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by Kevin W. Wright


The Zabriskie family grew wealthy from increased trade brought on by the French and Indian War (1756-1763) and doubled the size of their dwelling about 1765-67, increasing it from five to twelve rooms, warmed by seven fireplaces, and covering it with a fashionable gambrel roof. The gambrel roof has four slopes instead of two, providing more headroom and storage space in the garret (for this reason, many barns used a gambrel roof to increase the size of the hay mow). The Jersey Dutch also adopted the gambrel roof to span

the depth of a house that was one-and-a-half to two rooms deep. New Bridge Landing was the business center of the upper Hackensack Valley - the shopping mall of its day. Iron made in stone furnaces along the Ramapo Mountains was carried in ox-carts to New Bridge Landing where it was loaded onto boats for shipment to market. Flour and animal feed was shipped from the mill. All kinds of wares came in from boats returning from the city. This location had an added advantage: because of the wide Hackensack Meadowlands downstream, New Bridge remained the nearest river crossing to Newark Bay until 1790. Overland traffic including farm wagons and stage coaches, going to and from New York City, crossed the river at this spot on their way into the interior parts of the country.

The last will and testament of John Zabriski, composed October 25, 1774, provided his wife, Annatje, with the use of all his lands for her use and for the maintenance of the family. She was to provide for their son, John, and for the children of their late daughter, Elizabeth Seaman. Besides £50, John Zabriski, Junior, was to receive "the house where I live, the mills, and the whole farm as appears by a deed from Nicholas Ackerman." When they reached 21 years of age, the three grandchildren by daughter Elizabeth, namely, John, Benjamin and Edmund Seaman, were to receive other lands which John Zabriski, Senior, had purchased several from Peter Voorhezen, Daniel Voorhezen and Abraham Brower. Though he died shortly after composing this will, it was not until May 10, 1783, that probate was granted to John remarried widow, Annatje Terheun, and to Joost Zabriski.

Two run-away advertisements appeared in the New York Gazette Revived in the Weekly Post Boy for "Hackinsack"; in 1749 John Zabriskie offered a reward for the return of an enslaved person named Robin. Only six years later he placed another ad seeking the return of an indentured servant named Paulus Smith.


One of the items being shipped out at New Bridge - shown here, partial bar of pig iron stamped "Long Pond", found at the landing at New Bridge in an archeological dig. Pig iron could be melted down and made into items like a cooking pot. On exhibit at the Steuben House.​​


In the early morning hours of November 20, 1776, Lieutenant General Charles Earl Cornwallis led a British and Hessian army of about 2,500 soldiers across the Hudson River to New Dock (Lower Closter Landing) for an attack against Fort Lee, then garrisoned by about 936 soldiers. The hasty withdrawal of the American garrison across the Hackensack River at New Bridge preserved them from entrapment on the narrow peninsula between the Hudson and Hackensack Rivers. According to tradition, Thomas Paine composed the first tract of The American Crisis - a series of essays intended to rally American resolve durig the darkest


hours of the war - at Newark, using a drumhead for a desk and a campfire for illumination. Published on December 19, 1776, only six days before Washington's victory at Trenton reversed the declining fortunes of the Continental cause, Paine stirred hopes with his immortal refrain:

These are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now deserves the love, and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet, we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives everything its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as freedom should not be highly rated. Britain, with an army to enforce her tyranny, has declared that she has a right (not only to tax) but "to bind us in all cases whatsoever," and if being bound in that manner is not slavery, then is there not such a thing as slavery upon earth. Even the expression is impious; for so unlimited a power can belong only to God. Whether the independence of the continent was declared too soon, or delayed too long, I will not now enter into as an argument; my own simple opinion is that had it been eight months earlier, it would have been much better. We did not make a proper use of last winter, neither could we, while we were in a dependent state. However, the fault, if it were one, was all our own; we have none to blame but ourselves. But no great deal is lost yet. All that Howe has been doing for this month past is rather a ravage than a conquest, which the spirit of the Jerseys, a year ago, would have quickly repulsed, and which time and a little resolution will soon recover.

...As I was with the troops at Fort Lee and marched with them to the edge of Pennsylvannia, I am well acquainted with many circumstances which those who live at a distance know but little or nothing of.

Our situation there was exceedingly cramped, the place being a narrow neck of land between the North River and the Hackensack. Our force was inconsiderable, being not one forth so great as Howe could bring against us. We had no army at hand to have relieved the garrison, had we shut ourselves up and stood on our defense. Our ammunition, light artillery and the best part of our stores had been removed, on the apprehension that Howe would endeavor to penetrate the Jerseys, in which case Fort Lee could be of no use to us; for it must occur to every thinking man, whether in the army or not, that these kind of field forts are only for temporary purposes, and last in use noty longer than the enemy directs his force against the particular object which such forts are raised to defend.

Such was our situation and condition at Fort Lee on the morning of the 20th of November, when an officer arrived with information that the enemy with 200 boats had landed about seven miles above. Major General Green, who commanded the garrison, immediately ordered them under arms, and sent express to General Washington at the town of Hackensack, distant by way of the ferry six miles.


The American Crisis "the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge" 
Painting by B.Spencer Newman

Our first object was to secure the bridge over the Hackensack, which laid up the river between the enemy and us, about six miles from us, and three from them. General Washington arrived in about three quarters of an hour, and marched at the head of the troops towards the bridge, which place I expected we should have a brush for; however, they did not choose to dispute it with us, and the greatest part of our troops went over the bridge, the rest over the ferry, except some which passed at a mill on a small creek, between the bridge and the ferry, and made their way through some marshy grounds up to the town of Hackensack, and there passed the river. We brought off as much baggage as the wagons could contain, the rest was lost. The simple object was to bring off the garrison and march them on till they could be strengthened by the Jersey and Pennsylvannia militia, so as to be enabled to make a stand. We staid four days at Newark, collected our outposts with some of the Jersey militia, and marched out twice to meet the enemy, on being informed that they were advancing, though our numbers were greatly inferior to theirs.

The British failure to capture the American garrison at Fort Lee, and perhaps defeat the American rebellion, was a consequence of self-confident British officers not realizing, despite reminders from local Loyalists, that "New Bridge was the key to the peninsula between the Hackensack and the Hudson."

According to Washington's own description, the British intended "to form a line across from the place of their landing to Hackensack [New] Bridge and thereby hem in the whole garrison between the North and Hackensack Rivers. However, we were lucky enough to gain the Bridge before them, by which means we saved all of our men, but were obliged to leave some hundred barrels of flour, most of our cannon and a considerable parcel of tents and baggage." On November 21, 1776, Lord Cornwalis finally ordered "the 2nd Battalion of Light Infantry, the 2nd Battalion of Grenadiers, with one company of Chasseurs, to be in readiness to march at nine this morning under the command of Major General secure the New Bridge on the Hackensack River from being destroyed by the enemy in their precipitate retreat." Although the American rear guard used the stone houses on opposite sides of the bridge as forts, the British forced these posts and captured the strategic bridge intact. As part of a reinforcement of the British army then sweeping across New Jersey toward the Delaware River, the 4th Brigade camped at New Bridge on November 25, 1776.

Because of its strategic location astride New Bridge, the Steuben House is steeped in Revolutionary War legends and lore. Set in a no-man's land between two opposing armies, the Steuben House served as a fort, military headquarters, intelligence-gathering station, rendezvous, and site of several skirmishes and major cantonments throughout the long war. In March 1780, Hackensack tavernkeeper Archibald Campbell escaped from British capture by hiding in the root cellar after his guards were distracted by attacking militiamen. In fact, the first recorded visit by a tourist to the Steuben House occurred in the summer of 1888, when Archibald Campbell's granddaughter drove up in her carriage and asked to be shown the vaulted root-cellar where her grandfather had hidden to escape his British captors in 1780. According to the old legend of Mr. Campbell's capture and escape, published in 1844: "This gentleman, who had been for several weeks confined to his bed with rheumatism, they [i.e., British soldiers] forced into the street and compelled to follow them. Often in their rear, they threatened to shoot him if he did not hasten his pace. In the subsequent confusion he escaped and hid in the cellar of a house opposite the New Bridge. He lived until 1798, and never experienced a return of the rheumatism."

British troops, hoping to trap Bergen militiamen asleep in the house, mistakenly killed eight of their own men and wounded several more on May 30, 1780. General George Washington stayed here in September 1780 while his army encamped along Kinderkamack Road.

Confiscated from Loyalist Jan Zabriskie in 1781, the State of New Jersey presented use of the dwelling, gristmill and about 40 acres to Major-General Baron von Steuben, Inspector-General of the Continental Army, on December 23, 1783. According to the wishes of the Legislature, he was to "hold, occupy and enjoy the said estate in person, and not by tenant." Accordingly, General Philemon Dickinson, of the New Jersey Militia, informed the Baron of this gift and related his knowledge of the estate based upon recent inquiries: "there are on the premises an exceeding good House, an excellent barn, together with many useful outbuildings, all of which I am told, want some repairs...there is...a Grist-mill; a good Orchard, some meadow Ground, & plenty of Wood. The distance from N York by land 15 miles, but you may keep a boat & go from your own door to N York by water - Oysters, Fish & wild fowl in abundance - Possession will be given to you in the Spring, when you will take a view of the premises."

General Philemon Dickinson regretted that the Legislature had only vested Steuben with life-rights and not outright title to the property, saying: "This not, my dear Baron, equal either to my wishes & your mind, but tis the best I could probably obtain - You'll observe by the Act, that you are to possess it, but not tenant it out, I am ashamed of this clause but it could not be avoided - This may easily be obviated, by keeping a bed & Servants there & visiting the premises now & then - but I flatter myself, from the representation which has been made to me, that it will be your permanent residence; its vicinity to N York, must render it agreeable to you."

On January 24, 1784, a claim for compensation from the British government was filed by John J. Zabriskie, "now a refugee in the City of New York" for his former homestead at New-Bridge which "is now possessed under this Confiscation Law." He described his estate as: "One large Mansion House, seventy feet long and forty feet wide, containing twelve rooms built with stone, with Outhouses consisting of a bake House, Smoke House, Coach House, and two large Barns, and a Garden, situated at a place called New Bridge (value £850 ); also One large gristmill containing two pair of stones adjoining said Mansion House (£1200); Forty Acres of Land adjoining said Mansion House consisting of Meadow Land and two orchards."


Before improving his estate at New-Bridge, General Steuben first intended to acquire title to the property in fee simple. On December 24, 1784, the New Jersey legislature responded to his overtures by passing a supplement to its previous act (which had awarded use of the Zabriskie estate to General Steuben) by authorizing the agent for forfeited estates to sell the property to the highest bidder and deposit the money in the State treasury. Interest upon the sum was to be paid to the Baron during his lifetime. Cornelius Haring, Agent for Confiscated Lands in Bergen County, placed an advertisement in the New Brunswick Political Intellegencer on February 15, 1785, advertising for sale "the valuable farm called Zabriskie's Mills, at New Bridge, containing 60 acres, formerly property of John Zabriskie. It has a gristmill with two pair of stones, and has water carriage to and from New York." Accordingly, the Zabriskie estate at New-Bridge was sold on April 1, 1785, but its purchaser was none other than the Baron himself acting through his agent, Captain Benjamin Walker. The purchase price was £1,500. The General's personal interest and familiarity with his Jersey estate was outlined in a letter addressed from New York to Governor Livingston on November 13, 1785:

Major-General Baron von Steuben
For a bio on Steuben - click here

Sir, - Having become the purchaser of that part of the estate of John Zabriskie, lying at the New-Bridge, near Hackensack, and the term of payment being arrived, an order from the commissioners of the continental treasury on the treasury of New Jersey lies ready for the agent whenever he shall please to call for it.

Before I take the deeds for this place, I have to request the favor of your Excellency to represent to the legislature, that the only lot of wood belonging to the place was withheld by the agent at the sale on a doubt of its being included in the law because it is at the distance of three quarters of a mile from the house, and therefore could not, he supposed, be considered as "lying at the New-Bridge," though on enquiry I find it was an appendage to the estate, and indeed is the only part of it on which there is a stick of wood; and it was bequeathed to J. Zabriskie by his father along with the house and mill; the lot consists of about 13 acres, it was left unsold with the house and mill, though every other part of J. Zabriskie's estate was sold some years since, and being now unpossessed, great part of the wood is cut off, and the destruction daily increases. If the legislature meant to included it in the law, I must request that directions may be given to the agent to include it in the deed. If otherwise, as it is essential to the other part of the estate, I have to request that I may be permitted to purchase it at such valuation as may be thought just.

Your Excellency will, I flatter myself, excuse the liberty I take in requesting you to represent this matter to the legislature, and to obtain their decision on it so soon as the business before them will permit.

I have the honor to be, with great respect, sir, your Excellency's most obed't humble servant,


[To] His Excellency, Governor Livingston.

On February 28, 1786, the NJ Legislature passed a further act which provided that, if payments on the property were not met by March 1787, then the Baron should have the use and benefit of the estate even though he resided in another state. It wasn't until 1787 - four years after the initial presentation of the property to Steuben - that the legislature abandoned its stipulation that he occupy or personally use the property in order to receive its profits. With this encouragement, Steuben apparently leased at least the mansion and mill back to Jan Zabriskie and so enjoyed the rental fees. There is evidence to suggest that Captain Walker (as Steuben's business agent) and perhaps the Baron himself, occupied rooms in the house while managing the domestic renovation and commercial renaissance of this valuable site. Arndt Von Steuben claimed that Steuben spent winters in New York, but retired to his country home in summer. Receipts from New-Bridge Landing have survived issued under the style of the partnership of Walker & Zabriskie. The tax assessments for 1786 list Walker & Zabriskie as merchants. There is also at least one letter (circa 1788) addressed by Senator William North to Benjamin Walker at Hackensack. On July 4th, 1786, Jan Zabriskie hosted General Steuben and his entourage at New Bridge. Unawares, the Baron paid for his own entertainment as Mr. Zabriskie's servants charged refreshments obtained from the New Bridge Inn to the General's account. But by 1786, Steuben's sights turned northward to a grant of 16,000 acres in Oneida County, New York, which he received from the legislature of that state on June 27, 1786.

By 1787, Steuben was bankrupt. To pay off his debts and to gain some much needed capital, Baron Steuben wrote to Captain Walker on May 23, 1788, giving him full authority to sell his Jersey estate at New-Bridge. At about this time, his close friend and advisor William North confided: "The Jersey Estate must be sold and the proceeds sacredly appropriated to paying his debts and with the remainder he must live a recluse till the new Government [then forming under the Constitution] decides his affairs..."

Accordingly, on September 5, 1788, the New Jersey Legislature repealed its previous acts and invested Baron von Steuben with full title to the former Zabriskie estate. Recognizing his predicament and hoping to save himself from further financial embarrassment, Steuben wrote to North in October of 1788, saying: "The jersey Estate must and is to be sold. Walker is my administrator, all debts are to be paid out of it." On November 6, 1788, Steuben again wrote to William North at his new home in Duanesburg, noting that "My jersey Estate is Advertised but not yet Sold, from this Walker Shall immediately pay to you the money, you so generously lend me and all my debts in New-York will be payed. I support my present poverty with more heroism than I Expected. All Clubs and parties are renounced, I seldom leave the House."

Baron von Steuben advertised his Jersey estate for sale in the New Jersey Journal of Elizabethtown on December 3, 1788, describing it as being "...long-noted as the best stand for trade in the state of New Jersey. Large well-built stone house, thoroughly rebuilt lately, a gristmill with two run of stone; excellent new kiln for drying grain for export built lately; other outbuildings, and 40 acres of land, one-half of which is excellent meadow. Situated on the bank of the river by which produce can be conveyed to New York in a few hours, and sloops of 40 tons burthern may load and discharge along side of the mill."

This remarkable statement shows that General Steuben and his agent, Benjamin Walker, made a considerable investment in his New-Bridge estate, reviving and modernizing its commercial operations and rehabilitating the mansion-house. On December 4, 1788, the Honorable Major-General Frederick Wm. Baron de Steuben of New York City conveyed his Jersey Estate, comprising forty-nine acres at New Bridge formerly belonging to John Zabriskie, to John Zabriskie, Jr., of New Barbadoes Township for £1,200. He was the son and namesake of the Loyalist who had lost the property. Steuben happily reported in a letter dated December 12th: "My Jersey Estate is sold for twelve honored Pounds N. Y. Monney [about $3,000]. Walker and Hammilton are my Administrators."

Only a year and seven months after the defeated British Army evacuated New York City, John Zabriskie, the once prosperous merchant of New Bridge and a Half-pay Captain in service to the British Crown, showed no outward hesitation in celebrating the ninth anniversary of American Independence. His guest was a true Revolutionary War hero, Baron von Steuben, even though (or perhaps because) this renowned German mercenary inconveniently possessed the Zabriskie family's estate under the cursed Confiscation Law. John’s situation was awkward to say the least when he hosted General Steuben and his entourage at New Bridge on the Fourth of July, 1785. Lieutenant Colonel William North, Steuben’s friend and former aide-de-camp, described the uneasy proceedings at the Zabriskie-Steuben House in River Edge in a 1786 journal he kept of a trip to Ohio. According to North, Hackensack was then “A small Town or Village inhabited by Dutchmen, the chief of whom is John Zabrisky: This fellow, with all the stupidity & meanness of a common Dutchman, pretends to be descended in a right line from John [Sobieski], King of Poland [1629-1696]. The following anecdote will give an idea of this Prince. General Steuben arrived at Hackinsack on the evening of a 4th of July. Bonfires blazed, the Bell rung and all was festivity and mirth; This Baron was a guest Zabrisky wished might be seen at his home—he invited him and myself, all the town were sent for, they came, drank, smoked and went away. A Bill was presented to & paid by the Baron for all the wine drank by the herd—The Tavern keeper observing that a Mr. Zabrisky had sent for the wine & it might be charged to the General.” 

In 1791, John J. Zabriskie was taxed for 30 acres, two gristmills and one slave; John Zabriskie, Jr. was listed as a merchant and householder. His cousin, John Seaman, a singleman, owned one vessel. John Zabriskie, Jr. restored his father's gristmill to operation by construction of a new dam on Flatt Creek, a tidal arm of Tantaquas Creek and the Hackensack River. He died in 1793, only 23 years of age. Family tradition notes that he was crushed to death trying to free the tidemill waterwheel and he lies buried in the French Burying Ground in New Milford.

Abraham Collins married John Zabriskie's widow, Catherine Hoogland, and took ownership of 49 acres, two gristmills and one vessel (this property being the estate inherited by the widow). In September 1795, the list of tax ratables indicates that Thomas Howard had taken possession of the 40 acres, two gristmills and one slave, formerly owned by the Zabriskies. In May 1796, Derrick Banta and John S. Banta purchased the real estate at the New Bridge that formerly belonged to John Zabriskie. The tax lists for September 1796 mention Derrick Banta as owner of 60 acres and one gristmill while John S. Banta was included as a merchant owning 1 gristmill, one-half a vessel. In 1797, John S. Banta owned 40 acres, 1 gristmill, and one-half vessel; Derrick Banta owned 20 acres and 1 gristmill. In February 1798, John S. Banta conveyed five tracts to Derreck Banta, yeoman, for $7,875.00, including the real estate at New Bridge, formerly belonging to Jan Zabriskie, that had been presented to the Baron von Steuben, comprising 49 acres. In April 1798, these same five tracts, including the Steuben House, were sold by Derreck Banta to Luke Van Boskirk for $7,250. The list of tax ratables for September 1802 include Luke Van Buskirk, shopkeeper, as owner of 49 acres and 2 gristmills. To see a list of the inventory that was made at the time of John Zabriskie's death.

On January 3, 1815, Daniel Denniston conveyed five tracts of land, formerly belonging to Lucas Van Buskirk (including the Steuben House), to Andrew Zobriskie for $5,000. He was the son of Andrew and Jannetje (Lozier) Zabriskie. His father, Andrew, died April 1, 1772, at 26 years of age. According to his last will and testament, Andrew Zabriskie realized that "My wife Jenny is expecting." He allowed his wife the use of his real and personal estate for so long as she remained his widow. If the expected child was a boy, then he was to inherit all of his real estate; if a daughter, then she would inherit half of his real and personal estate while their daughter Christina (born in 1770) was to receive the other half. Andrew A. Zobriskie was born June 24, 1772, several months after his father's death. Jane, Andrew's widow, soon married Peter Vaclaw, a Loyalist who had joined the British army in 1776. He, his wife and 11 year-old stepson, Andrew, removed to Nova Scotia when the British army evacuated New York City in 1783. On January 30, 1784, Garret Hopper was appointed Andrew A. Zabriskie's guardian. Upon reaching 18 years of age in 1790, Andrew A. Zobriskie chose Aert Cuyper as his legal guardian. In 1800, Andrew Zorborskie {sic} was residing in Palentine, Montgomery County, New York. On July 21, 1793, Andrew Zobriskie, of Oppenheim, New York, married Elizabeth Anderson, of St. Johnsville. She was born July 7, 1774, a daughter of David Anderson and his wife Antie Demarest. Elizabeth had two brothers: Johannes (John) Anderson, born 1769, and David Anderson, born 1777. David Anderson died in 1819 and his widow married William Demarest on June 16, 1822. In 1820, Andrew Zobriskie, shopkeeper, of New Bridge, was taxed for 200 acres, 3 to 8 tan vats, 1 fishery, 1 sawmill and 3 gristmills.

Andrew Zobriskie and his wife Elizabeth had a large family comprised of four sons and seven daughters. Daughter Maria married Abraham C. Zabriskie in 1818. Son David Anderson Zobriskie, born in Montgomery County, New York, in 1810, married Jane Anderson (1812-1880) on March 5, 1835. Andrew and Elizabeth's son, Dr. Peter Hamilton Zobriskie, married Jane Hornblower in 1835. Daughter Sarah married Jacob A. Van Buskirk on January 30, 1840. Daughter Ann married William Andrus in 1848. Daughter Elizabeth married Dr. Garret Terhune. Christina married Cornelius Van Riper. Catherine married John Bogert. John A. Zabriskie married Maria Anderson.

Andrew A. Zobriskie died May 7, 1837. He ordered that his real estate be sold for the best price that it would bring, but suggested that his heirs purchase it. On January 1, 1838, his executors sold the property at New Bridge to Richard W. Stevenson for $14,000. On the same day, the grantee sold several tracts back to Andrew's children. David A. and John A. Zobriskie purchased the homestead farm at New Bridge for $4,000. On December 5, 1839, John A. Zobriskie sold his interest to brother David for $6,000. Andrew's widow, Elizabeth Anderson Zobriskie, died at the Steuben House on December 25, 1852, aged 78 years. In 1909, a gentleman provided the following interesting facts to The Hackensack Republican regarding the house, the property and the former owners:

"About 1835 the house was owned and occuped by David A. Zabriskie and Jane Anderson, his wife. At that time it was quite an important business centre. Capt. Dave, as he was familiarly known, owned and commanded a schooner named "The Farmer." He also had a large store adjoining the present building, which has since been removed. Here the farmers would bring in loads of cord wood and exchange it for groceries to supply their family needs, and the schooner would transport the wood to New York, and return with groceries to supply the store. In addition to this he operated a large grist mill which was situated across the road and south of the preent dock. As it was a tide water mill it could only be operated when the tide had fallen a couple of feet, and often the solemn stillness of the night would suddenly be broken by the clatter of "Take it, Bob. Take it, Bob – it's better than tea." About 1852 the mill was totally destroyed by fire, and all that remains today [that is to say, in 1909] are a few burned piles and the iron driving shaft which projects above high water; the lower end of the shaft to which the wheel is attached, is deeply embedded in the sand."

On March 22, 1848, Maria Ackerman married Isaac Newton Blackledge in the Zabriskie-Steuben House. He was apparently a merchant who conducted business in the so-called "Trading Post" attached to the south end of the stone dwelling-house.

The children of Capt. David Zobriskie and Jane Anderson, born and reared in the family homestead, were four sons and a daughter. The eldest was Capt. D. Anderson Zobriskie, who for many years commanded schooners, and in later years, the tug boat,Wesley Stoney, on the Hackensack River. The next was Cornelius Zobriskie, a Jersey City broker and millionaire, who gave to that city a public park. Then followed Andrew, who conducted a drug store in Jersey City, but died in the early sixties. The next was John, familiarly known as "Jack," who was employed for many years in the County Clerk's office under Samuel Taylor. The daughter, Christina, married Richard Outwater and resided in Passaic.


(Click Map to Enlarge)

The 1860 Census for New Bridge included David A. Zobriskie, 50 years old, a farmer; his wife, Jane, 47 years old; son David A. Zobriskie (generally known by his middle name of Anderson), 22 years old and "Master of Schooner"; daughter Christina, 14 years old; and son John, 11 years old. Hannah [Durie] Zobriskie, 19 years old, and Mary Casey, a "Domestic", also resided there. Another part of the dwelling, perhaps the south end including the store wing, seems to have been occuppied by the family of Ezra Smith, a merchant, 48 years old, a native of Ridgefield, Connecticut. His wife Emma was born in New York City. This household also included: Emma Demarest, 22 years old; her husband Jacob Demarest, 30 years old and master of a schooner; daughter Mary Demarest, 3 years old; daughter Emma, 9 months old; Eynia (?) Bogert, a 3 year-old boy born in New York City; and Gilbert Conklin, 46 years old, a boatman. In 1870, David Zobriskie, 60 years old, was listed in the Census as a boat captain. His wife Jane, 58 years old, was keeping house. Children living at home were: Christina, 24 years old, and John, 20 years old, employed as "Clerk of Store." Part of the house was occuppied by David Zobriskie's bother-in-law, Jacob A. Vanbuskirk, 53 years old, a retired merchant, and his family: wife Sarah (Zobriskie), 52 years old; Andrew, a Broker, 24 years old; John, a Lawyer, 21 years old; Abraham, 19 years old; Charles, 17 years old; David, 11 years old; and Elizabeth, 9 years old.

D. Anderson Zobriskie was born April 4, 1837. He married Hannah Durie (born October 3, 1836) on July 7, 1859. Their children were: Martin Henry, born January 1862; David R., born December 1863; Magdelena, born August 1869; Peter Hamilton, born December 1870; and Jane, born May 1874.

David A. Zobriskie's wife, Jane Anderson Zobriskie, died February 5, 1880. In her last will and testament, she mentioned her husband David Anderson Zobriskie, and their children, Christiana, wife of Richard Outwater; son John; and daughter Cornelia. By 1880, widower David A. Zobriskie, then 71 years of age, resided with his son D. Anderson Zobriskie, 43 years of age, a boatman, in Anderson's residence at the intersection of Hackensack Avenue and Main Street, River Edge. The household included Anderson's wife, Hannah, 43 years of age; Martin H., 19 years old, a boatman; David R., 15 years old; Lena, 12 years old; (Peter) Hamilton, 9 years old; Jenny A., 6 years old. D. Anderson's wife, Hannah Durie Zobriskie, died January 15, 1887, at 51 years of age. His father, David A. Zobriskie, died September 19, 1887, aged 78 years. D. Anderson Zobriskie acquired title to the old family homestead at Sheriff's Sale on October 7, 1891. By 1895, the household included only D. Anderson Zobriskie and his daughters Madgdelena (born August 1868) and Jennie (born May 1874).


D. Anderson Zobriskie died May 27, 1907, at 70 years of age, bequeathing his estate to his daughter Magdelena. On October 1, 1909, Magdalena Zobriskie, of New Barbadoes Township, sold a tract in Riverside Borough, part of the Anderson Zabriskie estate at North Hackensack, comprising thirty acres of land including the old Baron Steuben house facing the bridge, to Charles W. Bell of New Barbadoes Township. Mr. Bell, a former president of the Common Council of Dayton, Ohio, was a businessman who moved to Hackensack and built a home on West Anderson Street in 1906. According to a report in The Hackensack Republican on October 7, 1909:

"It is the purpose of Mr. Bell to build on the property a large mill for the manufacture of cardboard. A large sum of money was to be invested and the enterprise will be of great importance, especially to that vicinity. The property acquired by Mr. Bell has an important water front, and plans are already prepared for running in a spur from the New Jersey and New York railroad so as to give direct freight facilities." Mr. Bell was familiar with the business, he having acted as receiver for a similar plant at Bogota and placed it upon a paying basis.

In May 1911, Mayor Charles W. Bell of Hackensack transferred his interest in the 50-acre tract at North Hackensack (on which it was proclaimed that a large paper mill would be erected) to the American Ink Company. The Ink Factory, a small brick structure, was still standing near the intersection of Hackensack Avenue and Main Street as recently as 1952. According to report of the Census of the State of New Jersey 1915, the old Zabriskie-Steuben House was occupied by John Schwarzman and family. Mr. Schwarzman was born October 1856 in Austria and emigrated to the United States in 1882. His wife Katie was also Austrian. Their children residing at home were: John G., born in Arkansas in February 1895, then 20 years old and employed as a clerk; Dewey M., born in Arkansas in April 1898, then 17 years old and a farmer; Gustaf, born in Arkansas in June 1899, then 14 years old; and Harry, born in Arkansas in June 1904, then 10 years old. They may have shared the dwelling with the family of Thomas Lawton, an English shoemaker, 81 years old, and his wife Augusta, 69 years old.


The Zabriskie - von Steuben House (1752)

In 1916, the old Zobriskie estate at New Bridge was sold to the Veronica Realty Corporation (formerly the Veronica Ink Company) of New York. In 1919, it was sold again to Mrs. Hanna L. Willson, of Manhattan, William Randolph Hearst's mother-in-law. She died September 14, 1919. Millicent V. Hearst and her father, George L. Willson, renounced their rights and the property passed to daughter Anita Irwin, wife of Walter W. Irwin, of Manhattan. On May 29, 1929, William Randolph and Millicent Hearst and her father, George L Willson, conveyed all their real estate at New Bridge to Anita Irwin.


The Bergen County Historical Society and Daughters of the American Revolution, William Paterson Chapter, visit the Steuben House in 1921 and began disussions to save the house. Also pictured; John Schwarzman and family, tenants of the house.(Bergen County Historical Society Collections)

In the 1920s the Bergen County Historical Society worked to create awareness about the Steuben House and the Steuben House Commission was formed in March 1926 to acquire Baron Steuben's Jersey Estate at New Bridge. The State of New Jersey took possession of the historic mansion and one acre of ground for $9,000 on June 27, 1928. The Steuben House was renovated and opened as a public museum in September 1939 when BCHS was invited at the ceremony to make its headquarters. BCHS purchased 8 acres in 1944 between the Steuben House and the former autoparts yards to protect the Steuben House from the autoparts yard. A four lane bridge in 1955 was planned to cut through along south-side of the Steuben House. BCHS, though losing quite of bit of land, was able to persuade the County to divert the road and bridge to the north, thereby preserving this remanent of Jersey Dutch countryside.


BCHS also donated 1/2 acre of land to the State of New Jersey for a parking lot for the house. In 1954 BCHS reached an agreement with the Blauvelt Demarest Foundation to move Demarest House onto BCHS land. The Campbell-Christie House was moved onto BCHS land in 1977. BCHS reached a 50 year ground lease in 1977 with the County of Bergen where the County pays utilities, maintains mechanical systems and provides structual repairs of the Campbell-Christie House. The Bergen County Historical Society determines use and historic restoration.

BCHS provides all programming at Historic New Bridge Landing in an ambitious event schedule that runs year-round. (Our schedule did get a bit delayed with COVID-19.) You can sign up for email blasts if you would like to be alerted to the upcoming events. We mail out via US mail a handy event card to members. We rely on members and donations to support our many activities, including land management and collections care.

The Steuben House, a state historic site, listed on the New Jersey and National Registers of Historic Places, and is owned by the State of New Jersey.

Continue - Making a historic site

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