

On the night of December 27, 1776, several families at Paramus
were plundered in a raid and several friends of the American cause
were taken away as prisoners.

During the night of April 21, 1779, the Tories under John Van
De Roder took possession of the mill belonging to Jonathan Hopper, a
captain of the militia. Hopper was born and raised at Hoppertown,
but was then running a grist and saw mill at Wagaraw, on the present
site of Alyea's Ice House, where Maple Avenue crosses the Passaic
River to Paterson. Hopper's wife, hearing the noise, awoke her hus-
band, and told him that some persons were in the mill. He arose,
went to the door and, demanding to know who was there, Avas shot
through the hand. The Tories then rushed into the house, seized him,
and forced his wife to hold a light w^hile they ran him through nineteen
times with bayonets and killed him.

On March 23, 1780, two parties, each consisting of about three
hundred British and Hessian soldiers, landed, the one at Closter, several
miles above Fort Lee, and the other at \Yeehawken, the former force
to penetrate the country northward to Hoppertown and to attack the
cantonment at that place, and the other to surprise the town of Haeken-
sack and to push on and then attack the front of the American forces
at Paramus. The Court House and several dwellings in Haekensack
were burned and the entire route marked by devastation. At the Par-
amus Church, wliere the two invading forces joined, they met the
militia and citizens of the community, with the Continental troops sta-
tioned there, and were driven back. They succeeded in taking with
them, however, about fifty prisoners, mostly citizens and members of
the militia, who were thrown in the Old Sugar House Prison, many
never to return.

Leaving New York City on April 15, 1780, a body of the British
forces, consisting of two hundred horse and three hundred foot, landed
in New Jersey at several points. Forming a junction near tlie English
neighborhood, the whole detachment proceeded to the New Bridge on
the Haekensack, Avhere they arrived early in the morning of the 16th.
After a skirmish with tlie American forces at that place, they continued
their march to Paramus, coming in sight of the church a little after
day-break. Finding the American forces had fallen back to Hopper-
town. they proceeded until discovered by a picket at the bridge upon
the Saddle River. Although tlie small American force under INIajor
Byles was taken by surprise, it heroically attempted to defend its posi-


tion. During the engagement, however, Major Byles was mortally
wounded, and his lieutenant killed. Overwhelmed by numbers, the
Americans were compelled to surrender. The American losses by death,
wounded, and those taken prisoner, were one Major, two Captains, four
Lieutenants, and about forty rank and file, while the British lost
seven rank and file killed, two Sergeants, and twenty-nine rank and
file wounded.

After the encounter the British burned the house of Garret Hopper,
who had bravely seconded the endeavors of the party to defend it, and
wlio was ])adly wounded in the fray. They also burnt hi« mill and his
hrotlier's house.

In commemoration of the events connected with the community's
history during tlie War of the American Revolution, the New Jersey
Society, of the Sons of the American Revolution, in conjunction with
Paramus Chapter No. 6, on July 4, 1914, placed and dedicated the
following bronze tablet upon the Paramus Church building:





ARMY IN 1778









JULY 4th, 1914

Paramus, as seen by an of^cer while in encampment here in 1778,
is described as follows :

' ' This town is chiefly inhabited by Dutch people. Their church and
dwelling houses are built of rough stone, one story high. There is a
peculiar neatness in the appearance of their dwellings, having an airy
piazza supported by pillars in front, and their kitcliens connected at
the ends in the form of wings. The land is remarkably level and the
soil fertile, and being generally advantageously cultivated, the people
appear to enjoy ease and a happy competency. The furniture in their
homes is of the most ordinary kind, such as might be supposed to
accord with the fashion of the days of Queen Anne. They despise
the superfluities of life and are ambitious to appear always neat and
cleanly and never to complain of an empty purse."


After the Revolutionary War, the agreeable climate and the fertility
of the soil attracted new settlers, who soon became established in the
community. Tlie growth of the community, however, was slow, owing
to the fact that the people were widely scattered upon farms, and means
of communication and of transportation were meagre and unsatisfactory.

The earliest settlements were near the Paramus Church, but soon



after the year 1800, a large area of country was developed, extending
from the present site of Wortendyke to Lydceker's Mills (now Midland
Park). This region was named Newtown by Cornelius Wortendyke.

Lydeeker's Mill, which was located a few rods below the present
stone mill (occupied today by H. J. Wostbrock engaged in the manu-
facture of flannels), was a flour mill to which the farmers for many
miles around brought their grain. The stone mill was built by Abra-
ham Van Riper about the year 1826, and Midland Park was then
known as Van Riper 's Mill. Other mills in operation in this neighbor-
hood were early known as Baldwin's Mill, the Quackenbush or Post
Mill, and the Turning Mill.

The Stone Mill, about the year 1829, Avas used by Messrs. Van
Winkle and Park for the manufacture of cotton yarn and warps. When
they later sold out to Messrs. Munn and Whitehead, this mill and the
other three were operated in the manufacture of cotton yarn, and the
old Lj'decker IVIill was converted into rooms for making and sizing
cotton warps. Ira Munn, who was related to Abraham Godwin of
Revolutionary memory, in his honor about this time gave to this part
of Newtown the name Godwinville — a name it retained for nearly
forty-five years.

Abraham Godwin, when a lad of from twelve to fifteen years of
age, enlisted with his two brothers under Colonel Lewis Du Bois in
the Fifth Regiment, New York State Line. He served from January
1, 1777, to January, 1782, reaching the grade of Fife-Major. One
brother, Henry, became Captain of the Seventh Company of the Fifth
Regiment, while the other brother, David, served as a drummer in
Henry's Company.

After the war, and until his death on October 6, 1835, in the
seventy-fourth year of his life, Abraham Godwin was the proprietor
of the Passaic Hotel in Paterson.

The settlement of Godwinville progressed and soon covered the terri-
tory between Paramus and Newtown (Wortendyke) and included within
its boundaries the present municipalities of Ridge wood. Glen Rock, and
Midland Park.

The centre of the present site of Ridgewood in the early forties had
only one house, a small stone building, located south of the Play House
on the summit of the rise just west of the Erie Railroad tracks.
The house was owned by a man named McSweeney and afterwards
was occupied by a Danish family named Thompson. This old stone
house finally did service as Ridgewood 's first lockup for lawbreakers.

The next house on the west side of the tracks was on Godwin
Avenue and was the home of David D. Ackerman, the grandfather
of the present Ackerman Brothers, the grocers.

Further west on Godwin Avenue, on the rise just beyond the hollow
at Garfield Place, stood a house then occupied by James Jenkins and
now occupied by William Runk.

Next came a house, used as a tavern bv James Blauvelt, situated
on the present Martin property, at the head of Cherry Lane (Lincoln
Avenue). On this same site Garrett I. Hopper afterwards had his
home. On the northwest corner of Cherry Lane and Godwin Avenue



a blacksmith and wheelwright shop was erected and kept at one time
by Mose Decker.

In front of this shop a public whipping-post, not an uncommon
object in that period, had been set up in a triangle formed by the
turning of Cherry Lane in both directions into Godwin Avenue.

At the junction of Ackerman and Doremus Avenues stood the stone
portion of the house now occupied by Garrett G. Ackerman.

East of the railroad tracks other houses of that period were as
follows :

On the site of the present Opera House stood an old stone farm-
house, said to be owned by a family named Archabald. The barn was
k)cated on the east side of Oak Street. Near it was the well, which
still remains and which is now covered by a large flat stone. Few who
pass the stone realize that it marks the site of the well whose water
for many years slaked the thirst of many of the former inhabitants.

The stone portion of the house, noAV the office of Dr. W. L. Vroom,
on West Eidgewood Avenue, Avas built and occupied by Peter J. Hopper,
the father of Albert P. Hopper.

The next house on Ridgewood Avenue was on the Wesley Van Em-
burgli place and was owned and occupied by Samuel Hopper.

On the west side of iMaple Avenue, on the property now owned by
Samuel D. Graydon and near the gate to its entrance, stood an old
stone house with its end to the road. This was originally owned by
Peter Van Emburgh. It was demolished in 1864 and its stones were
used for the facing of a fence which has likewise disappeared.

Where the Cameron property is now located stood a stone house
which was remodeled in 1850 by its owner, a Mr. White, from whom
Mr. Cameron purchased the property.

At the corner of Maple Avenue and Cameron Lane stood the stone
liouse owned and occupied by Cornelius Zabriskie, who carried on a
bhicksmith business at the northeast corner of Maple and Harrison
Avenues. His shop w^as built about 1800 and demolished in 1850.

Just north of the Cornelius Zabriskie house and on the present site
of the residence of E. L. Zabriskie, stood an old stone house with its
end to the road. This house was standing in 1811 when the property
was purchased by Mr. Zabriskie 's great-grandfather. It was torn doAvn
in 1850 and in that year the present Zabriskie house (recently remodeled)
was built by A. J. Zabriskie.

Near the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook, a little south of Ridgewood Avenue and
on the right-of-way of tlie present trolley line, stood the home of Garret
A. Hopper, a brother of Samuel.

On the corner of Ridgewood Avenue and Paramus Road stood a
grist and saAvmill, built and operated by General Andrew H. Hopper,
and destroyed by fire in 1860. A second mill Avas put up by a Mr.
Jaroleman in 1861 and conducted as a cider, grist and saAvmill until
it burned a few years later.

The residence of Henry Van Emburgh was located on the east side
of Maple Avenue, northeast of the present Ridgewood Commercial Com-
I^aiiy's garage. It was afterwards occupied by his son, George Van



Emburgh, and later purchased by Captain Samuel Dayton and used
as his homestead, finally being destroyed by fire.

The house located at the northwest junction of Prospect Street and
Maple Avenue, and still occupied, was formerly the homestead of Har-
manus Van Derbeek, and was built over one hundred years ago. An-
other house dating back a hundred years is the old Van Dien House,
situated on Grove Street near Pleasant Avenue.

These houses, together with the old stone houses on the Paramus
Road, referred to in that part of this book which describes the "Early
Dutch Homes," comprised the nucleus of what is now Kidgewood. At
that time the centre of the Village was considered, geographically, as
covering the twelve or fifteen acres of land included between Prospect
Street on the East, a line about one hundred and fifty feet West of
the Erie tracks on the West, Ridgewood Avenue on the North, and a
line passing near the Broad Street Colored Church on the South.

The opening about the jeav 1848 of the Paterson and Ramapo Rail-
road, which connected with the Erie at Suifern, and with the Paterson
and Hudson River Railroad at Paterson, gave a new impulse of growth
to the little settlement, which at that time consisted practically of two
or three intersecting roads and scattered farms.

The nearest station on the new railroad was located at Ho-Ho-Kus.
When the manufacturers at Godwinville, with their Paramus neighbors,
asked for a station nearer by, they were refused, and it was only
after a controversy of three years that they secured a station at the
Godwinville Road Crossing (the present junction of Ridgewood, Frank-
lin and Godwin Avenues). At first only freight trains stopped. It was
two years more before the place w^as made a stop for passenger trains
and a platform built. In 1853 several New Yorkers, settling in the
village, started the erection of homes in the vicinity of the station.
In 1859 a depot was erected by the residents, commutation to New York
City having started a year earlier.


The excitement in Bergen County, when the news of the attack upon
Fort Sumter was received, was equal in intensity to that in any section
of the country. War measures were spoken of and flags were displayed
on many buildings. As in the Revolutionary times, the people were
divided in sentiment, some feeling that the war was unrighteous and
unnecessary. The people of this community, however, although differ-
ing strenuously in political views on questions of governmental policy,
were for the most part loyal to the Union. Their enthusiasm was suffi-
cient to secure the erection of two spacious buildings for drilling military
recruits. From these drill halls, representing as they did two opposing
political parties, many young men went forth to do or die for their
country. One of these buildings was called Union Hall, and was built
by the Republicans. The first speech made within its walls was delivered
by Horace Greeley. The building has for many years been a chapel
connected with the Parannis Church. The otlier, demolished a few
years ago, was a clapboard building located east of Ho-Ho-Kus on the
property of John Quackenbush. It was built by the Society for Pro-



mulgation of Education in Bergen County, and was used as the drill
room of the National Guard of Ho-Ho-Kus, of which Abram Van Em-
burgh was Captain. When this company enlisted in the Civil War, it
became part of the Twenty-second Regiment, of which Captain Van
Emburgh was made Lieutenant-Colonel on February 20, 1863.

The morning after Fort Sumter was fired upon. Rev. E. T. Corwin,
then pastor of the Paramus Church (he died in 1914 and is buried
in Valleau Cemetery), fastened a flag to a pole and thrust it out of
the belfry of the old church. When the congregation came to church
the following Sunday they found "Old Glory" waving in the breeze
above them. Some of the members objected, telling the pastor it was
not right to have the flag there inasmuch as there was a division of
opinion in tlie congregation. They insisted that the flag must come
down. Two patriotic members, William Ranlett and John Jacob Za-
briskie, approved of the pastor's action and declared that they would
protect him in keeping the flag on the steeple. During the week a
committee of the objectors called on Mr. Corwin and demanded the
removal of the flag before the next Sabbath's service. Mr. Ranlett, on
tlie other hand, immediately armed and equipped twenty-five men at
his own expense.

On the following Sunday morning, after the congregation had
assembled on tlie church grounds, the committee approached the pastor
and informed him that, as they had stated before, the flag must come
down, and come down at once. As they started toward the belfry,
the pastor halted them and said: "I told you our flag should wave
above us until the war is over. I have twenty-five men who will help
me protect it. The first man who touches that flag to tear it down
will be shot!"

In the midst of the excitement, tlie committee and their sympathizers
gathered their families and left the scene, many never to return again
to worsliip in the Paramus Church.

The flag lasted half a year and was replaced by others until the
close of the war.

The majority of the citizens of this vicinity, responding to their
country's call, were enlisted in Companies B and D of the Twenty-
second Regiment, New Jersey Infantry, which was known as the Bergen
Countv Regiit'ent. Before departing to join their regiment, they
assembled in the Guard Room. Rev. Mr. Corwin, after preaching a
farewell sermon, gave each man a copy of the Holy Bible to take
Avith him. These companies were originally made up of the following
oi^ccrs and men; and those of this vicinity as recalled at the present
time are indicated by stars as follows :

* Ridgewood.
** Ho-Ho-Kus.
•** Glen Rock.


**(^>ptain Aliraliam Van Embnr]i
**First Lieutenant Jacob Z. Van Blaroom
**2n(l Lieutenant Benjamin Z. Van Eniburrjli











Sergeant Andrew Van Emburgh
Sergeant Charles Van Riper
Sergeant Thomas Eckerson
Sergeant James A. Osborne
Sergeant Theodore V. Terhune
Corporal Aaron Van Derbeck
Corporal Abraham H. Hopper
Corporal Cornelius D. Ackerman
Corporal Daniel Van Blarcom
Corporal Stephen D. Bartholf
Corporal Theodore Bamper
Corporal John Acker
Corporal Walter S. Terhune

Abrams, Elias
Abrams, Henry
Ackerman, Peter
Allen, Henry T.
'* Banta, Thomas T.
Bertholf, Peter
Brower, Kobert ]).
Cap, (leorge
Conklin. John E.
Cooley, Edward
De Baiin, Isaac V. B.
Doremus, William
Doty, Thomas E.
Durling, John
Edwards, James W.
English, William
Finch, Isaac P.
Finch, John
Finch, Joseph
Harrop, John
Hennion, Andrew
Hennion, Garret O.
Hopper, Albert G.
Hopper, David
Hopper, Garret U.
Hopper, Henry L.
Hopper, John A.
Hopper, Joseph B.


Howard, Cornelius

Jeuks, John G.

Kent, Cornelius C.

Lake, John

Lenox, George
'■ Lutkins, John H.

Lutkins, Ricliard
'' Mabey, Frederick B.
^ Magroff, Martin
'' Marinus, Christian

]\Iarsh, George W.
' Masker, Lewis

May, John J.

Meeker, William D.

Messenger, Philip

Miller, William H. G.
' Myers. John J.

Myers, Martin J.

Osborne, William A.
■ Perry, James

Peterson, Barney

Pulis, Jacob

Ryan. Patrick

Ryerson, Albert B.

Schmide, Simon

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Online LibraryCitizens semi-centennial association, RidgewoodRidgewood, Bergan County, New Jersey, past and present → online text (page 2 of 19)