Gilsenan and Company Realtors

Gilsenan and Company Realtors
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A little over 300 years ago the entire northern area of New Jersey was Indian country and for that reason Bergen County was settled later than some locations.

The Indians, primarily the Lenni Lenape, a branch of the Algonquin family, had migrated eastward across the Mississippi. Spending part of the year near Delaware and the southern shores of New Jersey, they took advantage of the warm summers by fishing, clamming, and farming. To escape the winter storms they traveled northward where some of them eventually stayed. Basically peaceful, they did get in skirmishes from time to time over their territory. However, the neighboring Mohawks were active throughout the whole southern section of New York state during the French and Indian War.

During this time period, immigrants from Europe were arriving and settling in New Amsterdam and along the west side of the Hudson River near Jersey City, Hoboken, and Hackensack. Locating near rivers and streams, they gradually began spreading their settlements northward and westward. They were mostly Dutch, but some emigrating through Holland were Danes, Swedes, and Poles, but they were grouped together under the "Dutch." Although mainly farmers, many were businessmen, lawyers and judges.

The Board of East Jersey Proprietors had been established by the English in 1665. On November 18, 1709 they purchased a parcel of land known as the Ramapough Tract for £123, or about $175, from the Indians. Trade goods for that amount were brought up the Hudson River to a place near Tappan, NY. The tract consisted of 42,000 acres of land along the Ramapo River eastward, north into New York state and south towards Pompton. The boundaries were under much dispute, for at the time of the sale, the province line between New York and New Jersey had not been settled. Gradually, however, parcels of land were still sold to the new immigrants by the Proprietors as they moved northward.


At this time also, the eastern side of the Saddle River was known by the Indians as Weerommensa, or "Land of the Grapes," and inhabited by them. The Indians conveyed this land by deed to one Albrecht Zaborowsky who was a Polish immigrant. Originally the transaction was to have taken place in the year 1675, but for some unknown reason was delayed until 1702. In the interim the Indian principals had died and the proposed transaction was forgotten. Tradition tells us that during this time also, Zaborowsky's son was kidnapped by the Indians who said they wanted to teach him the Indian ways and language so he could become a translator for them, which he did later on. As restitution for that act, a new deed was drawn up between the Indians and Albrecht Zaborowsky which was "signed" by the tribal sachems Strikhorn, Coorang, Nemeriscon, and Wappareny with their "marks." The date was June 1, 1702. The land consisted of 1200 acres. It ran along the east side of the Saddle River south from the Proprietors' lands, extending to a place called Indian Rock which marked the southernmost portion of the Indian land. That enormous rock is still located off Twinbrooks Road.

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