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A Guide To Its Present And Past
Compiled and Written by the Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration for the State of New Jersey
American Guide Series

Originally published in 1939
Some of this information may no longer be current and in that case is presented for historical interest only.

Edited by GET NJ, COPYRIGHT 2003

Jersey City
Part 4

The transition to English rule in 1664 took place smoothly, with thirty-three Dutch families later signing an oath of allegiance. At about that time a rough log church was built for the Dutch Reformed congregation; it was probably the first church erected in the Province. For many years the Dutch Reformed Church had an important role in the affairs of the growing community, which was chartered as a town in 1668 by Governor Philip Carteret. During the next century the town was concerned with little besides farming. Establishment of improved ferry service in 1764 was followed several years later by the building of a race track at Paulus Hook. The opening of a new land route to Philadelphia made the Hook a vital link between New York and the south and west; formerly a monopoly had been enjoyed by Elizabethtown and Perth Amboy, which had better water connections with New York. Close by the ferry was a tavern with stables, all under the same management. Schedules were carefully disarranged so that ferry passengers from New York arrived too late for the southbound stage in the morning, and had to stay overnight at the tavern.

An outpost of the British Army held a fort on Paulus Hook during the occupancy of New York. On the night of August 18, 1779, Major (Light Horse Harry) Lee led 300 men south from the American camp on upper Hudson River in a bold attack on the garrison. Crossing a moat at low tide, Lee's force stormed the fort at 3 o'clock in the morning and captured 159 men, about one-third of the defending force. The Americans lost only two killed and three wounded, and escaped northward before their retreat was cut off by other British detachments.


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