West Jersey Tract Dwellers, 1782-1788”

New Jersey Genealogical Magazine, Vol.70, p.126
by Roxanne K. Carkhuff

Special thanks to Wendy Heitzman for sending me this article for our use.

            The West Jersey Society was organized in 1691-2 as a stock company composed of 48 members, mostly London residents, dividing 1,600 shares. Their objective was “carrying on a trade to the sd. Places in America for the Promoting & Carrying on of several other Useful and necessary Designs for mutual Advantage”. West Jersey Proprietor Doctor Daniel Coxe, who purchased five shares of West Jersey making him a chief Proprietor owning about one-fifth of its territory, conveyed to the West Jersey Society on 4 March 1691-2 its first large tract of land. Subsequently other tracts were added to their holdings which were surveyed into farm lots, mapped and numbered. A designated agent acted on behalf of the owners to lease farms and collect rents and sell and convey lands.

            One of the agents , possibly James Parker, produced the document entitled “Memorandum of applications made for purchasing & Leasing Farms divided and undivided in the Society 1782 & 1783,” transcribed hereafter which was found among the Parker Family Papers, MS #18, in the collections of the New Jersey Historical Society in Newark. It is transcribed with original spelling and punctuation ( or lack thereof) retained to preserve the family names and relationships which are of genealogical interest.

            James Parker [1725-1797], a Perth Amboy lawyer, was an agent for West Jersey Society properties in Hunterdon and Sussex Counties belonging to Sir Robert Barker, an absentee British landlord.

[December 1782}

Frederick Jordan wants to try a slip of the undivided lands between him and

Anthony White’s land Bartholemews it contains from 20 to 60 acres, wants to know the price & terms of payment he’ll give what Nightingale gave.

“December” and say two men from Pennsylvania wants to buy about 300 acres including the place Joseph Snider lately lived on now the widow Osmun’s & would ge flad to know the price & payments.

Isaac Oaks will try a slip between the place he lives on & what Nightengale is to have

            And offers the same price Nightingale gave for his.


Jan’y 1783


Myndert Fairly that married Tunis Mellick’s daughter wants the place Philmallee

            [Felmely] lives on No. 56 234 acres to purchase or rent he offers £650 for it in

            purchase or £500 for 150 acres he offers to rent it and put it in the best fence &

            repair and give £25 for the first year & £30 per year for 4-5 or 6 years after.

Jacob Leninghen wants a place he is to look at Lott No. 30 – 245.7 acres now in the

            possession of Henry Hoffman. I offered it to him as £12 per acre.


Martin Bogart agreed with him for 7 years lease of Lott No. 50 – 345 acres now in

            the possession of Michael & Peter Hover he is to pay £16 per acre for it to repair

            the House & set 6,000 rails for which he is to be allowed £8 of[f] the first & £4

            of[f] the 2d year’s Rent, to give up the place if I sell it during the Lease & to leave

            it in good fence & repair & see the memorandum signed by both of us.

Jacob Bustover who lives in Sussex wants to hire the place Wm. Schaffer lives on

            No. 31-222 acres I am to view the place to see what improvements may be made

            on it & enquire Bustover’s character and let Wm. Snider his son in Law know

            whether he can have it Snider lives near Garret Siccles. [Note in the margin: he

            gave it up & its leased to Chris Teats]

John Shurtz agreed to lease him the place Christian Lutz lately lived on at the rate

            of  £7 per ann. the rent to begin from the 25th March next but he is to take posses-

            sion  of it immediately by himself or some other person that he may think proper

            to put into it to take care of it until the spring. I am to have the Liberty of selling

            it, etc. See memorandum signed 21 Oct 1782. [Note in the margin: he has given

            it up by my consent.]

[blank] Dickinson who lives near Potters Town this day 29 January [17]83 applied to

            me to know if I would lease out the stream and woodland adjoining it above my

            saw mill for him to erect a Forge upon he says the seat for the Forge is between

            the saw mill & Solomon’s he offers to build a Forge with two fires for the use of

            her 10 years & then to deliver her up, to build one with two fires for a lease for

            25 years at 4 tonns of Barr Iron per annum or to build one with two fires and

            to give me up one as soon as built to employ as I think fit & he to have the use

            of the other for 50 years in either case he to have a sufficient quantity of wood

            to cut coal on during the Term he says he will oblige himself not to cut any coal

            wood but after the fall of the leaf & while the sap is down which being observed

            he says in thirty years the growth will be so quick that the woodland will be better

            than when it was first out. I am to consider of it but don’t seem to incline much

            to have anything to do with a thing I don’t understand.



[Dated in the margin Jan 29, 1783]

Jacob Bustover was with me about the place which I agreed to let him have at £12 per              ann and to allow him £7 per ann out of the rent for two years for his building

            a barn and enclosing it in good fence which he agrees to do & is to get 3,000 rails

            on it at cost gave him a notice to Peter Bird to warn him off and to prepare for

            giving up the possession in the month of April next. [Note in margin: see Chris-

            tian Teets below.]






Adam Dennis Feb 8, 1783 called on me to know if he could have the place Christian

            Lutz lived on that I have agreed to lease to John Shurts who was to have gone

            on it or to have got somebody to have taken the possession of it for him in

            November last and as he has not yet done it perhaps he may have altered his mind

            therefore told Dennis I would consider of it & if Shurts did not stand to his

            bargain I would let him know and endeavor to come to some agreement about it.

            Michael Bareth sent this man to me and he tells me he could have brought a

            Recommendation from him but he could not write English.


March 8, 1783 Christian Teets. Having rec’d a note from Jacob Bustover that he

            could not take the place No.31 that I agreed with him for, Christian Teets came

            to me for it and I agreed with him for it and I agreed to let him have it for seven

            years at the same rate to witt at £12 per ann. he to get 3,000 rails & build a Barn

            the two first years for which I am to allow him £7 a year and he is to go off of the

            place if I sell it anytime within the term.


March 26, 1783 agreed with Lucus [Teller?] for the place late in the possession of

            Christian Lutz for 7 years at £7 per ann he to build a house & as per agreement

            see the agreement.


Agreed with John Shirtz for the place in possession of Sam. Peterson for seven years

            at £5 per ann, he to be allowed the two first years Rent for building a house and

            other repairs see the agreement this is Company lands.


March 13, 1784 conversed a great deal with Mynder Farley he offered me £625 for

            the place Philmallee lives on 1 paym next Spring £200, 2d £200 3d £225. He is

            to consider of it & come again in ten days.


March 17th agreed to let John Moore have the saw mill place at £10 per ann Hyde

            is to build the house as agreed for and Jn Moore is to see to it and whatever

            he does that is attended with Expence is to go out of the rent as it becomes



At Spencer Carter’s October 16, 1788, Thursday


The widow Mary Severns applied and claims a promise, having been turned out

            from Hell Town of a place she wants it for her sons in law Isaac Bonnell and

            Peter Templer she  wants Henry Snyders’s place adjoining the mills consider

            of this matter.


Joseph Pegg’s place


Jediah Schooley and Pegg married sisters, wants the place Pegg lives on would

            give full rent & retain her and family in the House for the benefits of such

            of her children as are able to assist him in working the Farm and Pegg’s

            family under his wife to be considered.




[then follows a list of names presumably tenants on the West Jersey Society’s tract]


Thomas Sands, principal collier

John McDaniel, collier

Jacob Forsbinder, wood cutter

Henry Snyder, Hell Town

John Moor, Byerlys, sells wood on Hell Town mountain

Joseph Anderson, is plowing up all the land on the place

The Possession of Philip Fine in Greenwich that he bought of Alexander White and

            that he bought of Emrod under Kitchen’s survey interferes with Barker’s land

            Vannest’s place What he bought of Alex White was a survey to Arthur Cook

            what he bought of Kirchen was a survey to Henry Kitchen, 600 acres Mr. Emley

            thinks in the year  1716, but thinks Cook’s was before Byerly’s survey

            write to Daniel Ellis for these surveys [of] Hilby & Kirkbride.



 Persons that have applied for places not yet leased:


Adam Leonard for Philip Fine’s his brother John Leonard

Robert Johnson, son of Ralph for P. Kinney’s

Wm. Runkle for P. Kinney’s

James Tomson for Jones on the river, agreed

John Tomson Jr., Delaps on the river

James Saltar recommended by Jno. Cooley

Henry Case recommended by Ja. Tomson very strongly

Philip Medlar recommended by Ja. Tomson

Jacob Vanderbelt recommended by Ja. Tomson, small farm

Asa Reed recommended by Ja. Tomson strongly

Wm. Osmun by Molly Emley.

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