Getting to Know the Hoppers!
Updated: Feb 26
By: Tessa Payer, Museum Specialist at the Wayne Museum and Staff Member of the Passaic County Department of Cultural & Historic Affairs
Today marks 150 years since the Van Riper-Hopper House gained its full name with the marriage of Mary Ann Van Riper and Andrew Hopper, and it is the perfect occasion to explore the lives of the Hopper family and their time at the Van Riper-Hopper House!
Figure 1- A contemporary home of the Van Riper-Hopper House, named for the 1872 marriage of Mary Ann Van Riper and Andrew Hopper.
Mary Ann was born on January 23rd, 1849, the eldest daughter of Uriah J Van Riper and Anna Banta; her younger sister, Sarah Elizabeth, was born eight years later. The sisters grew up in a busy household. When Mary Ann was born, she and her parents lived next door to Uriah’s father, Jacob B. Van Riper, and there were likely frequent dinners and time spent between the families. Jacob and Uriah developed their adjacent properties as farms, and Mary Ann would have been used to the bustle of hired farm laborers in and around the house. In 1860, when Mary Ann was 11, she not only lived with her parents, sisters, and two grandmothers, but likely shared spaces with the Van Ripers’ three servants, Adriana Van Riper, Hagar Ogden, and Sarah Ogden, as well as Tom Jackson, a 16 year old farm laborer.
Uriah and his daughters also had personal and professional connections throughout Wayne. According to the 1860 census, Mary Ann attended school ca. 1860, where she would have met other children from the township. Church and business brought their own social circles. From 1845 to 1858, and then again in 1865, Uriah served as Treasurer of the Preakness Reformed Church, where the family attended services and had purchased a second row pew. George Warne Labaw, writing the history of the Preakness Reformed Church, records the close relationship between Uriah and the church; Uriah often donated to church construction funds and offered to help copy and revise church records before his death in February 1879. Mr. Wyckoff, pastor of the Preakness Reformed Church, described him as “A Prince in Israel” beside the official record of Uriah’s death, and Labaw concludes that “Elder Van Riper’s death was a great loss to the Church.”