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
"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
New Jersey Archives. First Series, Vol. XXI.
2. Winfield's Land Titles.
3. Nelson's "Indians of New
3. It is spelled several ways - Pembrepock, Pemerpogh,
Pembrepogh, Pamrapaw, Pemmerapugh, Pamrapo are some of the ways.
4. New Jersey Historical
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
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.