Gerrit Gerritszen Van Wageningen, 1632

Born: 1635

Died: 1696, Communipaw (a section of Jersey City, New Jersey west of Liberty State Park and east of Bergen Hill,), Jersey City (Now New Jersey), Hudson

Life Sketch of Gerrit Gerritszen Van Wageningen

Wageningen, The Netherlands. Where Gerrit was born and where his surname comes from.

Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] (1635-1696) and Annetje Hermansse (1632-1703) were born and married (about 1656) at Wageningen, The Netherlands. Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] had a document testifying to he and his wife’s characters drawn up before they immigrated from Wageningen, Netherlands: “We, burgomasters, schepens and councilors of the city of Wagening, declare by these presents, that there appeared before us Hendrick Elissen and Jordiz Spiers, citizens of this city, at the request of Gerrit Gerritsen and Annetje Hermansse, his wife. They have testified and certified, as they do by these presents, that they have good knowledge of the above named Gerrit Gerritsen and Annetje Hermansse, his wife, as to their life and conversation, and that they have always been considered and esteemed as pious and honest people, and that no complaint of any evil or diorderly conduct has ever reached their ears; on the contrary, they have always led quiet, pious and honest lives, as it becomes pious and honest persons. They especially testify, that they govern their family well, and bring up their children in the fear of God, and in all modesty and respectability. As the above named persons have resolved to remove and proceed to New Netherland, in order to find greater convenience, they give this attestation, grounded on their knowledge of them, having known them intimately, and having been in contiuual intercourse with them for many years, living in the same neighborhood. In testimony of the truth, we the burgomasters of the city, have caused the private seal of the city to be hereto affixed. Done at Wagening, 27th November, 1660; by the ordinance of the same J Aquilin.”

This family immigrated aboard De Trouw (Faith) when it sailed from The Netherlands on 22 December 1659 and arrived at New Netherlands in June of 1660. The Immigrant Ships Transcribers Guild lists passenger “Gerrit Gerritsen from Wageningen and wife and one child 2 years of age”. They reportedly sailed for a total cost of 90 florins. Their first two children are believed to have been born in about 1658 and 1660 and baptism records have not been found for them in The Netherlands (this may not have been thoroughly searched) or in New Netherlands (this has been thoroughly searched). Children 3-8 have baptisms (1662-1678) on record at either the New Amsterdam Dutch Reformed Church or the Bergen Dutch Reformed Church and the “birthdates” on the Family Group page are actually their baptism dates. The second child was likely either born in The Netherlands and, as a babe in arms, was not counted as a passenger when they immigrated or was born on the voyage to America (in which case it might have been expected that there would have been a bapitsm upon arrival).

Where Gerrit Gerritszen Van Wagener and his family settled in New Netherland.

Where Gerrit Gerritszen Van Wagener and his family settled in New Netherland.

The Ancestors and Descendants of Frederick Van Norstrand and Elizabeth Harris by Jacqueline Van Nostrand (1995) says that Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] “immigrated 12 December 1660 from Netherlands to Communipaw, New Netherlands with his wife and 2 children aboard DeTrouw” which supports both children having been born in The Netherlands before the family immigrated to New Netherland. This family settled in Communipaw in the Bergen area of New Netherland and Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] and his wife Annetje Hermansse appear to have lived there for the rest of their lives.

On 16 October 1662 Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] was appointed one of three schepens (magistrates) for the Bergen area by Director-General Stuyvesant who governed the area for the Dutch West India Company. At about this same time Gerrit Gerritsen and others petitioned Director-Genreal Stuyvesant for a clergyman for Bergen and Gerrit Gerritsen pledged 6 florins annually toward the suppport of this clergyman. On 18 June 1663 Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] was named one of three commissioners to enclose Gemoenepa (Communipaw) with long palisades for defense against Indian raids. In 1663 Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] was also commissioned ensign of Gemoenepa’s (Communipaw’s) militia. Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] took the oath of allegiance to England on 22 November 1665 after the English took over governing the Bergen area (1664). Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] received patents for 4 parcels of land in and near Bergen (about 100 acres in all) on 12 May 1668. After the Dutch had recaptured New Netherlands (1672), Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] was again appointed a schepen at Bergen on 18 August 1673 and then, when the English reclaimed and named the area New Jersey, Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] was an officer at Bergen for the English, too, in about 1680.

Gerrit bought this land along with 13 other men. The area leter became the cities of Passaic, Clifton and Paterson.

Gerrit bought this land along with 13 other men. The area leter became the city of Passaic.

was 14 settlers purchasing land in the Bergen area to settle on and build a community on. The 14 settlers were Hans Diedricks, Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] (also listed as “Gerrit the son of Gerrit who came from Wagening, a town in Holland, about 1660, in the ship Faith, and was known as Gerrit Van Wagening”), Walling Jacobs [Van Winkle], Symon Jacobs [Van Winkle], Elias Michielsen [Vreeland], Hartman Michielsen [Vreeland], Johannes Michielsen [Vreeland], Cornelius Michielsen [Vreeland], Adrian Adriansen Post, Urian Tomasen, Cornelius Rowlofson, Symon Jacobs, John Hendrick Speare, Cornelius Lubers, and Abraham Bookey. The Acquackanonk Patent was for the land extending from the Yantacaw River (on the south) to the mountains (on the west) and the Passaic River (on the north and east). It was purchased from Captahem (sachem and chief) of the Lenni Lenape Indians for an agreed upon amount of blankets, kettles, powder, and other goods on 28 March 1679. But the 14 settlers did not have an official title from the Indians and had to get clear title to the land that the English government would recognize and honor. There was quite a controversy over this and many of the settlers had by then settled on the land. Apparently England’s King Charles II had given the same land to reward some of his subjects and they, too, wished to claim the land. The 14 settlers were finally granted a patent or clear title to the Acquackanonk land (that they had purchased from the Indians previously) from the English dated 15 March 1684 for which they paid L50 (which covered all arrearages in quit-rents) and in which they agreed to an annual quit-rent of L14 thereafter (the first L14 due 25 March 1686 and every 25 March thereafter). This annual quit-rent, in addition to the original purchase price, was customary in those days and it was paid for many years by Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] and the others. Initially each of the patentees had taken a 100 acre lot and the rest was “held in common”. The second parcelling to the 14 patentees was laid out along the river and called Goutum (Gotham) and the third parcelling was in 1701 and the 4th parcelling was in 1714 with York Avenue (now East 18th Street in Jersey City, NJ) in Acquackanonk as the central line and plots on both sides of it with Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] sharing plot No. 5 with Hessel Pietersen in this division – these latter “parcellings” must have been to the heirs of Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] (1635-1696) as he had died in 1696 at the age of 61 years. Gerrit Gerritsen [Van Wagenen] never lived at Acquackanonk, but his sons did.

I found this at:


A history of Passaic:

A cool old map, I found here:

Acquackanonk Gotham divisionDescription:

Important early manuscript survey, setting forth the creation of the Gotham Division of the Patent of Acquackanonk, apparently drawn in 1684, which was prepared in conjunction with the original issuance of the patent by the Proprietors of East Jersey for the lands which would become Passaic, New Jersey.

The present map is almost certainly the first “subdivision” of the area shown, coming only 2 years after the acquisition of East Jersey by William Penn and his investors from the Carterets, and  includes the names and locations of the first owners / settlers of the lands shown, following the original Indian Deed of the lands in question to a small group of investors who acquired several tracts of land in the area.  This map was utilized by historians dating back to the 19th Century to outline and describe how the original survey from 1684 by John Van Kirk created the modern boundaries and early streets of the City of Passaic.

At the top left corner and in several other places, the map bears the name “W.W. Scott”, along with pencil annotations, which were apparently added by the historian William Winfield Scott (1855-1935), a lawyer and the official historian of Passaic New Jersey, who wrote extensively on the history of Passaic in the late 19th and early 20th Century.  In his book The History of Passaic and its Environs 1922 (Volume 1, Chapter VI), Scott discusses “The Great, or ‘Acquackanonk Patent,” of which the present survey map is referred to as the “Gotham Division.”  Most of the following information is excerpted from various works by W.W. Scott.

Prior to the arrival of European settlers, the area shown was controlled by the Lenni Lenape tribe of the Algonquin nation.  In 1678, these lands became part of East Jersey, pursuant to a grant by Charles II of England to his brother, the Duke of York, who in turn conveyed interests to the Lords Proprietors.  In order to acquire title land within the proprietorship, an owner was required to produce a patent or deed for the lands from the resident Indian tribe.

The first European to settle in what is now the city of Passaic was Hartman Michielse, who, by deed dated April 4, 1678, purchased from the Indians an island in the Passaic River.  Adjoining the island were two contiguous tracts of land totalling about 300 acres, purchased from the Indians by Christopher Hoagland, a New York fur dealer, in May 1678, and by him conveyed to Hartman Michielse on February 16, 1679. Michielse subsequently divided the land with his three brothers, two of whom settled on the land.

Hartman planned to establish a fur trading post on the island and, by acquiring the adjacent land, to protect it from competitors. He recruited an additional 10 investors from Communipaw (Jersey City), to purchase an adjoining tract of thousands of acres called Acquackanonk, which included not only all remaining land now comprising the city of Passaic, but also the modern cities of Clifton and Paterson, for which a deed was obtained from the Indians, dated March 27, 1679. The name Michielse became Vreeland, and (members of) this family for many years were the largest real estate owners in the county.

While Christopher Hoagland had obtained a patent July 15, 1678, simultaneously with the deed from the Indians, Hartman, owner of the island and the fourteen men who purchased Acquackanonk, like many other early speculators in East Jersey, denied the necessity of securing patents, claiming that Indian deeds were all that was necessary to acquire title.  A controversy followed lasting four years, and ended only when the Governor, by a letter dated February 29, 1683-4, notified all persons that claims of title under Indian deeds would be recognized by the Proprietors.   As a result the various owners conducted surveys and engaged in the work necessary to secure their patents, which was completed in 1684-5.  By the time the patent was issued to Michielse and his partners, Scott notes that all 14 investors had settled on the Acquackanonk patent lands.

As noted by Scott, the land of the Acquackanonk Patent was divided into 4 divisions, the Acquackanonk, Boght (or Bend), Gotum (Gotham) and Weasel divisions.  In History of Passaic . . . , Scott notes at page 62:

A map, or diagram, was made of each division.  That of the Bogt, or at least a copy, is in existence;  that of the Gotham division (the original), belongs to and is in the possession of the editor.  Both the Acquackanonk and Weasel divisions map are not known ot be in existence. . . .

In History of Passaic, From the Earliest Settlement To the Present Day . . . , 1899 (Compiled and edited by William J. Paper with Collaboration of William W. Scott), the writer’s identify the maker of the map as John Van Kirk and illustrate the map, making an extensive study of the contents of the map and its influence on the location of the modern streets and boundaries of Passaic.  Scott’s pencil annotations on the map, which correspond to the below observations, can still be seen on the present map:

This was the real beginning of the settlement of the village of Acquackanonk, which afterwards became Passaic. Being at the head of tide-water and the site of a large Indian village, it became the most important trading point in this part of the State.  It was the only outlet by water for the country for a long distance to the north and west. It was the port of entry, trading post and fishing place of all the inhabitants.

The first actual settlers started a survey of their new lands. With them came a surveyor, John Van Kirk. Not being entitled to a surname, his appellation was originally simply John, but being employed mostly by churches on Long Island and at Bergen in the line of his profession and as a scrivener, he received the name John Van Kirk (John of the church). His duty was to survey the country and make a partition map for the patentees.

First the river frontage is allotted into four divisions, viz.: Acquackanonk, Boght (or Bend, now within the limits of Paterson). Gotham and Weasel. Passaic is carved out of the first and third named. Boght contained twenty-eight lots and each of the others fourteen.

A plate of the map of “Gotham” is here given. It is photographed from the supposed original, which is in a fair state of preservation, despite its age. A map of the entire Acquackanonk patent was made, but unfortunately has been lost.

The lower line is Monroe street. The point of the gore on the lower lefthand corner is near the corner of Prospect street and Park place. The line running due north from this point is still maintained by a fence in the rear of the lots fronting on the east side of Prospect street. It extends to Monroe street at a point 150 feet west of Hamilton avenue. The west line is Grove street extended beyond the city limits. The north line is about the present northern limits of the land lying between Yantaeaw or Third River, on south and a line running north 15 degrees west from the present No. 1 Main avenue at the river, back to the mountains on the north (which line is now part of Prospect and Grove streets) was then laid out in strips of about ten chains wide. These farms fronted on the river, and the plan seems to have been to consider them the homestead farms.  With each homestead were allotted from 100 to 150 acres, depending upon situation and quality of soil.  In the rear of the homestead lots, and between the upper and lower boundaries, other “lots” of fromm forty to fifty acres and of 100 acres were laid out.  The desirability of the land determined the size and location of these lot, (as contiguous farms they did not always adjoin each other).  The land between Monroe street and Paterson was also laid out in farms, but running in another direction from the river. The course was south 64 degrees west until the lines butted against the Van Wagoner farm, the most northerly of the first series. This row of farms was also divided among the patentees. There were also other “lots of forty and one hundred acres, pasture and woodland, situated some distance from the homesteads. The early farmers pastured cattle at long distances from home. Those in this locality had their pastures near the mountains. The division of the land seems to have been made by drawing lots. One man would secure contiguous tracts, while another’s would be widely separated.  Exchanges were made to enable some patentees to secure compact farms, while in other cases the same end was reached by purchase. In more than one case a patentee secured adjoining and regularly laid out  home lots, containing together nearly over hundred acres.

The map is of tremendous historical importance for local historians.  The map was purchased from Freeman’s Auctioneers in June 2012 at public auction.

A book to read:

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