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Jersey City Hudson County, New Jersey

Jersey City, with a population in 1905 of 232,698, ranks second in New Jersey. It contains the sites of the earliest settlements. Jersey City, as at present constituted, was formed by the consolidation of Bergen, Hudson City, and Greenville with the original and smaller Jersey City, in the years 1869-73, and includes within its boundaries Paulus Hook, Communipaw, and Harsimus, places prominent in the early history of the section. All these were included in the tract granted to Michael Pauw in 1630 and called Pavonia. As we have seen, settlements were begun at Bergen and other parts of Pavonia about the time that Manhattan Island was first occupied, or soon thereafter.

These settlements were rendered insecure by reason of troubles with the Indians. After the land lying between the Hudson River on the east and Newark Bay and the Hackensack River on the west had been purchased from the Indians by Governor Stuyvesant and the Council of New Netherland in 1658, the settlers petitioned for permission to establish a village on the land behind Communipaw. The petition was granted on August 16, 1660. Bergen was accordingly founded as a village in 1660, and was laid out by Jacques Cortelyou, the first surveyor of New Amsterdam. It had the form of a square, each side being 800 feet long, and was fortified by a stockade, erected on the sides of the square. In the middle of the square an open space 225 feet long and 160 feet wide, was reserved. The remaining space was divided into lots and allotted to the settlers. Although their farms, which were called ''buytentuyn," extended for some distance beyond the village, the settlers were required to have their homes within the stockade, so that they might be able to protect themselves against the attacks of the Indians. The plan of the village is still preserved. In place of the stockade we have city streets, and the open space in the middle is retained as Bergen Square. A local court of justice was established September 5, 1661.

A site for a village was also surveyed by Cortelyou in 1660 at Communipaw and a palisade was afterward-s erected. In order that the settlers of Bergen and Communipaw might be able to reach New Amsterdam more easily, a ferry was established at Communipaw in 1661.

That the founders of Bergen were solicitous about the education of their children is shown by the fact that when the village was laid out, one plot was reserved as a site for the village school. This is the first site in the State used for school purposes, and on it is located the present imposing School No. II, the fifth, probably, to be erected on this plot. Soon after the founding of Bergen, the first school was established in 1662, under the charge of Engelbert Stuynhuysen. He was the first teacher in New Jersey of whom there is any record. The first school building was erected in 1664.

The Dutch settlers of Bergen were also the first to organize a church, in 1660. The first church building was erected about 1662. In Bergen, therefore, were established the first municipal government, the first church, and the first school of the State.

On September 22, 1668, Governor Carteret granted a new charter to the town of Bergen. The settlement grew rapidly. The inhabitants were industrious, and devoted themselves earnestly to clearing and cultivating their lands. They found a ready market for their crops in New York, and enjoyed the prosperity of a peaceful and successful farming community to the time of the Revolutionary War, during which they were loyal to the cause of the colonies, and suffered much from the frequent raids of British soldiers. The town of Bergen was re-chartered March 24, 1855. It was chartered as a city in April, 1868.

The original and smaller Jersey City included at first only Paulus Hook, but was subsequently enlarged to include all the lowland immediately adjacent to the Hudson River, and extending to Bergen. The location, directly opposite the metropolis of the country, marked it as the site of one of the future great cities of the country. Paulus Hook, for over a century, had been owned by a single family, the Van Vorsts. A ferry, erected before the Revolution (in 1764), connected it with New York, and it was the starting point of the stage line to Philadelphia. A score of stages entered and left Paulus Hook daily.

The tract, containing 117 acres, was conveyed to Anthony Dey in March, 1804. Cornelius van Vorst was to receive in payment, six thousand "Spanish-milled dollars," secured by an irredeemable mortgage. This tract was enclosed by the Hudson River, Harsimus Bay, Communipaw Bay, and a straight line running between the two bays. The population of Paulus Hook at that time did not number twenty persons.

In January, 1820, the City of Jersey was incorporated by the legislature. Another charter was granted in 1829, a better system of government was organized, and new industries were brought into the town. In 1838 the city was incorporated as Jersey City, with a mayor and common council.

Hudson City and Greenville originally formed parts of Bergen and as such are associated with its eventful history. They were established as separate municipalities in April, 1855 and March, 1863, respectively. As has been stated, Jersey City, Bergen, Hudson City, and Greenville were consolidated into a greater Jersey City.

The charter of the consolidated city has undergone many changes, but its growth has been amazing. It is the terminal of the leading railway lines of the country; it contains the docks of important transatlantic steamship companies; and is connected with New York by numerous steam ferries and by tunnels. There are plans for spanning the Hudson by a great bridge similar to those which now join Manhattan and Brooklyn.

The generosity of New Jersey in providing for education is strikingly illustrated in Jersey City. All the schools are sanitary structures of the finest type. The High School building recently completed cost $520,000. It is surrounded by ten acres of ground, which, at an expense of $100,000, has been converted into a public park. The Free Public Library is a beautiful building, containing one of the largest collections of books in the State.

Jersey City ships a vast amount of grain, and its manufactures include foundry and machine products, railroad cars, refined sugar and molasses, dressed meats, tobacco, rubber and silk goods, chemicals, lumber, malt liquors, watches, iron, steel, brass, zinc, pencils, soap, and candles. The population in 1905 was 232,699, and the estimated number of inhabitants for 1910 is 265,000.

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