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Washington Visits-Slavery Declared-War of 1812

1782 - 1830.

Peace- Washington Greeted by the Inhabitants on His Way to New York- Slavery Declared- Immigration and Education- War of 1812- First Manufacturing Concern at Constable's Hook- Extreme Cold- Humor of 1826.

This section played no other important part during the Revolution.

In April, 1789, when George Washington journeyed to New York on the occasion of his inauguration as first President of the United States, his route led him through New Jersey to Elizabethtown Point (Elizabethport) and thence through the Kill von Kull and New York Bay to New York.

The local inhabitants and those in Bergen began to arrive on the Bergen Point shore early in the day, so as not to miss the opportunity of seeing their beloved leader and cheer him on his way.

Daniel Van Winkle, in his history of "Old Bergen," describes the occasion thus: "His (Washington's) whole journey was in the nature of a triumphal procession, but nowhere was his reception more enthusiastic or his greetings more sincere than on his passage from the Point through the Kills. He embarked in a barge, splendidly decorated, and conveyed by others, with flags and music. As he entered the Kills, between Staten Island and Bergen Point, the procession was met by other boats from the shores, gay with bunting. From the shores of Bergen Point, which were lined with the citizens of 'Old Bergen,' he was greeted with the booming of cannon, waving of flags and loud huzzas of the people. Their joy knew no bounds, and until the procession receded in the distance, their applause and rejoicing continued."

The following act was published by G. Craft at Trenton in 1798, and throws some light on the great question which in after years the people of this country had to confront. It begins:

"Slavery Declared."
"An Act, respecting Slaves.

"Be it enacted by the Council and General Assembly of this State, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same. That every Negro, Indian, Mulatto or Mestee, within this state, who, at the time of passing this act, is a slave for his or her life, shall continue such during his or her life, unless he or she shall be manumitted and set free in the manner prescribed by law. "Passed at Trenton, March 14, 1798." It was not long after peace had been declared that home-seekers from different parts of the State began to arrive, and farms gradually increased in number. Grounds were cleared of timber, fields were cultivated and a thriving section soon developed.

The wise old Dutchmen and Englishmen were not slow in realizing the necessity of educating their children. Those located near Bergen Town marched their children off to the rude school there and those in Pembrepogh and along Bergen Neck taught their children the best they knew how at home.

The following examples are specimens of those used in the instruction of that day:

"A gentleman a chaise did buy,
A horse and harness too;
They cost the sum of threescore pounds.
Upon my word 'tis true.
The harness came to half of th' horse.
The horse twice of the chaise;
And if you find the price of them,
Take them and go your ways."
"Answer: Chaise, 15I.; Horse, 301.; Harness, 151."

"Seven gentlemen who were traveling, met together by chance, at a certain inn upon the road, where they were so well pleased with their host, and each other's company, that in a frolic they offered him 301. to stay at that place so long as they, together with him, could sit every day at dinner in a different order. The host thinking that they could not sit in many different positions, because there were but few of them, and that himself would make no considerable alteration; he being but one, imagined that he should make a good bargain, and readily, for the sake of a good dinner, and better company, entered into an agreement with them and so made himself the eighth person. I demand how long they staid at the inn, and how many different positions they sat in? Answer: The number of positions were 40,320 and the time they staid was 110 years, 142½ days; allowing the year to consist of 365 days, 6 hours."

"A Grocer's Bill.
"Bought of Thomas Hartley, May 19, 1811.

  s. d per. lb l. s. d.
3 lb Raisins of the Sun, at 0 5 per. lb. 0 3 4
15 1b. of Malaga Raisins, at 0 per. lb. 0 5 7½
10 lb. of Currants, at 0 6½ per. lb. 0 5 5
11 lb. Sugar. at 0 4½ per. lb. 0 4 1½
2 Sugar Loaves, wt. 15 lb., at 0 9 per. lb. 0 11 3
13 lb. of Rice, at 0 3 per. lb 0 3 3
5 lb. Black Pepper, at 1 6 per. lb. 0 7 6
10 oz. of Cloves, at 0 10 per. oz. 0 8 4

The War of 1812 did not disturb the inhabitants, although much excitement was shown. At this time the Hazard Powder house1 was located at Constable's Hook on Kill von Kull, and was the first manufacturing concern in this locality. It supplied great quantities of gunpowder to ships, as well as Fort Jay on Governor's Island and forts on Ellis' and Bedloe's Islands.

Slaves were made free by a law in 1820, but most of those who were formerly slaves in these parts remained with their owners, to work for a living.

There was an extreme cold wave in January, 1821; New York2 and Newark Bays were frozen solid. Many persons crossed the ice from New York, and a half way house was erected for the accommodation of travelers crossing the ice, according to Shaw's "History of Hudson County."

In looking through the New Jersey Almanac, printed in Elizabethtown in 1826, the author finds the following: "How to destroy Flies - A Frenchman who sold powder for killing flies, gives the following recipe: 'Catch de fly and tickle him under de troat, and when he opens his mout to laugh, trow in de powdre and it will choke him."


1. after years part of this building was used for prize-fights, dog fights, etc.; only a few years ago it was torn down.
2. New York Bay, previous to this time, was called Oyster Bay, named so because of its abundant supply of oysters in colonial days.


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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