Island Road

This article, by John Y. Dater, was first published in “The Old Station Timetable” in Fall 1982.

The Island Rd. through Ramsey and Mahwah (once known as the King’s Highway) was part of the road that came up from New Barbadoes (Hackensack) and was a link to the ferry to New Amsterdam until it became New York in 1664. It passed through Paramus, through Hoppertown (Hohokus) to Mt. Prospect (Ramsey) and then along the Franklin Turnpike which stopped just beyond Arch St., down Arch St., to Island Rd., (there was no Main St.), which then ran north towards the state line. It originally passed just west of the 1785 Ramapo Reformed Church and then down the hill to the old Valley Rd., or Route 202. It then joined Washington Ave. in Suffern (NY); from there up through the Clove to Tuxedo (NY) and Goshen (NY). In 1797 a franchise was given to Dobbins and Tustin of Goshen to run a stagecoach from there to New York City, which they did until the railroad came through in 1848.

As before stated Island Rd. started in Ramsey at Franklin Turnpike. It came down Arch St., which was the only east-west road. There was no Main St. in those days. At the first corner it became Island Rd.

The Island Rd. which we know may have been an Indian trail the way it wanders and curves. The name first appears in the records in 1713 when Pieter Wanamaker was baptized in New Amsterdam. He was one of the Palatinates of the Lutheran faith who came over from Germany. His house was east of the road just before Airmont Rd. The house was torn down in the 1960’s. Diagonally across the road lived Dederick Wanamaker who operated a gristmill and cider mill on the Stony Brook which flows into the Masonicus Brook. This area was always considered an island by the Wanamakers and Maysingers. On some of the old deeds it is called the “llan.” It was also part of John Barberies’ 600 acre tract; acquired in 1709 at the Romopok Tract deal and which ran from Myrtle Ave., Ramsey, to north of the Ramapo Church. It was also called the Road to New York and was so named by Berthier when he drew his 1781 map for the French army to Yorktown. Its route is also shown on the 1762 map of the Romopoke Tract.

The people in the Wanamaker area were very religious and met in their homes until 1724 when they built the log church just before the double bend. Maysinger gave the land for it and also the Lutheran Cemetery on Moffat Rd. This next church was built of sawed lumber about 1745 with the help of the Dutch Reform people who used the church on alternate Sundays. In 1785 the two groups cooperated in the Ramapo Church, and about 1800 the Lutherans moved to Airmont (NY). John Suffern helped in the formation of the Ramapo Church; and he and his wife are buried there along with many of the early settlers. Maysinger built a house near the end of the Airmont Rd. and another in 1740 further north. In 1786 the Christie house was built and with additions is now occupied by Karl Bierley.

Abraham Dater, the second in this area, acquired land on the bend, now Constantine. Dr., in 1797. The deed takes in land down to Dater’s mill lot, a gristmill which stood just west of N. Central Ave. and on Masonicus Brook which flows into Wanamaker’s long-ago pond. Adam Dater lived here and operated the mill until he died in 1823. when his son John Y. took over until he came to Ramsey about 1850 and in 1855 bought 22 acres in the center of the new town. Abraham Dater also had a house in Sloatsburg from where he operated the iron works. Here Adam was born in 1766, and in 1805 Abraham Adam, who fathered the Mahwah Dators. The latter, who married Mary Ward of Sloatsburg, took over the ironwork’s from his father.


The Romopock Deed of 1709

This article, by John A. Dater, was first published in “The Old Station Timetable” in December 1977.

This is a brief description of the facts concerning the deed along with a copy of its text. The deed of 1709 was instigated by Peter Sonmans, who in 1709 was authorized by the English segment of the Proprietors to come to America and acquire title to land in the area of the Royal Grant. This act was resented by the American board which was inactive at the time. Before they could act, the damage was done and legal action took place. Eventually they acquired title and the deed was filed Lib. 1, p. 411.

It was to the credit of the Proprietors of East Jersey that they bought the land from the Indians instead of seizing it, as happened in many places. This is the reason for the recent suits in New England where the Indians are trying to secure their rights.

According to the N. J. Historical Society Proceedings for 1932, Vol. 50, p. 370, we have the following information from the original deed: “Grantors: Sherikam, Memereskum, Manawagrum, Sipham, Mais Kanaipung, Waparent, Rawantagwaywohny, Magowaycum, Apiwamouhg, Touwischwitch, Ragotia, Toraum.”

“Grantees: John Amboyneau, Elias Boudinot, Peter Fauconnier (Merchants and Inhabitants), Lucas Kiersted, Yeoman of New York. For themselves and as agents for: John Barberie, Thomas Bayeaux, Andreas Fresneau, Peter Byard.”

“Native owners of a tract of land about 30 mi. back from ‘New-Ark’,conveyed, granted and gave title for consideration of  135 (about $715).”

The deed was signed and sealed by the Indians “being all entirely sober” on Nov. 18, 1709. at Romopock and later acknowledged before Cornelius Haring, a justice of peace of the County of Orange, at Tappan on Dec. 5. 1709. The sale price was conveyed in trade goods brought up the Hudson to a point near Tappan.

This Is the deed description:

“Beginning at a spring called Assenmaykepahaka, being the northeastern most head spring of a river called in the Indian language Peramsepus and the Christians Saddle River; thence running southerly down the east side of said river, including the same, to a place called Raighkamack (Hohokus Brook) where a small creek or river coming from the northward falls into said Saddle River, about 16 miles distant from the above head spring, let it be more or less, thence Northwesterly just by a great rock called Pammaekaputa (Glen Rock), distant from the above said river about two miles, and so on the same course to that river known by the name Romopock, Punto and Pissaick.  Just by a small body of water above the plantation of Major Brockhulst (Pompton, at now the steel works) and from thence crossing the said river about a mile above a place where another river coming from Northwestward called Pamamaquancy, Pequaneck and Maysaghkin, now Pequanack River, falls into said river, thence to the top of the opposite mountain, thence along the top of the said mountain, and up the said Romopock River, and about one mile up every creek that falls into said river, crossing said creeks to the top of every opposite hill, and so along the said mountain and hills and creeks to a place about two miles above an Indian Field called Mahway – say (Mahwah), just over 1 thence the North side of a small red hill called Mamaitung (the little hill where the Torne Brook falls into the Ramapo River), thence along the northeasterly side of said hill Easterly to the above spring where the first course began.”Containing 42,500 acres, part of which was N.Y. State.”

This Romopock Deed was the first legal deed to the area, and it was so recorded. There were, however, various discrepancies in title which generated numerous suits which flit many pages in the Minutes of the Proprietors.