«HACKENSACK - HERITAGE TO HORIZONS PUBLISHED BY: THE HACKENSACK BICENTENNIAL COMMITTEE TERRY LARK, EDITOR DR. IRWIN TALBOT, PHD, ASSOCIATE EDITOR ...»
A new Democratic newspaper was sponsored in Hackensack after the failure in 1860 of the Bergen County Journal and this one spoke out against the war and the quota system as sure signs as "black Republicanism". The Democratic paper asked the voters to go to the gubernatorial election and "-let them know that you go for the Constitution as it is and the Union as it was".
After Lincoln was elected, South Carolina did what many Southern states had threatened, seceding from the Union. Since the Dutch in their church struggles had been "seceders" themselves, they were hardly against seceding states and many people in Hackensack felt this way. The Presidential campaign had been a bitter one and emotions ran high on both sides, such as the Democratic Confederate sympathizers in Bergen being called Copperheads after the poisonous snake. (In September, 1861, they went so far as to commit a Federal offense by flying a secessionist flag in Hackensack.) On April 15th, 1861, Lincoln had issued his first proclamation, calling for 75,000 militia, and New Jersey was to send 3,120 men. One week later, a meeting of citizens was held with Hon.
J.A. Zabriskie, Chairman, and William S. Banta, Esq., speaking to the assembled group. The report that was unanimously adopted read in part: "Resolved, That the Union shall be preserved at all hazards, the Constitution upheld, the right of government vindicated, and the Declaration of Independence maintained in its full spirit and power."
It also stated, "Resolved, That a committee of six be appointed by this meeting to provide means for the support of those left destitute by the absence of their husbands or fathers, who may volunteer in the defense of their country."
To carry out those arrangements were Messr. D.A. Berry, Garret G. Ackerson, W.S. Banta and John J. Anderson, more family names we have come to know from earlier years.
The many public meetings such as this with the fine oratory were meant to encourage men to enlist. The patriotic appeal of the speakers was so real that the pro-Lincoln group became inspired to the point that the Bergen County ranks were over-enlisted and the men over the quota joined with New York and Pennsylvania troops in order to offer their services.
So it was that during the first year of the Civil War the Union Army had enough volunteers to fill its ranks, but on August 4, 1862, Lincoln asked for an additional 10,478 from New Jersey, and Bergen County tried to encourage men by the offer of a $200 bonus and Hackensack offered an additional $125. Fifteen men signed up.
The New Jersey brigades suffered severe losses, officers and men at Williamsburg, Va. and at Fair Oaks County, Va., because of the exposed positions to which they were assigned. The 22nd Regiment went into service in September 1862, and the 939 men, being the cream of the Bergen County population, became part of the Army of the Potomac. Active in the attack on Chancellorsville, Va., they served with great valor.
These Hackensack and Bergen County Regiments had been sent to Trenton and Philadelphia, then Baltimore and Washington, traveling with poor food rations in freight trains. This had caused bitter complaints. The 22nd Division had the duty also to guard Washington, D.C., until the battle around Fredericksburg. There they unloaded the wounded coming back from the front and then loaded them onto steamboats transporting them to hospitals in Washington. Night after night, the men worked until midnight or later in caring for the wounded.
Battery B of Hackensack set a record at Gettysburg when it fired more rounds of ammunition, 1,380, than any other combat group in the war. It is not easy to enjoy participation in a war and these Dutchmen returned home, still disgruntled. The poor food prepared by the inexperienced army cooks, promoted many of the soldiers to prefer preparing their own meals. The pay was $11 per month for a time, and then was raised to $16 a month for the Northern troops. By our standards sanitary conditions were shocking and caused terrible loss of life. Most wounded died from infections and disease because antiseptics were unknown at the time. All in all these Jersey regiments, brave in battle were still unhappy enough about the war to return home and help New Jersey become one of only three states to vote against Lincoln in the 1864 election. New Jersey, it must be remembered, was a border state of the Mason-Dixon line and her trade with the Southern states was important.
When the men of the Twenty-Second Regiment completed their enlistment, they were given a roaring welcome at the State Capitol in Trenton, and again when they reached Hackensack, where honors and a banquet awaited them at the Mansion House.
The boom and panic following the Civil War had its effects on Hackensack just as much as on the rest of the nation. Even the conservative Hollanders of the Hackensack Valley became involved in bidding up land prices and in promoting the railroads and industries.
Eventually the cost of farmland went so high that it no longer made sense to utilize it for mere farming. But the boom became a bust, and by 1873 land that had sold for hundreds of dollars per acre went back to only $10 an acre, with the depression period slowing progress of every kind..
Chapter VII The turn of the Century...
Quoting the Hackensack, N.J. Illustrated, published by the Exempt Firemen We have a beautiful river for boating, bathing and fishing; a large well patronized circulating library; other social and musical societies which give numerous entertainments in the Opera House; a well managed Young Mens' Christian Association, which has proved to be a valuable acquisition, and Education Hall, where the young and old are privileged to inspect work done by all grades of pupils in the county's public schools...
In the way of recreation the town is supplied abundantly. First I think should be mentioned the river. Almost everyone finds pleasure on the water in some, way, and the Hackensack presents various attractions. Steam launches and row boats can navigate it from its mouth to the dam, 6 miles above the town; while by making short "caries", the canoeist can go miles further. Its fishing is celebrated. Among the varieties of fish caught are shad and smelts (in nets), and striped and black bass, perch in great numbers, catfish and eels. Its shores afford the only railbird shooting near New York, and it is a favorite feeding ground for ducks and snipe. Many of the adjacent streams are stocked with trout and the covers back of town give good quail, woodcock and rabbit shooting.
About the same time the Rev. Dr. J.W. Dalley wrote in a special Illustrated Edition of the Bergen
Socially, Hackensack is not a unit; but it is more so than most towns of its size. It has its select circles it is true, but these various coteries are not offensively exclusive to anyone but unworthy people. In fact, there is less of the real snobbish society in our place than in any other town in Northern N.J. As a consequence, it is a most enjoyable place of residence for those who esteem character of more importance than money.
Though Dr. Dalley's comments were published at least three-quarters of a century ago, they hold true to this very day. Friendliness and neighborliness are still important characteristics of Hackensack.
More important than the lack of "snobbishness" was the beginning of fine health care in our area.
As the Democrat newspaper put it in the edition of -Friday, April 13, 1888, "Dr. St. John has been working actively on the project to have a hospital located in Hackensack; and has met with remarkable success. Every year the need of such an institution is being felt, owing the growth of the town and the number of accidents on the railroads, brickyards, etc."
Hackensack Hospital (Note: Much of this material is very dated.)
In the early spring of 1888, Hackensack Hospital began as a 12 room house with a barn in the back, on Second Street. Fifteen years later in 1903, when Mary Stone Conklin trained in the School of Nursing, the entire area surrounding the Hospital was still lush farm country, and Essex Street was merely a dirt road with wooden sidewalks. Cows grazed in the pastures around the 12 room frame house with 35 beds, and patients were brought to the Hospital by horse-drawn ambulance.
Although in 1903 nursing was not considered to be a particularly attractive vocation for a cultured young woman, it seemed to Mary Stone Conklin to be a good opportunity to make a valuable contribution to society. She went on the become Administrator of the School of Nursing and the Hospital for many years. The present Hudson Street, then known as the old Plank Road, was a toll thoroughfare and Dr. David St John traveled this route so often in caring for his patients he was reputed to have a charge account with the toll operator.
By 1921 there was a desperate need for improved hospital facilities and Senator William Johnson kicked off the fund raising campaign with a pledge of $100,000. Senator Johnson (who had been the Assistant Postmaster-General of the U.S., during the McKinley administration) closed the same hospital campaign with another $100,000 donation. His name should not be forgotten, nor will it be, with our Johnson Public Library and Johnson Park.
Today we have a modern, voluntary, nonprofit hospital, equipped with the most advanced tools of medical science for the diagnosis and treatment of diseases. Not only one of the largest hospitals in New Jersey, Hackensack has the reputation for leading among community hospitals with its use of the most advanced tools in its Coronary Care, Burn, and other units.
The 1976 statistics can only begin to suggest the extent of care Hackensack Hospital provides this area today. The 500 bed hospital handled 37,184 emergency room visits, 38,817 physical therapy visits, the Community Mental Health Center had 28,881 visits, and a total of 23,666 patients were admitted and cared for by several hundred doctors and a staff of 1,700 persons.
Services include the only operational burn unit in New Jersey, the child evaluation center, the community nursing service, new-born intensive care unit, and the cystic fibrosis center.
Hackensack Hospital is truly a major center for medical care in Bergen County.
The teaching affiliation with the New Jersey College of Medicine and Dentistry began in 1974 and continues to be strengthened. Members of the practicing medical staff are serving as faculty for medical students, interns, and residents who have chosen Hackensack Hospital for specialized training.
In 1975, the profound implications for this affiliation enhanced the hospital's ever present drive for excellence, for the training medical students require teachers of the highest competence who are equally skilled as practitioners of medicine.
Genetics Service: The first Genetics Service in Bergen, Passaic and Rockland Counties opened its doors here in 1975 bringing this relatively new field of science directly to those who need it.
Community Mental Health Center: The CMHC mission is broad, covering hospitalization, outpatient consultation, partial hospitalization, consultation and education, and crisis intervention.
New born Intensive Care Unit: In 1975 seriously ill new-born children were admitted to the only special care unit of this type in Bergen County.
Child Evaluation Center: This 10 year old center - also the only one of its type in Bergen County is a recognized leader in the area of child abuse.
Center for Speech, Hearing and Learning Disabilities: In addition to being a diagnostic and treatment center for children and adults with communication and learning disorders, it is the only Hospital in Bergen County with a learning disabilities component and the only one with a class for neurologically impaired children.
Cystic Fibrosis Center: For the child afflicted with Cystic Fibrosis, chronic congenital disease, the problems caused by constant distress of the lungs, pancreas and other areas of the body create psychological stress as well. Both children, their parents, and other family members must be helped in dealing with this disease which often requires daily treatments at home.
Community Nursing Service: Each day 25 Registered Nurses go out into Bergen County towns and five in Hudson County to provide skilled nursing service to the chronically ill of all ages.
Mrs. St. John and her friend Mrs. S.H. Jacobson formed the Women's Auxiliary and soon had 30 members working day and night to equip the new 12 room hospital. Even before the hospital opened its doors to the public, these women had made 68 rag rugs and many curtains. They sewed and mended clothes for the patients. They started a.collection of linen sheets to be used for bandages. (In those days only cheesecloth was sold.) Bandages were sealed in jars and sterilized by the same canning process as were the quantities of vegetables and fruit, which these same women prepared in their spare time.
Fortunately the supply of raw materials was inexhaustible; everyone had linen sheets and the entire county was one large farming community. Many patients paid their hospital bills with farm produce.
In 1920 "Women's" replaced "Ladies" as the new title of the Auxiliary, -probable because after World War I, the word "Ladies" became obsolete with women's suffrage, just as skirts moved up above the ankles in shocking fashion.
Over the years Auxiliary members have continued to cut, sew and fold dressings, relieve the nurses of their more menial tasks, operate the Corner Shop and the Hospitality Cart, welcome youngsters to the hospital with their very own Foxie the puppet, and raise thousands of dollars for such items as pacemakers, and the other medical and surgical equipment of all types.
Raising thousands of dollars means, for example, from 1950 through 1968, $267,009.85. The Auxiliary's members from many towns in the surrounding area donate over 60,000 hours a year of volunteer time to accomplish these feats.
Women sought enrichment of other kinds. In January, 1912, Mrs. Charles Adams assembled an enthusiastic group of nine women to join her in planning for a club. When the Woman's Club House.was dedicated in 1931, it was the fruition of a dream for the many women who had worked so hard from the first days of the organization. The continued objectives of the group have been to bring women together for mutual help, fellowship, and community service.