Get to Know the Hoppers!

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.[1] 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.[2]


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.[3] 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.”[4] Uriah also gained secular prominence in the township. From Mary Ann’s birth to his death, Uriah served as the tax assessor of Wayne Township, and in 1874, he was elected President of the County Board of Assessors.[5] In 1872, he was appointed government agricultural reporter for Passaic County.[6] With these connections- the New York Times would even go so far as to eulogize Uriah as “one of the most widely known men in Passaic County”- it’s no wonder that it was likely in Uriah’s lifetime that the parlor extension was built onto the Van Riper-Hopper House, providing a space for entertaining guests; a space likely furnished with the pianoforte and “plate & silver” noted in New Jersey’s 1865 tax records. [7] Mary Ann, then, grew up as the daughter of a well-established and socially active farming family in Wayne, used to hustle and bustle of life in her family home.

Andrew Hopper was born to Henry A. Hopper and Helen Ackerman on March 4th, 1845; his birth was recorded by the Second Reformed Church in Wyckoff, NJ.[8] Like Mary Ann, Andrew grew up working on a family farm; the Hoppers lived in Saddle River Township in Bergen County, where the Van Ripers had lived until their property became part of Wayne Township in 1847.[9] He was also no stranger to houses kept busy with family members. Andrew’s father married four times, and Andrew had six siblings: Isaac, Peter, Henry, John, Albert, and Garret. As they matured and married, the siblings often remained close to home. In 1870, two years before Andrew’s marriage, Henry Hopper’s household consisted of himself, his fourth wife, Eliza, the five Hopper children (ranging from 25 to 2, servant Emma Perry, and her child.[10] Andrew’s brother, Isaac, lived next door with his wife, a domestic servant, Sophia Boyd, and a farm laborer, John Willson.[11]


Like the Van Ripers, the Hoppers were politically active. By the time of his death in 1912, Andrew’s father had served as a freeholder for Saddle River township, sheriff of Bergen County (1862) and an assemblyman for Bergen County (1870-1871).[12] Andrew’s elder brother, Isaac, took over their father’s mantle; he was elected to town clerk at age 21, served as sheriff of Bergen County (1881-1883), was the Bergen County Treasurer for several years, and served as the assessor of Saddle River Township for 40 years.[13] Though it is unknown where or when Mary Ann and Andrew first met, a shared social circle- reinforced by shared childhood experiences- may have provided the context for their first meeting and courtship.

Figure 2- Portraits of Andrew Hopper and Mary Ann Van Riper, done in charcoal and pastels, are on display in the hallway of the Van Riper-Hopper House today! From the Wayne Museum.

Two surviving portraits in the Wayne Museum’s collection depict Mary Ann and Andrew as a young couple. Done in charcoal, the portraits were likely commissioned upon the pair’s marriage and show them at their fashionable best. Andrew sports a mustache, a striped necktie, and a simple black suit, while Mary Ann wears slightly more adornment; three rings, a bracelet, and an elaborate collar. Her jewelry is accentuated with the use of pastels. Photographs of the Van Riper family in their parlor show these portraits hanging on the wall, suggesting that they retained a place of honor on the family’s wall throughout the Van Riper’s residency. Today, the portraits hang in the hallway of the Van Riper-Hopper House, welcoming visitors into the couple’s home.


Seven years after their marriage, Uriah J Van Riper died, and Mary Ann inherited her family home in Wayne. Here, they continued to run the property as a farm and raised seven surviving children; between 1874 and 1890, Mary Ann was pregnant almost every two years. While Andrew does not appear to have been as involved in local politics as his father or father-in-law, the household remained lively. From 1880 to 1910, the Hoppers had between one to three hired farm laborers living onsite, including men from Holland and Norway.[14] Photos in the Wayne Museum’s collection attest to the friends and family who visited the Van Riper-Hopper House during the Hopper’s residency. The Dickinsons, a family from Paterson, appear in several snapshots. Mary Ann remained close with her younger sister, Sarah Elizabeth, who married Cornelius Post on October 25th, 1877. When the Posts celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1927, five Hopper children were present, and surviving photos show the Hopper sisters with their aunt in the 1920s.[15] The Hoppers also travelled to Paterson and Fairlawn to celebrate birthdays and wedding anniversaries of their Hopper extended family.[16]

Figure 3- One such gathering in the parlor of the Van Riper-Hopper House, photographed in August 1903. The portraits of Mary Ann and Andrew can be seen in the background. From the Wayne Museum.

Andrew Hopper died in 1901 at the age of 56, leaving behind all his property to Mary Ann, who died 21 years later on July 3rd, 1922. Her funeral was held at the Van Riper-Hopper House, and she was buried at Preakness Reformed Church.[17] It is around this time that the Hopper children likely sold the Van Riper-Hopper House. It was occupied by several farming families before it was sold to the Rehers ca. 1940.


Figure 4- Though the figures in this photograph are unidentified, they are likely the Hopper siblings ca. 1920s. From left to right, the subjects are likely Irving Hopper, Anne Elizabeth Hopper, Sarah Elizabeth Post, Isaac Hopper, Helen Hopper, Mary Hopper, and Henry Ackerman Hopper. From the Wayne Museum.

The eldest of the Hopper children, Uriah Hopper, was born in 1874, the third Uriah to live in the Van Riper-Hopper House. Instead of following in his father’s farming footsteps, he left home around 1900 and worked for Marshall & Ball, a clothing store based in Paterson that described itself as “the clothing store for the masse. We aim to clothe the poor man for his pennies as well as the rich man for his dollars.”[18] On February 20th, 1901, he married Grace Watson Dean of Paterson; his brother Isaac was his best man, and his sister, Anne, was one of Grace’s bridesmaids. The Hopper extended family, as well as Andrew, Mary Ann, the Posts, and others from Paterson were present for the wedding.[19] The couple moved to Essex County following Uriah’s transfer from the Paterson branch of Marshall & Ball to the Newark branch. [20]Uriah appears to have had a long-term heart condition, and tragically, he died of a heart attack in 1906 at the age of 33. The News eulogized him as “a man of gentle life and character…he had many friends.”[21]


Henry Ackerman Hopper, called Harry, was born in 1875. Like his older brother, he left home and moved to Paterson to pursue retail work; by the time of his death in 1960, he had worked his way up from a delivery worker to the owner of the National Clothing Store in Paterson.[22] He was involved in social life in Paterson, and was a member of the Paterson Elks Lodge, Paterson Rotary Club, and the Glen Rock Community Church.[23] He married Bertha Pinand, and they had one child, Harry J. Despite not living at home, Harry remained close to his siblings, and his wife remembered visits to the Van Riper-Hopper House, recalling that “they always had a row of rockers on the porch, where they sat after dinner. [Bertha] said that there were pastures all around, where cows and horses grazed.”[24] Harry died on October 30th, 1960 after a brief illness.[25]


Anna Elizabeth Hopper, called Annie, was born in 1877. She lived at the Van Riper-Hopper House up until its sale in the 1920s, and likely attended a local school in Wayne during her childhood. The 1905 NJ State Census lists her occupation as a “house servant”, suggesting that she did household work, either for her own family or for other families in Wayne or Paterson; this could have included cooking, cleaning, and sewing among other domestic tasks.[26] After leaving the Van Riper-Hopper House, she and three of her siblings- Isaac, Mary, and Helen- moved to another home on Pompton Road in Wayne, a testament to their close relationship.[27] Here, Annie and her siblings were neighbors of Garret A. Hobert, JR, and his mother, Jennie Tuttle. Annie died in late June 1948 at the age of 70 and was buried at the Preakness Reformed Church.[28]

Figure 5- A photograph of Isaac Hopper holding a pepper- potentially one grown at the Van Riper-Hopper House, accompanied his obituary. From "Obituary- Isaac A. Hopper." The News. November 11th, 1959.

Isaac A. Hopper was born in 1880 and would be the one to carry on the family’s farming legacy. From the 1900 census on, he is listed either as a farm laborer or a farmer in the US census, and as the third eldest son, he is listed as the head of the Hopper household in the 1910 census.[29] In 1920, he and his brother Irving are listed as farming partners, with Isaac managing the truck farm; his 1959 obituary describes him as “for many years a truck farmer in the Preakness section of the township.”[30] This meant that Isaac was specifically growing produce and goods for sale in markets, likely in Paterson or other regional urban centers. By his death in 1959, he had retired from farming and lived at 1094 Hamburg Turnpike.[31]


Irving W. Hopper, apparently named after Washington Irving, was born in 1884, the fifth child of Mary Ann and Andrew Hopper. During his childhood, he attended a local school in Wayne and also worked on the family farm.[32] By 1920, he had partnered with elder brother Isaac to run the Hopper farm; while Irving grew produce for market, Irving is listed as a “home farmer” and may have been focused on produce for the family.[33] He also spent fifteen years commuting to Paterson on Saturdays to work as a salesman at the National Clothing Store, likely helping his brother, Harry.[34] Irving was also a member of the Mountain View Community Club, which held weekly dances as well as annual performances, fairs, and a circus.[35] Tragically, he was the second child to predecease his mother; The Morning Call stated of his 1921 death, “taken ill last Friday with stomach trouble, Mr. Hopper was forced to undergo an operation, which took place Wednesday afternoon, followed by his death that evening.”[36]

Figure 6- Mary Hopper, called Mame, photographed in front of the Van Riper-Hopper House with a family pet! From the Wayne Museum.

Mary Hopper, called Mamie or Mame, was born on February 11th, 1886. Following an education at a local school in Wayne, she joined her brothers in Paterson. As per the 1910 census, she boarded at the home of Angelina Zabriskie while working as a sales lady at a department store; this may have been the Quackenbush Department Store, which is noted in her obituary.[37] Though she returned to Wayne in the 1930s, where she lived with her siblings, Mamie soon found herself travelling. In 1934, she and Rachel Steele of Paterson went on an 18-day cruise to South America, even passing through the Panama Canal.[38] Following an illness, she died in the Hopper siblings’ home on Hamburg Turnpike in March 1947, and was buried at the Preakness Reformed Church.[39]

Figure 7- Helen Hopper, likely photographed in the 1920s, is seen reclining here. From the Wayne Museum.

The last Hopper sibling, Helen H. Hopper, was born on January 1st, 1890, 16 years after Uriah’s birth. Like her older siblings, she attended one of the schools in Wayne and lived at the Van Riper-Hopper House until its sale.[40] Along with Isaac, Annie, and Mamie, she moved to a house on Pompton Road and later Hamburg Turnpike, where the siblings may have taken on lodgers, like Edward Merselis, to earn extra money.[41] Between 1940 and 1958, perhaps following Annie’s death in 1948, Helen moved to Alps Manor Nursing Home, where she died in March 1958.[42] According to The Morning Call’s list of wills filed on April 2nd, 1958, she “left to a brother, Isaac A. Hopper of Preakness, and a nephew, Harry J. Hopper, one diamond each in ‘my twin diamond ring.’ She left a bow knot pin with a diamond in the center to the nephew’s wife, Gertrude, and a pinky ring with a cluster of diamonds, all other jewelry, clothing and personal effects to a sister-in-law, Bertha G. Hopper. The nephew, Harry, also gets $1000. The remainder of the estate goes to the brother.”[43] With the surviving portrait of Mary Ann Van Riper displaying jewelry, it is easy to consider that the jewelry mentioned may have belonged to Helen’s mother- some of the last physical remnants of the marriage of Mary Ann Van Riper and Andrew Hopper.


Bibliography [1] "Uriah J. Van Riper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehu, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. [2] Adriana Van Riper may be the same person as Annich, who was formerly enslaved by the Van Riper family.; “Uriah J. Van Riper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ.” Ancestry.com. 1860 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

[3] Ibid. [4] Labaw, George Warne. Preakness and the Preakness Reformed Church. New York: Board of Publication of the Reformed Church in America, 1902. 165, 176, 206. [5] “Obituary- Uriah J. Van Riper.” The New York Times, February 21st, 1879.; “County Board of Assessors.” The Item, July 18th, 1874. [6] “State Notes.” The Item, November 23rd, 1872. [7] “Obituary- Uriah J. Van Riper.” The New York Times, February 21st, 1879.; "Uriah J. Van Riper, Division No. 8, Collection District No. 4." 1865 NJ Tax Assessment. Ancestry.com US, IRS Tax Assessment Lists, 1862-1918 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA.: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2008.

[8] Birth record of Andrew Hopper, born to Harry A. Hopper and Hellen Ackerman. Second Reformed Church. The Archives of the Reformed Church in America. Accessed on Ancestry.com. U.S., Dutch Reformed Church Records in Selected States, 1639-1989 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2014. [9] "Henry A Hopper, Saddle River Township, Bergen County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1850 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. [10] "Henry A Hopper, Saddle River Township, Bergen County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009. [11] "Isaac A Hopper, Saddle River Township, Bergen County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1870 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2009.

[12] “Obituary- Henry A Hopper.” Ridgewood Herald-News, December 6th, 1912. [13] “Married Forty-Five Years.” The Ridgewood Herald, December 4th, 1913.

[14] "Andrew P. Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. 1880 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2010.; "Isaac A. Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. [15] “Mr. and Mrs. Post 50 Years Wedded.” The News, October 26th, 1927. [16] “A Family Reunion.” The News, April 5, 1900.; “Married Forty-Five Years.” The Ridgewood Herald, December 4th, 1913.

[17] Andrew P. Hopper Petition for Probate of Will, Passaic County, NJ. Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1739-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.; “Andrew P. Hopper, November 21st, 1898.” Passaic County, NJ. New Jersey, U.S., Wills and Probate Records, 1739-1991 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2015.;“Died.” The Morning Call, July 6th, 1922.

[18] “What to Wear and Where To Get It! Marshall & Ball.” Ocean Grove Record, May 21st, 1887. [19] “Hopper-Dean.” The News, February 21st, 1901. [20] “Uriah Hopper Died Suddenly.” The News, June 11th, 1906. [21] Ibid. [22] “Harry A. Hopper, Retired Owner of Clothing Store.” The News, October 31st, 1960. [23] Ibid. [24] February 1965 interview? [25] “Harry A. Hopper, Retired Owner of Clothing Store.” The News, October 31st, 1960.

[26] “Annie Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ.” Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 1905 [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2017. [27] "Anna Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1940 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2012. [28] “Miss Annie Hopper.” The News, July 2nd, 1948.

[29] "Isaac Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004.; "Isaac A. Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006. [30] "Isaac Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.; "Obituary- Isaac A. Hopper." The News. November 11th, 1959. [31] Ibid.

[32] “Irving Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1900 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2004. [33] "Irving Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. 1920 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations, Inc., 2010.; [34] “Obituary- Irving W. Hopper.” The Morning Call, January 14th, 1921. [35] Ibid; “Mountain View.” The News, June 29th, 1920.; “Fair and Circus at Mountain View.” The Montclair Times, August 30th, 1919. [36] “Obituary- Irving W. Hopper.” The Morning Call, January 14th, 1921.

[37]“Mamie Hopper, Paterson, Passaic County, NJ.” Ancestry.com. 1910 United States Federal Census [database on-line]. Lehi, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2006.; “Miss Mary Hopper.” The Morning Call, March 13th, 1947. [38] “People You Know.” The News. July 14th, 1934. [39] “Miss Mary Hopper.” The Morning Call, March 13th, 1947.

[40] "Helen Hopper, Wayne Township, Passaic County, NJ." Ancestry.com. New Jersey, U.S., State Census, 190