This 4 part series "Bergen County’s Townships and Municipalities" appeared originally in "The Archivist."
Part 1  Part 3  Part 4
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Bergen County’s Townships and Municipalities

Part 2, 1710 to 1836

Compiled by Arnold Lang

In the last issue of The Archivist, the birth of Bergen County in 1682, the formation of the original townships of Bergen and Hackensack in 1683, and the addition of New Barbadoes Township in 1710 were described.  At that time Bergen encompassed all of the area that is presently Bergen County and Hudson County, and most of the area of Passaic County.  This article continues from 1710, and describes the breakup  of those three townships during the period from 1710 through 1836.

1710 through 1797
Townships of Saddle River and Franklin Set off from New Barbadoes

 As mentioned in Part I of this article,  the Township of New Barbadoes was set off from Essex County and added to Bergen County in 1710.   This was the result of a 1709 Act passed by the New Jersey Legislature entitled “An Act for the dividing and ascertaining the boundaries of all of the counties in the Province”.  This described the overall boundary of Bergen County at that time:

“...that the eastern division of the county of Bergen shall begin at Constable Hook and so run up along the Bay and Hudson’s River to the partition point between New Jersey and the Province of New York, and so run along the partition line between the provinces to the eastern and western division of the Province, and run along this division line south to the Pequaneck River, and so run  down the Pequaneck and Passaick Rivers to the Sound, and so follow the Sound and Constable Hook to where it began.”

Six years later, in 1716, a large portion of the Township of New Barbadoes was set-off to form Saddle River Township.  This new township encompassed all of the area of Bergen County lying west of the Saddle River.  As a result, New Barbadoes Township was greatly reduced in size to only include the area between the Hackensack River and the Saddle River.  This original area of Saddle River Township is shown as the shaded area on the following map.

The township boundaries then remained unchanged for 56 years.  Then in1772, by royal charter, the northern half of Saddle River Township was set off to form the Township of Franklin..  Thus, Saddle River Township was effectively cut in half as shown.


1773 to 1836
More Townships form in Bergen County

As people populated the more remote areas of Bergen County they became unhappy with the long distance to travel to the “town meetings”.  Also, at that time, each township had a representative in the County government.  Thus, by forming their own township, they could have a more significant representation.  These may have been the major issues to start the further breakup of the townships into smaller parcels.

Harrington was the next township to be set off..  It was   formed by royal charter from parts of Hackensack and New Barbadoes townships in 1775.

This was the last change until after the Revolutionary War.   Many changes then occurred in the next few decades.  First, Pompton Township was established in 1797 from parts of Franklin and Saddle River Townships.  Then Lodi Township was formed from the southern section of New Barbadoes (1826).   West Milford Township was next, being formed from the western sections of Franklin ans Saddle River townships in 1834.

This next map shows the resulting makeup of Bergen County in 1836.

The next year (1837), the entire western section of Bergen County was set off (and combined with the Township of Acquackanonk ) to form Passaic County.  Then, in 1840, Hudson County was set off from the southern part of Bergen County.  These events will be discussed in the next Archivist.

Part 1  Part 3