Township of Hohokus

    Hohokus Township--This township, which is in the extreme northerly portion of Bergen county, adjoining the New York State line, which is its northeasterly border, takes its name from the brook, the word "Hohokus" being an Indian derivation, and signifying "cleft in the rock."  Other authorities claim it is from ho, a spirit, and hokes, a kind of a bark of a tree, also from mehokhohus, signifying red cedar or primarily where red cedar abounded.  Its western boundary is Passaic county, Washington township is on the east, and Franklin and Ridgewood townships are on the south.  Its territory embracing more than 16,000 acres, makes it the foremost township in the county in dimensions, and at one time it had the great area of 23,701 acres, but its vast domain was reduced by the formation of boroughs.  Its diversified scenery, presenting alternatively hills and valleys of exceeding beauty and fertility, makes an attractive picture.

    The township is well provided with water courses, the Saddle river running along the eastern border, the Ramapo river on the west, and on the south the Hohokus brook, while several small tributaries empty into these streams.

    Early families in Hohokus township include those of Ackerman, Bamper, Bogert, Hopper, Voorhis, Zabriskie, Rosencrantz, DeBaun, Christie, Conklin, Wanamaker, Ramsey, Garrison, May, Van Gelder, Goetschius, Vanderbeck, Valentine, Quackenbush, Storms and Powell. 

    John Ackerman came before the Revolutionary War and settled in the township, as did also bram Hopper, both being of Holland lineage.  The latter purchased a tract of land embracing what as long known as Hoppertown, besides much additional land.

    Stephen Bogert is the earliest remembered member of the Bogert family, and resided upon the farm more recently occupied by the late Judge John W. Bogert.  He was of Dutch descent, and was born August 15, 1739.  Judge Bogert here referred to, who was judge of the Court of Errors and Appeals, 1891-1915, was also an Assemblyman in 1874-75, State Senator in 1886-89, and county collector of Bergen county.

    The progenitor of the Rosencrantz family in Hohokus was John Rosencrantz, of Sussex county, New Jersey, whose son Elijah removed to this township in 1807, while the progenitor of the Goetschius family was Dominie Goetschius, well known in the ecclesiastical history of the county.  John Valentine, who came at an early day, located upon the farm afterward owned by his grandson, the late John J. May.

    Dederick Wanamaker, accompanied by Nicholas Messenger, left his native Holland, and purchased a tract of land embracing 640 acres in Bergen county, on a portion of which he settled.  Messenger was formerly spelled Maysenher.  Six generations in succession have been reared on the Wanamaker land.  William Conklin, formerly residing at Tappan, removed to Hohokus while portions of the township were still in a primitive condition. 

        The act organizing the township of Hohokus reads as follows:


    An Act to set off from the township of Franklin, in the county of Bergen, a new township, to be called the township of Hohokus.
    Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, That all that part of the township of Franklin, in the county of Bergen, that lies north of the following line:  Beginning at the Saddle River Creek, at the upper end of Danie Perry's mill-pond, opposite the course of the road leading from the Saddle River road to Fairfield; thence a straight course to said road; thence along the middle of said road until it intersects the road leading from New Prospect to Paramus; thence across said road, the course of the aforementioned road, direct to Paterson and Ramapo Railroad; thence along the said railroad northerly to the Hohokus Brook; thence along said Hohokus brook westerly until it crosses the public road leading from Campgaw to Paterson, at the upper end of John Halstead's mill-pond; thence westerly along the line, between lands of Andrew G. Ackerman, Abram J. Hopper, Henry Sturr, Conrad Sturr, and Peter H. Pulis on the north and Lewis Yournans and others on the south, to the middle of the road leading from Wyckoff to Campgaw, at the southeasterly corner of lands of Peter H. Pulis; thence westerly along the middle of said road to the division line between lands of Henry B. Winter and Daniel Thomas; thence a straight course to the middle of the Yaupoh road, north of the house of David Bertholf, at the intersection of the mountain road leading from Wynockie; thence a northerly course through the Ramapo Mountain, parallel with the New York State line, to the line between the counties of Bergen and Passaic, shall be and the same is hereby set off into a separate township, to be called and known by the name of the township of Hohokus, in the county of Bergen.

    It was also enacted that the township of Hohokus should hold its first annual town meeting on the day appointed by law for holding the annual township meetings in other townships in Bergen county, at the house of John W. Ramsey, at Mount Prospect, in said township of Hohokus.  This act was approved February 5, 1849. 

    At the election which followed, township officers were duly chosen, consisting of a freeholder, township clerk, township committee, assessor, collector, surveyors of highways, and superintendent of schools.  The latter office was abolished in 1866, and a county superintendent was appointed with jurisdiction over all school territory in the county.

    The population of Hohokus township as shown by the census of 1920 is 2,081, which is a decrease in the number of inhabitants who went with the territory that was taken for the formation of boroughs.  The township compares very favorably in every respect with other municipalities in the northern portion of Bergen county.  The total valuation of taxable property in the township is $2,700,000.  Mahwah, which is the principal village in the township, has a population of about 800, and also some handsome residences, among which are those of H. O. and Theodore Havemeyer, the well-known sugar refiners.  It has one building and loan association, a public school and a Reformed church.  The only industry in operation at Mahwah is the works of the American Brake Shoe & Foundry Co., producers of castings, railway brake shoes, etc., in which 500 men are employed.  All the standard grains and garden vegetables are raised in the surrounding section.

Westervelt, Frances Augusta Johnson,History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923
New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1923, 1229 pgs., Chapter XXVIII, pgs. 299-300.
Subpages (1): Township of Orvil
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