Van Riper House, Passaic, NJ 1/4

Part 1
From the William Winfield Scott scrapbook at the
Passaic County Historical Society-
Taken from the Passaic Daily News March 25,1924.

by William Winfield Scott, Passaic Historian.

I learned today that the “Squire” Van Riper stone house facing
River Drive, had been demolished to make way for the extension of
Palmer Street, in the same rabid, rapid way that the old parsonage
of the “Old First Reformed Church, near the corner of Prospect
Street and River Drive (built about 1723) was slashed to pieces-and
carted, no one nows where, last year, without the saving of even
a splinter or what is worse, without a photograph or picture Of
any kind of the house which sheltered the noted soldiers of Revolu-
tion fame-Generals Heard and Irvine-who accompanied Washing-
ton on his famous retreat.
After that war, one of Washington’s Body Guard lived in this
house several years, and made the mantel which was in the parlor,
and the sash in the front door. How fortunate it would have been
had those two articles, been preserved or a photograph taken of the
bedroom occupied by these Generals. Failure to do this was evidence
of lack of sentiment and disregard for old things.


This “Squire” Van. Riper house
had been looked upon as the old-
est structure in the city, and was
supposed to have been erected by
the progenitor of that family about
the year 1698. The land under, and
surounding it, had as the first
owner Cornelius Michielse,. (or
Vreeland, the name subsequently
adopted by that family) who by
deed of October 30, l695,.and in
consideration of l00 pounds, con-
veyed,to Thomas Jurianse, a tract
of., land in the town of Acquack-
anonk, Bounded northeast by a
driftway which parts him and
land of Hans Dederick; southwest
by a driftway which parts him from
land of Johannes Michielse; north-
west by common woodland, con-
taining 100 acres. Few persons
would realize that this tract ln-
cluded all land bounded by the
“Great river Passaic; Brook Ave-
nue; Van Houten Avenue and High
Street. The surname “Thomason”
was the original family name of
the Van Riper tribe which became
very numerous in this vicinity. Our
Thomas was the eldest son of one
Juriaen (pronounced yoo-re-awn)
Thomasse (Uriah, son of Thomas)
who left his old country home, in
Rupen, North Jutland and sailed
from Holland in T’bonte Koe, (the
“Spotted Cow”) with 87 other pas-
sengers in April, l663, landing at
New York. He took up his resi-
dence in the town of Bergen, now
Jersey City, where he raised a fam-
ily of twelve, children.
Thomas came here about 1698,
and erected this house wherein six
children were added to the five
sons born in Jersey City. He con-
ducted farming, brewing and fruit
growing, shipping quantities of his
produce, timber, liquor (and fruit
to New York and Albany. He was
energetic, enterprising and pro-
ressive, both in secular and relig-
ious afairs, serving as tax col-
lector in 1695 and 1698, and was
one of the three commissioners to
settle the disputed boundary line
between Acquackanonk and New-
ark. He was a-deacon in 1700 and
1705, and elder in 1710 and 1724 of
what is now the “Old First” Re-
formed church. He, in the mean-
time was investing in more land,
becoming the owner of about three
hundred acres stretching along the
southwesterly side of Sip Lane,
(now Van Houten Avenue) which:
was laid over Sip’s land from the
river back to High Avenue, Clif-
ton of which he made a map show-
ing fourteen plots of from seven
to forty-four acres each, a dozen
of which he sold at a big profit.
making him rich not only in land,
but in real English money. He
died at the height of his busy career
in 1727 sincerly honored by
the community, which felt that his
death was a public loss. For thirty
years after his death. his executors,
continued his business an then
decided to sell as appears from
New York Mirror of March 14,