Township of Midland

    Midland Township--Midland was formerly a potion of New Barbadoes,but was made an independent township by act of the State Legislature on March 7, 1871.  The act took effect on the first Monday in April following its passage, and the first election (then called a "town meeting") was held at Spring Valley Cahpel on April 10, 1871, at 8 a.m., when a full complement of township officers was chosen, including a township clerk, assessor, collector, poormaster, chosen freeholder, two surveyors of highways, a township committee of five, three commissioners of appeal, two justices of the peace, and five constables.  Henry H. Voorhis was judge of the election, and he was the father of Charles H. Voorhis, of Hackensack, who was the Congressman from this Congressional District in 1880.  The township was then bounded on the north by Washington township, south by New Barbadoes and Lodi, east by the Hackensack river, and west by Ridgewood and Saddle River townships.  The geographical compactness of the township has since been greatly changed by the creation of the boroughs of Maywood, Oradell (formerly Delford), Riverside, and last but not least, the borough of Paramus, created by the Legislature of 1922, so that the any remnant left of the large township is the village of Rochelle Park.

    Henry H. Voorhis above referred to, who was born here, was elected freeholder of Midland township in 1874.  He was an Assemblyman in 1848-49, and was judge of the Court of Common Pleas of Bergen county in 1857 and served one term of five years. 

    The soil of the township varies in localities, though the land under cultivation is highly productive.  Sandy loan prevails in the central and northerly portions of the township, while a clay soil is evident along the eastern border.  Red shale abounds in the southeastern section, and stone in certain localities.  Abundant crops of corn, wheat, rye, hay and potatoes are grown.  Several streams serve to water the land, one being the Sprout brook, which courses from Washington township and the northeastern part of Midland; the Spring Valley brook, also having its source in the northeastern section, helps to moisten the surface, besides two tributaries uniting to form the main stream which flows into the Hackensack river.

    The county poor farm is located in this township, west of Oradell, on which a few years ago an isolation hospital was installed for the treatment of contagious diseases, and now there has been added a substantial building for persons afflicted with tuberculosis.  These institutions are provided with the most modern equipment for the handling of such cases, and are under the supervision of the Board of Freeholders. 

    One of the oldest families in Midland was Zabriskie, the progenitor of whom was Albert Saboroweski, who was of Polish descent, and emigrated to America in 1662, in the Dutch ship "Fox."  He was united in marriage to a Miss Van Der Linde, following which he settled at Hackensack, where he was the possessor of large landed interests.  The names of his five sons were:  John, Jacob, George, Henry and Christian.  One son, thought to be Jacob, was kidnapped by the Indians, and on his recovery the red men gave as an excuse for stealing that they wanted to instruct him in their language, in which he afterwards became quite proficient.  As an evidence of good faith the Indians gave his father the title to the land known as the "New Paramus patent," containing 1,977 acres.  Saboroweski is said to have studied for the ministry in the Lutheran church, but being dissatisfied with his calling, sailed for America at the age of twenty years, and became the ancestor of the large Zabriskie family in Bergen county.  Three of his five sons, Jacob, Henry and Christian, located in the northern part of Midland township, each of whom left a large descent.  One branch of the family settled at Paramus, another at Arcola, in olden times called "Red Mills."  The Zabriskies are not confined to Midland, but scattered throughout many other parts of the county.

    Another old family is the Demarests, the pioneer of whom was David Desmaretz, who about 1676 emigrated from France with a large band of Huguenots who left their native land to escape religious persecution.  His three sons, David, John and Samuel, came with him.  Upon his arrival, Desmaretz, it is stated, located on Staten Island and due to Indian troubles on Manhattan Island, purchased one or two lots of "New Harlem" settlement, but subsequently relinquished that property and procured 2,000 acres in Bergen county, extending along the easterly side of the Hackensack river from New Bridge to a point beyond Old Bridge, and easterly to the line of the Northern railroad.  The original deed is dated June 8, 1677.  There being many claimants to the property after Mr .Damarius (as the name was later spelled) had acquired possession, he was obliged to purchase no less than four times before he became the absolute owner.  The original grand of land was made to David Demarius from the Governor of New Jersey, in consideration of his forming a colony, the members being all French or Hollanders.  Being unable to carry out fully his intention, the grant was withdrawn, but a subsequent grant made to his sons.  Descendants of these sons are numerous.  John located at Old Bridge, now River Edge, and established a mill on the river, which old landmark has long since decayed.  The Demarests are no longer confined to Midland township, but scattered to the four winds of the county.

    Other early settlers of Midland, some of whom are still represented by their descendants, identified with the interests of the township for from one hundred to two hundred years, were named Banta, Voorhis, Kipp, Van Saun, DeBaun, Bertholf, Cooper, Van Wagoner, Van Buskirk, Oldis, Pell, Lutkins, Doremus, etc.  John Van Buskirk made his advent in the township as early as 1697, and settled at Oradell. Another early settler at Oradell was named Valleau, of French descent and a large landed proprietor, at one time owning a tract nine miles in extent.  Peter Lutkins was one of the pioneers of Paramus.  Mr. Hopper erected the first dwelling in Paramus, in 1813.

    The Arcola district is situated in a rich farming community.  The earliest public school here was established in 1821, its sessions being held in an old dwelling house on the farm of the late E. D. Easton, and the teacher's salary raise by contributions from the patrons of the school.  In 1824 an old red school house, standing in District 26, was purchased by the trustees, removed and placed on a high stone wall, necessitating the building of four steps to effect an entrance, the steps being made of logs hewn square.  The building was 14 x 24 feet, one story in height, and cost when completed $200.  John W. House, who was the teacher in 1829, received a salary of $36 per quarter.  He was succeeded in 1831 by James J. Terhune, and in 1836 Christian Reeder took command, each pupil being assessed $1.50 per quarter and their proportion of his washing bill.  The school in the district to-day is right up to the required standard.

    Spring Valley, which was formerly known as "Slucup," had its first district school more than a century and a half ago, at the head of the public road leading to Stone Arabia, and the building was used for school purposes until 1810, when a new school was erected about a mile distant from the old site.  In 1852 another school house was built a short distance north of the old site, and this in turn was superseded in 1875 by a more modern structure, located near the public road.

    The village of Cherry Hill, now North Hackensack, is situated less than two miles north of Hackensack and is a station on the New Jersey and New York railroad.  Much of the farm land is being developed for building purposes.  Some of the descendants of the Zabriskie family, among the pioneer settlers of Midland township, reside here.  Cherry Hill had an awful experience on July 13, 1895, when a roaring cyclone cut a wide swath through the place, uprooting large trees, lifting houses off their foundations, and creating general havoc, one man killed.  Since that time the name was changed to North Hackensack, and with River Edge forms Riverside borough.  The community is well supplied with transportation facilities.  Besides the railroad mentioned above, the Bergen 'pike trolley of the Public Service Corporation has its terminus here, while three or four motor bus lines run through over the Kinderkamack road.  There is a graded school, a fourth-class post office, several stores and a saw mill, also a hook and ladder fire company.  The Reformed church, which was dedicated on November 1, 1876, as "The Reformed Church of Cherry Hill and New Bridge," with about twenty-five members, has grown to about two hundred members, with a flourishing Sunday school.  The church edifice was struck by the cyclone, but not badly damaged.




Westervelt, Frances Augusta Johnson,History of Bergen County, New Jersey, 1630-1923
New York: Lewis Historical Publishing Co., 1923, 1229 pgs., Chapter XXVIII, pgs. 296-298.

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