Why West Jersey is dated on this site from 1674 rather than 1676

Many sources use 1676 as the earliest date for West Jersey. That was the year that a formal, and lasting, deed was created (the Quintipartite Deed) and the year the first 'constitution' was dated. It was in 1674, however, that John, Lord Berkeley sold his 'half-interest' in New Jersey to Quaker John Fenwick (on behalf of the bankrupt Edward Byllynge). Also in 1674 the grant for the 'half-interest' of Sir George Carteret was re-affirmed by James, Duke of York and the wording of that grant established the first, though short-lived, boundary line demarking the south-western limit of Carteret's share (the "Barnegat-Pennsauken" line).

Between 1674 and 1676 Penn and others were doing the planning and politicking that led to the 1676 deed and 'constitution.' The first Quaker settlers arrived in the Salem area in 1675 (Fenwick was too impatient to wait for Penn and company). So just as we recognize 1776 as the birth of the U. S., rather than 1788 when the constitution took effect, it is appropriate to date West Jersey from 1674 when it was established as a Quaker colony and given a provisional border with 'the other part' of Jersey.

As for the ending date of 1703: the surrender of the proprietors of East and West Jersey to the crown took place over many years. King William originally accepted the surrender in 1701, but no government was actually in place to replace the proprietary governments until the royal governor, Lord Cornbury took the oath of office in August 1703. The first session of the first Colonial Assembly of New Jersey as a royal colony did not occur until November 1703. (Thanks to Paul Schopp for providing this last insight and encouraging the use of 1703, rather than the traditional 1702, as the end of the proprietary government of West Jersey).

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Last updated: 2015 Eleventh Month, 9th.