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Passaic County New Jersey




Passaic County Administrative Offices are located at 401 Grand Street, Paterson NJ 07505; phone: 973-881-4402.

Beginnings [1]

The first settlement in Passaic county was at Acquackanonk. The country so called by the Indians embraced the entire Passaic Valley, and highlands adjoining, on both sides of the Passaic River from the Yantacaw or Third River northerly to the Saddle River. The name appears to be first found in an Indian deed, dated April 4th, 1678, from Capteham Peters, an Indian Sachem, to Machielson (Vreeland), conveying "A great Island lying in the River of Pisaick near by Aquickanucke by the Indians called Menehenicke: (now known as Dundee Island). Hartman received a patent for the island from the East Jersey proprietors, January 6, 1685, he bargaining to pay yearly "the chief quit rent of one fatt henn." We next find "Haquickenock" mentioned in a deed dated July 15, 1678, from Sir George Carteret (one of the original two proprietors of New Jersey) to Christopher Hoogland, a New York merchant, for two adjoining tracts of land, 278 acres in all, lying in what is now the city of Passaic, and which may roughly be described as bounded on the east by the Passaic River; north by Monroe Street; west by Lexington Avenue and Prospect Street; south by River Street and the river.

Passaic County was created by an act of legislature on February 27, 1837. Andrew Parsons was the first Councilor from the new county; Aaron S. Pennington, of Paterson, and Henry M. Brown, of West Milford, the first Assemblymen. Perigrine Sandford, of Paterson, the first County Clerk; Silas D. Canfield, of Paterson, the first Surrogate; Rynier S. Speer, of Acquackanonk, the first Sheriff.

The Chosen Freeholders elected in April hired a room in the Passaic hotel, at River and Bank streets, Paterson, for county purposes, and the first term of the courts was held there. The first annual meeting of the Board of Chosen Freeholders was held at Jacob Rutan's house (North Main Street, north side, about midway between Jefferson Street and Haledon Avenue, but long since removed), Manchester, and organized by the election of Cornelius I. Westervelt as Director, Andrew Mead as Clerk, and George I. Ryerson as Collector. In May of 1837 the Board resolved to rent the basement of the Cross Street M. E. Church for the holding of courts, at $60 per year, and that place was occupied immediately for that purpose.

  1. Nelson, William, Historical and Statistical Memoranda, Relative to Passaic County, New Jersey, Chiswell & Wurts, Printers, Paterson, 1874.
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