The Ramsey Journal and the Dater Family

We will be closing for the Summer season on June 26, 2016.This will be the last day to see this exhibit. We will reopen in September with new exhibits.

The Old Station Museum and Caboose will be open Sundays from 2-4 pm June 26-September.

1871 Old Station Lane Mahwah, NJ 07430



Ramsey Journal and the Dater Family

It has been said that a newspaper is the “first rough draft of history.” The Ramsey Journal, established by John Y. Dater II in 1892, presented news and views of interest to the people of Northwest Bergen County.

For 75 years, until the paper was sold in 1967, three generations of the Dater family chronicled the births, deaths and marriages; triumphs and defeats; trials and public controversies, and all kinds of interesting things about the communities it served.

In an exciting period of time that spanned five wars, a great depression and the rapid post-war suburbanization of Bergen County, the editors and publishers of The Ramsey Journal preserved the rich first draft of history of Ramsey, Mahwah, Allendale, Upper Saddle River, Saddle River and Waldwick.

The exhibit features a replica of the composing room at the Ramsey Journal Building showing how the paper was composed and printed using the letterpress method invented by Gutenberg in 1450, used by the colonial printers such as Benjamin Franklin, and continued in use well into the 20th century.

The Dater family has been influential in Hohokus Township history in many ways. Beginning in Sloatsburg in the 18th century, members of the family migrated to Hohokus Township. John Y. Dater (1819-1894) was one of the founders of the village of Ramsey’s Station and for many years Main Street was known as Dater Avenue. He was active in Democratic politics and was a “Peace Democrat” in the New Jersey Senate at the outset of the Civil War.

John Y. Dater, II, the founder of The Ramsey Journal, was the grandson of the Senator. In addition to publishing the paper weekly, John Y. Dater II was an active advocate for public education. He was a member of the school board first for Hohokus Township and later for the Borough of Ramsey for 38 years. As a State Assemblyman and member of other state organizations he was active in education reform. Dater School in Ramsey is named for him.

John Y. Dater, III (1897-1985) succeeded his father as the editor and publisher of The Ramsey Journal in 1950. He, and later his son, Thomas E. Dater published the paper until 1967 when it was sold to the Ridgewood News. Among his many notable accomplishments, John Y. Dater III was a founding member of the Mahwah Historical Society, founded in 1965, that saved and preserved the 1871 railroad station in Mahwah as a museum.

Thomas E. Dater (1920-2013) published a successor paper, The Home and Store News and was active in the Ramsey Fire Department, the Ramsey Library and the First Presbyterian Church. He was also an active member and supporter of the Mahwah Museum.

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