OURSTORY: Teaching American History Grant, Funded by U.S. Department of Education, Award # S215X020293-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------NJCCCS: 6.4 United States/New Jersey History Colonization and Settlement (1585-1763)

Colonial Life in New Jersey





A Glimpse of Colonial Life in New Jersey

Colonial life in New Jersey began with the first settlements by the Swedes along the southern Delaware River and also by the Dutch along the western banks of the Hudson River. Dutch hegemony in Northern New Jersey ended when the English occupied the territory by a grant permitted to the Duke of York, James in 1664. Gradually, New Jersey became colonized by New England Puritans and by immigrants from Northern Europe. Within this website students and teachers will find artifacts and other primary sources to highlight the experiences of men, women and children in colonial New Jersey. View children's toys, colonial recipes, slave runaway ads and Dutch architecture to gain insight into the culture of colonial times. The Steuben House, located in River Edge, provides a cultural visit for teachers and students seeking a hands-on experience. (Compiled by Sarah Kiefer)


Featured Site

Steuben House - River Edge, NJ

(Excerpt taken from Kevin Wright's "Steuben House History")

A Revolutionary War landmark, the Steuben House-represents the architecture of the Bergen Dutch, an agricultural community whose language and cultureblended contributions from Dutch, Angolan-African, German, English, French, Scotch and Scandinavian settlers. At a place known originally as -Aschatking (Where the river narrows ), about ten miles above the head of Newark Bay, a Swedish land-clearer named Cornelius Mattyse acquired 420 acres at the juncture of Tantaqua's Creek (Cole's Brook) and the Hackensack River, in 1682. This was called Tantaqua's Plain, where a Hackensack sachem of that name resided with his kinfolk. David Ackerman, residing in the village of Hackensack, purchased the land from Matheus Corneliuson, son of Cornelius Matheus of Hackinsack River, in 1695. He devised that portion of this tract of land lying east of Kinderkamack Road to his son, Johannes Ackerman, who built a dwelling on the Steenrapie (Kinderkamack) Road at the time of his marriage to Jannetje Lozier in 1713. A tidal gristmill was built on the Hackensack River. This mill got its power from an artificial pond: the high tide was trapped in the mouth of Cole's Brook by a dam with a special drop-gate, suspended from a horizontal timber. When the tides flowed out of the Hackensack River, the tidal millpond was slowly released through the waterwheel. Sloops pulled alongside the mill at New Bridge Landing. On March 9, 1744, a road was surveyed from Kinderkamack Road to the chosen spot on the banks of the Hackensack River where a "New Bridge" was to be erected (forming what is now Main Street, River Edge)... Hi Barbara!!!

To continue reading about the Steuben House click here: Bergen County Historical Society: Steuben House

Featured Lesson Plans

Grade Level: Elementary/Middle School

This project enables students to analyze an historical home as an artifact. During the lessons, students collect and analyze primary source materials about life in colonial New Jersey and create a journal from the perspective of different family members who lived in the Steuben House circa 1775. Primary sources in the project include artifacts within the Steuben House and a runaway slave advertisement. Emphasis is placed on the gender roles of children in the colonial era.

Colonial Slavery in New Jersey

Grade Level: High School

This project focuses on the great differences between the large-scale plantations that operated in the southern colonies with the smaller scale farms and homesteads of Bergen County.

Preservation of Colonial Dutch Houses

Grade Level: High School

This project focuses on Dutch homes and the culture of colonial Bergen County . Importance is placed on the preservation of the many brownstone homes found throughout Bergen County.

Slavery in Colonial and Revolutionary America

Grade Level: Middle School

This project initiates critical thinking skills by taking a broad look at the evolution of slavery during three epochs, the colonial, revolutionary and civil war periods.

The Evolution of Colonial New Jersey

Grade Level: Elementary School

This project provides students with a background of the initial European colonization of the East Coast. It then specifically targets the development of the first settlements in New Jersey.


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