Book Excerpts

This excerpt from the book tells the tale of Lafayette’s connection to the Naugle-Vanderbeck house and corrects an earlier version by the author in “The Ackerman-Naugle Family and their Houses” which previously appeared online at fairlawnnews.com

The General Lafayette Connection

A historical marker placed outside the Naugle-Vanderbeck House tells that a Naugle was said to have been a paymaster to Lafayette’s Light Division during the Revolutionary War and that the general visited here in 1824. Rogers, in his history, states that “some accounts” say that Naugle worked on Jacob Vanderbeck’s farm, married his daughter and built the house. Rogers also says that Naugle was paymaster to Lafayette’s troops and that the general’s correspondence details his journey from Manhattan to River Edge to visit General Von Steuben and then to Dunkerhook to visit his old paymaster before continuing to Paterson “to have lunch with Alexander Hamilton.”

Investigations by the author and by Eric Bal of the First Mountain Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution have shown that parts of the story are credible but that a Naugle was probably not the paymaster. Furthermore, the visit described by Rogers, said to be taken from Lafayette’s correspondence (published by his son in 1837–38), must have taken place not on his triumphal tour of 1824 but during his earlier visit in 1784. Mr. Bal notes that neither Von Steuben nor Hamilton was alive in 1824.He has found that Lafayette traveled to America in 1784 at Washington’s invitation to visit his fellow officers and friends from the Revolutionary War. The general arrived in New York and traveled through New Jersey to Philadelphia and then to Mount Vernon and other parts of the country. This must have been the journey in which he visited his old paymaster, as described in his correspondence.

Could there have been a Naugle at the Vanderbeck farm in 1784? The progenitor of the Bergen County family, Barent Nagel, arrived at Closter in 1710, having bought a 1,300-acre tract of land with his brother, Resolvert. Barent had four sons, at least two of whom and their descendants stayed in the Closter area. (Resolvert had only daughters, so all the early Naugles were Barent’s descendants.) A Closter history tells us that David B. Naugle, a great-great-grandson of Barent Nagel, is the progenitor of “the Paramus Naugles.” He was married at Paramus in 1828 and bought the Ackerman-Naugle House on East Saddle River Road in today’s Ridgewood in 1861. Also,we know that George Naugle, ancestor of the Fair Lawn Naugles, was living on Broadway in 1850. He bought eight acres of land on Saddle River Road, north of Broadway, in 1860 and moved his family there. George Naugle was the father of Burnet, who married Mary Ann Ackerman’s daughter, Rachel, and moved into the Dunkerhook Road house of his mother-in-law. But all the earlier Naugles for whom we have records lived in Closter, so it is not probable that there was a Naugle at Dunkerhook during the Revolution.

The first Naugle at the Naugle-Vanderbeck House may have been Elizabeth Naugle, who married John J. Garrison. He inherited the Vanderbeck houses from his father about 1810, but we don’t know which of the two houses he occupied. The widowed Elizabeth sold the land and houses to John J. Ferdon about 1839, the year of her remarriage.

ferdon rug
Coverlet made for Mary Ann Ferdon.
Photo by Laurence Koplik.

The Naugle-Vanderbeck House was known as the Mary Ann Ackerman House as late as 1949. Her father, John Ferdon, deeded the house and an acre of land to his daughter in 1869. She had married David A. Ackerman and lived with him in Washington Township (now Paramus) but moved into the Dunkerhook House with her children, apparently upon Ackerman’s death. Her daughter Rachel married Burnet Naugle, and by 1880 the couple and their daughter Mary Elizabeth had moved into the house with Mary Ann and her grandchild, Sara. The Naugles’ son Leslie was born in the house in 1884. When Mary Ann Ackerman died in 1901, she left her home to Rachel. After Rachel’s death, her son Leslie was deeded the house,and his son Melvin inherited the homestead. Thus, it became known as the Naugle House. A memento of Mary Ann has recently been discovered in a collection of hand-woven bed coverlets: a reversible coverlet with the name “Mary Ann Ferdon” and the date 1834. Mary Ann would have been twelve years old that year.

If Lafayette’s paymaster married the first Jacob’s daughter, Jannetje, his name was Jacob Brouwer and he could have lived in a Vanderbeck house. Mr. Bal has found “Jacob Brouwer of Bergen County” on the official list of New Jersey men who served in the war. Cemetery records of men who served in the Revolution include Jacob Brouwer, buried in Paramus.

Copyright ©2014 by Jane Lyle Diepeveen. All rights reserved