Discovery & Indians
Discovery, Indians, Description of Country
ourselves with the early history of Bayonne, we must first look
back and glance over a few brief historical facts concerning New
York, Jersey City and vicinity.
History tells us that Jean de Verrazzano, a Florentine in the
service of Francis I, King of France, sailed into New York
harbor as early as 1524. He was, therefore, the first white
person to gaze on the east shore of what is now the City of
On September 3, 1609, Henry Hudson, in "De glaive Maan" (Half
Moon), cast anchor inside of what is now Sandy Hook. Two days
later five of his crew were sent to explore the river opening to
the north. Passing through the Narrows, they found a
swift-flowing river to the westward between two islands, the
shores of which were "as pleasant with Grasse, and Flowers, and
goodly Trees, as ever they had scene, and very sweet smells came
from them." (Hudson's Journal.)
This was the Kill von Kull, or "Het Kill van het Cull," meaning
the creek of the bay. They went through the Kills so far as to
see Newark Bay. Upon reaching the mouth of the Kills on their
return they were attacked by twenty-six Indians, in two canoes,
who were probably from Manhattan, and one of the seamen, John
Coleman, was shot through the throat by an arrow and killed.
This appears to be the nearest approach to Bayonne shores by the
whites, so far. On the nth, Hudson passed through the Narrows
and anchored of Constable's Hook.
There is no record of his landing, although the natives between
Bergen Point and Weehawken were very friendly and had extended
to him many acts of kindness. They visited his vessel daily,
bringing furs, oysters, corn, beans, pumpkins, grapes and
apples, to trade. The following day he continued north and
entered the river which bears his name.
This tribe of Indians was called the Raritan, and belonged to
that stock of the Delaware called the Sanrikan. A small Indian
village was probably located at Bergen Point at this time. If
so, it only remained there for a comparatively short period.
This territory was then covered with a dense forest. Bears,
panthers, wolves, wild cats, foxes, rattlesnakes, red deer,
beavers, hares and squirrels were plentiful, and afforded an
excellent hunting ground for the savages. The bays on both sides
were the means of obtaining fine fish and oysters.
Source: First History of Bayonne, New
Jersey, by Royden Page Whitcomb, Published by R. P. Whitcomb, 24
East 37TH Street, Bayonne, N. J., 1904.