Achter Col, New Netherland

Achter Col, New Netherland

Achter Col was the name given to the region along the banks and surrounding flatlands of the Hackensack River and the Passaic River by the first European settlers to it and was part of the seventeenth century province of New Netherland, administered Dutch West India Company. It roughly corresponds to the New Jersey Meadowlands, the western slope of the New Jersey Palisades, and the Newark Bay. At the time of their arrival, the area was inhabited by the Hackensack and Tappan branches of Lenape who called it "Achinigeu-hach", or "Ackingsah-sack".

As was typical of placenaming by Dutch explorers and settlers during the era (who had named the Hudson River the North River and the Delaware River the South River), Achter Col was so called because of its location in reference to other places, its shape, its topography, and other geographic features as seen by them. "Achter", meaning behind, and "kol", meaning neck, can be translated as the "back peninsula", in this case the second one encountered heading west from the lower Hudson River (the first being Bergen Neck). The use of the word neck (perhaps a variation on the archaic Dutch "nes") to describe a spit of land, or peninsula, was common at the time, as was the word "houck", meaning point, and carried on throughout the British/American colonial period. Paulus Hook in contemporary Jersey City still retains the original European appellation. Indeed, much of the township established after the British takeover of the Achter Kol was on what they called New Barbadoes Neck. Today the channels by which the Hackensack and Passaic make their way to the open sea once they've commingled in the Newark Bay are the Arthur Kill and the Kill Van Kull, the latter of which might be translated as "the stream from the neck". [Online Nederlands Woordenboek (Online Dutch Dictionary)]

Achter Col was a farming, fishing, hunting, and trapping ground of the Hackensack. David Pietersen de Vries (c. 1593-c.1655), a Dutch sea captain, explorer, and trader, who had established settlements at the Zwaanendael Colony, Staten Island, and nearby Vriessendael, (and sometimes referred to Tappan), as was an early European propriator of the area . In his "Korte Historiael Ende Journaels Aenteyckeninge" (Short Historical Notes and Journal Notes of Various Voyages), published in 1655, de Vries described a Lenape hunt in the valley of the Achinigeu-hach (or "Ackingsah-sack") in which one hundred or more men stood in a line many paces from each other, beating thigh bones on their palms to drive animals to the river, where they could be killed easily. Other methods of hunting included lassoing and drowning deer, as well as forming a circle around prey and setting the brush on fire.

Oratam, the sachem, or sagamore, of the Hackensack engaged peacefully and shrewdly with representatives of the Dutch West India Company. Both parties were helped considerably by Sarah Kiersted, who had mastered the Algonquian language and acted as translator and scribe. For her help Oratam, in 1638, gave her a land grant of large area, which she declined to settle. The first homestead to be built was at present day Bogota across the Hackensack from a Lenape encampment at contemporary Hackensack. In 1642, Myndert Myndertsen "purchased" the land. An absentee landlord, Myndertsen hired a superintendent to construct a farmhouse (a combined dewlling and barn), completed the same year. Originally spared in the reprisals for the attacks at Pavonia and Corlears Hook that began Kieft's War in 1643, the residents were ordered back to the relative safetly of Fort Amsterdam and replaced by a regiment of soldiers with cannons. Perceived as an act of war by the Hackensack it was later plundered and destroyed. The Achter Col Colony was not replaced [www.BogotaOnLine]

After some time, relations with Hackensack Lenape improved. In late 1654 a series of grants were made for land "achter Kol" [History of new Netherland, E.B. Callaghan (c)1855] Eventually, Oratam, deeded the land to the Dutch in 1665. A representation of Chief Oratam of the Achkinhenhcky appears on the Hackensack municipal seal. [Cheslow, Jerry. [ " If You're Thinking of Living In/Hackensack, N.J.; After Long Decline, Downtown Rebounds"] , "The New York Times", May 3, 1998. "Hackensack is named for the Achkinhenhcky branch of the Leni Lenape Indians, who traded with Dutch settlers along the Hackensack River as far back as the 1660s. The portrait of their chief, Oratam, who negotiated a treaty with English and Dutch settlers in 1690, appears on the municipal seal."] . By that time the lands west of the Hudson River (today's Hudson County, the Palisades, the Meadowlands, and the Hackensack River Valley) was called Bergen. It's administrative headquarters at the garrisoned village at today's Bergen Square were later established in 1660.

When area was taken by the English it kept its Dutch name and in 1675, the East Jersey Legislature officially established the first four counties of present day New Jersey, (Bergen, Essex, Middlesex, and Monmouth). Philip Cartaret, governor of the proprietary colony granted land to Captain John Berry in the southern part of area where he soon after took up residence and called it New Barbadoes, after the island of Barbadoes, where he had resided.

ee also

*Elizabethtown Tract


[History of new Netherland, E.B. Callaghan (c)1855] [Online Nederlands Woordenboek (Online Dutch Dictionary)]

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