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A Huguenot on the Hackensack: David Demarest and His Legacy Hardcover – September 1, 2007


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A Huguenot on the Hackensack: David Demarest and His Legacy + The Huguenots on the Hackensack: A Paper Read Before the Huguenot Society of America in ... New York ... 1885; Before the New Jersey Historical ... and in ... Schraalenberg, N. J., 1886 [1886 ] + The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley: The Jersey Dutch and the Neutral Ground, 1775-1783
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

David C. Major, PhD, and John S. Major, PhD, are brothers. They are descended from David Demarest, the early French Huguenot settler in the middle Hackensack Valley who is the subject of this book. The Majors are authors and editors of many books in their professional fields: natural resources and the environment for David, and East Asian history for John.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 262 pages
  • Publisher: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press (September 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1611473683
  • ISBN-13: 978-1611473681
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 0.8 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,202,886 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By K. Tyree on November 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I am a descendant of David Demarest. It was a pleasure to read about my heritage from this beautifully written & illustrated book. Wonderful research, I want to travel back to NJ and re-visit these areas with fresh eyes.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By William LaBach on July 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is an excellent scholarly study of the life and legacy of David Demarest (1620-1695) and his wife, Marie Sohier, who emigrated from Mannheim, Germany to New Amsterdam (now New York City) in 1663. He was a native of the Picardy region of France and a Huguenot (French Protestant). He first moved to Middleburg in the Netherlands by 1643 where he married and then to Mannheim. Upon arriving in the New World he settled first on Staten Island and then moved to New Harlem. His final move was to Bergen County, New Jersey where he bought land from the Indians and accumulated about 5,000 acres. The authors explain the Dutch culture in New York and New Jersey and how the Demarest family became a part of it although French. This book should be of great interest to the many thousands of Demarest descendants across the United States and to those interested in the history of New Harlem and northern New Jersey.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Suzanne Olsson, Author on February 22, 2011
Format: Hardcover
I too am a Demarest and delighted to have this book available for further research. I was born and raised within a stone's throw of the original Demarest home in America. Yet I lived there at a time I had little interest in our old family, too busy starting a new one! Now I am awed by the legacy we Demarests hold and have to pass on to our grandchildren. This is an excelllent book to add to Demarest history and research. Well done and highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Leonard on December 18, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The hero of this story, originally known as David des Marets, lived in both the Netherlands and Germany before emigrating to America, but his ancestors were French Huguenots. He was born about 1620, probably at Beauchamp on the Bresle River at the border of Normandy. He grew up as part of the French-speaking Protestant community of northwestern Europe.

The Huguenots in France followed John Calvin (1509-64), the Protestant, at a time when Catholic state religions were not very tolerant of those who chose another form. The Huguenots not only suffered greatly for their faith, but also were persecuted and defeated in their native land. Many, like David Demarest's forefathers, fled to the Netherlands in the late 1500s. Perhaps that is why David Demarest eventually established the French Patent land on the Hackensack river in New Jersey as a refuge for Huguenots escaping from France. As Amazon.com says, "This book illuminates the role of kinship and culture in the Jersey Dutch heartland from colonial times to the modern era."

In any case, Demarest married in Middleburg Holland at the Walloon church to Marie Sohier in July 1643. According to Wikipedia, A Walloon church describes any Calvinist church building in the Netherlands and its former colonies whose members originally came from the southern Netherlands and France, and whose native language is French.

The Demarests arrived in the New World about twenty years after their marriage, during 1663. He chose to settle first on Staten Island, then to "New" Harlem until around 1677 or 1678 when the French began migrating to the French patent in Bergen Co, New Jersey, where they remained until joining the migration to the Conewago valley of Pennsylvania near Gettysburg.

The authors, David C. Major, PhD, and John S.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By S. Smith-Peter on January 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am a descendent of David Demarest and am working on posting photographs (c. 1880s-1960s) from the Wyoming branch of the Demarest family (there spelled Demorest) at westernstockade. I read this book for background on the Demarest family and was impressed by the scrupulous research and mastery of the sources.

The book consists of a close and insightful reading of the existing sources. The Major brothers reasonably argue that David Demarest was not a member of the nobility but was rather a merchant. They place David Demarest in a larger context of Huguenot migration to New Amsterdam and then ends with a discussion of the larger role the Demarest family has played in New Jersey and American history. The part I enjoyed best was on the world of David Demarest, as it really gave a sense of the depth of time and how different Demarest's time was from ours.

I particularly enjoyed the attention the authors gave to specific places associated with the Demarests. Luckily, I live in New Jersey, so I can visit many of the places mentioned here. Strangely enough, even though I've been a professor at the College of Staten Island for a decade now and have only just recently learned of David Demarest's role as an early settler of Staten Island. I had no idea of any family connection with this area before looking into my dad's side of the family.

Demarest descendants and historians of New Jersey are the intended audience, rather than the general public. If you fall into those groups, you should definitely read this book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dave Demarest on June 8, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was very interesting to me as I am a decendant of David Demarest, the subject individual in the book. It explains what nationalities and cultures our family was initially comprised of and influenced by when David Demarest and his wife first arrived at the "New World". I was amazed at some of the similarities and common interests I share with my ancestors. The book is actually a real-life history of our nation and its early European settlers and how their interests and cultures shaped our society then and its evolution over the centuries. This book would be a great read for educators and students of early American history.
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