The First Map of Paterson


(from a Paterson/Passaic area newspaper circa 1885)

“Who Owned the Land Now Embraced in the City of Paterson One Hundred and Seventy-Two Years Ago”

Judge Henry P. SIMMONS, of Passaic, is, without a doubt, the best of our local antiquaries. He has in his possession documents of almost priceless value, including the original “Acquackanonk Patent,” of which so much has been said of late. One of the most interesting of the Judge’s possessions is the first map of Paterson, made in 1713, or one hundred and seventy-two years ago. Of course, Paterson was then no “city,” but this map covers the land now embraced by the City of Paterson. It is, in fact, a map of the farm tracts of all the original proprietors of the “Boght” (or bend) of the Passaic River, Paterson now lying in said “Boght.”

This map was made in 1713–as already stated–by Jan VAN KERRICK (John from the Church). It was found by Judge Simmons among about three bushels of old papers contained in an old tea chest which came into his possession at the time of his marriage, having been the former property of Gerrit GERRITSON (or VAN WAGONER), the ancestor of Judge Simmon’s wife, who appears to have been a person of prime consideration among our “first settlers.”

In the original patent, there were fourteen proprietors to whom 14 farms were laid out in the Acquackanonk section; fourteen in the Wesel section (that where Cedar Lawn and vicinity now lies) and 28 in the “Boght” or bend. The map referred to represents these last 28 farms.

They are laid out on each side of a straight division line (which the Judge says is about the line of the present Broadway), 18 being on the north and 15 on the south side. The names of these first proprietors of the lands in this city were as follows:

Beginning at the west end of the division line (say Broadway), just under the “steep rocks and mountain,” we have the farm of

Magiel VRELANT (VREELAND, or FREELAND), which is a triangular plot, the rest being parallel-grams. This first plot is 27 chains, 27 links along the line spoken of.

No. 2 (we go east now) was Leyes VRELANT, 11 chains and 55 links (all these measurements being along the line spoken of);

No. 3, 10 chains, 60 links, was Hendric POST,

No. 4, 10 chains, 27 links was Heimus POST,

No. 5, 10 chains, 19 links, belonged to Hessel PIETERSE and __ (the latter was the ancestor of Mrs. Judge Simmons.)

No. 6, 11 chains, Jan VAN BLARCOM. (This property Judge Simmons says is in the VAN BLARCOM family yet.)

No. 7, 12 chains, 21 links, Abram TOMASSE (or VAN RIPER).

No. 8, 13 chains, Henderic SPIER.

No. 9, 14 chains, and No. 10, 19 chains, Derric VAN HOUIE.

No. 11, 21 chains, A IRIANSE,

No. 12, 18 chains, 35 links, POST (no Christian name given).

No. 13, 37-1/2 chains, Cornelis GERRITSE.

The farms on the south side of the dividing line were (beginning at the west end under the rocks),

No. 1, Franz POST, 11 chains;

No. 2, Hessel PEITERSE, 12 chains, 33 links;

No. 3, Abram VAN REYPE, 15 chains;

No. 4, Elias VRELAND, 16 chains;

No. 5 Adrie POST, 13 chains, 75 links;

No. 6 Jan VAN BLERKAM, 11 chains, 75 links

No. 7, Simeion VAN WINCKEL, 10 chains, 15 links,

No. 8, Magiel VRELAND, 10 chains, 15 links;

No. 9, Simeion VAN WENCKEL, 10 chains, 25 links,

No. 10, Abram VAN REYPE, 12 chains, 20 links;

No. 11, Henderic SPIER, 10 chains;

No. 12, Magiel VRELAND, 18 chains;

No. 13, Yohn ORAETBERSIE(?) (WESTERVELT) 23 chains, 30 links;

No. 14, Henderic GERRETTE, 25 chains;

No. 15, Magiel VRELAND, 15 chains.

In this interesting map, the dividing line east and west–which we may designate Broadway, though there was not Broadway or any other street than–is bisected at about the middle of the map by a straight line which Judge Simmons says is the old “York Road” or road to New York, which is perpetuated by the present “York Avenue.” This road ran south into what is now Willis Street, past Vreeland Avenue, and straight over the hill to the river. At the point of intersection of the two lines spoken of lay the farms of Simeion VAN WINCKEL and Magiel VRELAND, on the south, and Abram THOMASSE, and Henderic SPIER on the north.

No doubt the transcript we have given of this valuable old map will be read with great interest by all the denizens of the great city which has now absorbed these ancient farms, and especially by the many descendant residents here of the honored pioneers who more than a hundred and seventy-two years ago owned the lands of the “Boght.” –Press.

(The above is taken from an article within PCHS’s “Winfield Scott Collection.” Scott, a Passaic Attorney, maintained a collection area newspaper articles from about the late 19th century which he organized into a series of five scrapbooks and later donated to PCHS.)

Copyright ©2000 by The Passaic County Historical Society Genealogy Club. All rights reserved. This site may be freely linked to, and information found on these pages may be used for personal use and by libraries and genealogical societies. Commercial use of this information is strictly prohibited without prior permission. If any pages are copied, this copyright notice must appear with the information.

*UPDATE-There is some updated information concerning this map. Thanks to Tony DeCondo of the Paterson Museum for the updated information. The following links show the corrections. The numbers highlighted are the old numbers and the new numbers are indicated below. Source: Nelson, William, History of the City of Paterson and the County of Passaic, The Press Printing and Publishing Co., Paterson, NJ, 1901, pg 71.


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