Jeffrey A. Humphrey

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Jeffrey A. Humphrey

Jeffrey A. Humphrey
Born Nov. 1826 [1]
NY [1] [2]
Died Bef 1910 [3]
Nationality American
Occupation Necktie manufacturer [2]
Employer Self
Home town Englewood
Known for Establishing a Church/Author
Religious beliefs Presbyterian
Spouse(s) Julia F. [2](m. 1850) [1]
Children C. Edward, Esq. (b. 1856); George (b. 1857); May (b. 1860) [2]

Jeffrey A. Humphrey, a self-employed necktie manufacturer [2], born in NY, Nov. 1826 [1], is notable for having been an early settler in Englewood, building a home on what is now Humphrey St. and Palisade Ave. here and establishing a church opposite his home. Mr. Humphrey wrote a book in 1899 called Englewood, It's Annals and Reminiscences. By 1900 he was "retired" and his Son-in-Law (daughter May's husband, James M. Coe) is listed in the 1900 US census as Head of household. [1]. In the 1910 Census, Julia is listed as "Wd.", and the Coe's have a 21 year old Son, Edward H. [3].

The Backstory about the Church

Humphrey St. is named after him. He was the owner of a building on the corner of what is now Humphrey St., and Palisade Ave.. The story follows:

In the 1860's there was no church in the immediate vicinity of Englewood. The nearest places of worship were the North and South Churches at Schraalenburgh and the Old Church of English Neighborhood (Ridgefield). These were all Dutch Reformed Churches, established by the original settlers of Bergen County. Distance as well as rough roads precluded walking to service, the farm carryalls were all well filled with the farmers' families, and livery carriages were unknown. The new people held Sunday meetings, by courtesy, in the parlor of some near-by farm house, until James W. Deuel offered the schoolroom in his newly completed building as a place of Sunday worship and mid-week prayer meeting. Mr. Dwight began his work in Englewood in this schoolroom, with a handful of worshippers as congregation.

In the late summer, though the group was still small and there was as yet no wealth to draw upon, the same individuals who were active in promoting Englewood undertook to raise funds for the erection of a chapel. Stipulations contained in the subscription paper provided that a lot large enough for the present structure and future enlargement should be secured without expense, specified the cost of the building and the method of conveyance to an orthodox congregation of the Congregational, Presbyterian or Dutch Reformed denominations. The ground was immediately donated, a large and valuable site at the head of the first terrace on Palisade Avenue. Subscriptions were received to an amount sufficient to warrant immediate work under the direction of Sheppard Homans, J. Wyman Jones and John Van Brunt. During the erection of the building, gifts of money were received, material was contributed, skilled artisans gave their labor, and the farmers lent their teams to haul stone, quarried in the fields, and to transport lumber from the railroad station.

While the work on the chapel was in its first progress, a party of friends from New York came out, on invitation of the group of real estate promoters, to look over the land. The particular attraction offered was the choice part of the old Lydecker patent on the north side of Palisade Ave.nue, extending from the brook west of the railroad to the Palisade Cliff. This had been secured by contract the previous year from Thomas W. Demarest and Garret A. Lydecker and was controlled by J. Wyman Jones, I. Smith Homans, Robert Baylis and Byron Murray, Jr. Two of the party, Jeffrey A. Humphrey and Nathan T. Johnson, were making their first visit to the region back of the Palisades. It was a perfect October afternoon; as the ascent continued there were changing pictures of the valley, with farm houses scattered here and there, with hay-stacks on the meadows through which the Overpeck wound on its way to join the Hackensack. The day and the scene worked their spell upon the two young men. Without suggestion or solicitation, Mr. Humphrey chose the site on which he intended to build a house, that particular spot and no other, thereby disturbing a cherished plan of one of his hosts. Mr. Johnson did not select a building plot, but he determined to make the village his home and the scene of his future activities.

When March, 1860, arrived, and the chapel, completed in all essentials, was turned over to the trustees and dedicated as a place of Christian worship, on a plot on the other side of Palisade Avenue stood the commodious Humphrey house, with ample barn, the first private dwelling erected after the village received its name. The house, remodelled, is now (1920) the property of Mrs. William B. Scarborough. Although the chapel had been dedicated, a church organization was not effected at the same time. There were eighteen persons, eight men and ten women, in this little religious community who were accredited church members. These were of record as follows: from Madison Square Presbyterian church, New York City— Mrs. Isabella S. McCulloh, M. H. Church, Mrs. Caroline H. Church, Sheppard Homans, Mrs. Sallie S. Homans, William B. Dwight, Mrs. Eliza S. Dwight; from Westminster Presbyterian church, Utica, N. Y. — John E. Jones, Mrs. John E. Jones ; from Reformed Dutch church, Utica, N. Y. — J. Wyman Jones, Mrs. Harriet Dana Jones; from Reformed Dutch church, English Neighborhood, N. J. — James Vanderbeek, Mrs. Margaret Vanderbeek, Mrs. Margaret Van Brunt; from Reformed Dutch church, Hoboken, N. J. — Mrs. Margaret Fisher; from Church of the Pilgrims, Brooklyn, N. Y. — Jeffrey A. Humphrey, Mrs. Julie M. Humphrey. On June 4th a meeting of this group was held a ballot as to form of organization was taken and fourteen out of the seventeen votes cast expressed the choice of the Presbyterian form of church government. The body was thereupon organized as the F'irst Presbyterian church of Englewood under the charge of the Fourth Presbytery of New York. This Englewood church was the first church of its denomination in Bergen county. At a subsequent meeting, for election of church officers, Charles A. Nichols, James Vanderbeek and Sheppard Homans were chosen elders and the deacons elected were John J. De Mott and J. Wyman Jones. The Rev. James H. Dwight was called to the pastorate, at a salary of seven hundred and fifty dollars per annum. The first work of the new pastor was to establish a Sunday school and to place George S. Gray at the head of that important auxiliary to church work.

External Links

The Book Online


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Staff Writer (1900). "1900 US Census". Englewood. US Dept of Commerce. Retrieved 2/15/2015. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Staff Writer (1880). "1880 US Census". Englewood. US Dept of Commerce. Retrieved 2/15/2015. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Staff Writer (1910). "1910 US Census". Englewood. US Dept of Commerce. Retrieved 2/15/2015.