On January 9, 1850, Judge John Van Winkle and his wife, Jane, were brutally stabbed to death by their former farm hand, John Jonston, in their home on Goffle Road in Hawthorne, NJ (which is still standing). Their murder would go down in history as the first in Passaic County, and Jonston’s subsequent hanging would become the first execution in the county. The events surrounding the murder would go on to inspire the work of New Jersey’s greatest poet, Pulitzer-Prize winner William Carlos Williams.
 
Since the Van Winkle home was described in The New York Times in 1882 as “the abode of unearthly visitants,” there have been documented occurrences of the unexplained occurring. The current owner, Henry Tuttman, is working to bring the house into the 21st century while retaining its heritage

The Goffle Road Murders of Passaic County

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