Lyndhurst (formerly Union) Township--That part of Bergen county which included what constituted Union township as originally known by the Indian name of Mighecticock (New Barbadoes Neck). It embraced 3,308 acres of upland and 10,000 acres of meadow. This land was purchased by Capt. William Sandford, in 1668, in the interest of Nathaniel Kingsland, of the island of Barbadoes, from the proprietors, on condition that he would establish six or eight farms within three years, and pay twenty pounds sterling on the twenty-fifth of each succeeding March. On July 20 of the same year he purchased from the Indians their title, "to commence at the Hackensack and Pissawack Rivers, and to go northward about seven miles to Sandford's Spring (afterwards Boiling Spring)." The consideration was "170 fathoms of black wampum, 200 fathoms of white wampum, 19 watch coats, 16 guns, 60 double hands powder, 10 pair breeches, 60 knives, 67 bars of lead, 1 anker of brandy, 3 half fats beer, 11 blankets, 30 axes, and 20 hoes."
The territory was included in the township of New Barbadoes until 1825, and was a part of Lodi until 1840, when Hudson county was formed from a part of Bergen county, and Harrison township, in Hudson county, included the territory mentioned. As the inhabitants were not satisfied with this apportionment, in 1852 Union township was formed by act of the State Legislature and put back again in Bergen county. It was bounded on the north by Lodi township, south by Hudson county, east by the Hackensack river, and west by the Passaic river, the area being 7,280 acres. More recently considerable territory has been cut off fro the creation of other municipalities, reducing the area at the present time to 1,797 acres and 12,170 lots.
Union township soil varies as in other section of the county. A vast salt marsh embracing thousands of acres is in the eastern part. An attempt to drain this tract has been made by the construction of an extensive dyke, and also by digging a canal which should drain it into the Passaic river. Residents of the township objected to the building of a dyke from the standpoint that a large volume of unwholesome water created by such a project would cause unsanitary conditions and engender disease. No scheme has since proven practicable, and the marsh remains in its virgin condition. The county mosquito exterminators in recent years have found this marsh land a fertile field for their activities in their effort to rid the the surrounding sections of the mosquito pest. The soil adjacent to the meadow is composed of clay and red shale, and is very productive.
Early names in the township were Schuyler, Kingsland, Sanford, Berry, Holsman, Joralemon, Van Riper, Kipp, Outwater, Vreeland, Ackerman, Yereance, Van Winkle, Rutherford, Brinkerhoff. Philip Pietriese Schuyler, first of his family to come to America, settled at Albany, New York, in 1648. Of his ten children, his son Arent, the progenitor of the New Jersey branch of the Schuyler family, built a mansion at a very early date in Union township, on the banks of the Passaic river. His son John was the first to develop the Schuyler copper mines.
The first members of the Kingsland family were Nathaniel Kingsland and his wife, Mary, of the island of Barbadoes, and on arriving in the township he erected a stone dwelling on land which he had commissioned Capt. William Sandford to purchase for him in 1668.
According to popular tradition, the earliest representative of the Yereance family purchased 300 acres of land for 20 shillings, the land being in a primitive condition.
The Union township branch of the Van Winkle family (formerly spelled Van Winkel) came originally from Amsterdam, Holland, and with other Dutch emigrants settled New Amsterdam, afterwards New York. The ancestor of the Bergen county branch was Walling Jacobs, who in 1684 purchased of the proprietors, together with others, a certain tract of land known as the Acquackanonk Patent, including the cities of Passaic and Paterson. Walling Jacobs died about 1725, after which is son, Jacob W., and grandson, John Jacob, made large purchases of land in Bergen county. Isaac, a son of John Jacob, born in 1767, settled in Union township. Some of his descendants now reside at Rutherford and in other parts of the county.
Daniel Holsman, of German descent, originally resided at Paterson, and having purchased a valuable property in Union, known as the Van Winkle estate, settled upon it. He erected a large mansion, later occupied as a hotel and summer resort. He had five children--one son, Daniel. The son Daniel was an Assemblyman in 1857-58 ,and a State Senator in 1863-65. He made his mark in the Legislature as a gifted orator and skillful paliamentarian [sic].
Edo Vreeland, a native of Brabant, Holland, settled at Bergen in 1648. One of his sons came to Union township in 1668, and built the old stone homestead, one of the landmarks of the township. It was built upon a portion of the tract of land deeded by the Indians to John Berry. Descendants of the Vreeland family are now scattered to all sections of Bergen county.
Boiling Spring road is known as the oldest road in the township, which began at the public road leading from Passaic to Belleville, thence in a southeasterly direction, intersecting the road leading from Newark to Hackensack. This highway is closely associated with the early history of Union. Another ancient highway is the Neck road, also called on the return of the road, 1707, Polefly, leading from Hackensack to Newark, following a southwesterly course, and running through Carlstadt, Rutherford and Kingsland, reaching the copper mines, from thence to Newark.
The Belleville turnpike is the boundary between Bergen county and Hudson county until it crosses Saw Mill creek, and while not one of the oldest roads, it is a much traveled thoroughfare. The road generally known as the River road runs along the Passaic river to Newark.
In the year 1816 the New York and Paterson turnpike, which was originally called the New Barbadoes turnpike, was surveyed and constructed. It passed through Passaic, its objective points being Hoboken and Paterson. This road was the division line between Union and Lodi townships. Instead of appointing overseers of the highways, the improvement of the roads was supervised by the township committee of Union, each committeeman being assigned a certain road district to superintend.
The act organizing Union township reads as follows:
An act to set off from the township of Harrison, in the county of Hudson, a new township to be called the township of Union, and to annex the same to the county of Bergen.
Be it enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey, That all that portion of the township of Harrison, in the county of Hudson, lying within the following boundaries, to wit: Beginning on the Essex County line, in the centre of the Belleville turnpike road; thence along the centre of said road to the most westerly branch of Saw Mill Creek; thence along the middle of said creek to the Hackensack River; thence up said river and along the line of Bergen township to the centre of the New Barbadoes Toll-Bridge Company's road; thence along the centre of said road and along the Lodi township line to the centre of Passaic River; thence down said river to the place of beginning, shall be and is hereby set off from the township of Harrison, in the county of Hudson, and made a separate township, to be known by the name of the township of Union, which is hereby annexed to and shall hereafter form a part of the county of Bergen.
Real estate associations sprang into existence with a view of developing land in the township, among the number being the following: Mount Rutherford Land Company, which claimed precedence in organization; the Home Land Company, the Rutherford Heights Association, the Park Land Company, the Rutherford Park Association, 1871; the West Carlstadt Land Verein, and the East Rutherford Land Association.
Besides publishing maps, streets were opened, buildings were constructed, and there was a large influx of inhabitants. Although the township had no village within its limits, it shortly became a growing centre of population, with churches, schools, post office, etc. Then the old name of Boiling Spring was dropped, and as a compliment to one of the oldest and most distinguished families of the township the place was christened "Rutherford Park." Land operators throughout New Jersey at that period seem to have had the habit of attaching the word "park" in order to attract investors from New York City and elsewhere. The change was opposed, an an abbreviation of the name was advocated in 1875, the matter being a subject for newspaper controversy, and a spirited discussion ensued >A petition numerously signed by residents was sent to the Postmaster-General at Washington requesting that the name be curtailed to Rutherford. The request was granted, and shortly afterward the Erie Railroad Company changed the name of its station to correspond with that of the municipality.
Arent Schuyler was the original land owner of the land embraced in the Schuyler mines, the discovery of its value in the ores it developed being made in 1719 by one of his Negro slaves. The mines were not worked much during the lifetime of the original owner, but his son, Col. John Schuyler, made them a source of large profit, the ore being shipped to England. In 1753 he introduced here the first steam engine brought to America, which was transported and put in operation at a cost of £3,000 sterling. In 1772, this was destroyed by fire, and lay in ruins during the Revolution. The ores of this mine are chiefly carbonates and sulphides of copper, found scattered throughout the strata of shales and sandstone, which are traversed by thin plats of trap rock. No trap is noticeable on the surface in the immediately [sic] vicinity of the mine, and there is no indication of any dikes of trap. The ores with more or less of the accompanying rocks when crushed and sold are said to have yielded a sufficient percentage of metallic copper to pay a good interest on the invested capital. Efforts more recently made to work this mine have not proven successful or profitable, partly due to ineffective machinery, and the work was shut down. This is the oldest copper mine in New Jersey, and as early as 1731 1,386 tons of the ore had been shipped to the British copper and brass works.
Rutherford, which was the most considerable village in Union township, has been a borough for more than twenty-five years; in fact, it is the largest borough in population in Bergen county, the census count of 1920 showing 9,497 inhabitants. While now it is a business centre of much activity the land at Rutherford as formerly occupied by farmers and gardners, principally of the old Dutch stock, who continued to plow and plant year after year, taking their produce to market in wagons in the night time. The township was without a settlement or a centre. Boiling Spring, so-called from a never-failing spring of pure cold water, which flowed in the cross-road near the northern boundary, gave a name to the locality. When the New York and Paterson railroad (now the Erie) was built, the projectors, finding an abundance of water on the spot, selected the locality as a watering place and called the station Boiling Spring. Both the railroad and the wagon road crossed here, and the depot, as it was called, was a triangular brick building of limited dimensions. There were no other buildings near and few in sight. Kingsland, so named as a compliment to the Kingsland family, among the original landowners of Union township, remained for a long time somewhat in the nature of a farming country until 1872, when the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad pushed its tracks through the ridge, established a station, purchased large tracks of land and erected extensive shops, besides building homes for the workmen. The car shops are still maintained, giving work to a large force of employees.
Lyndhurst, which had its beginning in 1880, and is now the name of the township, was an attractive hamlet in Union township, with a number of imposing residences, and was also situated on the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroad. William R. Travers, of New York, started a little boom in Lyndhurst in 1880 by purchasing 240 acres of the Watson estate and began the erection of dwellings and other buildings. In recent years the town has made rapid strides in population and business development.
As Union had disintegrated, the original significance of the name no longer meant anything-not in Lyndhurst, hence the name was changed to the township of Lyndhurst. The change was authorized on May 8, 1917, when this proposition was submitted to the legal voters: "Shall an act, entitled 'An act changing the name of the township of Union, in the county of Bergen, to the township of Lyndhurst, in the county of Bergen,' be adopted?" The change was adopted by a large majority. At the same time three commissioners were elected under the Walsh act, and that is the present form of government in Lyndhurst township.
Westervelt, Frances Augusta Johnson, History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923
New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1923, 1229 pgs., Chapter XXVIII, pgs. 291-294.