The first Wortendykes to settle this land were Dutch-American farmers. The Wortendykes were common people and little is known of their lives and work from written historical records. The major testimony to their time here is this barn, the house across the road [private property] and a smaller barn and carriage shed that have been moved away but still serve their owners.
We know the Wortendyke family lived in New York when it was ruled by the Dutch and called New Amsterdam. Frederick Wortendyke, Sr. [1680-1771] was born there. He moved to New Jersey in 1722 and bought 452 acres in nearby Tappan. Thirteen years later, he bought another 465 acres, which included this location.
When he died, his two sons, Frederick, Jr. and Rynier, inherited equal acreage. Frederick, Jr. [1720-1797] built this barn and house and farmed here until his death.
His death saw the land divided into smaller parts between his children with his son John Wortendyke [1774-1844] getting this land. Upon his death, his children divided the property with his son Peter [c. 1809-1889] receiving this land.
In 1851, after 116 years in the family, Peter sold his inheritance, then a mere 40 acres including this barn.
The Wortendykes were active in this locality for many years.
The family experienced the Revolutionary War at first hand. One of Frederick's sons was taken prisoner by the British in New York, as was his brother's son. In 1780 Frederick's son died of war wounds. At the same time another brother's son moved to the safety of New York because of his Loyalist feelings.
When a Wortendyke died in 1885 nearly six hundred dollars in Continental money was discovered in his estate. People said it was money his father earned from supplying Washington's Army during the Revolution.
Through the years, Wortendykes bought and farmed more land in this neighborhood. Several farms grew up along Pascack Road. They were active in the Dutch Reform Church located just down this road. In the 1770s, Jacob Wortendyke used five slaves to tend his farm, not unusual in the eighteenth century New Jersey.
Gradually, however, they moved away and now only a few people in this locality can trace their history to Frederick Wortendyke's purchase of this land in 1735.