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- Collection Description & Creator Information
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Vail Family (Jacob and Robert): Surveys, 1853-1858
Collection Description & Creator Information
The New Jersey Documents Collections, 1601 to 1983, consists of New Jersey legal documents, the bulk of which are from the town of Westfield, Union County, with the earliest documents showing Westfield as part of Essex County. In addition to Westfield, areas represented include Rahway and Plainfield in Union County; Woodbridge and Newark in Essex County; Hunterdon, Middlesex, Monmouth, and Somerset counties; New York City and Suffolk County in New York; Wabash County in Illinois; and Fairfield County in Connecticut. The majority of the collection material dates from 1750 to 1890 and contains deeds, indentures, and land surveys; financial records including accounts, promissory notes, and receipts; estate records including inventories and wills; Chancery, Pleas and N.J. Supreme Court records; and an arithmetic "cyphering" book. The names most frequently represented on these documents include various members of the Baker, Downer, Hetfield, Johnson, Miller, Pierson, Ripley, Ross, and Woodruff families, many of whom were connected to each other by marriage and business.
In 1839, the Reverend James Huntting, pastor of the Westfield Presbyterian Church, wrote that Westfield parish was settled about the year 1720. He listed these families among the early settlers: Acken, Badgley, Baker, Brooks, Bryant, Clark, Connet, Cory, Craig, Crane, Davis, Denman, Dunham, Frazee, Frost, Hendricks, Hetfield, High, Hinds (Haines), Hole, Jennings (Gennings), Lambert, Littell, Ludlum (Ludlow), Marsh, Meeker, Miller, Mills, Pierson, Robinson, Ross, Scudder, Spinnage (Spinning), Terry, Tucker, Willcox, Williams, Woodruff, and Yeomans. While not all of these family names are represented in the container list of the finding aid, it is important to note that almost all of them are represented within the collection.
The collection is arranged alphabetically by family name; followed by groups of records that are either unidentified or the family name appears only once in the collection. Deeds and indentures are sorted by the recipient of the land or loan; therefore, multiple families will appear in a single folder, even though they are not identified. For example, records of Pierson family members are represented most heavily in the Pierson family folders, but will also appear in the Baker, Ross, and Woodruff folders, in addition to the miscellaneous deeds and indentures folder, in which case they were the seller or loaner rather than the recipient of land.
Items of note include a brief of legal disbarment against Edward C. Ripley, divorce records for Eleanor and Cornelius Fleet circa 1793, estate inventories, and survey maps of the Westfield, New Jersey region. Also of note is the folder entitled "Miscellaneous Westfield and Union County Records," which includes a hand-drawn map of the railroad in the village of Westfield; lists of roads from Westfield; a list of proprietors of the Westfield Academy; and commitments to the Essex County Jail from Union County, containing name, crime committed, ethnicity, age, hometown, and sentence. Researchers interested in the history of Westfield, New Jersey and its early residents, legal records of early New Jersey, and the land transfers and evolution of property in Westfield will find this collection of great value.
- Archival Appraisal Information:
No material was separated during 2012 processing.
Access & Use
- Access Restrictions:
The collection is open for research.
- Conditions for Reproduction and Use:
Single photocopies may be made for research purposes. No further photoduplication of copies of material in the collection can be made when Princeton University Library does not own the original. Inquiries regarding publishing material from the collection should be directed to RBSC Public Services staff through the Ask Us! form. The library has no information on the status of literary rights in the collection and researchers are responsible for determining any questions of copyright.
- Credit this material:
Vail Family (Jacob and Robert): Surveys; New Jersey Documents Collection, C0522, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library
- Firestone LibraryOne Washington RoadPrinceton, NJ 08544, USA(609) 258-3184
- Storage Note:
- Firestone Library (mss): Box 2