North Bergen was formed, in 1842, from that part of Bergen N. of the New Jersey
railroad. It is 6 miles long, and from 2 to 4 wide. it is bounded N. by Hackensack and Lodi, (Bergen co.,) E. by
Hudson river and Van Vorst, S. by Bergen, and W. by Passaic river, separating it from Harrison. The Palisades enter
the township on the north. Much of its surface is marsh; elsewhere the soil is generally very fertile, and produces
large quantities of vegetables for the New York market.
North Bergen is a scattered settlement, on the summit of the ridge north of the New Jersey railroad, 2 miles west
of Jersey City, containing about 60 dwellings. Secaucus is an island, or more properly a strip of firm land, surrounded
by a marsh, in the NW. part of the township. There is at that place a Baptist church. New Durham, 4 miles north
of Hoboken, on the Hackensack turnpike, has 1 Reformed Dutch and 1 Baptist church, and about 50 dwellings. West
Hoboken is a recent settlement, handsomely laid out on. the brow of an eminence, about 2 miles from Hoboken landing.
Hoboken, supposed anciently to he called Hoebuck, lies on the Hudson, 1 mile from New York, with which constant
communication is had by ferry-boats. It contains an Episcopal church, and from 50 to 70 dwellings. The pleasant
and shady retreats, delightfully situated at this place, on the banks of the river, have long made it a favorite
A short distance above Weehawken, and about three miles above Hoboken, overhung by the Palisades, on the bank of
the Hudson, is the spot famous as the "duelling-ground." Here several have paid the forfeit of their
lives to a custom at which humanity shudders, and which all laws, divine and human, condemn. Here it was that Gen.
Alexander Hamilton fell in a duel with Col. Aaron Burr, VicePresident of the United States, July 11th, 1804; an
event at which a nation mourned. A monument was erected to the memory of Hamilton on the spot where he fell, by
a society in New York, of which the annexed view, taken many years since, by J. C. Ward, Esq., is a representation.
The monument was destroyed by the hand of violence, and the pieces carried off as relics. The piece bearing the
inscription was found in a low groggery in New York, where it had been pawned for liquor. It is now in possession
of a gentleman residing in the vicinity.
The annexed account is drawn from Coleman's Collections, relative to the death of Hamilton:
Hamilton's political opinions were at variance with those of Burr, and some expressions he had dropped, derogatory
to the Vice-President, were eagerly embraced by the latter as affording sufficient grounds for sending him an insolent
note, requiring him to acknowledge or disavow those expressions. General Hamilton refused to do either, and a challenge
from CoL Burr was the consequence. Much delay and deliberation on the part of Hamilton was resorted to, but he
finally accepted the challenge.
It was near seven in the morning when the boat which carried Gen. Hamilton, his second, Mr. Pendleton, and their
surgeon, Dr. Hosack, reached Weahawk. There they found Col. Burr and his second, Mr. Van Ness, who had been employed
since their arrival, with coats off, in clearing away the bushes, limbs of trees, &c., so as to make a fair
opening. The parties were soon at their allotted stations: when Mr. Pcndleton gave the word, Burr raised his arm
slowly, deliberately took aim, and fired. His ball cntercd Hamilton's right side; as soon as the bullet struck
him, he raised himself involuntarily on his toes, turned a little to the left, (at which moment his pistol went
off,) and fell upon his face.
Dr. Hosack says: "When called to him, upon his receiving the fatal wound, I found him half-sitting on the
ground, supported in the arms of Mr. Pendleton. His countenance of death I shall never forget. He had at that instant
just strength to say, 'This is a mortal wound, Doctor;' when he sunk away, and became to all appearance lifeless.
I immediately stripped his clothes, and soon, alas ! ascertained that the direction of the ball must have been
through some vital part. His pulses were not to be felt; his respiration was entirely suspended; and upon my laying
my hand upon his heart, and perceiving no motion, then I perceived him irrecoverably gone. I however observed to
Mr. Pendicton, that the only chance for his reviving was immediately to get him upon the water. We therefore lifted
him up, and carried him out of the wood to the margin of the bank, where the bargemen aided us in conveying him
into the boat, which immediately put off. During all this time I could not discover the least symptom of returning
life. I now rubbed his face, lips, and temples with spirits of hartshorn, applied it to his neck and breast, and
to the wrist and palms of his hands, and endeavored to pour some into his mouth. When we had got, as I should judge,
some 50 yards from the shore, Some imperfect efforts to breathe were for the first time made manifest; in a few
minutes be sighed, and became sensible to the impression of the hartshorn, or the fresh air of the water. He breathed;
his eyes, hardly opened, wandered, without fixing upon any objects; to our great joy he at length spoke: 'My vision
is indistinct,' were his first words. His pulse became more perceptible; his respiration more regular; his sight
returned. I then examined the wound, to know if there was any dangerous discharge of blood; upon slightly pressing
his side it gave him pain; on which I desisted. Soon after, recovering his sight, he happened to cast his eyes
upon the case of pistols, and observing the one that he had in his hand lying on the outside, he said, 'Take care
of that pistol; it is undis charged and still cocked; it may go off, and do harm; Pendleton knows (attempting to
turn his head toward him) that I did not intend to fire at him.' 'Yes,' said Mr. Pendleton, understanding his wish,
'I have already made Dr. Hosack acquainted with your determination as to that.' He then closed his eyes and remained
calm, without any disposition to speak; nor did lie say much afterwards, excepting in reply to my questions as
to his feelings. He asked me once or twice how I found his pulse; and he informed me that his lower extremities
had lost all feeling; manifesting to me that he entertained no hopes that he should long survive. I changed the
posture of his limbs, but to no purpose-they had totally lost their sensibility. Perceiving that we approached
the shore, he said, 'Let Mrs. Hamilton be immediately sent for-let the event be gradually broken to her; but give
her hopes.' Looking up, we saw his friend Mr. Bayard standing on the wharf in great agitation. He had been told
by his servant that Gcn. Hamilton, Mr. Pendleton, and myself had crossed the river in a boat together, and too
well had he conjectured the fatal errand, and foreboded the dreadful result. Perceiving, as we came nearer, that
Mr. Pendleton and myself only sat up in the stern sheets, he clasped his hands together in the most violent apprehension;
but when I called to him to have a cot prepared, and he at the same moment saw his poor friend lying in the bottom
of the boat, he threw up his eyes, and burst into a flood of tears and lamentations. Hamilton alone appeared tranquil
and composed. We then conveyed him as tenderly as possible up to the house. The distresses of this amiable family
were such that, till the first shock was abated, they were scarcely able to summon fortitude enough to yield sufficient
assistance to their dying friend. . . . . During the night he had some imperfect sleep, but the succeeding morning
his symptoms were aggravated, attended, however, with a diminution of pain. His mind retained all its usual strength
and composure. The great source of his anxiety seemed to be in his sympathy with his half- distracted wife and
children. He spoke to me frequently of them. 'My beloved wife and children,' were always his expressions. But his
fortitude triumphed over his situation, dreadful as it was; once, indeed, at the sight of his little children,
brought to the bedside together, seven in number, his utterance forsook him; he opened his eyes, gave them one
look, and closed them again until they were taken away. As a proof of his extraordinary composure, let me add that
he alone could calm the frantic grief of their mother. 'Remember, my Eliza, you are a Christian.' were the expressions
with which be frequently, with a finn voice, but in a pathetic and impressive manner, addressed her. His words,
and the tone in which they were uttered, will never be effaced from my memory. At about two o'clock he expired."
After his death, a paper was found in his own handwriting, containing his reasons for accepting the challenge-and
also confirming his own words, that it was not his intention to fire at Col. Burr. He gave his testimony against
duelling in the same paper, in these words: "My religious and moral principals are strongly opposed to the
practice of duelling. It would ever give me pain to be obliged to shed the blood of a fellow-creature in a private
combat forbidden by the laws. My wife and children are extremely dear to me, and my life is of the utmost importance
to them, in various views." He also gave unequivocal evidence of his firm reliance on the merits of a Saviour
for pardoning mercy, and at his earnest request, the evening before his death, the sacrament of the Lord's supper
was administered to him. In his interview with the Rev. Dr. Mason, a few hours before his death, he said, "Duelling
was always against my principles; I used every expedient to avoid the interview; but I have found, for some time
past, that my life must be exposed to that man. I went to the field determined not to take his life."
Immediately after his decease, the bells announced that he was no more. Early on the morning of Saturday, the day
of his funeral, all the bells were muffled and tolled with little intermission until the procession reached the
church, somewhere between one and two o'clock. The ships in the harbor exhibited their colors at half-mast, and
minute-guns were fired from the forts. The procession consisted of the clergy of all denominations-gentlemen of
the bar-students at law-strangers--members of the different incorporated bodies, together with the citizens-all
anxious to testify their Sense of Hamilton's worth. The side-walks were crowded with spectators-the windows were
filled-and many climbed up into trees, and got upon the tops of houses. Not a smile was visible-acarcely a whisper
was heard-all was weeping, mourning, and wo. When the proccssion reached Trinity Church, Mr. Gouverneur Morris
delivered an oration from a stage that had been erected for the purpose in the portico of the church. After the
oration, the corpse was carried to the grave, where the funeral service was performed by the Rev. Bishop Moore.
The troops, which had formed an extensive hollow square in the church-yard, closed the solemnities with three volleys
over the grave.
On opening the will of the deceased, a letter was found addressed by him to Mrs. Hamilton, written on the 4th inst.,
in which he assured her he had taken all possible measures to avoid the duel, except by acting in a manner which
would justly forfeit her esteem-that he had determined not to fire at him-and should certainly fall. He begged
her forgiveness for causing her so much pain, and commended her to that God who would never desert her.
The whole nation was now literally in tears. It has in fact been questioned whether the death of Washington excited
a more universal gloom. All party feeling was swallowed up in grief-all united in the general voice of sorrow,
"Our Hamilton is no more!"
The following is from the Albany Centinel of August 29: "On Sunday last, the afflicted Mrs. Hamilton attended
divine service in this city with her three little sons. At the close of a prayer by the Rev. Mr. Nott, the eldest
dropped on his face in a fainting-fit. Two gentlemen immediately raised him, and while bearing him out, the afflicted
mother, in the agonies of grief and despair, sprang forward towards her apparently lifeless son. The heart-rending
scene with which she had recently struggled, called forth all the finespun sensibilities of her nature, and seemed
to say, that nature must and will be indulged in her keenest sorrows. She was overpowered in the conflict, and
likewise sunk, uttering such heart-rending groans, as would have melted into sympathy even Burr him. sell: Both
soon recovered-and while the little son was supported, standing on the steps, yet speechless, the most affecting
scene presented itself-a scene which, could it be placed on canvass by the hand of a master, would be in the highest
degree interesting and impressive. The mother fastened upon her son, with her head reclining on his shoulder- agony
strongly painted on her countenance-her long flowing weeds-the majesty of her.. person-the position of both-and
above all, the peculiarity of their trying situation in the recent loss of a husband and father. Who could refrain
from invoking on the head of the guilty author of their miseries, those curses he so richly merits ?-the curse
of living, despised and execrated by the voice of a whole nation-the curse of being held up to the view of future
ages-a MONSTER and an ASSASSIN."
In July, 1780, Washington, having received informatin that there were considerable numbers of cattle in Bergen
Neck, in reach of the enemy, detached Gen. Wayne to bring them off, and at the same time attack a blockhouse which
stood on the Hudson river, in this township, about half a mile below Bull's Ferry and the present line of Bergen
co. [See page 75.] It was on the occasion of this expedition that Major Andre wrote the poem entitled the "Cow
Chace," which was printed by Rivington, printer to his majesty, in New York. It consists of stanzas divided
into three cantos. It is said that Andre. gave the printer the last canto the day before he left New York, on the
enterprise which cost him his life. The poem appeared in the Royal Gazette on the morning of the day he was taken.
The following stanzas are selected from it; the last of which appears somewhat prophetic.
To drive time kinc one summer's morn
The tanner took his way;
The calf shall rue that is unborn
The jumbling of that day.
And Wayne descending steers shall know,
And tauntingly deride,
And call to mind in every low
The tanning of his hide.
Yet Bergen cows still ruminate
Unconscious in the stall,
What mighty means were used to get
And lose them after all.
For many heroes bold and brave,
From New Bridge and Tapaan,
And those that drink Passaick's wave,
And thosc that eat soupaan;
And sons of distant Delaware,
And still remoter Shannon,
And Major Lee with horses rare,
And Proctor with his cannon:
* * * *
I, under cover of th' attack,
Whilst you arc all at blows,
From English Neighb'rood and Tinack
Will drive away the cows.
* * * *
At Irvine's nod 'twas fine to see
The left prepare to fight,
The while the drovers, Wayne and Lee,
Drew off upon the right.
* * * *
Sublime upon his stirrups rose
The mighty Lee behind,
And drove the terror-smitten cows
Like chaff before the wind.
But sudden see the woods above
Pour down another corps;
All helter-skelter in a drove,
Like that I sung before.
Irvine and terror in the van
Came flying all abroad;
And cannon, colors, horse, and man,
Ran tumbling to the road.
* * * *
In his dismay the frantic priest
Began to grow prophetic;
You'd swore, to see his lab'ring breast,
He'd taken an emetic.
* * * *
This solemn prophecy, of course,
Gave all much consolation,
Except to Wayne, who lost his horse
Upon the great occasion.
His horse that carried all his prog,
His military speeches,
His cornstalk-whiskey for his grog,
Blue stockings and brown breeches.
And now I've closed my epic strain,
I tremble as I show it,
Lest this same warrior-drover,
Wayne, Should ever catch the poet.