New County Meeting

The following proposal to establish a new county named Stockton, which included Allentown and Upper Freehold, was found in the former Hightstown Excelsior:


An adjourned meeting of the voters of Mercer, Monmouth and Middlesex counties, was held pursuant to adjournment, at the Washington Hotel, Hightstown, on Monday evening, October 5, 1857. The meeting was called to order by the president. The minutes of the last meeting were read by the secretary and approved. The committee on address made the following report which was adopted.



To the inhabitants of those portions on Mercer, Middlesex and Monmouth counties, embraced    within the boundaries of the proposed new county:


The subscribers a committee appointed at a meeting held at the Railroad Hotel, in the Borough of Hightstown, on Monday September 28th, 1857, to prepare an address to our fellow citizens’ upon the subject of a new county, set off from the aforesaid counties, would respectfully submit the following considerations among many others that night be given, why in their opinion the proposed county should be created:


We submit the following as the proposed boundaries of the new county, subject to such amendments and alterations as the wants of the people interested may require. Beginning at a bridge over Crosswick’s creek, formerly Fowler’s, at the corner of Ocean, Burlington, Monmouth and Mercer counties, on the old Province Line, thence along said Province Line between the townships of Hamilton and East Windsor to the road leading from Edinburgh to Hamilton Square; thence along the middle of the said road, between the townships of East Windsor and East Windsor to the mouth of a road by a red house formerly belonging to Isaac Combs, thence along said road between lands of William I. Tindall and Nelson Silvers, to the road leading from Trenton to Cranberry, thence along the middle of the Trenton and Cranberry road to the mouth of the road leading to Princeton Basin, thence along the middle of said Princeton road till its strikes the road leading from Scheritger’s mills to the Clarksville, thence along the middle said mill road by said mills, and along the middle of the road leading from said mills to Plainsboro to Milllstone river, thence down the middle of said river to the railroad leading from Trenton to New Brunswick, thence along said railroad to the road leading from Kingston to Cross Roads, then along the middle of said Kingston road through Cross Roads, on the road leading from Kingston to West Turn Out to the road leading from Monroe Hotel commonly called Half Acre to Englishtown near Peter Voorhees’ dwelling house, thence along Englishtown road till it strikes the road leading from Peter C. Bergen’s mills, thence along the middle of said road till it strikes the road leading from Hannah Clayton’s Inn to Englishtown, thence along the middle of the said Englishtown road, and the road leading from Bergen’s mills to the southwest corner of Peter J. Dye’s farm, near the school-house, thence direct to the road leading from said Bergen’s mills to Hannah Clayton’s inn, at the mouth of a road laid through the Cornelius Hope farm, thence along the middle of said road southerly, to the road leading from Ezekiel Davison’s inn to Black’s mills; thence along the middle of the last named road westerly to the mouth of another road leading through the Samuel R. Wetherell, Joseph Rue and others to Lewis L. Combs’ dwelling house; thence along the middle of said road, southerly, leading from the Burnt Tavern to Clarksburgh; thence a due south course to the Ocean county line; thence along the same to the beginning.


We would further submit, that the unabating growth of our population, and the divisions and subdivisions of real estate consequent upon such increase in the number of our inhabitants, demand that every reasonable facility should be afforded us to have convenient access to our offices of record, of conveyances of real estate, and probate of wills. Added to this, villages are rapidly growing up in the territory proposed to be erected in said new county, by which mechanical and mercantile interest is greatly augmented, and of necessity, questions of law not unfrequently resulting in suits arise, parties are compelled at a great outlay of unnecessary expense, and loss of time to attend either at New Brunswick, Trenton or Freehold; and are taxed with the onerous expenses of taking their witnesses, in many instances, infirm persons or females, remote from their homes. Again in the matter of criminal business, complaints often trivial in their character, are brought before the grand jurors of those counties, for the more purpose of persecuting the persons against whom such trifling complaint is lodged, thereby subjecting defendants, in such cases to the cost of a defense, growing out of a complaint which never would have been made at a court held in the immediate vicinity where the pretended offence was given. And in matters demanding legal investigation, persons really aggrieved, will suffer wrong rather prosecute a suit at great and inconvenient distances from their places of abode. The territory embraced with the foregoing limits are from the extremes of the three counties above named, the boundary lines of which lie in much uncertainty and confusion. In one locality near the village of Milford, three adjoining farms lie in three different counties. Moreover the inhabitants included in the proposed boundaries have a common interest, their avocations, habits, modes of life, being strikingly similar; and unlike in many respects those beyond the proposed limits.


Another very important fact claims our attention which is that around each of the county seats of Middlesex, Monmouth and Mercer, there is a certain nucleus formed, and tax-payers from the extremes of the counties are expected as their reasonable service to hand fast as kind of comet tails, living for them and to them, and as a matter of convenience, footing bills for their more immediate comfort, and the improvement of their property—In short, we of the extremes are judged of an importance in exact ratio as our respective distances approach to or receded from these county seats. There is still another reason worthy of our consideration the proposed county should be created, which is that we have no very large or rapid streams to bridge over, while on the other hand, a great amount of the county tax (now no small sum) is expended in the erection of heavy and costly bridges—This is the case in all three of the counties.


We would also call the attention of our fellow citizens to another inconvenience under which the inhabitants of the parts of the three counties, which it is proposed to cut off, labor. A glance at the map will conclusively convince the most skeptical that the points, so to speak, of the counties of Mercer, Monmouth and Middlesex, which lie contiguous to each other in the central portion of the State, are quite remote from their respective county seats, and the inhabitants thereof when they are summoned as jurors, or for other purposes, are compelled to remain from their homes, until their business is finished, the distance being so considerable as to make it impossible to go to their homes at night and return to court in the morning. With a county constituted as proposed, this difficulty would be entirely obviated, as the small area of the new county would render it impossible to place the new county buildings very remote from any of the inhabitants.


We would further suggest the benefit in the rise of real estate throughout the proposed new county. Place your court house and county records in some central point in the new county, and lands will greatly rise in worth and value over the whole extent of the new county.


S/ Israel Pearce, John S. Robins, Thomas A. Slack, John B. Applegate, Jacob Early, David B. Wyckoff,}Committee


On motion it was ordered that the name of Stockton be given to the proposed new county.


On motion, it was ordered that the proceedings of this meeting be signed by the President and Secretary, and published in the “Hightstown Excelsior” and “Village Record.”


On motion, adjourned to meet at Windsor on Monday evening, October 12, at 7 o’clock.