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A Walk Through Hoboken with David Hartman and Historian Barry Lewis
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Colonial Industrial Post-Industrial

A rendering the British-sympathizing Bayard family estate, which was confiscated and sold after the Revolution.
he first Europeans to settle the area now known as Hoboken were the Dutch. In 1630, via a system of "patroonships" that the West India Company employed to settle its territory in New Netherlands, Michael Pauw purchased the land that would later become Hoboken and Jersey City from the Lenni Lenape Indians who inhabited the region. Pauw had been attracted to the area because of its proximity to Manhattan, which had recently been selected as the capital of the province. Pauw's instincts were correct: almost four hundred years later, the area he chose continues to be prized for its location. He named the area Pavonia, the Latinized version of his name, which means "peacock."

According to the patroonship arrangement, Pauw was required to bring 50 colonists to settle his land, but the West India Company grew impatient with the lack of development in the area and the erratic behavior of Cornelis Van Vorst, who Pauw had appointed director of the territory. Within a few years, they bought the land back from Pauw.

Colonel John Stevens bought Hoboken with the idea of turning it into a haven for industry, shipping, and recreation.
The early Dutch inhabitants of the area were mostly farmers, but during this period there was evidence of the ingenuity to come as residents founded America's first brewery in Hoboken. The following description of Hobuk, as it was then known, comes from a letter written in 1685 by a George Scott, of Edinburg:

"[There] is a good plantation in a neck of land almost an Island, called Hobuk. It did belong to a Dutch Merchant who formerly in the Indian War, had his wife, children and servants, murdered by the Indians, and his house, cattle and stock destroyed by them. It is now settled again and a mill erected there, by one dwelling at New York."

The conflict with the local natives referred to in the letter above was quite likely a byproduct of William Kief, governor of New Netherlands, and his Indian policy -- which was not known for its diplomacy, and in fact has been cited as the impetus for a number of violent encounters between European settlers and Native Americans that took place in the region at that time.

In 1663, Governor Peter Stuyvesant awarded Hobuk to Nicholas Verlett. His granddaughter married a man named Robert Hickman, who sold the land to Samuel Bayard in 1711. Bayard built a country estate at Castle Point, a high, rocky outcropping that overlooks the Hudson and Manhattan. Decades later, during the American Revolution, his grandson William, a devout Tory, ran into trouble after he joined the British army. The estate was raided several times and set ablaze by a party of foraging Patriots in 1780. After the war, the Bayard property was confiscated and sold by the government for $90,000 to Colonel John Stevens, who had fought in the Revolution on the side of the Americans.

Next: Industrial
In 1824, John Stevens demonstrated the first working steam locomotive in America (above). Hoboken's view of Manhattan is tremendous (below).
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