Author Topic: Bergen county seal information  (Read 4578 times)

Offline skycom10

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Bergen county seal information
« on: January 31, 2008, 08:22:00 PM »
Hello,

My daughter has a Bergen County project due. She is in the forth grade. We are trying to locate information about the bergen county seal.

In particular the meaning of the people, bird and background landscape.

Thank you for any web links or other information!

Offline Albert

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #1 on: February 01, 2008, 12:03:13 PM »
Hi.

This is from Wikipedia, here.

As the Dutch settlers of the Dutch West India Company in New Amsterdam (present-day New York City) moved west of the Hudson River in the 1660s, they eventually settled along the Hackensack River calling the area Bergen.

Oratam, sagamore of the Lenni Lenape, deeded the land to the Dutch in 1665 (see the seal of Bergen County below). The area was soon taken by the English in 1669, but kept its Dutch name. Philip Cartaret, governor of what was then considered the proprietary colony of East Jersey granted land to Captain John Berry in the area of Bergen and soon after took up residence and called it "New Barbadoes," after having resided on the island of Barbadoes.



Dutch Governor Peter Stuyvesant in delegation with the Lenni Lenape.

In 1675, the East Jersey Legislature officially established the first four counties of present day New Jersey, (Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, and Monmouth).

Another wikipedia page explains the significance of 1683 (as seen on the seal).  Click here.

On March 7, 1683, the garrison/village at Bergen and surrounding areas became a town within Bergen County.

Still looking for information about the background. Anyone have any ideas? I have an email out to Kathleen Donovan, the County Clerk to see if she knows.

Disclaimer:  I have no idea whether any of this is correct.  Wikipedia is a good place to start, but it's been known to be inaccurate.   Good luck with the project!
« Last Edit: February 01, 2008, 03:21:35 PM by Albert »
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Offline Steenrapie

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2008, 10:15:14 AM »
This is all pretty confusing, but here goes.

This entry has several errors. The first attempt to settle the present area of Bergen COunty was in 1639-40 when settlements were made at Edgewater and Bogota. Remember, however, that the section originally known as Bergen Township became Hudson County in 1840. While there has been debate over the years, "Bergen" probably refers to the "mountains", otherwise known as the Palisades. The original village of Bergen was made in the Journal Square section of Jersey City Heights.

Oratam, sagamore of Ackin-sak, deed the area now covered by Teaneck (south of Cedar Lane), Bogota and Ridgefield Park, lying between the Overpeck Creek and Hackensack River. The remainder of the County was sold off by the native proprietors by various deeds: mostly, these lands belonged to dialectally and culturally distinct clans, affiliatated with the Manhattans and Minisinks, locally known as the Pequannocks and Tappans.

The English took over New Netherlands in 1664 and New Jersey was given by James, Duke of York, to two Royalist supporters, Lord John Berkeley and Sir George Carteret of the Island of Jersey. New Barbados was the precinct or township between the Hackensack and Passaic Rivers. The original Indian village of Hackensack was located on Kips Bend in Teaneck and Hackensack Township long remained the section between the Hackensack and Overpeck Creeks. The name drifted across the river to the first Church, where the County Seat was subsequently located, but the City of Hackensack was not officially known as such until 1921 (I believe)

As to the County Seal, I do not believe this is of great antiquity. I did research once on the Sussex County Seal and found out that it was adopted in 1964, during the NJ Tercentenary. I suspect the same is true with Bergen, though I am not certain. It was re-drawn or "modernized" in 1983 for the County's Tercentenary.

Offline just watching

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2008, 11:42:55 PM »
Hackensack historian George Scudder wrote a book in 1993 called "Thee Centuries of Prosperity".  It was his contention that Bergen was derived from Bergen is named for Bergen Op-Zoom, a town on the River Scheldt in the Netherlands.

And I would further speculate that Bergen Op-Zoom is itself named after Bergen, Norway, probably by Viking settlers in the Netherlands over 1000 years ago.

Offline just watching

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2008, 12:29:37 AM »
Here's some information I found out about Bergen Op-Zoom in The Netherlands.  There's a paragraph about the history of that city, which is located south of Rotterdam and only a few miles from the Belgium border, along a bay called Ooster-Schelde. You can click "more" to read on. 

There is considerable history to this city. It is a port city and important trading center going back many centuries.  I think Scudder is right on the mark, I can believe that settlers from there might have come to the New Jersey, and brought the name with them

http://www.planetware.com/netherlands/bergen-op-zoom-nl-nb-boz.html

Offline Steenrapie

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2008, 08:16:01 AM »
The supposed naming of Bergen County after Bergen Op-Zoom dates back at least to the 1920s and is without supporting evidence. That is, no early settler associated with the settlement on Jersey City Heights ("Bergen") is connected to either the Dutch or Norwegian Bergen. I always assume the simplest explanation is the best. The earliest Dutch navigators referred to the west side of the river as "mountainous," an obvious description of the Palisades. To the north, this remarkable feature was known as Closter Mountain, from the Dutch "Kloster," referring to a walled cloister.

Offline just watching

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2008, 06:51:31 PM »
Thanks for the clarification. Scudder would have had no insight to that, perhaps he was just repeating the story.

I'm interested in knowing if the settlers in lower Manhattan referred to the region as "Bergen" before the settlement in what is now Jersey City, or was the name initiated with the founding of the village.

Is it possible that some sea captain simply thought that the hilly terrain of Jersey City and the Palisades LOOKED like Bergen, Norway ?   That's the larger of the two Bergens.  Bergen, Norway was a major seaport in the 1600's, and a lot of ship captains would have been familiar with it.  Just a thought.

Offline cruvolo

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2008, 08:03:25 AM »
It appears generally accepted that the County is named after the settlement of Bergen (in present day Hudson County).  However, what the settlement is named for is a matter of debate.  There are multiple sources saying each of the following:

1. Bergen was named for Bergen, Norway
2. Bergen was named for Bergen-op-Zoom, Netherlands
3. Bergen was named for the hilly terrain, using dutch terminology, as "berg" means mountain or hill.  This name also doubles in dutch as "place of safety" or "refuge".
4. Bergen was named for Hans Hansen Bergen, a native of Bergen, Norway who came to settle in New Amsterdam in 1633.

The Hansen case is an interesting possibility.  He reportedly homesteaded on Long Island, but had land holdings in New Jersey also.

I don't know which is correct, the original information may be lost.

Some sources:

1st source
2nd source
3rd source


-Chris
« Last Edit: April 21, 2008, 08:17:15 AM by Albert »

Offline just watching

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Re: Bergen county seal information
« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2008, 06:27:41 AM »
I don't put much credibility into the story that Bergen County is named after Hans Hanssen Bergen.  One of the sources was written in 1874 and the other in 1907.  That's 250 years after the fact.  Sounds to me like the descendants of Mr. Hans Hanssen were perpetuating a family myth in order to pump up personal pride in their family heritage. I see no real historical evidence.  Of course, I would be proud to be descended from one of the original settlers on the NY metro area, but this claim that an entire County is named after the family is too much of a stretch.

If someone shows me some source material from the 1600's indicating that Bergen County is named after this person, then I'll reconsider it.  Evidence 250 years after the fact is meaningless.