Hinsdale Tree of Life Quilt

Detail of the Hinsdale Tree of Life Quilt

An article by Peggy W. Norris

Among the quilts and coverlets which will be featured in the upcoming Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet Show is a beautiful applique quilt from the Mahwah Museum collection which was once owned by Rebecca Hinsdale Kraus (1915-2015).  Peggy Norris, chair of the Bergen County Quilt and Coverlet show, was able to determine that the quilt had been passed down through four generations and had most likely belonged to James Turner (1766-1824) and Betsy Park (died 1830), of Warren County, North Carolina.   Peggy Norris’s research was documented in an article which was published in the Spring 2020 issue of Blanket Statements, the newsletter of the American Quilt Study Group. For more information about the group, visit www.americanquiltstudygroup.org.  Read the article here…

The Hinsdale Tree of Life Quilt will be on display at the Bergen County Quilt and Coverlets Show scheduled for June 11-12, 2021 at Old Paramus Reformed Church and Schoolhouse Museum, Ridgewood, NJ.

April 2 -Postponed- The Making of a Village: Ridgewood Comes of Age, 1894-1905

Historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki

Postponed 

A Lecture by Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki

Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 pm

at Mahwah Museum

Bergen County Historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki will present a lecture on these critical years of this Bergen center.  Using documents, maps and historic panoramic photos, they will illustrate Ridgewood’s growth and transformation into a village.

Ridgewood Train Station Circa 1900

Long-time members of the Genealogical Society of Bergen County and many county historical societies, Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki share their love of regional history with others as genealogists, volunteers, and lecturers. Together, they have lectured on a wide variety of subjects, including genealogy, local cemeteries, and the history of Bergen County’s Camp Merritt.

The lecture is free for museum members and $5 for non-members.  Reservations are recommended; to reserve seats, please contact programs@mahwahmuseum.org or call 201-512-0099.

Free Gifts for Mahwah Residents Who visit during April

Attention Mahwah Residents!

The Mahwah Museum is offering two special free gifts to all Mahwah residents who visit the Museum during April (while supplies last).

The first of these gifts is an historical map of Mahwah based on the 1876 Atlas of Bergen County, with additional information from other maps dating as far back as 1709.  The map is very suitable for framing  and would be a great addition to home or office.

The second gift, a 12-page booklet, reprinted from the recent Autumn Years magazine article on the history of Mahwah,  presents many interesting facts about Mahwah, and is a great way to learn more about our town’s history.

One of the Museum’s objectives is to increase understanding and appreciation of our town’s history.  By providing a map and a short summary of Mahwah’s past, we hope to encourage your knowledge and appreciation for Mahwah’s rich history. These gifts may answer some questions about our town’s past, such as the location of the Nike Missile base and George Washington’s route during the American Revolution.

To obtain the free gifts, simply visit the Mahwah Museum and request your historical map and Mahwah History booklet.  One map and booklet per Mahwah household, please.  Supplies are limited, so please  visit soon!

The Mahwah Museum is open every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday from 1-4 pm.  Located at 201 Franklin Turnpike, it is next the the Mahwah Police Station and Fire Department, and just up the hill from the Mahwah Train Station.

April 2 – The Making of a Village: Ridgewood Comes of Age, 1894-1905

Historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki

A Lecture by Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki

Thursday, April 2 at 7:30 pm

at Mahwah Museum

Bergen County Historians Peggy Norris and Joe Suplicki will present a lecture on these critical years of this Bergen center.  Using documents, maps and historic panoramic photos, they will illustrate Ridgewood’s growth and transformation into a village.

The lecture is free for museum members and $5 for non-members.  Reservations are recommended; to reserve seats, please contact programs@mahwahmuseum.org or call 201-512-0099.

Any Youngs, Hagermans, Bodines out there?

Any Youngs, Hagermans, Bodines out there?
The Mahwah Museum archives are processing a large collection of photographs from the Martha Young Kuklinski Collection which document the lives of J. Frank Young (1905-1960) and Henrietta Morriss Young (1909-1984) and their families, ranging 1910-1940s. There are also some older historical family photographs. Henrietta Morriss’ mother was Bessie Hagerman and she lived with Andrew Hagerman. The photos from this branch of the family are fairly well labeled. The photographs of the Youngs, who came from Tallman, often have no labels at all. J. Frank Young’s mother was Anne Jane Bodine and his father was John Franklin Young. His siblings were Alta, Freda, and John Young. If you can help up put names to faces, it would make this collection much more useful to researchers.
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Inventors: The Havemeyers

Theodore Havermeyer (Suzanne Meyer Stein Collection, Mahwah Museum)

Theodore Havemeyer (Suzanne Meyer Stein Collection, Mahwah Museum)

Three generations of Havemeyers were inventors.  As you know, Theodore A. Havemeyer came to Mahwah in 1879 and established Mountain Side Farm, much of which is Ramapo College.  He died in 1897.  Although Theodore had nine children only his sons, Henry O. Havemeyer and Frederick C. Havemeyer, continued a presence in Mahwah.  Henry O. Havemeyer died in 1965 but his son, Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr. continued to live here until his death in 1992.  The house in which Henry Jr. lived became the home of the President of Ramapo College.  Theodore, Henry O., and Henry O., Jr. were all inventors.

 

Theodore Havermeyer's Sugar Mold Carriage patent

Theodore Havemeyer’s Sugar Mold Carriage patent

Theodore A. Havemeyer, born in 1839, had only a grammar school education but joined the family sugar business as a partner in 1861.  He was the technological expert in the family and an early age had spent a year in Europe studying the sugar refining process.  In 1862 he and a man named Schnitzpan patented a new and improved carriage for sugar molds.  He was a partner in Havemeyers & Elder, which was an integral part of the Sugar Trust.    In his later years in Mahwah he was a patron of many agricultural and scientific societies that were advancing the technology of agriculture.  He was on the forefront of ensilage– to generate feed for his cows—the breeding of cows to improve milk production, and the breeding of fantail pigeons for show.

 

Henry O. Havermeyer (On loan from the Mahwah Library)

Henry O. Havemeyer (On loan from the Mahwah Library)

Theodore Havemeyer’s son, Henry O. Havemeyer, dropped out of Yale in 1897 after the death of his father and became an apprentice at the family sugar business.  He returned to Yale and graduated as a proud member of the Class of 1900.   The Ramsey Journal reported in 1906 that he had gotten a speeding ticket in his newfangled automobile. So it is appropriate that he was the inventor of a license plate holder that could be flipped over so that it had the plate of one state on one side and the plate of another state on the reverse.  Henry O. Havemeyer was not merely a playboy, however.  He was the president of the Eastern District Terminal in Brooklyn which had been spun off from the family’s sugar business. He became an officer and later the long time president of the Eastern District Terminal.  The Eastern District Terminal was the gateway for all railroads coming from the west and seeking to be in Brooklyn or Long Island.  It was also the only way in which refined and packaged sugar could get from the Domino refinery in Brooklyn to the west.   They had to come through these yards and be moved by small locomotives like these.  It would be up to Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr. – who also worked for the company – to make some important advances.

Havermeyer House (Courtesy Dater Family Archives)

Havemeyer House (Courtesy Dater Family Archives)

There were no tunnels under the Hudson River so railroad cars were barged or lightered over from the yards of Jersey City, Bayonne or Hoboken, to the Eastern District Terminal and then transferred to the industries or railroads in Brooklyn.   To get one or more railroad cars across the river, there was a floating bridge connected to the tracks on the shore.  The barge connected to the water side of the bridge.  There were tracks on the barge to accept the car being transported.  You can imagine how difficult it must have been to transfer a fully loaded railroad car from tracks on the bridge to the tracks on the  rolling barge.  There were constant mishaps and derailments.  The invention of Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr., filed in 1925 when he was 22 years old, improves on the way that the rails on the bridge and barge could be aligned to make derailments rare.  Henry O. Havemeyer, Jr. lived in the house we today call the Havemeyer House and had a number of other inventions to improve railroad transportation.

Inventors: Fitzwilliam Sargent (1859-1939)

Fitzwilliam Sargent

Fitzwilliam Sargent

Fitzwilliam Sargent was called the “father of brake-shoe engineering” and he obtained multiple patents for improvement of railroad brake shoes. He was born in 1859 in Philadelphia and attended Lehigh University where he graduated in 1879 with a Civil Engineering degree. He came to Mahwah (then Hohokus Township) in 1902 as the chief engineer of the American Brake Shoe and Foundry Company.

After joining American Brake Shoe, he built a large home on 5 acres off Olney Road. The house had all the latest improvements of the day, including electric lights and steam heat.

In 1935 the Board of Directors of American Brakeshoe built an up-to-date testing facility to keep up with the progress of the railroad industry.  The building was named the F.W. Sargent Laboratory Building and from the opening of the building to the date of his death at the age of 80 he went to work as often as possible.  The picture below shows his first invention, which he had done before he came to Brakeshoe, of a machine for testing brakeshoes.  During his career, he had many patents relating to the improvement of brakeshoes.  His last patent was issued to him in 1934 at age 75.    The invention created a system of reinforcing a brake shoe so that, if the body of the shoe broke, it could continue in service and not need to be replaced as quickly.


Photos from Fitzwilliam Sargent Greene, `A Tribute to the Life of Fitzwilliam Sargent” (Mahwah Museum Library, 2013.17.072)

A Bit of Cragmeriana

This unattributed article was first published in the “Old Station Timetable” in October 1981.


A recent story in our newsletter about the Theusen House, later the Education Center, that had been a landmark in Cragmere Park for’ many years was of particular interest to Charles E. Ellis Jr. who still lives in the house his parents built back in 1915.

“Just north of our house at the corner of Armour and Mahwah Roads stands the ruin of the Miller Reservoir whose overflow was the water that fed Oweno Pond. The reservoir next to our house was supplied with spring water by the Miller acquaduct which-crosses the northeast corner of our property and flowed without interruption from about 1875-1978.”

“The water from the reservoir fed the dairy cooling brick double-arched structure whose ruin can still be seen’on Malcolm Road across from the Betsy Ross School. The stream continued to flow west through the Theusen place and fed Oweno lake,” explains Mr. Ellis.

The Ellis family, who had rented their home while at the shore, once stayed temporarily in Mrs. Theusen’s Boarding House until their house tenants moved out. “I remember particularly the afternoon sun shining across the clean white table cloths of the dining room and sparkling on the well-silver (plate) on the tables being set up for the evening meal by young waitresses in black skirts, stockings and shoes, , and white starched blouses with collars. On their heads, they wore some sort of white starched fabric head piece common to the day. A jolly scene, prim and clean, and complete with flowers”, Mr. Ellis said.

Oweno Lake was designed for ice making, as well as ornament. It was located just east of Oweno Road near the corner of Mahwah Road where the baseball field is at Betsy Ross School. It was served by an iron conveyor belt and chains, running from the ice house to the lake. However, the conveyor had ceased operation and was a rusting ruin when Mr. Ellis was just a young boy.

The stream feeding the lake ran into a ditch, still seen today, under the conveyor, now removed, and featured watercress in season.

The building at the north end of the lake was not the “Summer House” but was a boathouse without windows, according to Mr. Ellis. It was from there that Hiawatha, a beautiful darkhaired maiden played by the late Mrs. Euroka Bugg, would annually set out in a white canoe at the Cragmere Association’s yearly Forth of July celebration.

Mr. Ellis concludes “The summer house, so called, was an octagonal roofed and floored open structure on a little island in Oweno Lake at the east side of it near the lake intake. It was reached by an arched bridge which can be seen in photographs of the Miller Estate in the Mahwah Public Library.”

Odd Old Tools

This article, by Charles Anderson, was first published in the “Old Station Timetable” in October 1981.

The Term “Floating Teeth” is still in use today and the tool for doing it is still called a “float”. It is a coarse single cut file used to rasp rough or irregular edges of a horse’s teeth. Unless done when necessary the horse’s mouth.would develop sores, he would go off his feed and food would be inadequately chewed. Among the local farmers in earlier times there were a few who were skillful in floating. After wedging the mouth open (securely) the job could be done quickly. A hundred years ago the term would not have puzzled anybody.

From Country Home Antiques.

Another tool not seen around today is the mill bill. Every grist mill operator was familiar with the tool and knew the tedious and painstaking work involved in using it. It consisted of two parts. The “thrift” looked somewhat like half of a squared rolling pin with a hole cut through the roller part to accommodate an iron or steel bit held in place with a wedge. The instrument was used to deepen the worn furrows in millstones. A dull stone was said to destroy the quality of the grain resulting in a sticky product in the baking process. Both. the nether (lower) and the runner (upper) had furrows chisled in them which initially served to rip away from the center to the outer edge and admitted air to prevent a dangerous build up of heat. The actual grinding was done by the flat surface between the furrows called the “land”. Both terms are typically agriculturally oriented. As the surface and edges became worn the mill bill was used to restore the depth of the furrow and angle by chipping the stone. Mr. Ackerman of Wyckoff Ave. worked in the family grist mill and well remembers working on the stone.

A mill stone at the Plimoth Plantation.

The Ackerman grist mill was located near the outlet of the pond on Wyckoff Ave. It was originally owned by Alyea. Since Wyckoff Ave. used to run on the west,side of the pond the door was located on that side. The grain was taken down a ramp and under an endless chain of buckets that lifted it to the hopper in the upper part of the mill. Power was provided by water turning an undershot wheel.
Old grinding stones were made of local materials. Granite was a favorite and was used in the Ackerman mill. Elsewhere a quartz shot sandstone was used or more expensive burr stone which came from Europe in pieces that had to be filled, cemented together and then banded with hoops. Early millstones have been found in which the furrows were cut in spirals but most of the stones were cut with straight furrows. The patterns varied. When the milled flour fell from the furrows it was caught in a finely woven cloth sieve which was rapidly agitated. Wooden shovels were used to move the flour because of the danger of combustion.

Snow Family Scattered From Here to California

This article, by Charles Anderson, was first published in the “Old Station Timetable,” in February 1982.

Richard Snow is on the tax rolls of Woburn, Mass. in 1645. A record of his will is recorded 1676, and he died in 1677. It is believed he arrived in the Colonies in 1935 as a young man on the sailing ship, Enterprise. He is the progenitor of a vast family network that is scattered across the country, as far as Texas and California. A great number of the early family members were born and lived around Colrain, Mass. In 184), Asaph Snow was born, he enlisted at the age of 18 and fought through several campaigns during the Civil War. After the war, he stayed in the south working as a United States claims agent. While stationed at Camp Dennison in Ohio during his training, he married Teresa McKinney and they lived in Tazewell, Tenn. where he was the postmaster. He died on his farm nearby in 1899.

His son, Elmer John Snow, was born in Tazewell in 1869. He came to Hillburn, N.Y. in 1884 to work for the Ramapo Iron Works owned by a relative, William Wait Snow (1828-1910). This firm manufactured car wheels and other railroad devices. Mr. Snow also bound the first Webster Dictionary! Naturally, Elmer John Snow met W.W. Snow’s daughter, Clara Amanda, and married her in 1892. The iron works later became the Ramapo Wheel and Foundry Company.

W.W. Snow had been trained in the foundry business since boyhood, working for various employers in Massachusetts. With financial backing, he started his own business near the Hudson River and later bought land from the Suffern family in Hillburn. This included a mill, 20 houses and a store, and that is how the town of Hillburn started.

The Worthington Pump Company employed Elmer John in 1899 to put up a large pumping station in Hawaii. Returning to the mainland, he again joined his father-in-law serving as superintendent in charge of design and construction for a new brake shoe factory -now known as Abex – and part of Illinois Central. As director and a member of the board, he had a great deal to do with the growth and prosperity of the business. The Snow houses in Hillburn were destroyed when the N.Y. Thruway was built.

Mrs. Peter D. Ash (Oliver Snow) lived in a house off Miller Road, now in the Oak Hill Estates in Mahwah, N.J. Of her sons, Peter is living near Mt. Snow in Vermont and, Charles lives in Litchfield, Conn. A home on Olney Road, once occupied by Elmer Snow, is still in the family. Mr. Howard D. MacPherson, whose late wife was Mildred Snow. lives there now. She was a great-granddaughter of W.W. Snow.

The Snow family recognized the poverty and deprived conditions under which the mountain people lived years ago. They were forefront in starting a school on the mountain, a one room building with a huge fireplace. A nurse, Miss Mack lived in a comfortable house not far from the school. She provided medical help to the neglected families. Her expenses were paid by the family.

Although the Snow family is no longer prominent in local affairs as “Snow”, the line is carried on under other family names. These include MacPherson, Bristow and Vilmar, just to name three of them. Another great-granddaughter, Mrs. Dorothy Snow Vilmar, lives in her uncle’s house (Homer H. Snow) on Mahwah Road. Her sister, Eugenia Snow Averill, lives in Willbraham. Mass. Her brother’s (Douglas Snow 1934-73) children live in the New Paltz, N.Y. area. How many more area residents can trace their heritage back to William Wait Snow?

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