The founding of New Netherland by the Dutch West India Company (1621-1664) on the west shore of the Hudson River contributed to the local settlements of Pavonia, Communipaw, Harsimus, Paulus Hook, and Bergen.
Formerly known by the Native American name "Ahasimus," Harsimus was claimed by the Dutch in 1630 and was part of Michael Pauw's patroonship or land grant. In the seventeenth century, marshes separated the island of Harsimus from the mainland in the area of Paulus Hook. It was where Mill Creek flowed into Communipaw Bay. Historian Walter F. Robinson explains that a dam ". . . supplying power to the huge water wheels of Prior's Mill (near present Railroad Avenue at Merseles Street)" (Robinson, no page). An area post road later crossed Mill Creek and led to Bergen Square.
Cornelius Van Vorst, superintendent of Pauw's lands at "Pavonia," built a home at Harsimus Cove near New York Bay. Until its demolition in 1967, it was regarded as the oldest standing house in Jersey City. Van Vorst was the patriarch of the Van Vorst family that lived in Jersey City for many generations and contributed to its development.
In the nineteenth century, Harsimus Cove was filled by the Pennsylvania Railroad Co.
Grundy, J. Owen. The History of Jersey City, 1609-1976. Jersey City, NJ: Progress Printing Co., Inc. 1976.
Robinson, Walter F. Old Bergen Township (Now Hudson County) in the American Revolution. Bayonne, NJ: Keystone Printing Company, 1978.