By A. Thornton Bishop, Chairman, Planning Board
The Sunday Sun, April 28, 1946
Personalities Become Our Milestones
Records of early families in the Teaneck area suggest the cosmopolitan background of the settlers. The Dutch seemed to dominate in number the groups of other national origins, but English, Huguenot French, German, Polish, and Swedish families helped to comprise the colonial tax rolls. In a list of many names associated with the neighborhood, compiled by the Reverend Dr. Romeyn, and printed in the Township's 40th anniversary program, those of the Kipp and the Van Der Linda families, who settled here before 1700, are perpetuated as names of Teaneck streets.
In 1835 William De Ronde and his three sons, Abraham, John W., and William H., became residents, and the family remained prominent in civic affairs for the following 100 years. The late Frank S. De Ronde. grandson of the original William, served as the first Clerk of the Township for three years following its incorporation. When the Township's 40th anniversary was celebrated in 1935. Mr. De Ronde officiated as the Committee's General Chairman.
Demarest Large Land Holders
The Demarest family, descendants of the French Huguenot De Marets, or De Marias, was one of the oldest in the neighborhood. Receiving a patent from the Tappan Indians, which was later confirmed by Sir George Carteret, their farms extended from New Bridge to a point above River Edge between the Hackensack River and a line marked later by the Northern railway. About 1830 George C. Demarest moved a bit southward and established two farms, one about 97 acres, the other 47 acres, which were situated between the Overpeck Creek and a line just east of the present right of way of the West Shore Railroad.
The land was a wedding gift from Casper Demarest, George's father, who bought it from Henrick Brinkerhoff. The original farmhouse still stands at 493 Teaneck Road where Saretta and Mary Ella, granddaughters of George C. reside. The house was built about 1668 by George Brinkerhoff, father of Henrick.
Family Active in Local Affairs
The Demarests have always taken an active interest in the affairs of the community. George C. served as Road Commissioner for Ridgefield Township, in which governmental sub-division the farms were then located. His son, James B., was a School Trustee of Ridgefield, and the grandson; George V., one of the oldest of Teaneck's residents, has served both as a School Trustee and on the Township Council. Before the incorporation of Teaneck Township, Ridgefield took in the territory south of Cedar Lane.
George C. Demarest shared with William P. De Graw the sponsorship of the trolley line which ran from Leonia to Bogota, and was later extended to Hackensack and Paterson.
The Brinkerhoffs were prominent on the early tax rolls. Farms of Jacob Brinkerhoff were absorbed in the large estate of William Walter Phelps, and Henry J. Brinkerhoff served as one of the first of three members on the Teaneck Township Committee. The last of the family passed away about 10 years ago.
Terhune Family First on Tax Rolls
The distinction of holding property listed on the Township's tax rolls as including Lot 1, Block 1, falls to the Terhune family, which has held deeds on River Road frontage for more than 200 years. Here the lands of Jacob C. Terhune extended from the Hackensack River to the right of way of the West Shore Railroad. Nuptials linked the Terhunes with the Brinkerhoffs when the daughter of Jacob Brinkerhoff married J. V. H. Terhune, the son of Jacob C. The farm which was part of her dowry was situated on the east side of Teaneck Road and stretched out across the pasture land to the Overpeck Creek. Cornelius J. Terhune, son of J. V. H., acquired the land facing his father's farm on Teaneck Road. This farm extended west to the railroad right of way. so that it can be said that lands of the Terhunes formed a belt across the Township from one waterfront to the other.
Both Jacob C. Terhune and his son served Bergen County as sheriff, the son also officiating as Road Commissioner. In the middle of the 19th century, he supervised the building of the Fort Lee Road Turnpike which links the two townships on the banks of the Overpeck Creek.
Dr. Chapman Born Here
Lebbeus Chapman moved into the community in 1863 and settled on a farm located on the east side of Teaneck Road not far from the present location of West Englewood Avenue. Here his son was born, who distinguished himself in later years as Dr. Frank M. Chapman, ornithologist of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The grandson, also named Frank, developed a gifted voice, and established himself as a baritone with opera companies in Europe before associating himself with the Metropolitan Opera Company. It was while in Italy he met an aspiring young soprano from the middle west whom he later married. She is better known as Miss Gladys Swarthout.
The Jordan Family
On the opposite side of Teaneck Road, Conrad N. Jordan purchased 23 acres from the adjoining Lozier farm in April 1865. The property ran east and west, across the site of the railroad right of way to a point near where Whittier School is now located. The house he built near Teaneck Road suffered two fires, the first in 1920, after which repairs were made. A fire in 1928 rendered the building a complete loss, and it was subsequently torn down.
Mr. Jordan distinguished himself nationally as a financier, organizing the Third National Bank in New York and serving as its cashier. In association with Samuel J. Tilden, Jordan acquired control of the railroad then operating between Bogota and Tappan. He helped to extend its service to Haverstraw, and later was instrumental in establishing it as the West Shore Railroad.
West Englewood Was 'Jordan Station'
The section situated in the western portion of the Englewood Township was originally planned as a community for the employees of the new railroad, and the station stop was first known as Jordan Station. When the Weehawken tunnel was completed about 1882, the railroad served the west side of the Hudson River to Albany. A two-track line went into operation in 1883, and the main station stop in this community was named West Englewood.
In May 1885, Mr. Jordan was appointed Treasurer of the United States by President Grover Cleveland. At this time the use of silver coin had increased to where it threatened a serious financial situation. Mr. Jordan introduced the silver certificate in small denominations and averted a drain against the gold reserves in the Treasury. In 1887, he resigned, buy in 1892, during Cleveland's second term in office, he accepted the post of Assistant Treasurer of the United States, in charge of the sub-treasury in New York City. He died in office in 1903. Archibald N. Jordan, his son, resides on Larch Avenue.