The Families

Owners of the Martin Berry House

The tract of land on which Martin Berry built his homestead was acquired from his stepfather [Paulus Van Der Beck].

The land was divided from the large holdings of Paulus Van Der Beck, where Martin, his five siblings and four stepsisters were raised by Martin’s mother, Catalyte (Ryerson) Berry Van Der Beck and his stepfather, Paulus Van Der Beck.

According to the Rev. Garret Schenck, they were the first family to settle on the Plains between 1710 and 1712.

Martin’s property extended from the King’s Highway, present Newark-Pompton Turnpike, to the Pompton River . . . on both sides of Jackson Avenue.

Property Size Family Acquired
Martin Berry and Maria (Roome) Berry c. 1720
Henry Berry and Keziah (De Mott) Berry 1784
Henry H. Berry and Leah (Lambert) Berry 1817
55 acres Henry H. Berry and Elizabeth (Mandiville) Berry 1833
34 ½ acres James Graham and Eliza (Kidd) Graham 1862
19.89 acres Mary W. Dwight – Widow 1876
19.89 acres James R. Evans and Julia A. Evans 1879
19.89 acres Lockwood R. May 1891
19.89 acres Jessie M. (Pope) May Schultz / Widow of L.R. May, William H. May (son) and Inez (Westervelt) May 1896
8.25 acres Warren C. Eberle and Ellis (Dumas) Eberle 1916
8.25 acres Ludlow C. Meeks and Louise (Beach) Meeks 1921
6.62 acres Home Owners Loan Corporation 1938
6.62 acres John S. Glenn and Marie (Harrel) Glenn 1941
2.75 acres Charles E. Bogert and Eleanor (Stockton) Bogert 1951

 

The Property

 

The Berry Farm, as Jennie Mandeville, our tax collector until 1963, told me her father and grandfather called it, was sold out of the Berry family in 1862 after four generations.

 

The last Berry owners were Henry H. Berry and his wife Elizabeth Mandeville Berry. They had a daughter and son. Their daughter Sophronia married first Cornelius Jacobus in 1840 and had three children. After being widowed she married John Arfork in 1862, had one child and moved to California, according to the Berry genealogy. Their son James Henry married Mary Williams in 1855, had no children and moved to Madison in 1861.

The enclosed historical sketch on James H. Berry from The Lewis Publishing Company Vol II “Biographical and Genealogical History of Morris County, New Jersey,” differs in when Sophronia remarried and moved to California which often occurs in genealogical records but verified they had gone to California. Also incorrect is the confusion by Henry H. and James H. of their’s being the English lineage when it was the Dutch.

 

It is my supposition the ancestral farm was sold by Henry H. since there were no grandchildren here to carry on farming as son James had settled in Madison, a contractor having his own business as a stone and brick mason.

 

James Graham and his wife Eliza Kidd Graham were the first owners out of the Berry Family. They bought the farm consisting of 34-1/2 acres. Somewhere I read the farm, a woodlot and meadowlands amounted to 55 acres, but the woodlot and meadows weren’t included in the sale, evidently.

 

James and Eliza Graham were the grandparents of Mrs. Fred (Sally Graham) Siscoe, Pompton Plains.

 

The next owner was Mary W. Dwight but only 19.89 acres and the house were sold by the Grahams. The Grahams moved directly across the river from the Berry farm having purchased the Philip Schuyler farm. The Wayne Post Office on the Pompton Plains Crossroad, Wayne, New Jersey now stands on the site.

 

The 19.89 acres remained the same through two more sales but was then again reduced by subdivisions of land by the widow and son of Lockwood May who inherited upon the death after only 5 years of ownership.

 

“Mayfield Park” consisting of Highland and May Avenues and a section of Cedar Road was sold and divided into 25’ X 100’ building lots named for the owners, the Mays.

 

Only 8.25 acres remained with the house when Warren C. Eberle and his wife purchased it in 1916 as the Mays had it subdivided.

 

The next owners were Ludlow and Louise Meeks but during their ownership the State of New Jersey reduced the 8.25 acres to 6.62 acres by taking the eastern edge of the property for rerouting of State Highway 23 through the meadows and out of the center of town.

 

In 1938 during the Great Depression the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation foreclosed and held it for four years before finding a buyer. During the litigation the Meeks moved out of the house and rented it to Mr. and Mrs. Stanley Mitton. They ran a riding academy here for one year along with their daughter Vlasta, known to everyone as Lossie. The Mittons were named in the suit brought by the Home Owner’s Loan Corporation along with the owners, the Meeks, as the Mittons occupied the residence at that time.

 

Later Lossie became the wife of Robert Jones, son of Edward Jones who had purchased what is now known as Jones Hardware from the Gillands in 1929. The Gillands had purchased the house and property from the Berrys, descendants of Martin, who still possessed part of his original tract.

 

Mr. and Mrs. John Glenn purchased the house and 6.62 acres in 1941 from the [Home Owners’ Loan] Corporation. Ten years later the property was much more valuable as Route 23 changed the use to commercial. The war was over and building was booming. Mr. Glenn said he wanted to retire on the proceeds he would receive by selling the property as commercial front footage so he had it subdivided again. Mr. Glenn left only a 200 foot frontage with the house but retained a 150 foot lot for sale to the south after selling the rest to speculators. Charlie and I purchased the house and property along with the 150 foot lot which resulted in 2.75 acres remaining with the old homestead. Since we have had preservation easements placed on the deed after having the two parcels joined as one, it cannot be subdivided by future owners, trusting it will remain intact.
 
Transcribed from summary penned by Eleanor Bogert.