The Ramapo Tract and Its Early Settlers
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The Ramapo Tract was a colonial tract of land in Bergen County, New
Jersey, under the administration of the East New Jersey Proprietors. The
tract encompassed a large area in northwest Bergen County, N.J., including
the present towns of Allendale, Franklin Lakes, Glen Rock, Ho-Ho-Kus, Mahwah,
Midland Park, Ramsey, Waldwick, and Wyckoff.
Ownership of land within this tract was tied up in controversy until after
the Revolution. The Ramapo Tract controversy originated in grants made by
Peter Sonmans in 1709, which the Proprietors of East Jersey considered as
unauthorized. After 1742 the board began leasing some lands in Ramapo to
tenants, while also attempting to reach settlements with some of the claimants
under titles derived from Sonmans grants. In the 1760s the Proprietors,
through their agents and committees, continued their efforts to lease lots.
By the 1780s, however, they clearly preferred to sell the lands. By declaring
a division of the Ramapo lands remaining unsold in 1790 the board expected
to end permanently questions about the title to lands in the region.
The lands at Ramapo, located in what is now northwestern Bergen County,
New Jersey and part of Rockland County, New York, were held in common by
the proprietors. George Ryerson, acting as the East Jersey proprietors'
agent, was the main negotiator with tenants.
Peter Sonmans, claiming to act for the English proprietors, conveyed 43,000
acres of the Ramapo Tract to Peter Fauconier and others in 1709. The proprietors
repudiated his authority and after 1731 sold and leased these lands. They
also pursued a dual policy of trying to prove their title in the courts
while attempting to reach a settlement with Fauconier, his daughter Mrs.
Magdalen Valleau, his associates and those who had purchased lands from
The family groups represented in the Ramapo Tract included German Palatines,
Holland Dutch, French Huguenots, and other ethnic groups, including a number
of free Blacks.
Surnames of families associated
with the Ramapo Tract
before 1790 include:
Ackerson / Eckerson
Bartholf / Bertholf
Carlough / Carlogh / Geerlach, etc.
Conklin / Concklin
Courter / Coerten
DeBaun / Debane
DeGray / DeGraw / DeGraff / Margrauf
Eckhert / Eckert / Eckart
Folly / Folley / Valley
Hennion / Hemion
La Roe / Lereux / LaRue / Lareaux, etc.
Lozier / Lazear, etc.
Messenger / Maysinger, etc.
Meyers / Myers
Micheler / Michelor / Mickler
Osborn / Osborne
Packer / Hanselpacker / Henselbecker, etc.
Provost / Prevost
Pulis / Pulisfelt
Rap / Rapp
Rattan / Rutan
Servant / Sarvent
Shoemaker / Schumacher
Stols / Stults
Sturr / Stor / Star
Tebow / Debow
Tyson / Tysen
Van Allen / Van Alen
Van Voorhis / Van Voorhees, etc.
Verwer / Verwey
Wanamaker / Wannemaker
Winter / Winters