Cornelius Christie belongs to one of the most numerous and influential families in Bergen County, members thereof having held numerous and important positions of trust and responsibility, civil and religious, during the past two hundred years. His first American ancestor was James Christie, who emigrated to this country from Aberdeen, Scotland. It is said about 1685, but the probability is that it was much later, unless he was boy at the time of his emigration. He went to Hackensack in 1763, and from thence, the same year, to Schraalenburgh, where, on the 8th of September, he married Magdalena, daughter of John Demarest (2), and became the owner, by purchase, or in right of his wife, from the Demarests, of a large farm (about 300 acres) just north of the North Church, and extending from the Tiena Kill Brook westward to the Schraalenburgh road. His residence was on the site recently occupied by John H. Anderson. On this farm some of his descendants have ever since resided. He died in 1768, at the advanced age of ninety-six or ninety-eight years. His children were Jacob, Jacomina, Anetje, Lae, John, Maritie, Elizabeth, James, David, and William.
William Christie (2), the last named, baptized at Schraalenburgh August 28, 1720, died September 28, 1809, married September 20, 1743, Catharine Demarest. He was a farmer, resided at Schraalenburgh, and left ten children: James, Margrietie, Magdalena, Maria, Peter, John, Cornelius, Jacomina, David, and Sophia.
James Christie (3), known as “Captain James,” was born at Schraalenburgh, August 20, 1744, died July, 1817. He married Maria Banta, born August 4, 1754, died September 13, 1815. “Captain James” was a farmer by occupation, but patriotic and public spirited. He volunteered his services to the Continental cause in 1777, was commissioned Captain, and raised a company of sixty-five men, with whom he served gallantly. His children were William, John, Magdalena, Maria, David, Peter, Henry, and Jacobin.
David Christie (4), born December 1, 1789, died April 8, 1848, married March 12, 1814, Anna Brinkerhoff.
Cornelius Christie (5), one of their children and the subject of this sketch, was born in English Neighborhood (now Leonia), N. J., December 6, 1835. He was graduated from Yale University in the class of 1855. After reading law one year in the Harvard Law School he studied in the offices of Mercer, Beasley, at Trenton, N. J., and of Abraham O. Zabriskie, at Jersey City. He was admitted to the New Jersey Bar in February, 1860, and his practice since has been largely an office practice and in consultation. For many years, he has served as counsel for his own township and for the boards of adjoining municipalities. In 1867 he was elected to the House of Assembly in the New Jersey Legislature, from the County of Bergen, and was re-elected in 1868. From 1870 to 1876 her was editor and proprietor of the New Jersey Citizen, a local weekly journal, independently Democratic, published by him at Hackensack. He has been from time to time interested in various real estate enterprises and in developing and carrying them forward to successful issues. Among others he has devoted himself to the development of Leonia, the place of his lifelong residence, and was prominent in effecting its incorporation as a borough in December, 1894. He was elected the first Mayor of the borough, and has since held that office. By the insertion of explicit provisions in his own deeds and influencing others to follow his example he has been instrumental in keeping the borough exceptionally free from nuisances and vicious influences, and in bringing to it a peculiarly desirable population.
Source: Harvey, Cornelius Burnham, Editor; Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey, New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company, 1900.