The Happel Family

[This section is a work in progress. There may be genealogical errors. It is not meant to be a complete Trenchard Family Tree, rather portions relevant to the History of Rockleigh Borough. Corrections or clarifications are welcome:]


Jacob Sneden-Happel House


1.         Heinrich/Henry Happel (Apr 1865, Germany - pre1920), arrived in America from Hamburg with his parents from the German Rhine in 1881. He became a dry goods merchant on Second Avenue in the German Yorkville district of New York City. Henry married in 1889 at NYC Amelia/Amalie/"Eme" (1867, Germany-?). 

Children of Henry and Amelia include:

    i. Flora (1894-?),
   ii. Herman (1895-?),
  iii. Sydney E. (1897-?).

About 1899 Henry purchased the burnt remains of the Robert Newton Sneden House and associated property in . 

The 1900 census lists Henry Happel (head, 45, Dry Goods store) at 1261 2nd Avenue, Amelia (wife, 23), Flora (19),  Herman (15), Sydney (13).*
The 1910 census lists Henry Happel (head, 35), Amelia (wife, 31), Flora (8),  Herman (6), Sydney (3).**
The 1920 census lists Amelia (head, 54), Flora (26), Herman (farmer, 24), Sidney (chauffeur, 22).***

By 1921, the foundation of the Jacob Sneden House had become incorporated into the present Queen Anne style Sneden-Happel House (24 Rockleigh Road). 

* 1900 Federal Census, Dist 881, New York City, NY. Sheet 12.
** 1910 Federal census,  Dist 23, Harrington Township,  Bergen Co, NJ. Sheet 16A.
*** 1920 Federal census, ED 85, Northvale, Bergen Co., New Jersey, Sheer 7A.

2i.       Flora Happel (1893, NYC, NY -?) m. c.14 Apr 1924 Harry Schaffer  (c.1890-?) of Palisades, Rockland Co, NY. Flora and Harry had children:

   i. Flora Schaffer (24 May 1925, Bergen Co, NJ - 2 Jun 2000, Rockleigh, NJ) married 2nd Raymond Lynch (23 Dec 1916  - 3 Nov 2000, Rockleigh, NJ) with no children.*
  ii.  Annie Schaffer (8 Sep 1928, Englewood, NJ - 13 Jul 1999, Westwood,NJ), m. 18 Sep 1954 to Robert L. Piper of Piermont, NY.
 iii.  Jean Schaffer-Linderman (? - Mar 2005, Palisades, NY).

* Obituary 15 Apr 2004 - The Journal News, Nyack, Rockland Co, NY.

2ii.      Herman Happel (27 Nov 1893, NYC, NY - Dec 1981, Rockleigh, NJ) lived in the Sneden-Happel House and is listed in the 1920 census as farmer. In 1926 he married Bessie -?-.  

The 1930 census lists Herman (35, house painter) and Bessie (wife, 23,  Borough Clerk) living on Rockleigh Avenue and  Effingham D. Tallman (lodger, 67, single, retired carpenter; son of Alfred & Hannah Tallman of Orangetown, NY).

2iii.     Sydney E. Happel (1897, NYC, NY - ?), m. in 1922 Elsie -?- (1904, Switzerland-?) who had emigrated to America in 1904. Sydney was first Rockleigh Chief of Police and member of the founding Borough Council in 1923 and 1924.

Sidney and Elsie had children:

   i. Henry E. (1925 - c.1943) and
  ii. Theodore W. (1926 - c.1986).*

The 1920 census lists Sydney (22) as private chauffeur and living with his mother, brother and sister in the Sneden-Happel House. In 1921, Sydney built a 2-story clapboard house on Piermont road. The 1930 census lists Sidney (32, house painter) living on Carterett [36 Piermont] Road with wife, Elsie (26), son Henry E. (5), son Theodore W. (4), and mother, Amelia (65). 

3i.        Henry E. Happel (1925 - c.1943),  S/Sgt. US Army.  Henry was a fighter pilot and died over France, a casualty of WW II.

3ii.      Theodore W. Happel (1926 - c.1986) Pvt. US Army, wounded in WW II.


Brother also Sought for Beating Brother-in-Law, 
Escapes as Bullets Fly. 
Two Men Charged With Assaulting Sister's Bridegroom 
In Row Over Wedding Gift.

Special to the New York Times

     ROCKLEIGH, N.J. April 24 [1924]. Sidney Happel, chief of police of Rockleigh, is a prisoner in the Hackensack jail charged with assault in the first degree while a posse of New Jersey and New York State officers are searching the woods of Bergen County for his brother, Herman Happel, wanted on a similar charge.
     Sidney was arrested and Herman escaped after a battle with the officers at the Happel home. Sheriffs and deputies fired several shots over Herman's head as he slipped from the roof of the house and ran into the woods, Sydney surrendered.
    The arrests followed a beating alleged to have been administered by the brothers to their brother-in-law, Harry Schaefer, at the latter's home at Palisades, N.Y., on Monday night. A few days ago Schaefer married Flora Happel, sister of Sidney and Herman. Bad feelings existed, police say, between the brothers and Schaefer.
     When Schaefer returned to his home on Monday night, he told police, Herman and Sydney came to the house. He said the brothers attacked him and knocked out several teeth. A woman neighbor loosed her police-dog on the brothers and then summoned help. Herman and Sydney fled in an automobile.
     Later Schaefer filed a complaint with the Nyack, N.Y., authorities. Sheriff Brown of Rockland County, lacking jurisdiction in New jersey, asked help from the Bergen County authorities. Sheriff J. L. Fox of Bergen County, accompanied by several deputies and the New York officers, went to the Happel home. Herman was on the roof. He slid down a ladder and was caught in the yard. A few moments later he eluded his captors and dashed into the woods.
     Sydney Happel was found inside the house. He made no resistance and turned over his revolver to the officers when they entered the place. He was taken to the Hackensack jail and later held in $5,000 bail to await extradition papers from New York.
     Police say the dispute between the Happel brothers and Schaefer was because Mrs. Happel had given her daughter $1,500 and some diamond rings as wedding presents and the brothers had demanded that they be turned over to them.

New York Times, April 18, 1924, p. 36.



Compiled by E. W. April, 2002
updated, 2007