Contents and Arrangement

Wills, Zebedec M., 1843 January 5

1 folder

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information


The New Jersey Collection, dating from 1648 to 1931, is a grouping of material relating to New Jersey history, with emphasis on some of the more notable people involved in politics, government, and the legal system. In particular, there is significant material regarding James Parker (1766-1868) and Peter D. Vroom (1791-1873). The collection is arranged in eight series, "Correspondence," "Legal Records," "Financial Records," "Land Records," "Estate Records," "Government Records," "Military Records," and "Miscellaneous Records."

The "Correspondence" comprises the bulk of the collection and dates from 1753 to 1924. This series is arranged alphabetically by the author of the letters, and, for the most part, recipients of the letters are identified. Researchers will find letters of many of the governors of New Jersey, including Leon Abbett, Joseph Bedle, Joseph Bloomfield, Mahlon Dickerson, George F. Fort, John Franklin Fort, John W. Griggs, Daniel Haines, John Lambert, George B. McClellan, Franklin Murphy, William A. Newell, Charles S. Olden, Joel Parker, William Pennington, Samuel L. Southard, E.C. Stokes, Foster M. Voorhees, Peter Dumont Vroom, Marcus L. Ward, David O. Watkins, and Isaac Halstead Williamson. Included with a letter of John Lawrence is a copy of his journal regarding land subdivision in New Jersey in 1743. The largest number of letters in the collection were written to and from Peter D. Vroom (1791-1873), who served in the New Jersey Assembly from 1826 to 1829, as governor of New Jersey from 1829 to 1836, as a representative in the United States House of Representatives from 1839 to 1841, as delegate to the New Jersey State Constitutional Convention in 1844, and as United States Minister to Prussia from 1853 to 1857. The majority of these letters relate to court cases.

The "Legal Records," dating from 1761 to 1891, include court records, powers of attorney, and miscellaneous records. Of interest may be the extracts of Sussex which appear to be very brief reports of cases, dating from 1814 to 1826. Further, a drawn-out court case between the Trenton Water Power Company and Robert Chambers dates from 1832 to 1861.

"Financial Records" includes accounts, bills of sale, bonds, checks, insurance policies, promissory notes, receipts and stock records, dating from 1752 to 1919. Researchers will find that James Parker, Peter Voorhees, and Peter Dumont Vroom are well represented.

Deeds, maps, and mortgages are contained within the "Land Records" series which dates from 1648 to 1920. Researchers interested in Mount Holly, New Jersey will find a significant number of maps and surveys, showing the evolution of the land, properties, and town over the course of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

"Estate Records" are arranged alphabetically by name of estate. A listing of estates included in each folder is provided in the inventory.

"Government Records," dating from 1772 to 1909, includes appointments signed by numerous governors, oaths of office, diplomatic records, incorporation acts, inquisitions, indentures (for servants), summons and tax records. Of interest may be the inquisitions held at the time of what are presumed to be suspicious deaths, and a significant number of indentures for servants which were administered by the Overseers of the Poor of Warren Township in Somerset County. Also included in this series are writings by Peter D. Vroom, including a student paper, "Logic Compendium for Examination," and a "Thanksgiving Proclamation."

The "Military Records" series contains documents dating from 1777 to 1918, with the bulk relating to the Civil War, and in particular, the 2nd Regiment of New Jersey Volunteers. The Baptist Town Volunteers and the Locktown Volunteers are best represented.

Finally, the "Miscellaneous Records" series includes material on the Brig Henry; education in New Jersey (such as a teacher license, a certificate of merit, order of exercises for the Woodbridge Academy, and minutes of meetings of the Board of Education); New Jersey State Prison accounts; patents; information regarding the Bethel M. Episcopal Church, the Diocese of New Jersey, and the Old Tennant Church; and three documents regarding slavery. The documents relating to slavery include two documents regarding slave sales (Peter sold in Charleston, South Carolina in 1849 and Hannah sold in Essex County, New Jersey in 1781) and a complaint against Prime, slave of Captain John Perlee, for assault and battery in 1810.

Collection History

Archival Appraisal Information:

No appraisal information is available.

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:

Wills, Zebedec M.; New Jersey Collection, C0523, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

Firestone Library
One Washington Road
Princeton, NJ 08544, USA
(609) 258-3184
Storage Note:
Firestone Library (mss): Box 3