English Neighborhood

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

The English Neighborhood was the colonial-era name for the towns in eastern Bergen County, New Jersey, along the Hudson Palisades between the North River (Hudson River) and the Hackensack River, particularly around its main tributary, Overpeck Creek.[1] The region had been part of the Dutch New Netherland colony of Bergen, whose main town was located at Bergen Square in today's Jersey City.[2] The name speaks to the geography of the region, bergen being the Dutch word for hills. Earlier attempts at settlement at Achter Col (behind the ridge)[3][4] and Vriessendael had been compromised in conflicts with the precolonial population, phratries of the Lenape known by their exonyms, the Hackensack and the Tappan.

After the surrender of Fort Amsterdam at the tip of Manhattan and annexation of the entire Dutch province by the British in 1664, northeastern New Jersey became part of the proprietary colony of East Jersey. In order to encourage settlement the land was quickly divided and flurry of land titles were given or confirmed by the new government. While many were awarded to the existing New Netherlander population, many were given to migrating English and Huguenot settlers,[5][6] some who may have come from Europe, many who made their way from New England, Long Island, or the West Indies. On June 10, 1669, Samuel Edsall,[7][8][9] received a patent "for land betw. Hudson R. and Overpeck's", which encompassed much of the area. By 1675 it was being called the English Neighborhood.[10] Born in Reading, England about 1630, Edsall had come to New Amsterdam at the age of eighteen, where he was listed among the new arrivals as "a bever maker," or hatter. His industry, and possibly his marriage with Jannetje Wessels, qualified him as a small burgher and property owner. He took up residence on Bergen Neck, learned the Lenape language, and acted as interpreter for Robert Treat's purchase of the Newark Tract.[11] After the British takeover he was able to purchase of a tract of nearly two thousand acres, with a frontage of almost two and a half miles on the Hudson, extending northward from Bulls Ferry and stretching back to Overpeck Creek and the Hackensack River, siting own farm near what is now Palisades Park. From time to time he sold or leased other parts of the estate.[5][12]

In 1683, administrative districts in the form of counties were established, with Bergen County encompassing the land between the aforementioned rivers from Bergen Point in the south to the newly created and ambiguous state line with New York. In 1693, the county was divided into two townships, separated at the current Hudson-Bergen line, with Hackensack Township[13] to the north and Bergen Township to the south. In 1710, the nearby village of Hackensack became the county seat.

Prior to the American Revolutionary War, a liberty pole was erected at a major crossroads,[14][15] but the English Neighborhood was soon occupied by the British Army after George Washington's retreat from Fort Lee, which had crossed the area.[16]The Continental Army maintained a presence in the area to observe the movement of the British in New York. Its position between the two armies led to many foraging parties and skirmishes.[17][18] sometimes called the Forage War. Major John André, executed for his collusion with Benedict Arnold, mentions the English Neighborhood in his poem The Cow Chase, in which he muses on the foiling of Anthony Wayne's attempt to secure cows from Bergen.[19][20]

In 1871 Harpers Weekly View or Map of New York City from a Balloon the area is still described as the English Neighborhood

On March 22, 1871, Hackensack Township was subdivided into three new Townships, each stretching from the Hudson River on the east to the Hackensack River in the west. The southernmost portion, the English Neighborhood, became Ridgefield Township. In 1878, the New Jersey Legislature provided for the formation of a borough within a township not exceeding four square miles. The passage of a revised Borough Act resulted in a series of subdivisions creating new boroughs. Municipalities created from Ridgefield Township (or portions thereof) were Bogota (1894), Leonia (1894), Undercliff (1894; renamed "Edgewater" in 1899), Fairview (1894), Teaneck (part) (1895), Cliffside Park (1895), Englewood (part) (1895), Palisades Park (1899). The creation of Fort Lee, New Jersey on April 18, 1904 put an end to Ridgefield Township.

The area underwent significant growth as its villages expanded and agricultural land was developed as suburbs, spurred by expansion of the railway system in the late 19th century.[21] The Erie Railroad ran trains to its Hudson waterfront Pavonia Terminal (later via the Susquehanna Transfer with connecting bus service to Manhattan[22] via the Lincoln Tunnel). The last train on the Northern Branch from the terminal to the area was #1205 at 6:35 p.m. on Friday, December 12, 1958. There are proposals to restore service with extension of a Hudson Bergen Light Rail line known as the Northern Branch Corridor Project.[23]

Though the term English Neighborhood is no longer widely used there are still places which continue to bear the name. The Dutch Reformed Church in the English Neighborhood in Ridgefield was built in 1793 by a congregation established in 1770. [24] [25] In Fairview, the English Neighborhood Park [26] and the English Neighborhood Public School[27][28] are still used describe places in part of the borough. The Union School of the English Neighborhood, moved from its original location,[29] is a landmark in Englewood. The name also survives in the names of Englewood and Englewood Cliffs themselves, which derive from a corruption of English Neighborhood.[30]

See also[edit]

History of
New Jersey
Colonial period
American Revolution
Nineteenth century
Twentieth century
Twenty-first century
Timeline of New Jersey


  1. ^ "Bergen County Municipalities". Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  2. ^ 1684 survey:Seven Settled towns of East Jersey Archived March 27, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Achter Col marker
  4. ^ "Welcome to Bogota, New Jersey — Online". Bogotaonline.org. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  5. ^ a b Sterling, Aladine, The Book of Englewood, Committee on the History of Englewood authorized by The Mayor and Council of City of Englewood, N.J.
  6. ^ "History of Englewood". Archived from the original on 2009-10-02. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  7. ^ https://books.google.com/books?id=TfAXaYYUAecC&pg=PA238&lpg=PA238&dq=Samuel+Edsall&source=bl&ots=lWazt0KKNz&sig=Y6q7o-dTe189cbaHK_RgYTR2yug&hl=en&sa=X&ei=N8SkUbGuCe2M0wWx8YD4Cw&ved=0CD0Q6AEwAw#v=onepage&q=Samuel%20Edsall&f=false
  8. ^ http://popenoe.com/NYfamilies/Edsall.htm
  9. ^ http://www.jerseyhistory.org/findingaid.php?aid=0944
  10. ^ "Brief History of Ridgefield". ridgefieldonline.com. Archived from the original on 2012-04-18. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  11. ^ http://www.millburn.lib.nj.us/ebook/V.htm
  12. ^ Harvey, Cornelius Burnham (1900), Genealogical History Of Hudson And Bergen Counties New Jersey Early Settlers of Bergen County, The Zabriskies, Voorheeses, Brinkerhoffs, Demarests, Coopers, Van Reipens, and Powlesses acquired interests in the tract at an early date. In 1668 Samuel Edsall and Nicholas Varlet bought from the native Indians section 3, comprising 1,872 acres of "waste land and meadow," bounded east by the Hudson River, west by the Hackensack River and Overpeck Creek, and south by the "Town and Corporation of Bergen." The extent of this tract was two and a half miles from north to south, and the north boundary, beginning at Aquepuck Creek below Fort Lee, on the Hudson, ran northwest to the Overpeck Creek near Leonia. Subsequently Carteret gave Edsall and Varlet a patent of this tract. Nicholas Varlet soon after sold his interest in it to Edsall, who, in 1671, conveyed the northerly part of it to Michael Smith (a son-in-law of Major John Berry). Smith, at his death, left it to his son and heir-at-law, Johannes Smith, who, in 1706, conveyed it to John Edsall, son and heir-at-law of Samuel Edsall, deceased, who settled on it and devised it to his children. In 1676 Samuel Edsall, by deed of gift, transferred the westerly part of the remainder of the original tract to his sons-in-law, Benjamin Blagge, of London, and William Laurence, of Newtown, L. I., who divided it between them, Blagge taking the northerly part and Laurence the southerly part. On Blagge's death his widow and devisee conveyed it to Wessel Peterson, who, in 1690, conveyed it to David Danielsen, who settled on it. Laurence's part of it passed to his son, Thomas Laurence. He sold half of it, said to contain 550 acres, in 1730, to Matthew Brown, who, in 1737, sold it to Cornelius Brinkerhoff. Joseph Morris and Adriaen Hoagland must have got the balance of Laurence's half, as they were living on it in 1730, and the Brinkerhoffs were the first actual settlers. Brinkerhoff's purchase included the present Borough of Ridgefield. The easterly part of the remainder of the original tract, which fronted on the Hudson River, was, on March 12, 1686, conveyed by Samuel Edsall to Jacob Milburn, who, with Jacob Leisler, then Governor of New York, was attainted of and executed for high treason, in 1691. Milburn's estate (which by his will, executed just before his death, he devised to his wife Mary), was, by operation of the attainder, forfeited; but parliament, by special act, restored the estate to his widow and sole devisee. The widow (who at the time of her death was the wife of Abraham (governeur) left a will empowering her daughter Jacoba, as executrix, to sell her lands on the Hudson. The executrix conveyed the lands in separate parcels to Hendrick Banta, Arie de Groot, Peter de Groot, Michael Vreeland, William Day, John Day, Mary Edsall (alias Mary Banks), John Edsall, and John Christiansen, who mutually released each other and settled on the same. The tract between the high rocks and the Hudson River was claimed by John Christeen, of Newark, under a grant from Berkley and Carteret, prior to that of Edsall and Varlet. This land Christeen sold in 1760 to his daughter Naomi, wife of John Day, and it seems to have become vested eventually in the same persons to whom Mrs. Governeur's executrix conveyed it.
  13. ^ http://history.rays-place.com/nj/hackensack.htm
  14. ^ Libert Pole Marker
  15. ^ "History of Englewood". Archived from the original on 2009-03-08. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  16. ^ "Fort Lee Road". Route of Washington's retreat from Fort Lee. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  17. ^ "Leonia History:Books and Other Sources". Archived from the original on 2009-09-30. Retrieved 2009-02-28.
  18. ^ http://www.state.nj.us/dep/njgs//enviroed/oldpubs/battles.pdf
  19. ^ http://www.fortklock.com/hudsonch23.htm
  20. ^ http://www.cityofjerseycity.org/pastimperfect/sipmanorjerseycity.shtml
  21. ^ First Church Englewoood Archived 2007-08-22 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ Northern Branch Timetable
  23. ^ NJ Transit:Northern Branch Corridor Project
  24. ^ "New Jersey Churchscape". Reformed Church in the English Neighborhood. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  25. ^ "Reformed Church in the English Neighborhood marker". HMDB. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  26. ^ "English Neighborhood Park". Courts of the World. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  27. ^ http://www.classmates.com/directory/school/English%20Neighborhood%20Elementary%20School?org=18432211 English Neighborhood Elementary School
  28. ^ "English Neighborhood Elementary School". Fairview Public Schools. Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  29. ^ "English Neighborhood Union School". Retrieved 2010-02-28.
  30. ^ Staff. "MORROW RECEPTION ATTENDED BY 5,000; New Jersey Republican Leaders Flock to Englewood for New Year's Greeting. HIS TALK IS BROADCAST Well Wishers File Past Envoy for Three Hours in His Debut in Senatorial Race. Prominent Politicians Attend. Morrow's Speech Brief.", The New York Times, January 2, 1930. Accessed August 25, 2011. "In this little town of ours we are proud to call ourselves a neighborhood. The oldest maps show it as 'English neighborhood,' but this was later changed to Englewood."

Coordinates: 40°52′N 74°00′W / 40.86°N 74.00°W / 40.86; -74.00