East Jersey

The Province of East Jersey, along with the Province of West Jersey, between 1674 and 1702 in accordance with the Quintipartite Deed, were two distinct political divisions of the Province of New Jersey, which became the U.S. state of New Jersey. The two provinces were amalgamated in 1702. East Jersey's capital was located at Perth Amboy. Determination of an exact location for a border between West Jersey and East Jersey was often a matter of dispute.

Province of East Jersey
The original provinces of West and East Jersey are shown in yellow and green respectively. The Keith Line is shown in red, and the Coxe–Barclay Line is shown in orange.
StatusColony of Kingdom of England
CapitalPerth Amboy
Common languagesEnglish, Dutch
GovernmentConstitutional monarchy
Colonial governor 
Philip Carteret (first)
Andrew Hamilton (last)
Preceded by
Succeeded by
Province of New Jersey
Province of New Jersey

The area comprising East Jersey had been part of New Netherland. Early settlement (including today's Bergen and Hudson counties) by the Dutch included Pavonia (1633), Vriessendael (1640) and Achter Kol (1642). These settlements were compromised in Kieft's War (1643–1645) and the Peach Tree War (1655–1660). Settlers again returned to the western shores of the Hudson River in the 1660 formation of Bergen, New Netherland, which would become the first permanent European settlement in the territory of the modern state of New Jersey. During the Second Anglo-Dutch War, on August 27, 1664, New Amsterdam surrendered to English forces.[1]

Between 1664 and 1674, most settlement was from other parts of the Americas, especially New England, Long Island, and the West Indies. Elizabethtown and Newark in particular had a strong Puritan character. South of the Raritan River the Monmouth Tract was developed primarily by Quakers from Long Island. In 1675, East Jersey was partitioned into four counties for administrative purposes: Bergen County, Essex County, Middlesex County, and Monmouth County. There were seven established towns: Shrewsbury, Middleton, Piscataway, Woodbridge, Elizabethtown, Newark, and Bergen. In a survey taken in 1684, the population was estimated to be 3,500 individuals in about 700 families (African slaves were not included).

Although a number of the East Jersey proprietors in England were Quakers and the governor through most of the 1680s was the leading Quaker Robert Barclay, the Quaker influence on government was not significant. Even the immigration instigated by Barclay was oriented toward promoting Scottish influence more than Quaker influence. In 1682, Barclay and the other Scottish proprietors began the development of Perth Amboy as the capital of the province. In 1687, James II permitted ships to be cleared at Perth Amboy.[2]

Frequent disputes between the residents and the mostly-absentee proprietors over land ownership and quitrents plagued the province until its surrender to Queen Anne's government in 1702.

Summary of Boundary Lines[3]
Date Boundary Name Description
1674 Original Duke of York Line

(did not recognize John Fenwick's holdings)

Barnegat Bay to Rancocas Creek on the Delaware River just north of present-day Philadelphia.
1676 Quintipartite Deed Line

(between George Carteret on the East, and William Penn, Gawen Lawrie, Nicholas Lucas, and Edward Byllynge on the West, except for 10% to John Fenwick)

On the north from a point 41° 40' latitude on the Delaware River extending southward on a straight and direct line to the east side of Little Egg Harbor.
1687 William Emley / John Reid Adjustment (commissioners from West and East Jersey respectively) Adjusted description on the Delaware fifty minutes more westerly due to magnetic compass variation
1687 Keith Line aka Province Line

(Surveyed north only to the south branch of the Raritan River)

Stopped by Governor Daniel Coxe of West Jersey and Governor Robert Barclay of East Jersey
1688 Coxe-Barclay Line Survey Extended the Keith Line from the Raritan River along specific properties that defined the eastern boundaries of present- day Morris and Sussex Counties and the northern border of Somerset County
1696 Thornton Line Survey Attempted to correct errors from previous surveys
1702 East and West Jersey United Violence became so obsessive, that East and West proprietors gave up their individual governing rights to Queen Anne
1743 Lawrence Line Survey

(Land ownership disputes continued. West Jersey proprietors attempted to fund survey but failed. East Jersey Proprietors then hired John Lawrence)

Adopted by NJ supreme court in 1855 as the final arbiter of all land disputes. Today defines boundary for Walpack, Sandyston, Stillwater, Hampton, and Green Townships


See: History of the New Jersey State Constitution#East Jersey Constitution

Governors of East Jersey (1674–1702)

Philip Carteret1674–1682
Robert Barclay1682–1688
Edmund Andros1688–1689Governed as the Dominion of New England
Andrew Hamilton1692–1697
Jeremiah Basse1698–1699
Andrew Hamilton1699–1702

See also


  1. New Jersey Guide to Its Present and Past (Federal Writers' Project of the Works Progress Administration. New York: The Viking Press, 1939)
  2. "America and West Indies: October 1697." Calendar of State Papers Colonial, America and West Indies: Volume 16, 1697-1698. Ed. J W Fortescue. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office, 1905. 1-4. British History Online website Retrieved 15 March 2019.
  3. Snyder, John. "The Story of New Jersey's Civil Boundaries: 1606–1968" (PDF).

Further reading

  • Winfield, Charles H. History of the County of Hudson, New Jersey (New York: Kennard & Hay Printing Company, 1874)
  • Harvey, Cornelius B., ed. Genealogical History of Hudson and Bergen Counties, New Jersey (New York: The New Jersey Genealogical Publishing Co., 1900)
  • John Fiske. The Dutch and Quaker Colonies of America. Vol. I (New York: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1903)
  • Lovero, Joan D. Hudson County: The Left Bank (Sun Valley. CA: American Historical Press, 1999)

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