Genealogical history of Hudson and Bergen counties, New Jersey

Biography of John N. Ackerman of Bergen County

John N. Ackerman is a descendant in the direct line from David Ackerman, the first American ancestor of the family. Southeast of Rotterdam, in Dutch Brabant, twenty-four miles from Breda, is the City of Bois-Le-Due, called by the natives Hertogenbosch. It is now the chief town of North Brabant, and was built and strongly fortified in the eleventh century, though it was a place of some note much earlier, being near the Maas River and the great highway built by the Romans in their later conquests in Northern Europe. In the seventeenth century there was much heath land to the south and west of it which has since been reclaimed. Agriculture and manufacturing were then, as now, the main employments of the people, Tilbury, the nearest city, being noted for its extensive cloth manufactories. The city contains the chapel and church of St. John, built in 1260 and rebuilt in 1312, one of the oldest and best preserved edifices in Northern Europe. From the city a road leads almost direct to the renowned battlefield of Waterloo. Near Bois-Le-Due, in about 1620, was born David Ackerman, the son of a farmer and the progenitor of the Ackerman family in Hudson and Bergen Counties. Growing to manhood, he married in 1644, and engaged in tilling the soil until the stampede to the New World, caused by religious persecution and the threatened war with Spain and England drew him into its vortex. Being an ardent Protestant, he could not brook the fanatical domination of Romanism and when in August, 1662, the power of the state could no longer protect him in the exercise of his religious liberty, he, with many of his neighbors, including the Storms, Terbosches, and others, whose descendants have since become a numerous host in Bergen County, embarked with their families on board the Dutch West India ship “Fox” (Captain Jacob Hays), and on September 2, following, landed at New Amsterdam. David had with him his wife and six children-the latter aged respectively twenty, eighteen, sixteen, twelve, eight, and six years. It has been said “it may be doubted whether he survived the voyage”; but there is little reason for such doubt. It is true that the emigrant list published is a list of those who sailed from Holland ports, not of those who actually arrive at New Amsterdam. It is likewise true that the records make no further mention of either David or his wife. But these facts furnish no ground to doubt their arrival on our shores. The first family abode was in the Markvelt Stegg. In 1668 the family nucleus was at New Harlem. Whether David or his wife were living at the time of the removal to Harlem, whether Elizabeth on her marriage and removal to Harlem took her brothers with her, are at best subjects of conjecture. David may have died at the Markvelt Stegg residence, or he may have removed to Harlem and died there. However this may be, as no public records of deaths were kept, the date of his death and that of his wife, as well as her name, are facts which are likely never to be ascertained, except by accident. Of the children, Ann was the first to break the family circle by her marriage in 1664, and subsequent removal up the Hudson. Elizabeth followed her example in 1668, uniting in marriage with the somewhat renowned Kier Walters (ancestor of the Kiersens), who, however, died two years later. Lawrence was a youth of untiring energy and persevered in everything he undertook. In 1669, being then only nineteen, he hired a portion of what was then called the Archer farm at Harlem. In 1679 he married Greetje Egberts and remained at Harlem until 1685, during which time two daughters were born to him. David, the eldest son, went to New York, where, in 1680, he married Hellegorid Ver Planck, and remained there until 1686, during which time several children were born to him. Lodowyck, who seems, at first, to have been rather a wild boy, went to Kingston, N. Y., where, in 1681, he wooed and wedded Miss Jemeke Blaeck, by whom he had at least two children. After his removal to Bergen County his wife died and he married Hillegorid Bosch, by whom he had two children.

Abraham, the youngest of the children, married, in 1683, at New York, Aeitje Van Lear, by whom he had six children before his removal to New Jersey, and four more in New Jersey. Lawrence and David were the first of the family to remove to Bergen County in 1686. Lodowyck and Abraham followed in 1694. They all settled on large tracts of land between the Hackensack and Saddle Rivers, and also west of the Saddle River. The family became very numerous both in Bergen and in what is now called Passaic County. Numerous members of the family have been the most active and influential in the county, and have been honored with town, county and State offices. Others have been important factors in religious work, and have attained eminence in various branches of learning.

Lawrence Ackerman was buried at Wyckoff or Oakland. His children were John and James.

John Ackerman, son of Lawrence, married Catherine Romaine. Both are buried at Wyckoff or Oakland. Their children were Lawrence, Nicholas, and James.

Nicholas Ackerman, son of John, was born January 24, 1796, died June 1, 1869, married Polly or Maria Snyder, who was born in 1801, died March 24, 1877. Their children were John N., born January 28, 1818; Abraham, born August 27, 1830; and George.

John N. Ackerman, whose name heads this sketch, was born in Franklin Township, Bergen County, N. J., January 28, 1818, and is now one of the oldest residents of Hackensack. He is the eldest son of Nicholas Ackerman and Polly or Maria Snyder, a grandson of John Ackerman and Catharine Romeyn, and a great-grandson of Lawrence Ackerman. He was educated in the public schools of Franklin Township. He left home at the age of fifteen, and for two years worked at the trade of carriage making. Since then he has earned his own livelihood. When seventeen he went to New York City and learned the carpenter’s trade, mastering every branch. In 1837 he returned to Hackensack, N. J., married Rachel R. Vanderbeck, and engaged in business as a manufacturer of sash, doors, and blinds, which he followed with marked success until 1896, a period of fifty-nine years. He then retired to enjoy in private life the fruits of a long and honorable career. Mr. Ackerman has resided in Hackensack since he established himself in business there in 1837, and from the first has taken an active interest in the growth and development of the town, and all those public matters which appeal to the progressive spirit of a patriotic, energetic citizen. Though never aspiring to office, and as a rule avoiding political life, he was for ten years a Justice of the Peace, and in this and other minor capacities has displayed great ability, sound judgment, and commendable enterprise.

Mr. Ackerman was married, June 14, 1837, in Hackensack, to Rachel Ryerson Vanderbeck, born February 7, 1806, died June 26, 1891, a descendant, like himself, of one of the old Holland Dutch families of Bergen County. Their children are George J. Ackerman, born March 27, 1839, and Mary R. Ackerman, born September 27, 1845.

George J. Ackerman, oldest child of John N. and Rachel R. Ackerman, married Julia A. Groesbeck, December 24, 1863. She was born November 24, 1842, and died April 11, 1886. They had one child, George Groesbeck Ackerman, born November 6, 1867, who married, September 27, 1893, Emeline Inglehart, of Watertown, N. Y., who was born December 3, 1869. They have one child, Alison Groesbeck Ackerman, born October 13, 1806.

Source: Harvey, Cornelius Burnham, Editor; Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900.

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