top of page
  • Sue Tryforos, Borough Historian

From Colonial Days to the War of 1812

For this year's Quasquicentennial Celebration, The Rock Recorder Blog will post a chronological (as much as possible) history of Glen Rock, NJ. My main source for framing this series is an unpublished manuscript in the Glen Rock Historical & Preservation Society's archive, which was written by George Hubschmitt. This is Part #3 of the series.

Colonial life was stern, an almost continuous round of work, up with the dawn, then care for the livestock and, shortly after breakfast, begin work in the fields or forests. Planting and cultivating were back-breaking work. Often the women and children toiled with the men and boys in the fields.

However, the Sunday day of rest required solemn attendance at religious services. The Dutch Reformed Church at Paramus (now in Ridgewood) served this area, although a handful of future Glen Rockers attended the Dutch Reformed Church in Paterson. Glen Rock's first church would be the Dutch Reformed Church on Rock Road, organized in 1896 and now known as The Community Church of Glen Rock.

[The Dutch Reformed Church of Glen Rock]

Much of the work was accomplished in "bees". The house or barn raising bee was one. At such times the women prepared prodigious meals. The women folk found little time for relaxation. When not engaged in daily household tasks or helping in the fields, they carded wool, spun, wove and knitted material. Besides the itinerant cobbler there was little need for outside help. The woman of the house was nurse, cook, weaver and usually held the purse strings.

Transportation in early colonial days was largely limited to water for long distances. In the late 1700s, the Passaic River provided a navigable route to the Delaware River via a network of canals. The roads (unpaved) that existed were deep in dust in summer and in other seasons were mired in thaws and rains. Stolid oxen were used as beasts of burden and to haul the Jersey Dutch wagons. The fastest land travel was on foot or horseback.

[From the Albertina Hill Kidd family photo album, c. 1890 - 1920]

No battles were fought in the future Glen Rock area during the American Revolutionary War, however both the British and Continentals scouted and foraged the area. Captain David Marinus, son of the Rev. David Marinus, who had settled on Rock Road in the mid-18th century, served in Heard's Brigade of the Continental Army. He was captured in a sharp fight near the Slooterdam (along the Passaic River, from the Wagaraw Bridge on Maple Avenue to the bend of the river at

Elmwood Park; the area was named for the fishing weirs, still visible when the river level is low, constructed there by the Lenape). Captain Marinus was imprisoned in the notorious Sugar House prison in New York City as well as on one of the brutal prison ships anchored in the waters off of Brooklyn. He escaped to return to his home where he died within two weeks from the effects of the poor treatment he had received in prison and exposure from the difficulties of his escape.

The War of 1812 and the Panic of 1837 left little impact on the Glen Rock area as the homes were self-contained and too far from the costal area or cities to be much affected.

203 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All
bottom of page