«HACKENSACK - HERITAGE TO HORIZONS PUBLISHED BY: THE HACKENSACK BICENTENNIAL COMMITTEE TERRY LARK, EDITOR DR. IRWIN TALBOT, PHD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR ...»
Burr, leading his men between (two sentinels) at the moment when they were farthest apart he was almost upon the sleeping picket before a man of it began to stir. When at a distance of 10 yards, Burr was challenged by a sentinel, whom he immediately shot dead, and then gave the word of attack. One officer, a sergeant, a corporal, and 27 privates, fell into their hands on this occasion. Only one of the pickets in addition to the sentinel made any resistance and he was overpowered after he received two bayonet wounds. The last words of the dying soldier were that...
"It grieved him sore to the heart that he had served his King upwards of twenty years, and at length must die with a charged musket in his hand."
It was on March 23, 1780, that during another British raid, the Courthouse was burned along with several houses, as the following record J- proves in an extract of a letter from Hackensack,
dated March 24, 1780:
"Yesterday morning at 4 o'clock, a Lt. Col. M'Pherson, of the 42nd Regiment, made a descent upon this place by way of Little Ferry. Soon after they entered the town they burnt the Courthouse, and also Messrs. Boyd' s and Chappies's dwelling-houses, and then proceeded to Paramus."
According to another letter, referred to in the New Jersey Archives as a "Letter from New Barbadoes, 1780" the British were again in this area about May 30th of that year. The letter reads.....
"This morning a detachment of about 300 of the enemy, under the command of Colonel Buskirk, made a descent into this county. Their professed objective was to murder and carry off the militia. They divided themselves into two parties, each going upon a scout. They met at the house of J. Zabriskie at about one o'clock A.M. and mistaking each other for the rear guard (as they call it) fell upon each other in a most furious manner, and by the discharge of their muskets and use of the bayonet, they appear to have made a dreadful slaughter; the ground 'round the house being in a measure covered with blood, and in some places the clotted gore remained in heaps when I arrived at the spot, which was five o'clock. After this, they finding their mistake, retreated over and took the bridge (New Bridge) to prevent our men pursuing them.
'Tis said they had 7 or 8 killed on the spot, besides wounded. All were carried off.
September 8, 1780, marked the death of the Continental Army's Brigadier General Enoch Poor, who served the State of New Hampshire under the command of the Marquis de Lafayette.-'He is believed to have been shot in a duel with a Colonel who served under him. Poor was buried on Sunday, September 10, with honors of war in the graveyard of the Old Dutch Reformed Church.
His grave can still be visited today, as can a monument constructed in his memory near the Courthouse. Generals Washington and Lafayette were present at the burial.
The surrender of the British army, under Lord Cornwall is at Yorktown, Virginia, in the Fall of 1781, was the signal for great rejoicing throughout the Colonies. The state of jubilation over the great success of the American and French armies was so universal that there must have been quite a few joyous local citizens who joined in the celebration. The war, however, was not yet over for the inhabitants of our area. Despite the Yorktown victory, the British still held New York City. Attacks were launched from both New York and Staten Island on the countryside.
The vindictiveness of loyalist troops kept alive the bitter threat of raids, pillaging and looting in this area. The widespread illegal trading with the enemy by local merchants continued to plague the Governor of New Jersey, William Livingston, and his patriot leaders in their attempt to block all traffic with the British.
It was all over, finally, in March of 1783, when word of the Treaty of Paris signing on January 20, 1783, reached America. Reconciliation came swiftly to those places where there had been no fighting and where Tories had not remained near patriots and tried to injure them.
But in the Hackensack Area, after 7 years of war, Dutch patriots could not forget their neighbors' treacheries nor understand the indifference of those away from the neutral ground who never suffered from Tory violence. Strangers to the Hackensack Valley found the patriots' hatred for Toryism at odds with their religious ideals.
It was a direct result of this strong hatred for those who favored the British that many Tories lost their homes and property to the victorious patriots On November 10, 1783, Washington received
and made addresses to militia officers and churchmen in Hackensack. He said:
"To the Militia Officers of Bergen County Gentn: I participate most sincerely in the joy you express at the conclusion of the war, and the reestablishment of the blessings of Peace.
Persuaded of the rectitude of our cause, and relying on the divine aid for its success, I accepted an arduous employment, the event has justified my most enlarged expectation; and if to the consciousness of having attempted faithfully to discharge my duty, I may add the approbation of my fellow Citizens, my happiness will be compleat.
To you Gentn, who have experienced in no small degree the fatigues of a military life, I must return these my last public thanks for the cheerful and able assistance you have often afforded me. May you as a reward of your virtuous conduct, enjoy the uninterrupted fruits of that Independence which has been procured at the hazard of our lives."
General Washington had great presence and was loved and trusted by his men, which accounts for the terrible hardships they endured to stand by him. This contributed to their tremendous stamina and eventual success. He had a sense of discipline and seldom lost his temper, a man of principle and conviction. His brilliant anticipation of the British Army's movements made the socalled retreat a costly defeat for England. All odds seemed to be against him and would have broken the spirit of a man of lesser strength, but he overcame all obstacles. His little army of barely 14,000 men lacked arms and supplies.
Frederick the Great, the old Prussian soldier, said that Washington's tactics in the Delaware River movements were the most brilliant achievements recorded in military annals. Howe's plan to cut the Colonies in two by taking the Hudson River failed. It dragged out and instead of ending an uprising in a few weeks, they found themselves involved in a long war in which the Colonies emerged as an independent nation.
Chapter V Hackensack begins to grow...
Hackensack has certainly come a long way since Dr. Van Imburg built the first dwelling here late in the 1600s, located about where the Courthouse is now. But it has been a slow, gradual change which has molded Hackensack into its present form.
The Dutch Reformed Church, known affectionately as The Old Church On The Green, first opened its doors on November 15, 1696. The Church served as an important meeting place for the village residents for many years, and many of the first homes in Hackensack were built to be near it.
In 1709, Hackensack, (officially named New Barbadoes until 1921) became part of Bergen County and the County Seat as a result of its importance and location. The Portuguese discovered Barbadoes in the West Indies and the name is of Portuguese or Romanian origin. It means "bearded", so named for the trees on the island with pendants of beardlike moss.
Therefore Hackensack's name for many years, "New Barbadoes" is a Portuguese or Romanian name. (Incidentally, the only time that Washington left the country was to go to Barbadoes. At.the age of 19, he accompanied his half-brother there in the hope that his brother's health might be restored.) By the year 1834, Hackensack had become the site of 150 homes, some 1,000 residents, three churches, two academies, one girls' boarding school, ten shops, three taverns, two paint factories, one coach maker, two tanneries, two hatters, three smiths, and four shoemakers. By 1840, just six years later, Hackensack boomed to a population of 2,631 and added six sawmills to its list of businesses.
In the middle 1800s, Jersey farmers cared little about beautiful front lawns. Grass was utilitarian and kept two or three feet high and trimmed by grazing sheep or colts. There was usually a well for water dug near the house, and behind larger homes there was a small square structure known as the "out kitchen". Here the family laundering, cooking and baking of breads and pies was done. A nearby woodpile supplied the fuel for cooking and heating.
Dutch homes had simple handmade furniture. Often they had cedar chests to keep the winter woolens and their one elegance was having a large grandfather's clock. Floors usually were covered with homemade carpets designed from rags. There huge Dutch fireplace in the kitchen was the home's focal point, where family activities took place all the long winter. Cleanliness was thought to be next to Godliness by the Dutch who scrubbed everything at least once a week.
The staple evening meal was cornmeal mush and milk, and corn became their most important crop. Since rye grew better than wheat it was the ingredient for the good bread. Apples, too, were a staple crop and some were used to distill into "Jersey Lightning" or apple brandy. The strawberry crop in this county was started in Hackensack and the state's farmers made their own baskets during the winter, gathering the hickory and turning it into splints and fashioning baskets, a personal mark was affixed to insure their return, much as lobster pots are made distinctive for the same reason. Later, this strawberry crop was so important that special trains ran on the lines into Hackensack Valley during the strawberry season.
The Northern School of Hackensack Township, established in 1800, was typical of many early schools. It was a small red building with two small windows on each side and one in the rear. It was furnished with desks on three sides of the room facing out from the wall, with seats within this enclosure for the smaller children, the stove being in the center of the room. Upstairs, another room was used for meetings. Anyone who wanted to go further than the early grades of school attended the celebrated Washington Academy in Hackensack, which then rivaled the distinguished Princeton and Rutgers. Before New Jersey created free public schools in 1871, there was a private high school in the Schraalenburg section of Bergen County with tuition costing $15 per quarter for the pupils in the senior department, and $7.50 per quarter for pupils in the primary department, and special additional charges for instruction in art, piano and French.
Although the people here were of French, Scotch, German and English ancestry as well as Dutch, they all spoke Jersey Dutch among themselves, went to a Dutch church on Sundays, and proudly called themselves Jersey Dutchmen. They could speak English without an accent and write it fluently by this time but Bergen County people preferred to remain as Dutch as possible, at least until 1850.
In 1850 Thomas Demarest and other local men had built a railroad connecting with the Erie line that ran to Suffern. This Northern Valley Railroad made Hackensack township flourish with population, as people could then commute to New York and Englewood.
The Frances Westervelt book, History of Hackensack, notes:
"It is interesting in these days (1922) with the complaint of the high cost of living, to review the prices that were established by the court for the supplies for the Continental Army located in Bergen County in 1779-80. For the first year mentioned wood was $8 a cord; hay, $4 a hundred weight; rye and corn by the bushel was $14... The following years... Hay of the first quality was $200 a- ton, Corn and rye were $18 a bushel... a cord of wood was worth $12.”
The Westervelt book goes on:
The following is taken from the recollections of the late George J. Ackerman, a prominent citizen of Hackensack, which was first published in 1902. The recollections are from 50 to 60 years antedating the publication when there were no names to any of the streets in the village (1840Main Street was known as Front Street and our State Street was the Back street. They joined at the Courthouse and became the Hoboken Turnpike (now Hudson Street) and had a toll gate until 1915. Essex Street was "The King's Road" going from Hackensack to Paramus with a toll gate on the Bergen side of the Passaic River, and was known as the Lower road.
In the area huckleberries grew in abundance and could be gathered by anyone. "Ceasar Monroe, a good old colored man and his wife, had a little shanty opposite the True Reformed Church (on Hudson Street) where they sold root beer and cakes called bolivars, round hearts and candy. It was quite a favorite resort for the young people downtown...
At the triangle formed by Main, Hudson and Essex Streets stood a low wooden building which was used as a tannery...On the corner of Main and Essex was the house of Henry Hall, a noted pyrotechnist, who manufactured fireworks and gave exhibitions at Niblo's Garden, New York...Next door ; was the bakery of Benjamin Buckbee...his wife used to make and sell the most delicious bread and it was considered quite a treat to have Mrs. Buckbee's white bread served at meals for only rye bread was in common use in those days and to get wheat bread was like getting cake.
Proceeding up town, we come to Dr. Hopper's, who then in addition to his visiting the sick, kept his own drug store;... as a side issue he pulled teeth with an old fashioned "turnkey", but not without pain...Next door...standing on the northwest corner of Morris and Main, stood the old tavern of Archibald Campbell of Revolutionary fame, later kept by James Vanderpool, who in'.addition to keeping a hostelry, also ran a line of stages to the Hoboken ferry...Across the street was the Washington Mansion House kept by David A. Demarest. It had always been a noted place of resort for travelers and people having business-at the County Seat. Historical records tell us it was the private residence of PeterrZabriskie (at the time of the Revolutionary War), who was a friend of General Washington, who made the home his headquarters, his meals being sent to him from Archibald Campbell's tavern.