New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past

By Federal Writers' Project (N.J.) | Go to book overview

History

NEW JERSEY'S position as a main corridor of eastern United States has broadly affected her political, social, economic, and cultural history. Lying between two metropolises, New York and Philadelphia, the State from early times has been the highway and often the stopping place for hordes of people of many races, religions, and cultures.

This location has brought both embarrassment and blessing. Governor Woodrow Wilson, who thought of New Jersey as "a sort of laboratory in which the best blood is prepared for other communities to thrive upon," gave the key to the State's history when he remarked in 1911 that "we have always been inconvenienced by New York on the one hand and Philadelphia on the other . . ." He called the State "the fighting center of the most important social questions of our time" and explained that "the whole suburban question . . . the whole question of the regulation of corporations and the right attitude of all trades, their formation and conduct . . . center in New Jersey more than any other single State of the Union."

The first white man to see, and possibly to land on, the New Jersey shore is believed to have been the Florentine navigator, Giovanni da Verrazano, sailing in the employ of the French Crown. In 1524 he is said to have anchored his vessel off Sandy Hook and with a small boat explored upper New York Bay as far as, or almost as far as, the New Jersey shore.

Almost a century later, in 1609, Henry Hudson, employed by Holland, sailed the Half Moon into New York Bay, dispatched a sounding party as far as Newark Bay and then sailed up the Hudson River. Within a few years the Dutch sent out trading expeditions and established a post at Manhattan, the base for the invasion of New Jersey. The first known outpost west of the Hudson River was the trading station of Bergen, founded in 1618 by colonists from the island. Five years later Captain Cornelius Jacobsen Mey, who had sailed into the Delaware River in 1614, set up Fort Nassau on the east bank of the river, near the present site of Gloucester. Mey's name survives in Cape May.

Actual settlement of the unnamed New Jersey section of New Netherland was slow. Accordingly, the West India Company offered the feudal

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New Jersey: A Guide to Its Present and Past
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Sponsors' Forewords v
  • Preface vii
  • Contents xi
  • Illustrations xv
  • Maps xxi
  • General Information xxiii
  • Calendar of Events xxix
  • Part I - New Jersey: the General View 1
  • A New Jersey Silhouette 3
  • Natural Setting 7
  • Archeology and Indians 28
  • History 35
  • Government 55
  • Industry and Commerce 69
  • Labor 79
  • Agriculture 89
  • The Press 110
  • Racial and National Groups 118
  • Folklore and Folkways 126
  • Education 134
  • Religion 142
  • The Arts 151
  • Part II - Cities and Towns 187
  • Atlantic City 189
  • Bayonne 201
  • Bordentown 207
  • Burlington 216
  • Camden 225
  • Elizabeth 238
  • Freehold 250
  • Hackensack 256
  • Hoboken 262
  • Jersey City 270
  • Morristown 283
  • Mount Holly 292
  • New Brunswick 298
  • Newark 312
  • The Oranges and Maplewood 339
  • Passaic 345
  • Paterson 349
  • Perth Amboy 361
  • Princeton 370
  • Salem 390
  • Trenton 398
  • Part III - Tours 415
  • Part IV - Appendices 687
  • Bibliography 697
  • Index 705
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