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Park Ridge, NJ 07656
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Phone: (201) 573-1800
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Park Ridge Announcements

11/14/2015 - Pascack Historical Society: From Pascack to the Plains

Park Ridge, NJ, October 27, 2015- The Pascack Historical Society will share four newly acquired  ledger books( 1819-1860), once belonging to the famous Campbell Brothers blacksmithing and wampum business, at a special  exhibit - THE CAMPBELL LEGACY: LEARNING FROM THE LEDGERS  on Saturday, November 14 and Sunday, November 15 , 1- 4 p.m. at  their barrier-free museum, 19 Ridge Avenue, Park Ridge.  Admission is free. Children welcome when accompanied by an adult.

The Pascack’s Campbell connection started when John W. Campbell (1747-1826) of Closter moved with his wife Letitia Van Valen  to a farm they purchased on Kinderkamack Road North in Montvale, close to the New York State border.  John W., like many farmers of his day, found a second job during the long winter months.  He chose to create wampum , beads made out of clam shells, that the Indians used for a medium of exchange.

John W. , is credited with inventing the shell “ hairpipe” wampum  made from Caribbean queen conch shells that came as ballast on trade ships heading for New York City. These tubular beads can be seen in early photographs on the breastplates of Indian warriors. These shell hair pipes put the Campbells on the map.

In 1808 John W.’s son Abraham (1782-1847) moved to Main Street (Pascack Road) Park Ridge, where he opened a blacksmith shop and wampum bead business. Abraham’s  sons John A., James A., David A., and Abraham Jr. eventually  became partners in the blacksmithing business and expanded the production of wampum.

The museum’s exhibit will tell the story of these fascinating men whose wampum business has brought international attention to the the borough to this day. Visitors will see the the famous Campbell Brothers’ wampum drilling Machine (world’s only one), Campbell wampum, their tools, blacksmithing products and family photos. They will learn about the Campbell Brothers’ connection to the Lewis and Clark Expedition, John Jacob Astor and Chief Red Cloud (1822-1909) of the Lakota Oglala Indian Nation.

The four weathered ledgers, never before seen by the public, were donated to the museum by Campbell descendants Susan Gifford VanOrden of Allendale and Susan Gifford Accardi of Simsbury, Connecticut. The sisters, who were raised in Hillsdale, who will formally open the exhibit on Saturday, November 14 at 1 p.m., inherited the ledgers from their uncle, the late Howard I. Durie (1919-1990), noted historian, genealogist and author of the Kakiat Patent. 

The exhibit has been curated by PHS Trustees Marilyn Miller, M.D. and Kristin Beuscher. They advise that there will be a wampum-making activity for children. Complimentary era appropriate punch and cookies will be served.

For further information or directions log onto or call 201-573-0307.

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