Cornelius Van Vorst (1794-1852) was a sixth-generation namesake of the 17th-century Jersey City patriarch Cornelius Van Vorst and the grandson of Lt. Colonel Cornelius Van Vorst. Van Vorst inherited the family homestead and farm located west of the Paulus Hook tract and south of Newark Avenue.
This Cornelius Van Vorst descendant also inherited his grandfather's enterprising spirit. He promoted the development of the farmlands. In 1841, he helped to establish a new and independent municipality called Van Vorst Township. He mapped out a new grid plan for the area and donated land for a public park called Van Vorst Square.
Van Vorst's land holdings included property on the south side of Wayne Street, where two stately Greek Revival-style mansions were built in the 1830s. Dr. William Barrow of New York City became the owner of the mansion at No. 83 Wayne Street (see Barrow Mansion). Cornelius Van Vorst lived next door at No. 89. Barrow and Van Vorst were related by marriage. Van Vorst's first wife, Sarah Brower, was the younger sister of Dr. Barrow's wife, Eliza.
In the interest of progress, Van Vorst had the old farmhouse taken down around 1835. The date of the original construction remains unknown. The lithograph reproduced here depicts the old Van Vorst farmhouse as a traditional Dutch colonial-style dwelling that was common throughout the region.
Cornelius Van Vorst was widowed a second time in 1849. He had eight children. After he died in 1852, his second child, also named Cornelius (born March 7, 1822), briefly followed his father's path as a public servant and was mayor of Jersey City during the early years of the Civil War (1860-1862). He later moved to Delaware, where he resided until he died in 1909.
The Van Vorst house at 89 Wayne Street was sold in 1874 to Dr. Benjamin Edge whose family occupied it for many years. It was sold at auction by Nelson J.H. Edge in 1925, and replaced by the Wayne Court Apartments, built ca.1927, on the site.
Mills, W. Jay. Historic Houses of New Jersey. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1902.
Winfield, Charles H. History of the County of Hudson, New Jersey. New York: Kennard
& Hay Printing Company, 1874.