Biography of John J. Voorhees of Hudson County

Steven Coerts (or Koerts, as he wrote it), the common ancestor of the Voorhees family in Bergen and Hudson Counties, emigrated to this country in April, 1660, coming over on the ship “Spotted Cow,” with his wife and seven children. They came from Ruinen, in the Province of Drenthe, Holland, and from in front of the little hamlet of Hees, near that locality. Hence, the name was a first Van Voorhees, “Van” meaning “from,” “Voor,” meaning “near,” and “Hees” (the hamlet name) “from near” or, “over from Hees.” Steven was not the first of the family to emigrate. In February, 1659, Harman Koerts had preceded him on the ship “Faith,” with his wife and five children. Steven settled at Flatlands, Long Island, where many other Dutch emigrants had already located. He must have been born about 1600. Who his first wife was does not appear, but she died in about 1675, and he married (2), in 1677, Wellempie Roeloffse Lenhering. He died about February, 1684. He bought, November 29, 1660, of Cornelis Dircksen Hoogland, eighteen acres of corn land, fourteen acres of woodland, twenty acres of plainland, and ten acres of sale meadow-in all, sixty-two acres-for $3,000; and also the house and lot lying in the village of Amersfoort, with the brewery and all the brewing apparatus, kettle-house, and casks, with the appurtenances, which shows that he must have been a brewer as well as a farmer. He was assessed at Flatlands in 1675, and was manager of taxes there in 1683. His name appears as one of the patentees there in 1664 and 1667. He died about February 16, 1684. His children were Henricke, Mergen, Coert, Luens, John, Albert, Aeltje, Jannetje, Hendricke (2), and Abraham. His son, Albert Stevens Voorhees, and his wife, Jelletie Rynieres Wisselpennick, went to Hackensack in 1686, joined the Dutch church there, and bought an extensive tract of land from Major John Berry between the Hackensack and Saddle Rivers.

John J. Voorhees is a lineal descendant of the sixth generation of Steven Coerts Van Voorhees, the emigrant. His father, Peter Voorhees, was born on the old farm at Flatlands, Long Island, where Steven first settled in 1660.

Mr. Voorhees was educated in the public schools of New Utrecht, Long Island, and in 1863 accepted a clerkship in a country store, where he remained five years. After filling similar positions he obtained a position as assistant bookkeeper for the New Jersey Car Spring and Rubber Company, and at the end of one year was promoted to head bookkeeper. Not long afterward he was made Secretary of the company and held that position until 1885, when he was elected Treasurer of the corporation. In 1888 he was made General Manager, and at the present time is President of the Voorhees Rubber Manufacturing Company, of Jersey City, which is one of the largest and most successful concerns of the kind in the country, having an extensive business and employing a large number of hands.

In 1885 Mr. Voorhees was appointed a member of the Board of Education of Jersey City and served for three terms, during five successive years of which he was President of the board, being annually re-elected without opposition. As a member of the Condemnation Commission on the County Roads in 1892 he rendered most efficient services to the community at large, and displayed that eminent ability and superior judgment which have characterized his entire business career. He is a member of the Board of Directors and a member of the Jersey City Board of Trade, of which he was President in 1892. He is also a member of the Board of Directors of the Commercial Trust Company of New Jersey, of the Board of Trustees of the Free Public Library of Jersey City, and of the Palma Club, the Carteret Club, and the Holland Society of New York City.

Mr. Voorhees was married October 14, 1874, to Annie M. Collier, of Brooklyn, New York. They have had three children, and reside at 57 Duncan Avenue, Jersey City.

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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