From the Bergen Democrat
, January 9, 1874:
It is frequently alluded to by writers in regard to Aaron Burr in Bergen County, that Mrs. Theodosia Prevost, the widow of Col. Prevost of the British army, lived on the place now the residence of Elijah Rosencrantz, Esq., of Hohokus. This is not so. Mrs. Prevost resided in the house, known in the days of the Revolution, as the “Little Hermitage,” situated upon the Hermitage farm, in what in those days was the secluded Valley of Hohokus. The Hermitage was no doubt a charming spot, and its charms were, perhaps, enhanced in its being the residence of the “accomplished Theodosia.” In Matthew L. Davis’ Life of Burr
, there is a letter of James Monroe, dated at the “Little Hermitage,” and another of Monroe to Mrs. Prevost, in which he requests her to present his respects to “the ladies on the hill.” They are supposed to have been the ladies of the family of a Mr. Dewint, who then owned the place of Elijah Rosencrantz. At the beginning of the present century, the “Little Hermitage” dwelling house was torn down, and the stones carted away, and rebuilt in what was the dwelling of the late Garret H. Bamper. The Erie Railway now crosses the site of the residence of Mrs. Prevost, and not a vestige remains to point out where once stood the abode of elegance and refinement, and the resort of chivalry and gallantry of the Revolution, the gentlemen of the “Republican Court” of Washington. Henry A. Hopper, father of the late Dr. Abraham Hopper, who lived upwards of 86 years, and died about 18 years ago at Hohokus, retained a few years previous to his death, some reminiscences of Mrs. Prevost, derived from “Old Ben,” who had worked when a young man anterior to the Revolution, upon the Hermitage farm. The writer has frequently heard Mr. Hopper speak of the place, and we only refer to the matter, to correct an error that has fallen into the impression of many that Mr. Rosencrantz’s residence was the abode of Mrs. Prevost in those days.
There are many reminiscences connected with the Revolution, which classes Hohokus as historic ground. On a bridge, which crosses the Hohokus stream, in front of J. J. Zabriskie’s, two British officers were shot during the Revolution. They were on a scouting expedition. Near the railroad and until recently, there stood an old stump where a young man was pinioned and shot. In the house where the present Post Office now is, during those days, resided the Hopper family. The British were after Mr. Hopper, and his lady, on the plea that there was a sick person in the neighborhood to whom she wished to loan a feather bed, made use of a piece of strategy that saved her husband. Two of the farm men were detailed for the work of removal of the bed, and whilst Mrs. Hopper was getting it ready, her husband on hands and knees crawled under the bed, and escaped arrest and death.
In the rear of the old house now used by Mr. Zabriskie as a tenant house, and bearing an inscription stone over the door, dated 1751, was a skirmish between the Americans and British in which a hundred men were engaged, and the ground was literally covered with gore. At this house Gen. Washington was quartered. Where Hohokus dam now is, there was once a cave in which the residents used to hide to save themselves from the massacre of the British and Tories.