Tuesday, April 10, 2012

William Penn didn't sleep here

While George Washington did sleep here, in much of Morris County, no, William Penn didn't own all the land in the county, prior to his death in 1718. (Actually, he wasn't here much, traveling between England and Ireland.) Penn was one of 36 proprietors in East and West Jersey, acquiring some of his interest in a debt sale after George Berkeley's death.

Land transfers and holdings in Morris in the colonial period are obscure and ill-defined, in part because property boundaries are described as "to a corner white oak tree, thence crossing it again" .."crossing ye said river again to another white oak corner tree, thence..." One good storm and there go the property boundaries? We've posted an overview and suggested resources for 17th c property titles research.

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