Evernote Review

Teachers are always told to give students both positive and negative feedback so that the student is not completely crushed but also knows that flaws exist.  I am going to be using a similar model while reviewing Evernote, a web-based notebook, because there are a lot of really great things about Evernote but there are also some things that I do not particularly care for.

The best thing about Evernote is called Web Clipper.  This is a program that you download onto your computer. As you are looking at a website, you can mark up the screen by highlighting text, pointing arrows to important information, drawing boxes around relevant facts or crop out pieces of the screen.  Once you have marked up the web page to your liking, you are able to take a screenshot and save this image in your Evernote Notebook.  This is an incredibly helpful and useful tool for taking notes and doing online research for a few reasons but most importantly because you do not need to copy down long URL’s so there are no errors in the copying process and you are always able to return to the website the image was taken from.  Evernote automatically takes notes of the website URL and puts it in the top bar of the note.

As much as I like the Web Clipper application, I still have some complaints about it.  If you want to clip an image of a longer web page that requires scrolling you need to take multiple images.  I have yet to figure out how to take multiple screenshots and condense them into one note so I have multiple notes from the same source, the same page even, and cannot seem to combine them into one note– which constantly tricks me into thinking I have more sources than I actually do.  A second negative aspect of Web Clipper is that it does not always capture the image because of copyrights issues.  I understand that material needs to be copyrighted and protected… but it is still inconvenient.  Although I have been told if you play around with the way that the image is shown, sometimes you can get around this issue.

Tags!  Evernote allows you to tag your notes.  If I have clipped a webpage about the Ho-Ho-Kus Racetrack I am able to tag the note with terms like “Racetrack,” “1932,” “Automobile,” so that I know exactly what this note contains– sometimes about automobiles at the racetrack in 1932.  The most attractive thing about tags is that it makes your notes searchable similar to a PDF.  When it comes time to write about the Ho-Ho-Kus Racetrack, I might remember there was something interesting about a car race but not remember the year.  I can go into Evernote and search “automobile,” and notes will appear.  The abillity to have notes categorized like this is really convenient and it makes the research to writing process much more manageable because you are not flipping through an entire notebook of sloppy handwriting hoping to find the right page.  I have no complaints about tags, they are amazing.

Much like a Word or WordPerfect document, once you are typing up your own notes in Evernote you are able to change the font color, insert tables, bullet points, horizontal lines and you can even insert a To-Do List.  This is a really neat feature.  As you’re taking notes if you realize you need more information from somewhere, you can insert a To-Do Button and write a quick note about something you should do, like “Call the Ridgewood Public Library.”  Once you have made that call, you can go back and check off your To-Do Button and if you forget you have completed this task, you can return to the note and see that it’s checked off and done.  I can not say I have used this feature but for people who work best electronically this is a great tool.  The only feature that a Word document has that Evernote does not is the ability to highlight text within notes you have created yourself.  As I use notes for writing, I tend to check off or highlight information I have already used so that I don’t repeat myself and unfortunately you can not hEvernote Outlineighlight in Evernote.  Instead, I guess I would have to change the color of the text to signal that I have already used the information.  This is not a deal breaker but a small annoyance.

Personally, I prefer to take notes on paper.  There is something about the process of reading, copying down information and flipping through a filled notebook that I love.  Maybe I should start putting tags in the upper right corner of each page of my notebook so that I can find things faster as this is my favorite feature of Evernote.  If I had to rate Evernote on a scale of one to ten, ten being the most amazing note taking method and one being useless, I would rate this program a 7.

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Evernote is a relatively new application that has been made public for the consumption of the general population of technology users. This new application is multifaceted in all the potential capabilities it can deliver to the hands of the consumer, it easy to navigate and use, as well as allows for users to easily synchronize data across several devices in order to bring about effortless accessibility regardless of where the user might be located at any given time. The best aspect of this new application is the number of people worldwide it can have a daily impact among. Evernote has the technological dexterity in addition to the potential to be a valuable resource tool for anyone. This includes users who are enrolled in any level of schooling to professionals who work anywhere from Main Street to Wall Street. Evernote does not necessarily have to be limited to being used solely by students or working professionals. Private users who simply wish to be productive and organized in their daily lives will benefit immensely from the advantages Evernote offers.

I downloaded Evernote several months ago and have spent a considerable amount of time becoming familiar with what this application has to offer. There are a few drawbacks to using this resource, but when all is said and done, the positives greatly outweigh the drawbacks of utilizing Evernote. Across the spectrum of users, whether they be casual users who have Evernote for personal usage or more frequent users who use the application for professional purposes, this tool is equipped to deliver the more basic functions as simply creating ‘To Do’ lists or pre-programming reminders to alert you of something on a specified date and time. I have used both these features in order to remind myself of important appointments or due dates of professional work that needs to be completed. The ‘To Do’ lists I have assembled have been particularly useful in establishing goals and working towards following through on them.

The various discernible appearances in which the mobile app for Evernote can be set to is helpful since some background appearances are more pleasing to view than others. Users are able to customize the display of Evernote on their mobile phones in order to meet their personal tastes. The best aspects to Evernote though lie in its ability to save compiled information and its versatility. In conducting research for several blog posts I was able to collect information for further review by using an Evernote feature that I downloaded called ‘Web Clipper.’ This feature allows the user to save a copy of an entire webpage, the article on a webpage, or simply the URL link to Evernote for future reference. The benefit is that if the user does not have access to the internet at a later period of time the user can still access and read the desired material. Prior to a recent flight I loaded up Evernote with articles I wished to read. Then while 30,000 feet above ground I was able to read the articles at my leisure despite the lack of an internet connection. Additionally, information that is saved to Evernote, whether it is through Web Clipper or a ‘To Do’ list the user typed up on his or her own, is automatically synchronized to a user’s other electronic devices upon which Evernote is installed. This eliminates the pesky business of always manually ensuring the information between devices is up-to-date to a user’s specifications. Finally, another great feature is how Evernote provides your account with an e-mail address. This way users are able to e-mail information to their Evernote account which will then be saved and synchronized across the devices.

Despite these great advantages that Evernote offers, there can be a few drawbacks. A user is limited to uploading 60 MB of data each month without a paid subscription to use the application. With only a free subscription I have been forced to keep an eye on how much storage space is available. Of course this problem is eliminated if you upgrade to a paid subscription for $5 per month or $45 a year. A more lasting problem with Evernote is the simple organization platform for information. Users have the option of saving information within separate folders. However, if you desire a more in-depth structure to storing notes, articles, or photos, there is no option to create a more detailed folder structure.

I chose to organize my compiled data into several folders. The folders were sorted based on the general use each folder’s contents. For information pertaining to blogs, along with my completed blog entries, I saved the information to a ‘Blog’ folder. For information pertaining to additional projects, I saved the data to appropriately named folders. This resource tool has allowed me to more effectively conduct my research and organize information. The user’s ability to easily type up information (‘To Do’ list, grocery shopping list, notes on an article, etc.) is fairly simple. The most revolutionary feature though is the ability to save multitudes of articles while you have an internet connection. Then when travelling and perhaps not having an internet connection you can read through articles and other sources at your leisure on any device due to the synchronization capability. Evernote is a great tool for personal or professional use. Updates come periodically which so far has only enhanced the usefulness of this application.

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Eastside Park: A Contribution to the Nineteenth Century Parks Movement

A Brief History of Eastside Park, Paterson, NJ

Former Civil War Colonel Andrew Derrom purchased undeveloped lands on the east side of Paterson and upon which he constructed a home and club house c.1880. Soon thereafter in 1881, H.B. Crosby, a Paterson industrialist serving on the Board of Trade, introduced the idea of establishing a public parks system for Paterson. It was not until 1888, however, that this vision was firmly adopted by the passage of a park ordinance authorizing purchase of lands on the east and west sides of the city. Colonel Derrom’s and Charles E. Van Buren’s lands were a part of the 66-acre, $75,000 purchase that became Eastside Park. The New Jersey legislature approved the establishment of a Parks Commission in Paterson in 1889 to which a seven members were appointed, including Crosby.  Although these were established and Crosby given the title of “father of Paterson parks,” it was not until almost a decade later in 1899 that Eastside Park was formally designed by John Y. Culyer, a landscape architect from New York City who also was a commissioner on the Paterson Parks Commission. Culyer was assistant engineer in both the Central and Prospect parks projects (both F.L. Olmsted designs), Superintendent of Brooklyn Parks, and designer of other public parks in Chicago and Albany, for example. His contemporary works and connection to prominent landscape architect Olmstead (who won the competition for Westside Park, coincidentally) places Culyer squarely in the limelight of the civic landscape design of the City Beautiful movement, sweeping the nation at the time. Eastside Park soon thereafter became the catalyst and anchor for the rapid development of Paterson’s east side neighborhood, now an historic district composed of not less than 500 structures, reflective of architectural styles of the first half of the twentieth century.  Close scrutiny of 1899 and 1915 maps illustrate preliminary and modified designs of Eastside Park, which included several additions, including the stable, pavilion, arbors, and a club house, to name a few. As part of the park’s design, Colonel Derrom’s residence was demolished sometime after 1900, and the stable and pavilion were likely constructed shortly thereafter and have remained permanent amenities, unlike other features added at the time that have been removed or destroyed since. While the park at large maintains its historic boundaries and general design layout, all of its gardens, most of its pathways and structural elements are gone. While the stable and its adjacent counterpart, the pavilion, have been modified or are not entirely intact, they are among the few architectural representatives of what survives the turn-of-the-century design.

compiled by sources by G. Archimede

Tour I gave last fall on the both Paterson parks.

Tour I gave last fall on the both Paterson parks.

A short guided tour of Eastside Park….

Eastside Park was purchased by the City of Paterson in March of 1888 for $75,000. The sum of land purchased was about 66 ½ acres. This tract included the lands of two families, the Van Burens and the Derroms. Today the park only consists of 55 acres.

The construction of Eastside Park along with its sister Westside Park is unique. A design competition was held to decide how each park would be laid out. The two most notable planners who submitted designs for both parks were John Y. Culyer and Frederick Law Olmstead. Culyer won first place for Eastside Park and Olmstead won first place for Westside Park. Although John Culyer’s plans were accepted for Eastside, his plans were based on a development cost of about $135,000. Unfortunately his plans were altered considerably between 1899 and 1912.

Culyer began his career as a landscape engineer in Central Park, under Frederick Law Olmsted. So when both Olmstead and Cuyver won the design competition there were no hard feelings between the two, as Culyer worked under Olmstead for quite some time stylizing in the pastoral and picturesque. The pastoral style featured vast expanses of green with small lakes, trees and groves and produced a soothing, restorative effect on the viewer. The picturesque style covered rocky, broken terrain with teeming shrubs and creepers and struck the viewer with a sense of nature’s richness. Culyer and Olmstead’s ideas for the most part were in sync. Culyer was known for his design of a tree-moving machine. This machined was invented after he was hired as one of the original engineers of Prospect Park. His invention later advanced him to Chief Engineer and head of the Brooklyn’s Parks Department. The tree moving machine did exactly as its name intended. Park designers were able to move trees from one spot to another like chess pieces. They also were able to import trees of a much larger size which gave way from the standard nursery trip. Rather they were able to collect trees from private grounds.

John Culyer's tree moving machine, late nineteenth century.

John Culyer’s tree moving machine, late nineteenth century.

Culyer’s design for Eastside Park was to incorporate the outer structures and add several more such as an arbor, picnic shelter, boating platform, lake house, and a clubhouse. In 1899 the maps show that the park was divided into several fields for this purpose. There existed picnic grounds, tennis and croquet grounds, and places for field games. The buildings that were here included the Derrom house, a pavilion, the superintendents house (which is the Van Buren House), a club house, picnic shelter, lake house, and boating platform. All the outer structures Culyer envisioned were made possible. His park was highly naturalist and picturesque with circular paths and two walkways with floral areas. Carriage roads were lined with maples trees, oaks at the northwest end, and linden trees at the northeast end. The trees were planted to create a rhythmic effect but give a pastoral setting.

As briefly mentioned Culyer’s design did not maintain its integrity for long. It was decided amongst the parks commission to alter some of the landscape to fit a more formal design for the park, which was Olmstead’s chief design for the park originally. Although Olmstead died in 1903, his legacy was incorporated into Eastside with the replacement of the naturalistic setting with intricate walkways of cobblestone and gravel laid out in organic fashion and more formal landscape designs. A carousel, music stand, deer paddock, and athletic field were also added into the park by 1915.

Frederick Law Olmstead

Frederick Law Olmstead

Olmstead believed firmly in community health and that landscape architecture has a role in making society a better place, so these public spaces were essential for the social well-being of society. Olmsted’s principles of design, generally speaking, encouraged the full utilization of the naturally occurring features of a given space. Decorative elements in this case did not take precedence, but rather the space as a whole. Olmstead’s theory did not let the overall design call attention to itself. The secret was the concealment of design to produce relaxation. A bridge, a pathway, a tree, a pasture: any and all elements are brought together to produce a particular effect. The scenery was designed to enhance the sense of space by using plants, brush, and trees along with the interplay of light and shadows. Light and shade lent the landscape a sense of mystery.

Memorials & Monuments: The character and cultural landscape marks of a city are built slowly and measured in terms of generations rather than years. Paterson (itself 221 years old) the past century has witnessed a quantity of memorials, monuments, and community sites and plazas erected the people themselves as a permanent manifestation of the rapid growth of an appreciation of beauty and tribute to civic leadership. Looking back on the activity of Paterson’s citizens, most can conclude that in the first hundred years of Paterson’s history were entrenched with the necessities of life in the form of factories. After 1890 these people took time out to add the artistic and cultural embellishments that distinguish this city. While war memorials tended to dominate the memorial landscape there has been no set pattern in the establishment of park monuments. Such as we will see with the Alice Weight memorial Fountain, which has no historical significance.

  1. Alice Weight Memorial Fountain: The fountain was erected in 1916 to stand as a beautiful ornament in the park without any significance. The fountain is of an elaborate Italian renaissance inspired piece. The large shell-motif bowl is mounted on a quadripartite pedestal made up of baroque inspired brackets with foliate decoration. A circular concrete base is interspersed with marble sections and a contemporary decorative wrought iron fence surrounds this plaza. The fountain was given by Mary H. Weight from New York City.
  2. Charles Curie Monument: The Charles Curie Monument was designed by George Thomas Brewster. The bronze bust rests on a neo-classical granite pedestal. It was erected in 1913. Charles Curie was a dedicated lawyer and local war hero. He was a captain in the Civil War.
  3. Civil War Monument, Eastside Park, taken October 2013

    Civil War Monument, Eastside Park, taken October 2013

    Civil War Monument: The Civil War monument, also known as the soldiers and sailors monument was replicated in Eastside Park in 1922 by Gaetano Federici. The original monument was constructed on Monuments Heights in 1870. This monument consists of an Egyptian-revival obelisk on a classical revival base which is surmounted by a statue of a Union Soldier. The four-sided object has bronze plaques on each face. The overall monument is surrounded by four bronze Confederate civil war cannons on granite blocks. Hundreds of thousands of these cannons were decommissioned as outdated equipment by the government during the 1870s – 1920s periods. They are smooth bore (not rifled) and were out of use by the second year of the civil war. These obsolete cannons were given to many towns and veteran’s groups as ornaments for military monuments and later considered scrap and a large number were melted down during the First and Second World Wars.

  4. Pulaski Monument

    Pulaski Monument

    Pulaski Monument: The Pulaski monument in Eastside Park was commissioned by the Americans of Polish Descent group. The bust of Pulaski was to represent Polish heritage, as Pulaski was a Polish nobleman who helped secure American independence. Known as Count Kasimierz Pulaski, he was a general fighting in the American Revolution. His statue was made for the 150th anniversary of Pulaski’s death. It was dedicated in 1929 and made by Gaetano Federici. The bronze statue rests on a granite pedestal, however the base was replaced in 2000 and another inscription was added to memorialize soldiers from World War II. Federici did a considerable amount of research on both Pulaski as a historical figure and the uniform depicted in the sculpture. Most of the inspiration came from a bronze statue of Pulaski in Washington DC, painted portraits of Pulaski and his sister Anne in Philadelphia, and engravings by Hall and Olzesynski in the NY Public Library. Federici also studied the texture of the cloth used during the revolutionary war to depict Pulaski’s clothing accurately. Federici considered his Pulaski statue one of the work of which he was most proud.

Park’s Structures:

  1. Van Buren House

    Van Buren House

    The Van Buren house or as we have nicknamed it the White house, was the home of Charles E. Van Buren. This 1860s farm-house predates the establishment of this public park in the 1890s, and is among the first and oldest structures. The home was constructed circa 867-1868 in the then popular Greek revival style of architecture. Greek revival began in the US in the 1830s. It was an expressive way to show democratic ideals and that America was the spiritual successor of Ancient Greece. Key distinguishing elements of this style are the Greek temple fronts of buildings, columns, and pilasters. Other features would include heavy cornices, horizontal transoms above the entrance, simple moldings on the exterior and interior, and painted white. The Van Buren home is a two-story 5 bay rectangular wood frame plan. It has a hip-roofed porch. The Van Buren family occupied the house until 1888 when the property was purchased by the City of Paterson to become part of what is now Eastside Park. Instead of demolishing the stately home it served for a number of years as the Park Superintendent’s residence, and was later used as office space for the City of Paterson Department of Parks.

  2. The band stand is hexagonal in shape and inspired by the Arts & Crafts movement. It’s an open air structure with triangular brackets, random rubble walls, and concrete railings. Under designer William Morris the Arts and Crafts movement originated in England. It came about during the early part of the twentieth century 1905 – 1930. The approach for the arts and crafts style was a reaction against both the excesses of the Victorian period and the plainness inherent in the designs of the industrial revolution. It was specially designed to reestablish the importance of handmade over mass production. The band stand was constructed relatively the same time (turn of the century), as the Women’s comfort station. Their designs are similar. Products of the Arts and Crafts style can be recognized by the structures compact plan, low gable or hipped roofs, exposed rafters at the eaves and a large front porch. Materials used are supposed to be earthly in nature, so the used of warm tone tiles and stone are commonly represented. Sundays were a popular day for the park. A large crowd from Paterson and neighboring towns would be in attendance for concerts held. As much as 5,000 people would be here. About twenty concerts were given in a season.
  3. Cricket Clubhouse

    Cricket Clubhouse

    Cricket Club House: The cricket club house in the City of Paterson’s Eastside Park is one of five historic structures remaining in the park. The club house, however, has for years been vacant. Although vacant, the club house represents a large part of sports history here in Paterson. Cricket was a highly popular sport in Paterson was played continuously between 1850s -1930s. Two early Paterson cricket teams were organized as part of the New York Cricket Association as early as October of 1853. The Paterson teams played at least thirty matches per season, and frequently played at Prospect Park Parade Grounds in Brooklyn, NY. The Manhattan Cricket Club was the Paterson teams’ biggest rival at the time.   By June of 1893, the Paterson Cricket club began to use the grounds at Washington Park (Eastside Park) which corresponded to the establishment of the Paterson Parks Commission and the beginning of the development of the city’s parks. Eastside Park was a vast improvement compared to the club’s former location. The field was situated in a hollow and the surrounding elevation gave the spectators a splendid view of the game. After the club moved to Eastside Park, in 1894-95 work began on improvements to the cricket grounds on the South Lawn and to expand the park so that baseball could be played as well. Although it is not specifically noted, it is likely that a wood-frame cricket club house structure was also erected at this time as part of the improvements. The Paterson Cricket club was the monetary supporter of these improvements and their upkeep. Unfortunately, on February 3, 1899, the cricket club house caught fire which destroyed all the teams’ equipment. Although the fire was a setback for the cricket club, in August of 1899, the Paterson cricket team beat the Manhattans, their revival team, for the annual championship. There was a large crowd at Eastside Park for the event. In 1900 a “pretty clubhouse was erected on the athletic fields at cost of over $1,000 and fitted with all the necessary comforts for those playing sports” is documented, and it may be assumed that the stone and concrete building that is extant today is indicative.

  4. Women's Comfort Station

    Women’s Comfort Station

    Women’s Comfort Station: In 1892 the Park’s Commission reported that there was a suitable need for a commode and toiler for ladies and children and a place for shelter for the visitors in case of sudden storms. The commission had the old stone carriage house converted into a toilet and shelter at the expense of about $2500. The building was surrounded with a spacious piazza about twenty feet wide. In 1905/1906 the commission felt the old building had done its duty and was in too dangerous of a condition to continue its use, and entirely too small. In 1905 – 1906 a new structure was built, 40ft by 60ft in size. It was two stories with a mansard roof. The building provided a stable with five stall, a haymow, a wagon, tool house, and workshop.

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Mastodons and Mammoths in Northern New Jersey


The mastodons, a close relative to modern day elephants, which were found in America, were called Mammut americanus. The common term mastodon is used because of the close link to the name Mammuthus Primigenius or the woolly mammoth. The mastodon and the woolly mammoth are distinctly different. The mastodon, which has been called by, several other names including The Leviathan Missourium, The Carnivorous Elephant, a Behemoth, The Great American Incognitum and many others.[1] The difference between the mastodon and the woolly mammoth is through their genus. The mastodon genus is Mammutidae and the woolly mammoth genus is Elephantidae. The elephant is the descendent of the woolly mammoth having the same genus of Elephantidae. The full scientific name of the Mastodon is Moeritheriidae Mammutidae Mammut americanus, and the wooly mammoth is Moeritheriidae Mammutidae Elephantidae Mammuthus primigenius.

In 1954 a hot dog vendor and sports shop owner in Highland Lakes, NJ wanted to expand his pond.  So he had it dredge. On February 19, 1954 the line operator Archibald McMurty thought he had pulled a large stump out of the pond that was surrounded by a swamp. What he discovered was part of a mastodon skull.  After McMurty pulled up a few more stumps of similar size the State Museum of New Jersey was called to inspect these stumps.

These stumps were not wood they were bone.  This was to be the third site of mastodon bones in Sussex County to date.  The first was in 1851 in present day Greendell, NJ.  This site only had a partial skeleton unlike the Highland Lakes site, which had a full skeleton and there was found another bone found suggesting that there could be another skeleton still in the pond. These artifacts were first known as the Ohberg Mastodon.  The Ohberg’s who owned the land and who were more than corporative with the archaeology team and the press would not let the dig continue.  They were finished with the attention of the press. The press brought the attention of the public to the fact that the Ohberg mastodon could have been and eventually was a full skeleton. The Ohberg mastodon was named Matilda after one of the Archaeologist’s new wife. Since the mid 1950’s there have been two other discoveries of mastodons in Sussex County. One in Hardyston near Sussex County Community College and one in Sparta, NJ during the construction of Route 15.


Mastodons are found throughout the United States, although the highest concentration is in the North East. It is believed that the concentration of mastodons is because the flow of the Wisconsin Glacier. The glaciers path provided a lush forest environment that the mastodons thrived in. Although there have been mastodon bones found throughout Sussex County since the 1850’s there has been one or two bones found in an area. Only an Archaeologist can determine if the area in which the bone has been found can be a site of significance. To have a site of significance a portion of the animal has to be found, a portion such as the head, and spinal column. Or there could be a ribcage and part of the spine. But a significant portion of the animal has to be found and the archaeology team leader will determine if this is a site of significance.

Though there are possibly more Mastodons still in Sussex County more are being found all over the State of New Jersey. In fact one of the counties is named after these Ice Age creatures, Mammoth County. In this county more than a dozen mastodons have been found and documented. How many other mastodons or parts of mastodons have been found and not been documented?


[1]Department of Education of New Jersey, “A New Jersey Mastodon”, Trenton, NJ, June 1964, pg. 5


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War of Words: Winds vs. Franklin

William Franklin

William Franklin

It was January 5, 1776 and New Jersey’s Governor William Franklin was upset.  He felt betrayed and helpless.  By the beginning of 1776, Franklin was on the losing side of a battle to rein in the more radical (as he saw them) elements of the state assembly who were calling for “a redress of grievances” with the Crown or, in some circles, complete independence from Britain.  The governor truly believed that if it wasn’t for the meddling of the Continental Congress, New Jersey would remain reasonable and relatively devoted to the preservation of Britain’s great empire.  He wrote a letter to his colleague, Lord Dartmouth, on January 5 expressing such a sentiment:

“…your Lordship will perceive that the Assembly had it in their intentions to petition His Majesty again on the subject of the present unhappy disputes; but after the draught of an address was prepared, which would probably have passed the House, a Committee of the General Congress at Philadelphia came in great to Burlington…they harangued the House for about an hour on the subject, and persuaded them to drop the design.” [1]

William Alexander, a council member and Patriot, intercepted this letter the next day and forwarded it to Philadelphia.  As Sheila L. Skemp notes in her biography of the Franklin family relationship,

“The governor’s timing was unfortunate.  Just four days earlier, the Continental Congress had issued orders demanding that all suspicious Americans be disarmed and, if necessary, incarcerated if they refused to give their word that they would do nothing to overthrow the patriot government.” [2]

Alexander did not hesitate.  Immediately after forwarding the letter, he ordered Lieutenant Colonel William Winds to descend on Perth Amboy with his militia and arrest the Loyalist Franklin.  Skemp speculates that this is due to a possible conflict of interest in Philadelphia with Benjamin Franklin partially responsible for deciding his own son’s fate.

Nevertheless, Winds wrote Franklin on the morning of either the 7th or 8th – sources differ on this.  The governor’s sleep was disturbed as he was woken by a “violent knocking” at 2 AM to find his house surrounded by Patriots.  A servant of the state militia delivered this letter:

“Sir – I have had hints that you intend to leave the Province in case the letters that were intercepted should be sent to the Continental Congress.  As I have particular orders concerning the matter, I therefore desire you will give me your word and honor that you will not depart this Province until I know the will and pleasure of the Continental Congress concerning the matter.” [3]

Franklin, being stubborn and steadfast just like his father, replied with a terse,

“I have not the least intention to quit the Province; nor shall I, unless compelled by violence…However, let the authority or let the pretence be what it may, I do hereby require of you, if these men are sent by your orders, that you do immediately remove them from hence, as you will answer the contrary at your peril.” [4]

Winds responded “in a strain which shows the stuff he was made of:

‘Sir – As you in a former letter say you wrote nothing but what was your duty to do as a faithful officer of the Crown; so I say, touching the sentinels placed at your gate, I have done nothing but what was my duty to do as a faithful officer of the Congress.’” [5]

Proprietary House - the site of Franklin's arrest

Proprietary House – the site of Franklin’s arrest

Following this “war of words” – the governor was placed under house arrest until June 1776 at which time he was moved to a prison for Loyalists in Connecticut.  Two years later, Franklin was released in a prisoner exchange and sent to the Loyalist stronghold of New York City.  Eventually, as the Revolution’s outcome became more clear, the former governor found his way to London, where he lived until his death in 1814.


[1] Governor Franklin to the Earl of Dartmouth

[2] Sheila Skemp, Benjamin and William Franklin: Father and Son, Patriot and Loyalist, Bedford/St. Martin’s, Boston & New York, 137.

[3] Rev. Joseph F. Tuttle, Biographical Sketch of General William Winds, of Morris Co., New Jersey, 26.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid.


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Discoveries at the Van Allen House: Kingsley and Hooper’s Contributions to New Jersey

When I decided to use the Van Allen House as a source for my digital archive and web exhibition I knew that the house had connections to the American Revolution with George Washington staying there. But when I really looked at the artifacts in the house I realized that it was not only a museum dedicated to the Revolution, but also to the town of Oakland, New Jersey. During my research I found two items, a typewriter and blacksmith tools that were used by Sidney Kingsley and Henry R. Hopper.

Looking more closely at these two men I realized they were not only connected to Oakland, but to state of New Jersey as well. However, when I researched them I discovered a problem that had an important consequence effect on my entire project. Despite the town’s fascinating history and people, Oakland is not a town that has been really looked at by historians. They have preferred to look at the larger cities/areas when researching New Jersey. I hope to demonstrate that this should not be the case because Kingsley and Hopper illustrate the fascinating history has Oakland and this history should be looked at by historians.

Sidney Kingsley, born Sidney Kirschner, was a dramatist who wrote several critical acclaimed plays such as “Dead End” (1935), “The Patriots” (1943) and “Men in White” (1933), the last won him a Pulitzer Prize. He was born in October 22, 1906 in Manhattan. When Kingsley was in Cornell University he started writing plays, and after earning a B.A. degree in 1928 he acted a little. Kingsley brought a farm in Oakland, New Jersey in 1935 where he lived with his wife, actress Madge Evans. He later became the founding chairman of the New Jersey’s Motion Picture and Television Development Commission in 1977, which is still around today. Sidney Kingsley died on March 20, 1995 at 88 years old.

Henry R. Hopper was the last blacksmith Oakland ever had. Born in 1877 Hopper was born into the business with his father and two older brothers being blacksmiths as well. Hopper was the last blacksmith to close shop, temporary, in Oakland, in 1916. He went to Haskell, New Jersey to work at the DuPont Company and stayed there until Dec. 28, 1918. Other jobs Hopper had were Tax Collector in 1920, School Custodian in 1928, etc. He was also the president and a founding member of the Oakland Fire Department. He died in 1969 at the age of 92.
As I have shown these two men alone give Oakland some real historic value, especially Hopper. Sadly, very few historians have bothered to record the history of these two men’s time in Oakland, or, for that matter, Oakland’s history. I have found two books that really talk about the town and the people in it. This should not be the case because in a state like New Jersey, it is the little people, not only the big people, who make the history. So historians should not only look at the big cities of Oakland for history, but the small towns as well because they can provide just as rich, even richer, history than the major areas.

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The Ho-Ho-Kus Hermitage

Although this building and its history do not fit with my research topic, the Hermitage is still an important and central part of Ho-Ho-Kus. One of the oldest structures in the borough, the Hermitage was built in 1763 as a two-story brownstone house.[1] As advertised in 1763 by Elizabeth Lane, the lot was about 105

This is a photograph of the Hermitage in 1937.

This is a photograph of the Hermitage in 1937.

acres and ready to be used as a plantation, “there is on the same a good new Stone Dwelling House 40 foot front, and 23 foot back, the front is all of hewn stone, a Cellar under the Whole, and a Well of good Water before the Door.”[2]   The Hermitage is much bigger now but there are still pieces of the 1763 house remaining. For example, the stone walls and the cellar still remain. In addition, Ho-Ho-Kus still drinks well water and it’s still ‘good.’ Parts of the structure from the 1763 renovations have been preserved as portions of the present-day house.

Just like today, people during the pre-Revolutionary War period moved from cities into more rural or suburban areas. In 1767, Ann Bartow De Visme moved her family out of Manhattan and into the rural area of Ho-Ho-Kus. Ann had five children; one of them, Theodosia, was married to James Marcus Prevost.[3] Theodosia inherited the house and became the primary owner some time before 1776.

During the Revolutionary War, Lt. Col. James Marcus Prevost was a loyalist, fighting for the British. With battles being fought throughout the colonies, Theodosia was worried that her precious home would be overtaken and destroyed by the patriots. By July 1778, the word had spread that General Washington and his troops were going to be passing through Ho-Ho-Kus. In a preemptive strike to protect her home, she decided to invite General George Washington and his troops to stay on the property as guests. The U.S. troops were entertained at the Hermitage for four days, July 10-14, 1778. During this visit, Theodosia met Aaron Burr who she would marry only a few years later.[4]

This is a wooden engraving of Aaron Burr taking a boat ride to see Mrs. Theodosia Prevost, as stated in the caption above.

This is a wooden engraving of Aaron Burr taking a boat ride to see Mrs. Theodosia Prevost, as stated in the caption above.

On July 2, 1782, Theodosia married Aaron Burr at the Hermitage. Many of the attending guests she had met during the numerous times she offered her house and land to soldiers.  Guests of the wedding included Lord Sterling, or General William Alexander, James Monroe, the French commander and close friend of General Washington, the Marquis du Lafayette, Peggy Shippen Arnold, and Alexander Hamilton.[5]

In 1807, the house was sold to Elijah Rosegrant (later changed to Rosencrantz), a local doctor. Elijah was married to Cornelia Suffern, whose family lived in Rockland County, New York and operated a grist and saw mill.[6] Elijah made very little money working as a doctor in the area. After realizing how well his father-in-law was doing, he decided to build a cotton mill on the Ho-Ho-Kus Brook. The mill was built in 1828 and located at the western end of Hollywood, Avenue. By 1834, the mill had about 22 workers.[7]Elijah II decided to expand the Hermitage. He hired William Ranlett, a well-known architect, to redesign the Hermitage. “Ranlett believed that a building’s style should reflect its purpose and the character of its owner.”[8] He successfully built around the colonial structure to create a Gothic Revival styled house. Ranlett felt that this particular style would portray Elijah Rosencrantz as someone with great morals, an adventurer and someone with advanced taste. Ranlett’s construction is more or less the building that we see today.[9]

This is a photograph from 1971, after Mary Elizabeth Rosencrantz died and the estate was given to the state of New Jersey.

This is a photograph from 1971, after Mary Elizabeth Rosencrantz died and the estate was given to the state of New Jersey.

The Hermitage was passed down from one generation to the next until 1970 when Mary Elizabeth Rosencrantz died. Upon her death, she willed the property to the state of New Jersey for purpose of a historical monument and museum.[10]

When the state took inventory of the property, the house was not in very good shape.  As you see to the picture at the right, the property had not been cared for in some time.


[1]Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus Planning Board and Burgis Associates, Inc. (2013). Master Plan. Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. pg. 123.

[2]The Hermitage Museum. “The Original Hermitage.” Retrieved 2 April 2014 from http://www.thehermitage.org/history/history_architecture_original.html

[3]The Hermitage Museum. “A Brief History of the Hermitage.” Retrieved 2 April 2014 from http://www.thehermitage.org/history/history_brief.html

[4] The Hermitage Museum. “A Brief History of the Hermitage.”

[5]Borough of Ho-Ho-Kus Planning Board and Burgis Associates, Inc. (2013). Master Plan. Ho-Ho-Kus, New Jersey. pg. 123.

[6]Bischoff, Henry, & Brown, Marion T. The Rosencrantz Cotton Warp Mill: The Industrial Revolution at the Hermitage 1830-1891. The Friends of the Hermitage, Inc. Ho-Ho-Kus: 2004. pg. 5.

[7] Bischoff & Brown, 5.

[8]Bischoff, Henry. Victorian Gothic: The Rosencrantz Family at the Hermitage, 1807-1970. The Friends of the Hermitage, Inc. Ho-Ho-Kus: 2011. pg. 78.

[9] The Hermitage Museum. “A Brief History of the Hermitage.”

[10] Bischoff, 308.

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