Ramsey. NJ


BRIEF HISTORY OF RAMSEY, Bergen County New Jersey

Information located at http://www.rootsweb.com/~njbergen/
On a USGenWeb/NJGenWeb Web site
TRANSCRIBED BY JANICE BROWN, County Coordinator in 2006
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The original source of this information is in the public domain, however use of this text file, other than for personal use, is restricted without written permission from the transcriber (who has edited, compiled and added new copyrighted text to same).

SOURCE: History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923; by Frances Augusta Johnson Westervelt; New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1923, 1229 pgs.

page 402

RAMSEY--The most important place in the township of Hohokus was Ramsey, so named from Peter J. Ramsey, the original owner of the land. It was sold after his decease, about the year 1854, at commissioner's sale to William J. Pulis, the tract disposed of embracing sixty acres. Mr. Pulis resold twenty-two acres to John Y. Dater, of Hohokus township, with whose advent an era of enterprise dawned upon the locality. Mr. Dater at once began the erection of buildings, and opened a general merchandise store, adding to this an extensive supply of coal and building material. The earliest structure was of brick. A hotel was erected about the same time by David W. Valentine, which was burned, and the Fowler House was afterward built upon the site, August Schroeder being the owner of the property after 1885. Mr. Dater next erected a building for the manufacture of sleighs, and did a thriving business for a long period, finally leasing to M.B. Deyoe. William J. Pulis then built a store, of which his son subsequently became the proprietor, he dying in 1895. His son J.W. Pulis and his grandson, W.H. Pulis, each opened stores in the place. A station had been established on the completion of the Ramapo and Paterson (now the Erie) railroad, which was called Ramsey, and a post office was located here by the government, with Albert G. Lydecker as the first post-master and John Y. Dater as his successor. As the location became more favorable known, capital flowed into the embryo village, residences were erected, business increased, and Ramsey took its place among the growing towns of the county. In 1876 the Reformed Dutch Church was erected at Ramsey on land which had been donated by Mrs. William Halsted.

William Slack was a prominent merchant here for about forty years. He first came to Ramsey in 1849, and at that time there were only two or three houses in the place. He followed the cabinet business, and after a few years at Haverstraw, New York, pursuing his trade, he returned in 1860, and after that time for many years was the principal undertaker not only for Ramsey, but for the surrounding sections. When Mr. Slack first came to Ramsey he was honored with the office of constable, and one of his first duties that fell to his lot was the arrest of Ben. Moore, a notorious character, for stabbing a man in Fowler's Hotel, taking him to the county jail at Hackensack. Moore was a bully, and Slack was a slight young man, not particularly skilled in ruffianism, but he succeeded finally in landing his man in jail, though it was a Hurculean task. The victim of the stabbing died nine days after the sad event, and Moore got ten years in the State Prison at Trenton.

James Stuart, a man well known in Bergen county, came to Ramsey in 1870, and built his home here in 1871, and subsequently built a half dozen other houses. Mr. Stuart conducted a meat market and enjoyed a large trade. It was not unusual for him to kill one hundred sheep and a half dozen steers in a week. Although a Democrat in politics, Mr. Stuart on November 17, 1888, celebrated the election of Benjamin Harrison as President over Grover Cleveland by treating the people of Ramsey and of the surrounding country to a barbecue. For the occasion he roasted an ox that weighed 750 pounds, provided three barrels of the cream of ale, and 400 loaves of bread, and fully 1,500 people partook of the banquet the like of which had never been seen before in this part of New Jersey. Mr. Stuart was born in Hohokus township on August 19, 1844, a son of Henry A. Stuart, and grandson of Adolphus Stuart, who found in the Revolutionary war, while Mrs. Stuart's maternal grandfather, John Sutherland, was in the war of 1812. Mr. Stuart's son, Harry A. Stuart, was the last clerk of the old Board of Freeholders.

When Ramsey was organized as a borough in March 1908, James Stuart was chosen mayor. Other mayors of the borough have been: E.F. Carpenter, J.F. DeBaun, F.W. Gertzen, and the present mayor is F. W. Storer. The territory of Ramsey borough was enlarged by the addition of a portion of Waldwick borough by act of the Legislature which was approved March 31, 1921. The boundary of the annexed territory is as follows:

"Beginning at a point in the northerly boundary line of the borough of Allendale, in the county of Bergen, and in the southerly boundary of said borough of Ramsey, and in the middle of the public road leading from the Franklin turnpike at the Gate House hill in the borough of Allendale to the residence formerly of Henry A. Winter, in the borough of Ramsey, known as Hillside avenue, and running from thence (1) along the said northerly boundary line of the borough of Allendale south fifty-three degrees and thirty minutes east to the westerly boundary line of the borough of Saddle-River, in the county of Bergen; thence (2) along the same and the westerly boundary line of the borough of Upper Saddle River, in the county of Bergen, in a northerly direction to the center line of Lake street and the easterly boundary line of the borough of Ramsey; thence (3) along the easterly boundary line of the borough of Ramsey, being the center line of Lake street and Hillside avenue in a westerly and southerly direction to the place of beginning, is hereby set off from the borough of Waldwick, in the county of Bergen, and annexed to and made a part of the borough of Ramsey, in the county of Bergen.

Two years after the borough was formed, the census of 1910 showed Ramsey had a population of 1,667 and the number of inhabitants in 1920 had increased to 2,090.

Ramsey also has a bank-First National of Ramsey-of recent establishment, of which E.F. Carpenter is president. There is a municipal water plant, a public school of the eighth grade, a volunteer fire company, equipped with two chemical engines, a weekly newspaper-"Ramsey Journal"--of which Assemblyman John Y. Dater is proprietor and publisher. There are four churches--Catholic, Episcopal, Lutheran, and Presbyterian. Odd Fellows, Red Men and American Mechanics represent the fraternal orders.

Besides garden farming, which is carried on quite extensively, a fine quality of stawberries, peaches and plums are grown. Being situated in a very healthful and picturesque region in the Ramapo mountain district, Ramsey is a fine residence town. In addition to good train service on the main line of the Erie, the North Jersey traction line also runs through the borough.

In 1840 the first school was erected in this district, a frame structure, 16x20 feet in size, which was used for school purposes until 1874. The building was then condemned by the county school superintendent, and a more commodious school was erected in its stead, which was 23X45 feet in dimension, one story high, with belfry; attractive and well furnished. It cost $5,000. The next school building was erected in 1892 at a cost of $10,000.

The True Reformed Church at Ramsey was organized on May 24, 1824, and was the outgrowth of a separation from the Reformed Church (Dutch). During the year 1826 a church building was erected one mile from Ramsey station on the road leading to Darlington. Here regular worship was maintained until 1868, a period of forty-two years, when the inconvenience of the location caused a change to be suggested. Ground was partly purchased, and the remainder donated in Ramsey, and an edifice erected, which together with furniture, cost $5,000. This was dedicated in the year of its completion. Rev. James D. Demarest, the first pastor, labored alternately between this church and the one at Monsey, New York, and at a ripe old age retired from the ministry. Rev. John Y. DeBaun next received a call from the same churches, and continued as pastor four years and six months, when a larger field opened to him at Hackensack. The church was then served by supply and by stated supply, the Rev. Isaac J. DeBaun officiating until 1875. In April 1875, Rev. Samuel I. Vanderbeck accepted a call, continuing his ministrations here fourteen years, followed by Rev. Jacob N. Trompen in the spring of 1891.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer at Ramsey was organized under the auspices of Rev. E. DeVoe on February 1, 1867. A building lot was next secured on which to erect a church edifice, and the contract for the building was awarded in March 1868, but owing to delay in securing the lumber, work was not started until the fall of that year. The cornerstone was laid September 12, 1868. In 1869 services were held in the basement of new church. The church was dedicated September 6, 1871. Rev. E. DeVoe who was from the beginning the pastor of this little flock, continued in that relation until February 1878. Rev. L.A. Burrell became pastor in October 1878, succeeded shortly after by Rev. J.W. Lake. Next came the Rev. S.H. Weaver, followed by the Rev. Carlton Bannister.

With the exception of Oakland and Alpine, Ramsey has a larger area than any other borough in the county, comprising 3,114 acres.