REV. JOHN BERDAN.— About two hundred years ago, during the French persecution, Berdan, one of the Huguenots, came to America with his wife and son, named John, and purchased a tract of land on Long Island, which is now the site of the city of Brooklyn. His wife dying, he married again, and had two daughters by his second wife.
John and his step-mother did not agree. He left home with a spade and axe, and settled in Hackensack, N.J, where he married and had six sons— named Richard, Rynear, Albert, John, David, and Stephen— and one daughter who married Cornelius Kip, of Preakness. He purchased farms for his sons and settled them all in Bergen County. All raised families, except Stephen, who died unmarried.
Richard and Rynear occupied adjoining farms in Slotterdam, running from Passaic River to Saddle River Brook. Richard married Charity Van Winkle, died, and left his farm to his sons, John and Jacob,— the former occupying the east half, and the latter the west half. John died March 5, 1824, aged eighty-five years, nine months, and five days, and left his farm to his son John, who remained on it until his death, and then left his estate to his sons,— John, Richard, and Stephen. The two last named are still living.
Jacob continued on his farm until April 19, 1810, then sold it and purchased a farm in Preakness, on which he died Nov. 29, 1815, aged sixty-nine years, seven months, and ten days. He left his son Richard at Slotterdam, who married a great-granddaughter of his uncle Rynear, and died childless. His other sons— Jacob, John, and Garret— went with him to Preakness. Jacob resided on a part of the farm, was justice of the peace for forty and judge for fifteen years. He died in his eightieth year, and left his son Richard on the farm, which he occupied with his sons. John is our subject. Garret resides on his part of the farm at present, and is eighty-one years of age.
Rynear lived and died on his farm, adjoining his brother Richard, and left it to his son John, who died and left it to his son Rynear, who at his death left it to his son John, who is the present owner, with his sons, Rynear and Garrabrant.
Albert lived and died on his farm in Preakness, and left it to his sons, John and Jacob. John left, but Jacob remained till his death, and left it to his son Albert, who continued thereon until his death, and left it to his son Jacob’s children. Jacob resides on it at present, being about eighty years old. John had several sons, viz.: Albert, who went to Canada and settled there, where his offspring are at present; David went to Western New York, and had a large family. One of his grandsons was captain of the sharpshooters in the late war. Tunis and Jacob died in New Jersey; neither had a son, but had daughters. John resided and died in the Goffle neighborhood. His sons— Richard, John, Henry, Jacob, David, and Albert— have all died, excepting Henry, who went West. Richard, Jacob, and David each have left a son named John, who all at present reside at Paterson.
John remained on his farm in Hackensack until his death, and left it to his sons,— John, Isaac, and Henry. Isaac, son of Isaac, is present owner of part of his grandfather’s farm. Henry died in Hackensack, in his ninety-eighth year, the last of the old cousins. He was an officer of the Revolutionary war, and an unwavering Democrat until his death.
David, on Red Hill, near Hackensack, died and left his farm to his son John, who at his death left it to his sons,— David, Albert, Daniel, and Peter. David continued on the farm until his death, and his descendants reside on it still.
Rev. John Berdan was born at Slotterdam, Saddle River township, Bergen Co., N.J., on Feb. 5, 1797. His father, Jacob Berdan, was twice married,- first to Sarah Van Emburgh, who bore him three children, Richard, Charity (who married Peter Voorhis), and Leah (who married Jacob I. Zabriskie); and secondly, to Catharine Billue, an English lady, whose children were Jacob, John, and Garret, mentioned above, and an infant who died young.
The early life of John Berdan was passed upon his father’s farm at Slotterdam, where he was educated at the district school. Upon the removal of his father to Preakness, in 1810, he accompanied him, and upon the death of the former in 1815 he inherited a portion of the paternal farm, and remained thereon until 1824, and then removed about a mile farther south. On July 25, 1816, he married Leah, daughter of David and Anna (Van Saun) Demarest. In 1828, feeling a special call to consecrate himself to the service of God, he commenced the study of theology under the care of the Classis of Hackensack of the True Reformed Dutch Church, with Rev. James G. Brinkerhoff, of Mountville, Morris Co. After a year and a half of faithful and prayerful study he was examined before the Classis, and was licensed to preach in April, 1830. On the first Sabbath in May of that year he preached as a supply in the pulpit of the True Reformed Church of Acquackanonk Village (now Passaic), and in July following received a call to settle as permanent pastor from that church, and also from the church at English Neighborhood and Hackensack. He delayed his formal acceptance of either call until after October, in which month he was formally ordained to the ministry by the Classis, and was installed pastor of the church at Acquackanonk in December following. He has continued in the same pulpit for the past fifty-one years, amid though now in the eighty-fifth year of his age, is still performing the active duties of the pastorate, preaching in the morning of each Sabbath at Passaic, and in the afternoon in Paterson. He has resided in the latter city since 1864.
Mr. Berdan is widely known throughout this whole section as a devoted, efficient, and venerable pastor, who has throughout a long and faithful ministry sustained an important relation to its evangelical growth.
He has lived a plain, modest life, and devoted himself entirely to the imparting and exemplification of the Master’s teachings. For four years he preached each Sabbath afternoon in the Dutch language to the Holland settlers at Passaic, and has united in marriage nearly one hundred couples of that race. He is a close student, systematic and regular in his methods, and has averaged during his long service as a Christian minister over one hundred sermons and lectures a year, and can tell to this day the text from which he preached on any day during fifty-one years, and the passage of Scripture read. His memory runs back to the pioneer days of the country, long before Paterson existed, and when the site of that busy city was practically a wilderness. He is well preserved, has never used tobacco or liquor in his life, is tall, erect, and well developed,— a man of strong nerve, and one of the last representative- of that race of giants that laid low the forests of our virgin country and submitted its soil to the share of the husbandman. Mrs. Berdan died May 24, 1879. During sixty-three years she was the faithful helpmeet of his life, and, having died in the faith, waits beyond the tide for her venerable husband, whose labors below must necessarily soon end.
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Berdan have been Catharine, who first married Philip Van Bussum, and then Samuel Hopper, of Ridgewood, Bergen Co.; Hetty Ann, deceased, wife of Jacob Horn; Jacob, who resides in Paterson; Christina, who married Cornelius Berdan, and who is also dead; Maria, who married William H. Hellings; Jane, wife of Charles A. McCall, of Newark; and Rachel, who became the wife of Benajah M. Beardsley, of Paterson. Eighteen grandchildren and seventeen great-grandchildren of this aged couple are still living, seven of the latter having died, and fifteen of the former.
Cedar Lawn Cemetery
New Jersey, USA
Created by: Joseph Lehe
Record added: Aug 23, 2005
Find A Grave Memorial# 11594139
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An Angel Above
Added: Aug. 23, 2005