The area that became West Hoboken was originally inhabited by the Munsee-speaking branch of Lenape Native Americans, who wandered in the vast woodland area encountered by Henry Hudson during the voyages he conducted from 1609-1610 for the Dutch. Hudson later claimed the area (which included the future New York City) and named it New Netherland. The portion of that land that included the future Hudson County was purchased from members of the Hackensack tribe of the Lenni-Lenape in 1658 by New Netherland colony Director-General Peter Stuyvesant, and became part of Pavonia, New Netherland. The boundaries of the purchase are described in the deed preserved in the New York State Archives, as well as the medium of exchange: "80 fathoms of wampum, 20 fathoms of cloth, 12 brass kettles, 6 guns, one double brass kettle, 2 blankets, and one half barrel of strong beer."
The relationship between the early Dutch settlers and Native Americans was marked by frequent armed conflict over land claims. In 1660, Peter Stuyvesant ordered the building of a fortified village called Bergen to protect the area. It was the first permanent European settlement in New Jersey, located in what is now the Journal Square area of Jersey City near Academy Street. In 1664, the British captured New Netherland from the Dutch, at which point the boundaries of Bergen Township encompassed what is now known as Hudson County. North of this was the unpopulated Bergen Woods, which would later be claimed by settlers, after whom a number of streets were named, such as Brown Street and Golden Lane, which still exist in Union City today.
The area that became Union Hill, however, was sparsely populated until the early 19th century. The British granted Bergen a new town charter in 1668. In 1682 they created Bergen County, which was named to honor their Dutch predecessors. That county comprised all of present-day Hudson, Bergen and Passaic counties. Sparsely inhabited during the 17th and 18th centuries, the southeast section of Bergen County had grown by the early 19th century to the point where it was deemed necessary to designate it a separate county. The New Jersey legislature created Hudson County in 1840, and in 1843, it was divided into two townships: Old Bergen Township (which eventually became Jersey City) and North Bergen Township, which was gradually separated into Hudson County's municipalities of Hoboken (1849), Weehawken and Guttenberg (1859), and Union Township (or simply Union,) (1861), though it was colloquially known as Union Hill. Union Hill was formed through the merger of a number of villages, such as Dalleytown, Buck's Corners and Cox's Corners. The largest of these villages, Union Hill, became the colloquial name for the merged town of Union itself. Union Hill was incorporated as a town by an Act of the New Jersey Legislature on March 29, 1864, from part of Union Township. In 1866, part of North Bergen was added to it. The town was reincorporated on March 27, 1874. The northern section of Union Township was later incorporated as West New York in 1898.
The town's commercial district was Bergen Turnpike, at the border with West Hoboken. Intersecting Bergen Turnpike was Bergenline Avenue, a former cowpath that became another commercial venue after plans to lay street car tracks on Palisade Avenue, two blocks to the east, were changed due to the objections of an influential citizen named Henry Kohlmeier. Kohlmeier opposed the noise that such traffic would bring, and suggested moving the tracks to Bergenline Avenue. Bergenline continues as the Union City's main commercial thoroughfare today, and is the longest commercial avenue in New Jersey.
- John Corky (1857-1936).
- Paul Jappe (1898–1989), NFL player
- Eugene Jolas (1894–1952), writer, translator and literary critic
- Anne Ceridwen Rees (1874-1905), Welsh medical doctor, practiced in Union Hill
- Bergenline, the town's commercial thoroughfare
- Union Turnpike
- Bergen Turnpike, the boundary between the two towns that were merged to form Union City
- Compendium of censuses 1726-1905: together with the tabulated returns of 1905 Archived 2014-06-29 at the Wayback Machine, New Jersey Department of State, 1906. Accessed May 27, 2013.
- Karabin, Gerard. "About UCNJ", City of Union City. Accessed November 26, 2010.
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- Day, Gordon M. "The Indian as an Ecological Factor in the Northeastern Forests". Ecology, Vol. 34, No. 2 (April): 329-346. New England and New York areas 1580-1800. Notes that the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) tribe in New Jersey and the Massachuset tribe in Massachusetts used fire in ecosystems.1953
- Russell, Emily W.B. (1979). "Vegetational Change in Northern New Jersey Since 1500 A.D.: A Palynological, Vegetational and Historical Synthesis." PhD dissertation. New Brunswick, PA: Rutgers University. Author notes on page 8 that Indians often augmented lightning fires.
- Russell, Emily W.B. (1983). "Indian Set Fires in the Forests of the Northeastern United States." Ecology, Vol. 64, No. 1 (Feb): 78 88. Author found no strong evidence that Indians purposely burned large areas, but they did burn small areas near their habitation sites. Noted that the Lenna Lenape Tribe used fire.
- A Brief Description of New York, Formerly Called New Netherlands with the Places Thereunto Adjoining, Likewise a Brief Relation of the Customs of the Indians There. New York, NY: William Gowans. 1670. Reprinted in 1937 by the Facsimile Text Society, Columbia University Press, New York. Notes that the Lenni Lenape (Delaware) tribe in New Jersey used fire in ecosystems.
- Robinson, Dr. Walter F. (1964). New Jersey Tercentenary: 1664-1964. Hudson County Tercentenary Committee for this information, p. 190
- Lucio Fernandez and Gerard Karabin (2010). Union City in Pictures. Book Press NY. pp. 11-13.
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- Kaulessar, Ricardo (October 3, 2010). "350 years of history; Fair commemorates founding of Jersey City, will honor the oldest families in Hudson County". Hudson Reporter. "Before there was a Jersey City or a Hudson County, the village of Bergen – the first European settlement in New Jersey, founded in 1660 by Dutch settler Peter Stuyvesant – had its origins in what is now the Journal Square area of Jersey City near Academy Street."
- Harvey, Cornelius Burnham (1900). Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Company. p. 20
- Northern Part of the Town of Union, 1873, Gleason's Old Maps, East Templeton, Massachusetts
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- Karabin, Gerard. "Brief History of Union City". Union City, New Jersey. Accessed June 18, 2013. "Eighty-five years ago on June 1, 1925, the Town of Union (colloquially known as Union Hill) and the Township of West Hoboken joined together and became one, the city of Union City."
- Union Hill Middle School. Union City Board of Education. Retrieved August 27, 2013.
- Cattuna, Emily. "Remembering a shopping mecca". The Jersey Journal. August 25, 2009. Accessed June 18, 2013. "North Hudson was comprised of Union Hill and West Hoboken until 1925, when it was divided into Union City, Guttenberg, Weehawken and North Bergen. The southern "Hub," where North Hudson met Jersey City, was the Transfer Station at Paterson Plank Road."
- Twentieth Anniversary: 1919 - 1939 West Hoboken Post No. 14 Union City, New Jersey. The American Legion. Department of New Jersey. p. 31
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- "John Corky, 79, Builder, Is Dead. Former Mayor of Union Hill, N.J. Among First to Erect Weehawken Apartments. Served As Head Of Bank. Organized the First National. Formerly Manufactured Cement Products". New York Times. September 25, 1936.
- "PAUL JAPPE". The Pro Football Archives. 2006. Archived from the original on 31 May 2015. Retrieved 31 May 2015.
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- D. R. Lewis, "The Late Anne C. Rees, M. D. (Ceridwen)" The Cambrian 25(12)(December 1905): 543-544.
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