DISCOVER                               ENGAGE                                SUSTAIN

Background to the 350th Anniversary

Although New York was settled by the Dutch in the early 1600’s, Monmouth County was only occasionally visited by white traders. In 1663, political change was in the air, and the Dutch would soon lose control of the Greater New York area in 1664 when the Dutch Governor of New Amsterdam, Peter Stuyvesant, surrendered to the English.


This political unrest resulted in various maneuvers by local administrators and potential settlers. In December of 1663 both Dutch and English interests visited Monmouth County by boat to start negotiations with the local Native Americans about land purchase and settlement.


In 1664 the first settlers started to arrive in Monmouth County by way of greater New York and New England. Monmouth County still has very significant evidence of early settlement and there are copious historical details of the events that transpired. The entire sequence of events is described in "History of Monmouth County" by Franklin Ellis, Publ. 1885. The original is in the Library of Congress.

The text below is an extract from Page 56 onwards that provides a background for the events that occurred in 1663-1665. Other sections of this book describe the original native population and its displacement by European Colonists.




The first time that the soil of Monmouth County was ever trodden by the feet of white men was on the 5th of September, 1609, when a boat's crew belonging to Captain Henry Hudson's little ship, the " Half-Moon," landed upon the southern shore of Sandy Hook Bay (at a place which cannot now be identified), and traveled thence a short distance inland, returning later in the day to the ship, and there giving enthusiastic accounts of the majestic forest-trees, and the strange wild flowers and fruits, and people that they had seen in their short journey of exploration. The incidents of this land trip by Hudson's sailors into the woods of what is now the county of Monmouth have already been more fully mentioned in a preceding chapter, as also the subsequent killing of one of their number undefined John Colman undefined by the Indians, and the interment of his body in the sands of the Monmouth shore, at a place which they named in his memory " Colman's Point." It was the first burial of a white man in the soil of the present State of New Jersey; but the location of the spot where his comrades made his lonely grave can never be known.


From that time, for more than half a century, the Dutch, claiming the right to all this region by virtue of Hudson's discovery, held possession of it (though only nominally as concerned the interior portions) undisturbed, except temporarily by the appearance of Captain Samuel Argall with his ship and soldiers at New Amsterdam, in 1613, as has already been noticed.


During all that long period the Hollanders had established a town where New York now is, and another at the site of the present city of Albany, with straggling settlements at several intermediate points on the Hudson River, and two or three small ones along the Hackensack, as far south as Newark Bay, called by them the Achter Koll; but these remained their frontiers, while beyond them, to the west and south, and also southeastwardly to the ocean shore, the country still remained a wilderness, and in possession of the native Indians. Among them a few of the more adventurous Dutchmen from New Amsterdam had penetrated for a short distance up the kills and rivers ; but their visits were for purposes of trade only, and not made with a view to the forming of settlements.


The Dutch colonists at that time living along the Hudson were merely traders, and most of them had come to America for that especial purpose. But they had about them none of that bold spirit of pioneering enterprise which impels men to seek new homes in the forest; and so, although for the sake of gain they frequently ventured on trading journeys among the Indians, whom they (not without good cause) regarded with distrust and dread, they chose to smoke their pipes and drink their schnapps in quiet and comparative safety at their settlements on the Hudson, the Hackensack and Long Island, rather than take the trouble and incur the danger of opening new plantations and forming new settlements in the interior. And these are the reasons why the region of country now embraced in the county of Monmouth remained without white inhabitants until the Dutch power was overthrown in New Netherlands, and the country was brought under English rule.


The surrender of New Amsterdam, in 1664, by the Dutch Governor, Peter Stuyvesant, to the English, represented by Sir Robert Carre and Governor Richard Nicolls, has already been noticed. It was a matter of course that the establishment of the English rule over the region between the Hudson and Delaware Rivers would cause the immediate and rapid extension of settlements in the Indian country beyond the Dutch frontier, and it does not seem improbable that some foreknowledge of King Charles' intention to expel the Dutch from their possession of New Netherlands was the principal cause which induced a party of about twenty English, all or nearly all of whom had previously lived in the New England colonies, but most of whom were then settlers on Long Island, to set out in a sloop from Gravesend, L. I., in December, 1663, and sail across the bay to what is now Monmouth County, for the purpose of purchasing lands of the Indian sachems, with a view to settlement. Some knowledge of the movements and operations of this party, during their visit to the Navesink and Raritan Indians, is to be gained from the following extracts from vol. xxi. of the Albany Records ; being an account of a trip to the same region, and within two or three days of the same time, by a party of Hollanders (evidently traders) from New Amsterdam, viz.: " 1663. undefined Voyage to Newesing [Navesink] made in the Company's sloop, and what happened during the trip. There were on the sloop Captain Martin Creger, Govert Loockermans, Jacques Cortelyou, Peter Zevel, with ten soldiers, two sailors and the Sachem, with a savage from Staten Island.


"6th December. undefined We sailed from the Manhattans [New York] about three o'clock and arrived about evening, at 6 o'clock, at Staten Island, where the Sachem of said Island, with the savage, went on shore. They remained about an hour and then returned. Hoisting again our sail, we sailed through the Kil Van Kol, arrived at the back of Shutter's Island upon shallow water, cast our anchor and stayed there until next ebb tide. We raised our anchor again about three in the morning and rowed down with the ebb to the Creek behind Staten Island. Somewhat later in the morning we hoisted our sail and tacked until the ebb tide was over, and then again cast our anchor. The flood tide being gone about two o'clock in the afternoon, we raised the anchor and tacked again.


" We discovered a sail towards evening, which we approached and spoke to them. It was Peter Lawrenson and Jacob Cowenhoven, with a small sloop. They said they had been out to trade for venison. We both tacked together, with our sloops the same evening, towards the end of Staten Island, and cast there our anchors just opposite the Raritan River, where we saw two bouses with Southern Savages. Cowenhoven informed us that the English, in an open sloop, nineteen strong, sailed the day before up the Raritan River, where the Indians of the Newesing and Raritans were collected together about three miles up on the River. The Savages communicated the same. We remained that night before Raritan River in order to sail up the next morning and follow  the English. In the morning the wind blew very heavily from the northwest so that we could not proceed up the Raritan River, and we were compelled to stay there all day. We determined then to send the Indian John by land to the savages of Newesings and Raritans, who were assembled about three miles up the Raritan River. This we did at once, with verbal orders that he should tell the Sachems of the Newesings and Raritans that we were laying with our sloop before the River, and we wished that they would come here and have a talk with us. We also told John to tell the Sachems if some English had arrived or were actually among them with the view to purchase lands of them, that they should not sell it to the English, as they had not even asked it of the Dutch Sachems on the Manhattans, and came there secretly. That if the Sachems of the Newesings wished to sell some land, that they should come to us and we would talk it over with them. John, as soon as the sun arose, departed to tell the Indians, Avhile we remained before the River.


" December 9th. undefined We saw in the morning, about nine o'clock, the English sloop coming down; we immediately raised our anchor and sailed towards them. Arriving near them, we asked from M'hence they came, on which the Captain, Christopher Elsworth, answered ' from the River.' We asked what he had done. He answered that he 'brought the English there.' We told him this was wrong; it was against our Government to act in this manner, and that he should answer for it; on which William Goulding cried out, 'It is well, it is well.' In the vessel were Charles Morgan, John Bowne, James Holbert, John Totman, Samuel Spicer, Thomas Whitlock, Sergeant Gybbings ; from the First Bay, a man named Kreupels-Bos ; one from Flushing ; two from Jamaica [L. I.], and a few more whom we knew not, to twenty in number. On the same day, in the afternoon, about three o'clock, John, the Savage, returned, whom we had sent in the night to the Newesing Sachems, who were encamped at a considerable distance from the Raritan River. John, the Savage, brought to us six or seven savages, who told us that the English, before John, the savage, came to them, had arrived there and presented the Savages with some rum and two fathoms of black wampum and one of white, after which they asked them if they would sell to them some land. In the mean time, John, our Savage, came, when the whole thing terminated and the English left.


'' December 10th. undefined We departed again from Raritan River, accompanied by two Indians, who were acquainted with the lands of the Newasings. We went down the bay and arrived at the creek which enters between Rensselaer's Pier1 and the said point ; we met here again Christopher Elsworth in his little sloop, and the English sitting on shore near the creek. We went with our boat on shore and went towards them, along the strand. When we approached them we saw every one standing with their weapons. When the Sheriff, Charles Morgan, and John Bowne advanced towards us, I asked them what their business was. They answered they were trading. We replied : If they went to trade, why had they such a strong force with them ? They said Indians were villains and could not be trusted; and therefore they went in such numbers. We told them we were informed they came to purchase land from the Indians. They answered: 'We only went there to see the lands.' We again told them that they ought not to undertake to purchase any land of the Indians, as the largest part was already purchased by the Dutch. John Bowne then asked me, 'under what Govern-ment I presumed that they resided? 'I answered that they lived under that of the States-General, and under that of the Director-General and Council here. To which he replied: 'Why, then, are we not permitted to trade and explore lands as well as you ?' I answered him that they ought not to undertake to purchase any lands from the Indians, except they had previously obtained the consent of Governor Stuyvesant and Council; to which John Bowne replied : ' It shall be well.' Then said Christopher Elsworth, 'I told them the same before, that they should not do it.' Govert Loockermans told them then:

1 " In the old Dutch records the Navesink Highlands are sometimes called Rensselaer's Point or Hook, and sometimes Rensselaer's Pier. This last name no doubt originated from the appearance of these hills to a vessel far out at sea. The adjoining lowlands lying below the horizon, the hills project boldly and squarely out and resemble a pier or wharf, to those on a vessel far out on the ocean.'' undefined Bon. O. 0. Beekman.

'ye are a party of traitors, and you act against the Government of the State.' They said 'the King's patent is quite of another cast.' Loockermans asked 'from whom have you your pass ?' and they answered 'from the Manhat-tans.' Loockermans retorted, 'Why do you act, then, against the State? 'To which Charles Morgan answered ; ' Sek noty bey affet'

"The English had their savage with them, who was of the Newasings, and had a hand in the murder of Mispath's Kil1 as our savage informed us, whom we had taken with us in our sloop and carried hither, and his name was Quikems, living on the Newasing River at the land called Townsing. We left the English along shore and went up the river about four miles, along the shore under the West Hills, where the country is very mountainous. On the opposite side, as the savage informed us, the soil was very poor, but some good land, undefined old [Indian] corn-fields and some planting-ground, which I had before explored with Courtelyou. Then we crossed the hilly part, about nine miles, and perceived by a sign on board that Christopher Elsworth with his sloop and the English had entered the River. We remained before it during the night.

1. The murder, previously referred to, of Aert Theunissen Van Patten, who was killed by Indians in October, 1643, while on a trading expedition.

"December 11th. undefined The wind being southwest, we resolved to sail towards the Manhattans, which we did."

In this account it is noticeable that the English people, by their sneering retort to the Dutch, who accused them of being traitors, undefined viz.: "the king's patent is quite of another cast," undefined showed a fore-knowledge that the English sovereign was about to make a grant of the country to the Duke of York, and to send a fleet and land force to place him in possession of it. It is also to be noticed that both the Dutch and the English were distrustful of the Indians, the Dutch having a guard of ten soldiers, and the English being there in strong force and armed. "That the Dutch were familiar with the region adjacent to the rivers and other navigable waters is evident through the whole narrative, and especially where the writer mentions the old Indian corn-field " and some planting-grounds, which I had before explored with Courtelyou." They had sailed up and down the rivers and kills in pursuit of their vocation as traders, but they had made no attempt to plant any settlements there. On this occasion they told the English that they (the Dutch) had already purchased the greater part of the lands from the Indians; but this was false, and was only told for the purpose of driving the English away. The Dutch had bought no land of the Indians in this region, nor is anything found tending to show that they had ever thought of such purchase; but when they found that the English were here for that purpose, their jealousy became aroused, and they at once sent their " Indian John" up the river with the message "that if the Sachems of the Newasings wished to sell some land, they should come to us and we would talk it over with them." The tenor of the entire narrative shows plainly enough that at that time there were no permanent settlements of white people within the region referred to.

Among the names of the men composing the party of land- seekers from Long Island, as given in the preceding account, are those of William Goulding, John Bowne, " Sergeant Gybbings " (Richard Gibbons), Samuel Spicer and others, who soon afterwards became land-owners and settlers within the territory of Monmouth County.

They made two or three other journeys from Long Island to the south shore of the bay, and finally concluded the purchase from the sachems of the three " necks" of land known by the Indian names of Newasink, Navarumsunk and Pootapeck, the first-named being bought first, and the two others included in a subsequent purchase1. Newasink was the region lying between the bay and Navesink River, and extending northeast to the Highlands of Navesink1 embracing the site of old Middletown. Navarumsunk was the " neck" lying between the Navesink and Shrewsbury Rivers, including the place where the Shrewsbury settlement was afterwards made, frequent references to "Shrewsbury on  Navarumsunk" being found in old records. The "neck" of Pootapeck is supposed to have been that lying south of Shrewsbury River. The western and southwestern bounds of these Indian purchases were too vaguely defined to be identified at the present day.

1. The tract of Newasink was purchased from the chief, Poppamora, and his people. All the expense of the purchase, including the payment to the Indian in money, black and white peague, guns, one anchor of brandy, tobacco,  clothing, wine, the services of men and boats for several voyages made, and for the recording of the deeds in New York was £149 6s. lOd. The second purchase, undefined of Navarumsunk and Pootapeck Necks from several saohemsundefined amounted to £359 10«. in the same kind of outlay as the first. The account was rendered to the patentees and associates July 6, 1670

Soon after the surrender of New Netherlands by the Dutch to the English, and the establishment of the authority of the Duke of York by his Governor, Colonel Richard Nicolls, the latter issued (in the fall of 1664) a printed proclamation, which he caused to be widely distributed, for the purpose of promoting the formation of new settlements in the country under his jurisdiction. It was as follows :

" The Conditions for new Planters in the Territories of his Royal Highness, the Duke of York.

" The Purchases are to be made from the Indian Sachems, and to be recorded before the Governour.

" The Purchasers are not to pay for their Liberty of Purchasing to the Governour." The Purchasers are to set out a Town and inhabit together.

"No Purchaser shall at any Time contract for himself with any Sachem without consent of his Associates, or special Warrant from the Governor.

" The Purchasers are free from all manner of Assessments or Rates for five Years after their Town Platt is set out, and when the five years are expired they, shall only be liable to the publick Rates and Payments, according to the custom of other Inhabitants, both English and Dutch.


" All Lands thus purchased and possessed shall remain to the Purchasers and their Heirs as free Lands, to dispose of as they Please.


' A tract at the Highlands was reserved by the Indians, it being the same on which Richard Hartshorne afterwards located.


"In all Territories of his Royal Highness Liberty of Conscience is allowed, provided such Liberty is not converted to Licentiousness, or the Disturbance of others in the Exercise of the Protestant Religion.


" The several Townships have Liberty to make their particular Laws, and deciding all small Causes within themselves.


" The Lands which I intend shall be first Planted are those upon the West side of Hudson's River, at or adjoining to the Slopes ; but if any number of Men sufficient for two or three or more Towns shall desire to Plant upon any other Lands, they shall have all due Encouragement, proportionable to their quality and undertakings.


"Every Township is obliged to pay their Minister according to such Agreement as they shall make with them, and no man to refuse his Proportion, the Minister being elected by the Major part of the Householders, Inhabitants of the Town.


" Every Township hath the free choice of all their Officers, both Civil and Military, and all Men who shall take the Oath of Allegiance, and are not Servants or Day Labourers, but are admitted to enjoy a Town Lot, are esteemed free Men of the Jurisdiction, and cannot forfeit the same without due Process in Law.



The people from Long Island and the New England settlements who had commenced their negotiations with the Indian sachems in December, 1663, and subsequently concluded the purchase from the natives of the tracts of Newasink, Navarumsunk and Pootapeck, having thus already complied with the first of the conditions prescribed for such as wished to obtain lands, under Nicolls' proclamation, made early application to the Governor for a grant to cover the Indian purchases which they had made and others which they intended to make of adjacent lands ; upon which, in April, 1665, the Governor issued to them a patent, as desired, of which the following is a copy :


" To all to whom these presents shall come, I, Richard Nicolls, Esq., Governor, under His Royal Highness, the Duke of York, of all his Territories in America, send greeting : Whereas, there is a certain Tract or Parcel of Land within this Government lying and being near Sandy Point upon the Main ; which said parcel of Land hath been with my Consent and Approbation bought by some of the Inhabitants of Gravesend, upon Long Island, of the Sachems (chief proprietors thereof), who before me have acknowledged to have received Satisfaction for the same ; to the end the said Land may be planted, manured and inhabited, and for divers other good Causes and Considerations, I have thought fit to give, confirm and grant, and by these Presents do give, confirm and grant unto William Goulding, Samuel Spicer, Richard Gibbons, Richard Stout, James Grover, John Bown, John Tilton, Nathaniel Silvester, William Reape, Walter Clark, Nicholas Davies, Obadiah Holmes, Patentees and their Associates, their Heirs, Successors and Assigns, all that Tract and Part of the main Land, begin- ning at a certain Place commonly called or known by the Name of Sandy Point, and so running along the Bay, West North West till it comes to the Mouth of the Raritan River ; from thence going along the said River to the Westermost Part of the certain Marsh Land which divides the River into two Parts, and from that Part to run in a direct South West Line into the Woods Twelve Miles, and then to turn away South East and by South until it falls into the main Ocean ; together with all Lands, Soils, Rivers, Creeks, Harbours, Mines, Minerals (Royal Mines excepted), Quarries,  Woods, Meadows,. Pastures, Marshes, Waters, Lakes, Fishings, Hawkings, Huntings and Fowling, and all other Profits, Commodities and Hereditaments to the said Lands and Premises belonging and appertaining, with their and every of their appurtenances, and of every Part and Parcel thereof. To Have and to Hold, all and singular, the said Lands, Hereditaments and Premises, with their and every of their Appurtenances hereby given and granted, or hereinbefore mentioned to be given and granted, to the only proper Use and Behooff of the said Patentees and their Associates, their Heirs, Successors and Assigns forever, upon such Terms and conditions as hereafter are expressed, that is to say : that the said Patentees and their Associates, their Heirs or assigns, shall within the space of three years, beginning from the Day of the Date hereof, manure and plant the aforesaid Land and Premises, and settle there one Hundred Families at the least ; in consideration whereof I do promise and grant that the said Patentees and their Associates, their Heirs, Successors and Assigns shall enjoy the said Land and Premises, with their Appurtenances, for the Term of seven years next to come after the Date of these Presents free from Payment of any Rents, Customs, Excise, Tax or Levy whatsoever ; But after the expiration of the said Term of Seven years the Persons who shall be in the Possession thereof shall pay after the same Rate which others within this, his Royal Highnesses Territories, shall be obliged unto. And the said Patentees and their Associates, their Heirs, Suc- cessors and Assigns, shall have free leave and liberty to erect and build their Towns and Villages in such Places as they in their Discretions shall think most convenient, provided that they associate themselves, and that the Houses of their Towns and Villages be not too far distant and scattering one from another ; and also they make such Fortifications for their Defence against an Enemy as may seem needful. And I do likewise grant unto the said Patentees and their Associates, their Heirs, Successors and Assigns, and unto any and all other Persons who shall Plant and Inhabit in any of the Land aforesaid, that, they shall have free Liberty of Conscience, without any Molestation or Disturbance whatsoever in their way of Worship.


And I do further grant unto the aforesaid Patentees, their Heirs, Successors and Assigns, that they shall have Liberty to elect by the Vote of the Major Part of the Inhabitants five or seven other Persons of the ablest and discreetest of the said Inhabitants, or a greater Number of them (if the Patentees, their Heirs, Successors or Assigns shall see cause) to join with them, and they together, or the Major Part of them, shall have full Power and Authority to make such peculiar or prudential Laws and Constitutions amongst the Inhabitants for the better and more orderly governing of them as to them shall seem meet ; provided they be not repugnant to the publick Laws of the {government ; and they shall also have Liberty to try all Causes and Actions of Debt and Trespass arising amongst themselves, to the Value of Ten Pounds, without Appeal, but that they remit the hearing of all Criminal Matters to the Assizes of New York. And furthermore I do promise and grant unto the Patentees and their Associates aforementioned, their Heirs, Successors and Assigns, that they shall in all Things have equal privileges. Freedom and Immunities with any of his Majesty's subjects within this Government, these Patentees and their Associates, their Heirs, Successors and Assigns rendering and paying such Duties and Acknowledgements as now are or hereafter shall be constituted and established by the laws of this Government, under the Obedience of his E-oyal Highness, his Heirs and Successors, provided they do no way infringe the Privileges above specified.


Given under my Hand and Seal at Fort James, in New York, on Manhatans-Island, the 8th Day of April in the 17th year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord, Charles the Second, by the Grace of God, of England, Scotland, France and Ireland, King, Defender of the Faith, &c., and in the year of our Lord God, 1665.



"Entered in the office of Record in New York, the Day and Year above written.



This grant by Governor Nicolls was and is known as the "Monmouth Patent." It embraced parts of the present counties of Middlesex and Ocean, and all of what is now the County of Monmouth, except the township of Upper Freehold and the western part of Mill- stone. The patentees and their associates commenced their settlements immediately at Middletown and Shrewsbury, and during the  summer and fall of 1665 a large number of people, nearly all of whom were from the Long Island and Rhode Island settlements, had made their permanent homes at these points.


During the succeeding four years their numbers increased quite rapidly, so that in the year 1670 there were at Middletown and Shrewsbury and in the region to the westward and northwestward of those places, within the limits of the present county of Monmouth, more than the requisite number of one hundred families.^


The following list embraces nearly all those who were at that time settlers or owners of shares of the lands of the Indian purchases. A few of those who were owners of lands did not settle on them, but the greater part of the names here given were those of heads of families, and the remainder, except the few non-resident share-owners, were single men, but actual settlers.


John Bowne, Richard Stout and three others, five families in all came in the spring and summer of 1664.

End of Extract

Copyright © Navesink Maritime Heritage Association

Navesink Maritime Heritage Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to engaging Eastern Monmouth County with maritime and water related historical, skill building, environmental, and recreational activities, and encouraging responsible use of the Navesink estuary through its Discover, Engage, and Sustain approach

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software