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Document recovery and amnestry public notice missing documents

In 2009, the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey funded a joint proposal from the New Jersey State Archives and the West Jersey Proprietors to conserve a number of 17th-century documents relating to the Western Division of the Province of New Jersey. The parchments include the 1664 lease and release of New Jersey (or “Nova Cæsarea”) to John, Lord Berkeley and Sir George Carteret, and subsequent proprietary transactions. They bear signatures and/or seals of James, Duke of York (later King James II), and West Jersey’s founders, including William Penn. While these manuscripts were protected by the Proprietors for over three centuries, in order to safely reproduce and display the documents in the future, professional treatment was needed.

In preparation for the grant proposal, the State Archives procured treatment plans from the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia, PA. Proposed treatments included cleaning, repair, re-housing and other measures. The presence of intact, ancient wax seals makes conservation and digitization of these manuscripts especially challenging. Further, their large size requires specialized scanning equipment.

The Society for Colonial Wars’ funding of the first phase of the West Jersey Charters Conservation project allowed for five parchments to be conserved. As a result, the Duke of York’s 24 June 1664 release could be publicly exhibited at New Jersey’s birthday celebration at the State Museum in June 2009. Members of the Society of Colonial Wars in the State of New Jersey participated in the celebration.

In 2010, the State Archives and West Jersey Proprietors applied for further funds from the Society of Colonial Wars to continue the West Jersey conservation project. The Society granted funds for treatment of the West Jersey "Calculations Book," which documents the process of laying out and severing proprietary title to the lands settled by New Jersey’s earliest immigrants. The book itself represents a history of the proprietors and West Jersey surveyors and also contains a number of specific, unique surveys.


The West Jersey Proprietors Deposit

Conserved Documents

Conservation in Progress

 

West Jersey Proprietors Deposit

In December 2005, after several years of planning and negotiations between the proprietors and the State Archives, the West Jersey Council unanimously resolved to deposit its vast archive with the State. The deposit is indeterminate, meaning that it is intended to be a permanent means to provide both professional care and public access to the documentary treasures of West Jersey. For further information about the West Jersey Proprietors Deposit and our commemorations of it, please consult the following website: http://archives.nj.gov/links/wjp.html.

Within the West Jersey archive are New Jersey’s most ancient colonial indentures. While these documents were transcribed into record books in East and West Jersey, the Proprietors’ original parchments bear the signatures and rare—if not unique—examples of the wax seals of William Penn and his associates.

 

Conserved Documents

 


(recto of 23 June 1664 lease)
 


(verso of 23 June 1664 lease)


(recto of 24 June 1664 release)
 
(verso of 24 June 1664 release)

James, Duke of York's lease and release of Nova Caesarea to Berkeley and Carteret,
23 & 24 June 1664
(two documents)

 
Tripartite indenture in which William Penn, John Fenwick and Edward Byllinge divided their rights in West New Jersey, 9 February 1674/75
  Indenture, William Penn, Gawen Lawry, Nicholas Lucas and Edward Byllinge to others for six ninetieths of the ninety one-hundredths of West New Jersey, 22 January 1676/77

(page 1)
 

(page 2 and 3)
Quintipartite indenture, Sir George Carteret, William Penn, Gawen Lawry, Nicholas Lucas and Edward Byllinge, establishing the partition of New Jersey, 1 July 1676

Conservation in Progress

   
First page of the Surveyor General's "Calculation Book," which includes surveying instructions and other unique material, ca. 1688-1791