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Grants of Land 1646~1776

Grants of Land on Constable's Hook and Bergen Neck- -Bayonne Settled by the Dutch- Indian Troubles - Return of Settlers and Final Settlement at Pembrepogh - Settlement at Bergen - Description in 1680 - Early Education and Law - Census of Bergen County in 1737.

The first record we find referring to the Bayonne section is dated March, 1646, when Jacob J. Roy, a gunner of Fort Amsterdam, received a grant of land at Constable's Hook.

"Patent granted to Jacob Jacobsen Roy for the Tract of Land called Constable's Hook, on the Kil van Col (New Jersey).
"We, William Kieft, Director-General, and the Council of New Netherland, etc., etc.,

"Testify and declare herewith, that this day, date as below, we have conceded and granted to Jacob Jacobsen Roy a parcel of land, called Constapel's Hook, situate on the mainland and separated from Staten Island by the Kil van Col, covering an area of one hundred and fifty morgens, according to the surveyor's map, with the express condition and stipulation, etc., etc. .

"Done at Fort Amsterdam, , 1646."

The place was formally called Nipnichsen by the Indians. It was soon called Constapel's Hoeck, deriving its name from the occupation of its first European owner. The Dutch word for gunner is konstapel; hence Konstapel's Hoeck, or Gunner's Point. It is not known whether Roy settled here, or not, but the probabilities are that he did not.

On December 4 and 5, 1654, patents were issued for land in the southerly part of Jersey City, and in Bayonne. The tracts were designated by this description: "Between Gemoenepaen and the Kil van Kol." Most of them were for twenty-five morgens lying within the district afterwards known as Pembrepogh (Pamrapo). As that name is not mentioned in the patents, it is probable that the same was not then known to the Dutch, or, at least, was not applied to this section of the country.

One of these Patents reads as follows:

"To Jan Gerritsen van Immen, a piece of land between Gemoenepaen and the Kil van Kol, running along the river or bay S. W. for 40 rods back in the woods, 40 rods wide, stretching into the woods N. N. W. for 375 rods on either side, together 25 morgens. Decbr. 5th, 1654."

Grants were also issued to: Jacob Wallingen, Jan Cornelissen Buys, Jan Lubbertsen, Jan Cornelissen Schoenmaker, Gerrit Piertersen, Lubbert Gysbertsen, Jan Cornelissen Crynnen, Gysbert Lubbertsen and Hendrick Jansen Van Schalckivyck.

Most of these were owners of land in Pamrapo in the winter of 1654-5. A small company of these property owners, or men employed by them, anxious to lay claim to their possessions, sailed from New Amsterdam in the spring of 1655 and erected rude shelters on their new possessions. Here they opened up an extensive trade with the Indians, and probably cleared some land in preparation for the building of suitable homes for their families. They were, therefore, the first white settlers, and consequently the founders of Bayonne.

However, the stay of these Dutchmen was short, for on September 15, 1655, the Indians (provoked at the killing of one of their thieving women) attacked New Amsterdam, killing many. Then they crossed and attacked Pavonia, Communipaw and Hoboken, murdering, burning and stealing as they continued down through Bergen Neck (Bayonne), and thence to Staten Island. For a second time this section was a desolation. Homes and plantations were deserted and the settlers fled to New Amsterdam, where they remained some three or four years before returning.

There is no record as to the exact date when the Dutchmen returned to reclaim their property along Bergen Neck. It was probably after January 30, 1658, when a deed was drawn up whereby the Indians sold the land to the Dutch, that these pioneer settlers brought their families and belongings, and made final settlement.

It is uncertain just where these permanent dwellings were erected. One would infer, however, that most of them were situated close to the New York Bay shore between Forty-third Street and the Morris Canal, where it was easy of access to New Amsterdam by water. One, the author has reason to believe, stood on the present site of the Bayswater Hotel; another at the foot of Centre Street, and another near the present Forty-ninth Street station. One or two were probably situated as far back as Avenue D, in the neighborhood of Grand Street.

This settlement at first showed no signs of growth, but after a few years (as will shortly be seen), upon the arrival of more home-seekers, it began to prosper.

"1658 Jan. 10th. Indian Deed (copy of translation from the Dutch). Therinques, Wappappen, Saghkow, Kagkennip, Bomokan, Memewockan, Sames, Wewenatokwee, to the Director General and Council of New Netherland for land on the Westside of the North River from the great Clip above Wiehacken to above the Island Sikakes, thence to the Kill van Col, so along to Constable's Hoeck, thence again to the Clip above Wiehacken" (Bergen).1

The first municipality within the limits of New Jersey was erected by order of Director-General Stuyvesant and his council on September 5, 1661, and christened "The Village of Bergen."

The English, in 1664, under Colonel Richard Nicolls, captured New Netherlands from the Dutch, but the inhabitants on Bergen Neck were not disturbed.

Constable's Hook appeared to be unoccupied and unclaimed upon their taking possession of New York. Consequently, Governor Nicolls gave a patent, October 26, 1664, to Samuel Edsall and Nicholas Johnson "for a Neck of Land call'd Nip Nickon lying at the mouth of Kil Van Kul."2 This grant was for five hundred acres and included part of Bergen Point, at that time called Constable's Hook.

In 1668 Pemerpoch was applied to that section which lies between the Morris Canal and Thirty-third Street. The word "Pemerpoch" comes from certain Indian words meaning "Big Rock."3 No doubt the Indians referred to the massive rock on which a great portion of Pamrapo and Greenville rests, and which is most visible in the vicinity of Avenue C and the Canal.

On November 2, 1670, Johnson sold his interest of Constable's Hook to Edsall4 for 4,620 guilders, wampum value, who it is supposed erected a log house at the Hook, and cleared and tilled the land; in a short time he had a flourishing plantation.5

About this time Edsall sold to Jan Van der Linden a piece of meadow lying between the Hook and Bergen Point, but it is not known whether he settled here.

Edsall is credited with being the first settler of Bayonne by George Scott, in a brochure entitled "The Model of the Government of the Province of East Jersey in America," published in Edinburgh in 1685. Giving a description of the country in 1680, he says: "To goe back to the South the part of Berghen Neck, that is opposite Statin Island, where is but a narrow passage of water, which ebbs and flows between the said Island and Berghen Point, called Constable's Hook. There is a considerable plantation on that side of Constable's Hook, extending in land alone a mile over, from the Bay on the east side of the neck that leads to New York, to that on the west that goes to Hackensack and Snake Hill; the neck running up between both from the South to the North of Hudson River to the outmost extent of their bounds. There belongs to that plantation about 1,200 or 1,500 acres, and its well stocked and improved: it was settled first by Samuel Edsall in Colonel Nichall's time, and by him sold 3 years ago (1682) for 600 lib. There are other small Plantations along that neck to the east between it and a little village of twenty families called by the Indians 'Penelipe' (meaning 'Pembrepogh'), then further on to another cottage (the Currie Homestead). There are more where Lawrence the Draper lives, a Dutchman;6 there may be 16 or 18 families. The greater part of the inhabitants which are in this Jurisdiction are Dutch, of which some have settled here upwards of 40 years agoe."

From Scott's description one would infer that in 1680 there were about forty families in Pamrapo and Greenville, but this seems to be exaggerated, and twenty families would be nearer the truth.7 Pembrepogh had now grown to be quite a settlement. These thrifty and pertinacious Dutchmen had already opened up an extensive trade with the Indians. Money was almost unknown, the unit of value being a beaver skin, and the currency being provided by bits of clam and periwinkle shells deftly cut and polished. They traded honorably and gave and received fair values. Yankee tricks were unknown to them. They were slow to form new acquaintances, but were firm in their friendship. On early mornings, probably once a week, it was a common occurrence to see a group of Dutchmen with their sugar-loaf hats and leather breeches, together with their wives in their multiplied petticoats and other paraphernalia, entering skiffs on the New York Bay shore (near the "Bayswater") to convey them to New Amsterdam. There they would spend the day trading their fruit, vegetables, oysters and fish for clothing, beer, tools and. the like and gossiping with their friends. A road, or at least a path, led from this section over to Bergen Town, over which these settlers would travel occasionally for the same purpose that they went to New Amsterdam. Their homes were principally built of logs and stone, with mud filled in the cracks. They were a pretty good-natured lot, and so long as they had a fire to sit by, a pipe to smoke, a bed to sleep on and plenty of clams to eat, they were perfectly satisfied.

One of these Dutchmen was Joost Van der Linde (Van Der-linden), who owned property and lived in Pembrepogh in 1674.

Another of these pioneer settlers was William Douglas (Doeckless, Douckless), who lived at the same place about this time. He was elected to represent Bergen in the General Assembly of New Jersey in 1680, but was ruled out of that body because of his being a Roman Catholic. Gerrit Gerritse (Garretson van Wagenen), an Associate Justice of the Court of Bergen, also lived in Pembrepogh about this time (1681), with his family. On March 17, 1696, Cornelius Jansen (Vreeland) purchased of William Douglas land at Pembrepogh, on which he afterwards lived.

Other early settlers of Bergen, Pavonia, Pamrapo and Bergen Neck were: ______ Van Voorst, Jansen (Vreeland), Andriessen (Van Buskirk), Tomassen (Van Riper), Cornelissen (Van Horn), Van Niewkircke (Newkirk),Harmense, Claesen (Garrabrarit),Brinckerhoef (Brinkerhoff), Van Schuyler (Schuyler), Planck, Sip, Gautier, Deidrick (Cadmus), Jacobse (Van Winkle).

The descendants of some of the above mentioned persons, no doubt, many readers know; some can probably claim relation. A great majority of these settlers were emigrants from Holland or descendants of persons who had emigrated from that country and settled on Manhattan Island, Long Island and Staten Island. The rest were English, French, German and Scandinavian.

The recapture of New York by the Dutch in 1673, and the final surrender to the English the following year, affected this territory very little.

At this time ''the law provided that whenever an estray (cattle, etc.) came upon one's premises, it was a duty to record a description of the same with the Town Clerk, to enable the owner to recover his property." This law was observed for over one hundred years. Here are specimens of such recorded notices; dates are missing:

"A stray Muel at the House of Garret Van Derhoof, Being a Dark Brown Couller Marked on the left shoulder with the Letters N. A."

"A Red Bull with a Wite Streek on the Buttok with no mark, at the House of Moses Van Amen at Bergen Point. The Creator will be two years old this Spring."

An entry from a fragment of the old town book of Bergen:

"Pieter Boskerck syn merk Een half maentie onder uyt het slinken oor."

About this time a charter was granted to the town of Bergen. The charter granted that the "keeping of a Free School for the Education of Youth," and "that in Religious Concerns and the way of Worshipping God, there is liberty of conscience Granted to all Persons in Generall."

The following agreement, made in 1682, will give the reader an idea of the manner of education offered in those days:

"Agreed with Mrs. Baker that she shall learne my daughter Ellinor to read and sew, and make all manner of needle worke, for one whole yeare from the day of the date hereof, being the i2th day of November, 1682, and in the meane while the s'd Mrs. Baker, during the said terme, shall not put her, my s'd daughter, to any manner of house worke, but to keepe her to her needle worke, and for true performance hereof I am to give the s'd Mrs. Baker a heaffer of her first calfe, at the time of the Expiration."

Few incidents appear in the history of this section of importance between this period and the Revolutionary War, a whole century. Charles Winfield describes the people as "quiet, domestic, unambitious, passing along through life adhering to truth, honesty and fair dealing, cultivating their farms and rearing their families in the fear of God and the doctrines of the old church of their Fathers."

The following advertisement appeared in the "Weekly Journal" in January, 1735:

"Teeth drawn and old broken Stumps taken out very safely and with much ease, by James Mills, who was instructed in that art by the late James Reading, deceased, so fam'd for drawing of teeth. He is to be spoke with at his shop in the house of the Deceased near the Old Slip Market" (New York).

This William Mills was considered the most skillful dentist in these parts, and was patronized frequently by inhabitants of Bergen Neck.

Census of Bergen County in 17378
Whites Slaves and Other Negroes
Males, above 16 - 939 Males, above 16 - 256
Females, above 16 - 822 Females, above 16 - 203
Males, under 16 - 820 Males, under 16 - 187
Females, under 16 - 708 Females, under 16 - 160
Total whites 3,289 Total slaves 806
Total population, 4,0959


1. New Jersey Archives. First Series, Vol. XXI.
2. Winfield's Land Titles.
3. Nelson's "Indians of New Jersey."
3. It is spelled several ways - Pembrepock, Pemerpogh, Pembrepogh, Pamrapaw, Pemmerapugh, Pamrapo are some of the ways.
4. New Jersey Historical Society.
5. It is believed that Edsall hired someone to do this work, as he was a very busy man. He was a prominent member of the Court of Bergen from 1674 to 1682.
6. This was Lawrens Andriesen, the founder of the Van Buskirk family. He came from Holstein, Denmark, in the summer of 1655. After his emigration here, he took the surname of Van Buskirk, the "Van" signifying "from," and "Bos Kerck" meaning "church in the woods." In 1667 he purchased the tract of land previously granted to Claas Carstenseh, the Norman, at Minkakwa, afterward called Greenville. He was prominent in Bergen public affairs, and was a member of the Court. He lived on the New York Bay Shore about where Linden Avenue now is. He died in 1694.
7. Scott's brochure was merely a "puff" and is somewhat inaccurate. Edsall sold this property in 1694, instead of in 1682, as Scott states.
8. Gordon's Gazetteer and History of New Jersey.
9. One hundred and thirty-five years later, Bayonne's population exceeded this.


Source: First History of Bayonne, New Jersey, by Royden Page Whitcomb, Published by R. P. Whitcomb, 24 East 37TH Street, Bayonne, N. J., 1904.

 

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