James P Snell.

History of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : online

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of Julni II, irk, ii. Ahruni Vim lumpen, mid Jacob tjtaru, deceaeed, aud
Utile with il„ in for Hie sum ol Two Hundred Pound*, with tli

iln« ii"- u, advai I i,i the Treuanrei ul the then l'i „- to pnr-

11 iru for the uae of the Inhubllanta.f Alao to cult on Kn-
il. ...,,, -I I'etUt, Ban,., r,.r their account • •! the Nolee delivered bint tu be
ptusei uted I-, the n iui di liverud.]

In pursuance of an order of the justices and free-
holders, March 1 t, L783, th< following letter, ad-
dressed to the town collectors "i the several town-
ships, was written, and twentj copies of it sent to the
Baid colle store:

" Ni « ,., us, loth May, 1783.

"Sin,— In tl.-ii-l Li ii, Juatl i ■■!„. 1. 1. i- in tl.. ii l,i-i M».,.|.

N llfy all the delinquent Collector! thai unhue they do I >m< In

iinil make pnyi i in thirty day« limn the date hi re ,i lo prosecute for

ii,,' Arrearagea Jue - }.,n will ihcrufoi

" 1 uni jour very hble Borv'l

"£u« ii .i Iji m ip, ' ., r,,//,."

It is bul just in Bay that collecting taxes at this
Bate Lite close of the long and exhausting Beven
war of the Revolution was no easy task. The
strength and resources of a people whose endurance
■■"ul -I, ri tii i- will ever be the wonder of the world
had become so depicted, and the currency so depre-
ciated iii, n collecting and paying the heavj taxes
bromptly were uexl u, impossible. The list of those
to whom the above notice was sent embraced some
ul the best men of the county, Peter l>. Witt, of
Newton; George Armstrong and Stephen Shiner, of
Hardwick; John Decker and James Cudeback, of
wantage; Edmund Palmer and David Johnson, of
Mansfield; John Lund} and Reuben Manning, of
Enowlton; William White and Jacob Wyekotf, of
Oxford; Thomas Van Kirk, of Uardyston; Petei

Kinnej und John Scl ley, ot Greenwich; < in i-lx-rt

ktfin and Edward Lodar, of Sandyston ; Abraham

ran Campen and Ezekiel Schoonover, of Walpack;

Bosephus Westbrook and James Brink, of Montague.

The difficulty about the tax <|ii istion at this date

will be seen bj the following extract copied fr the

Bcords :

I - i,M - -i ui i Grand Juij of the County pn

"' ' provide the inhubliaiita ot Suaeex with bread

I ,-•

I : , .

'" l; " ii,-,ii,,i,i,-; - reconla "Ordoied thai Nathaniel

V I'-i . 'I II.-. i |,.. i .,i Hi, Two Hundred uoundaduu to 111 I

l'i rluee whl Ii In ..«n-i Imj. I ene fol the aa ii not

I pit ueniii tlie in- 1 duo "' ^ugiui uexl " Dan d Unj
l l.ted



tinea and Preeboklera fur raJBing m iiilea fi.r tlie Countj - uae; Raying by
Hurt, Attorney at Law, in o|ieu Court Ihnl 11 «..- ,1 powoi Uiey
were uol forested with.

" ai raid i , ■ ■ 1 1 r,,i the Justice* and l

on tlie 18th of June next, adveitlsnl and -i.-n.-,l by Timothy

(onlj byordei ol the C t; whuicaa tlie nl method of ad

la to be -ijin-l by tl tlirJUtrutm The Board then |«ying attention

in Hi.- above notlfli allot i and proi lud to liuaiui -

which would uol pi (iintnirj to Law) il gh Illegally calli

It' 1 be lui - whl I. wa> Join ,i. n eatdj tu U»,ul tl. Ii Aunuiil Heotlug.

" Iu the Interim -in- of the debts wei leredtobi

l„iiil by Edward Duiilnpaud the mine pera.mii, by the but but
buanljliaa it In their power to Call l-i the aiune enni

" Man Ii 1 1, 17- ; Onlcrcl, Thai sum ul fourteen | i- Hftucn

shillings be allowed Uipt Janice It muell for seventeen

ii «iiii :i Petition fol the Aaaembly
- ■ ii -in i'i.- l'i-i,ii-i- lulu ,i.ii,,i,i- .17-1 to get a l ■i.ii'.iuy nf
Levies raised for their protectiou ugalnal tin -

Thul Hi- -in. ,r two hundred pouuda be allows Edward

1 1«l' ' 'nun Colli tin i Itllng mid arraoglng the accuunte ul the

C ii.v prevlone lo hut i„- n_- i j r .Hector."

"July ill, 17kj._ Onlenl, That the aum of eight poundi fifteen ahil-

"nw n" ii pence oh nil .wed Col. M,..k Thompson for Colli

-'M. .1 a—..,,- Dupll alee uud rur Currying them to tin- Aaaembly at
Mount ll.,lly."

The following was the " Quota of Sussex, settled
Feb. 22, 1789," of the 6100,000 tux:



Newton ....
Hardwick .

Wantage ..,
MauaHeld..,
Knowltou..,

Oxford

II ,, ,.i ,,
1. 1- i I. .

Sn; ,li-t.|,

Wulluack...

Mullliimu...



■Il-.l


i.;


ll«l






17




In


'.1 '1.


17


871


7




II


llM.'l


In



D due 2342 \'<



CHAPTER III.

THE BOUNDARY-LINE CONTROVERSY.
f.-A GKNEllAL STATEMBNT OF Till': DIFFICULTY.
Tin: county nl' Sussex was without :t Bettled north-
ern boundary until 1772. the line between the prov-
inces of Ni» Jersej and New York not bavin*
definite!} determined prior tu that date. The dispute
nil. itit the boundary and the respective claims under
New York and New Jersey patents involved the right
to :t considerable strip of country — two hundred and
hi] 1 1... ii-:i in In rrr- in the ni irt hcrii part of New Jersey
which was awarded to New York in the final settle-
ment There probably never would have been any
i ni- difficulty about the boundary line had
not certain patentees of the Mini-ink and Waway-
anda patents been disposed to stretch their claims
over :i portion of Northwestern New Jersey, and to



i| It i t very i tear, bul n- purport aeeuia

,. I.' Hint - mi ■ "I I






150



SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.



regard them as " floating patents," to be located
according to the will or fancy of the holders. This
greed to extend their patents over a part of New Jer-
sey and to appropriate the lands of neighboring set-
tlers led, first, to serious contentious, resulting fre-
quently in open violence between the two sections
upon the borders of the territory in question, and,
S3Condly, to a befogging of the boundary line be-
tween the provinces, which was originally clear and
well defined.

II.— THE ORIGINAL BOUNDARY.

The original boundary between New York and New
Jersey extended from the Hudson River to the Dela-
ware in a direct line to the most northwardly branch
of the Delaware, at a point on that river in latitude
forty-one degrees and forty minutes, or, as was always
understood, to Cochecton, or Station Point.* This
point was fixed as the true termination of the bound-
ary line on the Delaware by royal commissioners and
by the surveyors-general of both provinces, in pursu-
ance of a joint act of the two legislatures, in 1719,
and the " Tripartite Deed" and accompanying maps
were drawn up and deposited in the archives of the
respective provinces as a solemn voucher to the set-
tlement. So well established was this fact that it was
recognized in all subsequent deeds of conveyance and
maps of the country. There is in the possession of
many persons, probably, in this county, a map of the
middle colonies of Great Britain in America, pub-
lished in Philadelphia by Lewis Evans in 1755, in
which the boundary line referred to, from the Hudson
to the Delaware, is run directly to Cochecton or Sta-
tion Point, whereby the whole Minisink patent and a
large portion of the Wawayanda grant are appor-
tioned to New Jersey. In addition to this, the
same line was reaffirmed by royal patent in the erec-
tion of Montague from Walpack in 1759, when the
northernmost limit of the township was expressly
fixed at Cochecton or Station Point. Moreover, deeds
are recorded in which conveyances were made in that
section by the Jersey proprietors.!

Nothing further was needed to establish the right-
ful claim of the New Jersey people to that portion of
their territory which became the subject of long dis-
pute, litigation, and conflict, amounting nearly to a
civil war, and which was finally, through the in-
triguing avarice of designing landholders, wrested
from them and given to a neighboring colony. The
history of this conflict forms a long and excited
chapter in both the annals of Sussex and those of
the adjoining county of Orange, N. Y.

* In the grunt of New Jersey l>y Mis Royal Highness James, Dnko of
Yirrk nnd Albany, June i!3, 1004, tu L<ml Berkeley unci Sir George Car-
teret, the northern l> lury Isdcscriboil: "to the northward as fur 08

Hi.: northen ist brunch of the mid bay or river of Delaware, which is

in forty-one degioee mid forty minutes of latitude,, and workcth over
thence In n straight line to llnds niV Ittvei'."

t s.re Chapter VII, mi il Piutl I in Line between East iin 1 West

JelSey," |in, 41-40, In this Work.



III.— CONFLICTING LAND-CLAIMS.
The conflict of the settlers upon and near the di-
vision line between New Jersey and New York began
to develop itself as early as the beginning of the
eighteenth century. In November, 1700, according
to the " Journal of the Colonial Assembly of New
York," the attention of the Governor was called to
the subject, and it was recommended that measures
should be taken to have the partition line defined.
No decisive action, however, appears to have been
taken at that time, and the people were left to fight
their own battles, unassisted by any government or
local municipal aid, until immediately after the erec-
tion of the county of Sussex. That event developed
a new phase in the conflict. The people of Sussex,
who had always been disposed to maintain their
rights even when trespassed upon by superior num-
bers, now saw in the extension of civil authority over
their long-neglected region a means for the redress of
their grievances, and the county officials sympathized
strongly witli the popular feeling. The arrest and
imprisonment of several of the intruders who had cov-
ered New Jersey rights with New York land-grants
soon followed, giving unmistakable evidence that
further aggression would not be tolerated. The effect
of this action upon the New York authorities may be
judged of to some extent by the following extract
from the minutes of the General Assembly of that
province :

" April 24, 1754.— The Hon. James 1). Liulcey, Esq,, Lieut. -Governor,



■nte.l I



I folio



"Gknti.emk.n,— The division lino between this Government and the
Province of -New Jersey not being sottled kills given rise to great ttininlts
and disorders among the people of Orange County and the adjacent In-
habitants of New Jersey, and may produce worse evils unless prevented
by timely care. Nothing can answer this purpose so effectually, I think,
as the fixing of a Itiiqinriirij line of jreace between ub until His Majesty's
pleasure shall be known in the matter. Governor Belcher assures Die of
his sincere desire that amicable and conciliatory measures may be fallen
upon by the Governments to make the borders easy, and I have proposed
to him the running of such a line conformably to the opinion of His
Majesty's i oilncil, signified in Hie report to me, which I eluill order to bo

laid belure you; and if it receive your uppi ilioll, I shall forthwith

appoint Commissioners for the running oi such line of peace, and apply
to that Government to do the like on their part."

That the authorities of Sussex County made it warm
for the Orange County intruders about this time may
be inferred from the following paragraphs extracted
from the report made to the New York Assembly on
Oct. 29, 1754. Of course, due allowance must be
made for the local and party coloring. The extracts
read:

•' That the people of New Jersey have from time to time, for a con-
siderable time past, collected themselves in large bodies, and with vio-
lence have arrested divers of Mis .Majesty's subjects, holding lands under
Ibis Province, to the northward of said hounds, and have taken posses

"That lb.- tiovei iiineni. of New Jersey hath, within a few years past,
erected a new comity called Snss<-\, ;i greal part ol which they have ex-
tended many miles noi iliwnrd ol' the buuiids afocoBiiid.

"That Justices ill Hie Peine nod oilier officers have been, and are from
time to lime, appointed ill the said county, and do from time to time cx-

„i V j s ithoiilv ami jurisdlcti ver the persons and possessions of a

great number of Ills Majesty's subjects, holding their lauds under and
paying submission to the Government of this colony.






TIIK Hor.XDAUY-LINH CONTKOYKKSV.



1.-.7



" That in cimKct|iioiicn of tho exerclM of snch authority end jurisdic-

ti His Majesty's Justice* of tho IVai-e And other siibordinal

ami ministers in mill f..r Orange Conuty have been freqtientta beateu,
in '■ni i i'i|, mill prevented in the execution .-f tholr respective nlB
prisoners, nnd carried Into pari ol Nev J i ey raniote from their habi-
tation* mill tho opportunity "f belnp relieved, mul have 1 n thrown in-
to Jail and held to excessive hall, and prueecuted by Indictments, and that
others of III-* Majesty's sulijectfl belonging to Orange County have also
Del wiiii -imiim treatment

"That din people of New Jersey have also, from time to time, mi. I as
. i ' ■ i ■. ■ ■ ■ i ii' s . i . . 1 1 , t laudaof Orange
County,

" That they frequently ueeet the houses of His Majesty's niljecti in
Orange County hy night, and attempted i-> -. i/.- mil take prisoners ench
of His Mul and are encouraged In do this hy tin

I. pge rewards made in them, and are alsu actually kopt in pay lor tlial
purpose bj tin- proprietors of Bast New Jersey,

'•That tin- c misaloners of highways for tlie said new county have

laid ;i new highway through Hlnielnk aforesaid, which now, by the

above-mentioned ooitduct of the people "f New Jersey, i- almost, If not
entirely, reduced in subjei lion t" the goi ■■' Dmonl "t" New Jei -.-> ,

"Thai (I,.' public officers "t Nee. Jei ley assoss and raise t..\"* upon the
people dwelling 0. the Northward of said bounds, by which nieuus muuy
have been prevente 1 from paying their proportion of the taxes ol Orange

County for re than n year |nist, Some of il 1 have 1 n olilijwd t"

desert their poneenona ami retire in tin' Northwardly parts of Orange

Ot ty, while 11 row, more r lute than tin- rest, are redi 1 to tin- ite-

ouverllng their dwellings into places of defense, and go armed
fur fear "( some sudden attack.

"Timt 11 gh tlie Committee could produce many instances of this

kin. I, they oouflue th selves 1 which bap] I very lately.

Thomas De Key, Col 1 of tin- Uilll ti and Justice ..r the 1 u

I ■ ' 1 1 1 1 r >■ . win. mi. plantations are claimed by th- people >>f New

lie within the aforesaid new County, thongh lie. nnd those
uii'i'i whum he claims, have held them ami been settled upon them
I' 1 Nee York nigh fifty yeare, Audlng himself extremely vexed, dis-
turbed, aud disqnluted by tin- people "f Now Jersey, wenl t" .In s

Alexander, Esq., tol Rl* majesty's Oouucll fur this Province, aud also

Jersey Province, aud who is one of the Proprietors ol the East-
ern Division of New Jersey, of great Interest tliore, and esteemed 0110 of

the most active persons ei ig them, to ondeavoi to nueagree-

t it with him, in "i.l.'i Hi .t li" might rem tin qulel until th- line was

Anally settled Bui the sal 1 Alexander refused 1.. consent to nuythlng of

thai kind, unless th" said De Key would agree t" hold In- Inn. Is ler

Nov Jei ■. , become a Jereeyman, anil Aght, as he expressed it. t"i New

.1 1 n 1111-t New V01I, 1 pie; an. I told him at tbosame time if he

would .1.. so he should neither waut 1 ey nor commissions, mil .t be

Would in . 1 do so, I." should 1 rp eaesse 1 "t hit plantations. This Col.

De Key 1 ifusing t.. . j,i\ with, a short lime iift.-r a number of

mi I in.-ii from New I y .aim- t.. th" I, f th" sal I Col. 1'" Key,

erving them approach in such manuer, shut himself up in his

On which they drew up [lefon hi d km and some "i them i a ked

thai nudpresentod Iheni towards tlie window where Col. 1'" Key

st I, sweating they would si t him through the heart, that they would

starve hi tarn! bum the houso over his head ; and

or child attempted t.. es npe, tiny would shoot them down; that tiny
bad strengtl ugh to take all when, mil would do it in time, How-
ever, they then withdrew without lurtbei violeuce, ami upon theli do-
partui them said to Col. De Key, 'Take care of yourself, for we
will have yon sol "

This report was considered on Nov, 8, 1754, and a
resolution passed in lay the. same before His Honor
Lieut.-Governor De Lancey, with the request that he
would exercise jurisdiction over tin- disputed territory
till His Majesty should be pleased t" declare his
pleasure with reaped to the further jurisdiction of this
province. Col. Beekman ami ('apt. Winne, the c im-
mittee, reported that they had laid the report before

• James AU'MimhT hml a very v: I rea-smi [..rieln n .

veyor-geuernl of both Basl tud ; had i ..i the prin-
cipal officers ,.t ti„. i-i., w Axing th.- north itatlon-p mil. in ITI". ami

h.' verj well I « that th" Jersey i pis had Justl a theft side.



the lieutenant-governor, who was pleased to say that
" II. would consider thereof, anil lay tin- same before
I li- Uajesty's < louncil."

Thus the controversy remained till February, 1756,
when a new memorial was presented t.i tin- House by
th. proprietors ol' the Minisiok anil Wawayanda
patents, dated Feb. 1". 1756, which was ordered t'> be
printed. This memorial wae md contained

a legal argument upon tin. points in dispute. We
have no! learned what lawyer furnished tin- sophistry
by which "to make tin- worse appear tin- better
reason" in this famous report. It certainly went
li (fore the kin": ami hi- Privj < louncil in such a shape
as iii mystify ami befog tin- ancient boundaries, ami
the learned author was probably well rewarded hy the
Minisiok ami Wawayamla patentees.

"The tuts of violence," -ays .Mr. Eilsall, " whieh
were committed under this boundary dispute, tin- re-
mi nbered only in part, and it would he quite a- well
wire they all forgotten. The aeeounts we have "i
.11 come through New York Bources, and in-
variably represent tin- New Jersey claimants as the
aggressors. If this he true, New York, in the final
settlement of th.- matter, managed to turn the blows
whieh ber citizens received to quite profitable account,
for she certainly obtained about one thousand
of land for every New Yorker who was thntshed,
even though the number thus flogged by the 'Jersey
Blues' be -it down at full two hundred."

We give only another statement touching this mat-
ter, from the New York point of view :

" Maj. Swartwout reshleil on the lands in dispute.
if thr Jersey claimants were watching tor tin
opportunity to enter his house ami get possession
before he could procure help from his neighbors, He
was aware of it, and, to counteract the attempt and
the invaders, kept a number of guns ready
loaded in his house, with some additional men to
work his farm and lend assistance in case of emer-
gency. He was a bold, resolute man, an. I feared by
those who wished to dispossess him. Notwithstand-
ing his precautions, it appears that at a certain time,

in the year 1780, his family were expelled ami his

i: I- remoi ed out of the house, and possession taken

by the intruders. This was in his absence and while

hi- wili' was confined to her bed by the birth of a

child, ami it caused lor death.

"In urih-r to reinstate tin- major, assistance was
procured from Goshen, whieh, with the neighbors,
i oncluded to go Becretly ami lay in ambush on a hill

in a piece ofw I- near the major's houc

( lumaer should go to the house and discover tie- situ-
ation 'if the enemy, and when tho opportunity became
favorable for them to enter the house, then t" L r '« into

tin- orchard ami throw up an apple a- a siirmil for tho

party to come on. After tho party bail ainbushed
themselves and the opportunity became favorable,
Qumaer left the house, went into the orchard, and

throw up an tipple, whereupon the party rtl-hnl into



158



SUSSEX COUNTY, NEW JERSEY.



the house, expelled the inmates and reinstated the
major.

"The occupants, now fearing that they might he
taken by surprise, managed to have a spy among the
Jersey claimants, at some twenty miles' distance,
through whom, from time to time, they received in-
formation of all the projects of the Jersey claimants.
. . . The last struggle between the parties was to cap-
ture and imprison the major and Johannes West-
brook, both of whom lived on the battle-ground.
Any open effort to capture the major was known to
be environed with great difficulty, and the Jerseymen
undertook to effect it on the Sabbath at the door of
the Machackemack church. This was between the
years 1764 and 1767, while Rev. Thomas Romeyn was
the pastor. To accomplish it they had collected a
strong party, who came armed with clubs on the day
appointed and surrounded the church. After the ser-
vices were ended and the major and Capt. Westbrook
had gone out, they were captured and made prisoners
after a harsh rough-and-tumble struggle. The major
was taken and confined in the Jersey prison, from
which, however, he was soon released."*

The probability is that the authorities of Sussex
did not recognize the legality or propriety of such
proceedings, and so gave the captured and imprisoned
major a speedy release.

IV.— SETTLEMENT OF THE BOUNDARY LINE.
The remaining branch of this subject is the settle-
ment of the boundary line. As already intimated,
the great difficulty in the way of a speedy and amic-
able adjustment of the controversy was the desire and
purpose on the part of certain claimants under the
Minisink and Wawayanda patents to effect a settle-
ment in favor of their claims. This, by delay and
intrigue with government officials, and by obscuring
and confusing the original boundaries, they finally
succeeded in accomplishing only in part. The people
of New Jersey, although protesting against any alter-
ation of the original bounds of the province, were
anxious and ready for a settlement, and were willing
to co-operate with New York in the adoption of any
fair measure for the adjustment of the difficulty.
This is proved by the fact that, in October, 1748, an
act for running and ascertaining the line between the
provinces passed the Assembly of New Jersey and
was laid before the Assembly of New York for their
objections, if any were to be made. Before the House
had acted upon it the inhabitants of Orange County,
all along the line, got up a petition against the act,
and presented it to the House, desiring to be heard
by counsel. This was granted, and on Oct. 28, 1748,
the petitioners were heard by counsel against the
New Jersey act. On the 29th the House considered
the objection against the act, and

" HaoUeil, That they woro strong and well grounded ; that the peti-
tioners hike measures, if they boo fit, to oppose It; and that the Speaker

* Engcr'a " History of Orange County," pp. 378, :170.



transmit their objections to Mr. Charles, Agent for the Colony in Great
Britain, with directions to oppose said Act when it shall ho transmitted
for His Majesty's royal assent.''

Mr. Charles wrote back to know whether the ex-
penses of opposing the law were to be borne by in-
dividuals or by the public, whereupon the House
resolved that they be paid by the public. Thus New
York had a powerful lobbyist before the Crown to
influence the decision against New Jersey, backed up
by the public treasury of that colony, while New
Jersey had no agent to defend her rightful claim.
It is a matter of history that during this time, and
for many years afterwards, the authorities of the
general government of N ew Jersey were strangely
inactive respecting their interests involved in the dis-
pute. " New Jersey unfortunately dozed over her
rights, while New York was wide awake."t It has
been stated that if the General Assembly of the
province had followed up the initial proceedings
with half the boldness and discrimination which
characterized the officials of Sussex County, New
Jersey might have been the gainer in a large extent
of territory unjustly shorn from her northern border.
"The county of Sussex had been organized barely
eleven months before the New York Assembly had
an elaborate report drawn up, giving its own version
of the boundary difficulties and artfully setting forth
the facts so as to exonerate its own citizens and
throw all the odium of all the breaches of the peace
upon the persons who held their lands by virtue of
New Jersey grants." In this report, after befogging
the case as much as possible in reference to what
stream might be regarded "the most northwardly
branch of the Delaware," or what part of that river
is in latitude " forty-one degrees and forty minutes,"
the "main consideration upon which New York
rested her claim is acknowledged to have been the
location of the Minisink and Wawayanda patents,
both of which had their boundaries so imperfectly



Online LibraryJames P SnellHistory of Sussex and Warren counties, New Jersey : → online text (page 40 of 190)