House of Johannes Ryerson/Ryerson House Monument

367 Goffle Road
NJ 07506

House of Johannes Ryerson/Ryerson House Monument

Historical FeatureMemorial/Site of Conscience


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The grandfather of the builder of this house was Martin Ryerszen, who emigrated from Amsterdam about 1646 and settled at Breukelen, where on May 14, 1663 he married Annetje, daughter of Joris Jansen de Rapalje. Their son Joris Martinse Ryerse, bap. Sept 19, 1666, died about 1749-50, married August 11 1691 Anneken Schouten, widow of Theunis Dey. At the time of his marriage he lived at the Wallabocht on Long Island. In 1695 he joined Arent Schuyler and others in buying extensive tracts of land on both sides of the Pequannock River. He settled at Pacquanac (near Mountain View) about 1710. He was a judge and a very prominent man. He had 3 step children and 11 children. Of these, Dirck Dey built the mansion at Lower Preakness, Marten Ryerson built on the south branch of the Raritan River near Flemington, and Johannes Ryerson built at the Goffle.

On November 11, 1706 Joris Ryerse of Pompton joined with Ryer and Frans Ryerse of New York in buying a tract north of the Passaic River along the Wagaraw or Goffle Brook from Blandina Bayard of New York; this tract was surveyed and divided between the owners on June 7, 1721. In his will of 1744 Joris Ryerse devised his plantation at Wagaraw, on which his son Johannes lived, to this Johannes. The settlement of Wagaraw was on the north bank of the Passaic River at the bend north of Paterson. From here a road led northward along the Goffle Brook to the house and mill of Cornelis Lozier at the present Midland Park. As farms were opened up along the brook, this settlement became known as the Goffle. Johannes Ryerse was living here in 1744, and may have removed here shortly after the survey of 1721. He probably built an earlier house no longer existing as well as the present house, if it was built in 1750 as claimed.

Johannes Ryerse, also called John G. Ryerson, bap August 8, 1694, died between 1779-82, married October 27, 1716 Maritie Janse Spier and later married Geertje Hessels, and had 9 children in all. He was a Justice of the Peace. He lived at the Goffle on a farm left him by his father, and in 1779 willed 1/3 of the estate upon which he dwelt to his grandson John, eldest son of his son George. Joris or George I. Ryerson left all his lands in 1801 to his only son John. This John G. Ryerson, born July 3, 1769 died 1835, married July 21, 1793 Leah, daughter of Cornelius Westervelt, died 1861 aged 87 years. He lived on his father's and grandfather's place on the east side of the Goffle Road in the house still standing (1936). After the marriage of his only child, he gave him the farm of 180 a cres, and removed to his wife's farm. This son, George I. Ryerson, born December 17, 1793, died December 16, 1875, married September 19, 1813 Hillegont, daughter of Gerrebrant Van Houten; after her death June 23, 1847, he married Mrs. Eliza Burtsell of New York, and thirdly Margaret Hanson. He lived on the place occupied by his grandfather on the Goffle Road. His son Henry Garrison Ryerson, born December 3, 1822, died 1879, married Martha, daughter Adam Dater. He was an auctioneer, and continued to reside in the ancestral home. It later passed to his two children, George who died in 1887 and Elizabeth who married John Ackerman of HoHoKus. The Ackerman estate owned it until recently. It is presently unoccupied (1936).

It is claimed that the house was erected in 1750. This date could only apply to the wing by the road, as the main house is probably post-revolutionary. The wing is built of roughly cut stone and the main of dressed stone, whitewashed; the rear of both units is of stone rubble, and both sections are covered by gable roofs, extending to form an overhang on the south front. (The photograph shows the rear view.) An unusual feature is the string course of carefully cut and finished sandstone at the floor level of the main story of the house and also the rare type of fanlight. The double Dutch doors and solid shutters have typical panelling. The house stands on the east side of Goffle Road by the Goffle Brook, about one mile north of the Passaic River.

During the Revolutionary War, the Ryerson homestead, a house that once stood in what is now Goffle Brook Park, served as an outpost for General Lafayette. The house was owned by John George Ryerson. It was here Lafayette stationed his Light Infantry Corps in the fall of 1780. Located off of Goffle Road, the encampment was called Lafayette’s “Light Camp,” where patrols were sent to guard the flank of Washington’s main army. Why Lafayette did not commandeer the house is not known. But that he did not is additional proof that the only the small unit was then in existance. As his host Johannes Ryerse had nine children, some of whom were married, the house was undoubtedly full, and Lafayette may not have wished to disturb them.

The Ryerson homestead stood for many years in disrepair after Goffle Brook Park was created (see Goffle Brook Park above), and burnt down mysteriously in 1950. A bronze plaque and memorial plaza now stand in Goffle Brook Park where the house once stood. They were erected in 1952.

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