Part of the American History and Genealogy Project

Township Book of Great Egg Harbor, Gloucester County, New Jersey

By Frank H. Stewart

Old Gloucester County Courthouse at Woodbury

Beginning probably in March, 1777, and extending to 1817, is still in existence and in possession of Miss Sarah A. Risley, in whose family it has been for a hundred years or more. The date is missing from the first page which is copied herewith, hut the second and third pages bear the year date of 1777. The first page unquestionably refers to men in the Revolution.

"This Day the Town Committee met at the house of James Somers, Esq., in order to consult on some means to support the wives and families of William Finch or Harris (?) and Younges Mapes who are gone into the service of this State or of the United States. Whereas the Committee hath agreed that they shall be supported and supplied one peck of Rye or corne a week. Each of them. Also it ordered that Thomas Champen supply them with one shillings worth of meats or molasses a piece a week and that James Somers supply them with the Rye or corne.

"So the Justices and assessors and freeholders Doe order thirty pounds to be raised for the needs of the poor.

James Somers, Chairman.
John Somers
Samuel Risley
John Somers
Frederick Steelman
Thomas Champan

March 11, 1777, at a Town meeting held at Great Egg Harbor, County of Gloucester, the "following officers are chosen:"

Frederick Steelman
John Somers, Juner.

Surveyors of Roads
Joseph Mapes
Recompense Scull

Ellas Smith

Joseph Dole

Overseers of the Poor
Alexander Fish
Thomas Champan
Overseers of the Roads
John Scull
Joseph Scull
James Steelman

John Somers, Sr.
James Somers
Samuel Risley

John Addams
Daniel Steelman

Town Clerk
Samuel Risley

In 1778

John Somers
Noah Smith

Joseph Mapes,
Recompense Scull

Elias Smith

Overseers of Roads
John Scull
Joseph Scull
James Steelman

Thomas Chamberlin

Overseers of the Poor
John Conenover
Thomas Thompson

Commissioners of Appeal
John Somers. Jr.,
John Somers, Sr.,
Saml. Risley

No record of new township officers appears until the year 1783, when a full list is again recorded. It is evident that during the Revolution township business lagged here, as elsewhere.

Jan'y 8, 1779, 150 pounds was to be raised for the use of the overseers of the poor of the township.

From 1775 to 1785 are records of the following named children who were placed as apprentices:

Apprentices Masters Date
Enoch Inseel David Sayrs 1775
Isaac Scull Abel Scull  1786
Joshua Lake Joseph Ingersoll  1786
Hannah Adams David Somers 1785
Richard Maps James Deal 1784
Enoch Shaw Lemuel Garrison 1785
Samuel Hex James Robart 1785
Benjamin Hofman Peter Frambes 1785
Sulvanus Hofman Andrew Frambes 1785

A foot note says these indentures may be seen at Jas. Steelman at Stevens Creek.

From 1789 to 1792 the names of the following appear:

Jonathon Badcock
Return Badcock
Timothy Bandref
Elijah Barret
William Beaston
James Belangie
Daniel Benezet, Jr.
Andrew Blackman
Joseph Blackwood

Thomas Campbell
Thos. Cartwright
Mary Covenover

Thomas Doughty

John Engarsol
Joseph English
Samuel English

Andrew Godfrey

Japhet Ireland

James Jeffryas
John Jeffries
Jonathon Johnson

Daniel Lake

James Nelson
Joseph Plummer
Thomas Powners

Richard Price
William Read
Jonathon Risley

Daniel Leeds Samuel
Joseph Sawens
David Sayrs
David Scull, Senr.
Mark Scull
Sarah Scull
Arthur Sellers
Nath. Sipple
Elias Smith
Jeremiah Smith
Joshua Smith
Noah Smith
Thomas Someor
Daniel Steelman
Sarah Steelman
John Stewart, Jr
John Stewart, Sr.
John Stuard

Daniel Tilton

James Weems
Richard Wescoat
John Winner
Richard Somers and Sophia his wife
Samuel Risley and Judith his wife

From a few pages of indemnifying bonds concerning the poor children of Great Egg Harbor twp., we are able to record the overseers of the poor, also the bondsmen:

Overseers Bondsmen Date
Hugh McCollum Edward Higbee Feby 1772
Amos Ireland Eve Smith Feby 1772
David Sayrs Andrew Carson July 1772
Jacob Somers Isaac Scull July 1772
Amos Ireland John Aarons July 1772
Abner Doughty   July 1772
John Ingersoll David Sayrs 1774
Joseph Scull Lemuel Sayrs 1774
Samuel Risley Gideon Badcock 1776
James Steelman Return Badcock 1776

Throughout the book, which is very dilapidated, are several entries regarding stray hogs and cattle.

The reversed rear part of the township book, to the number of about one hundred pages, is filled with copies of Apprenticeship papers carefully made out by the overseers of the poor. The first thirty pages are missing, so that the first of these records now begins in the year 1779 and the last in 1832.

The apprentices, as a usual thing, were to be taught to read and write, and in some instances arithmetic as far as the single rule of three.

The amount of wearing material due at the expiration of the contract was always carefully specified, and it is noticeable as time progressed that the expiration terms became more favorable for the apprentice. In the later years a suit of broadcloth, a cow or a heifer was not uncommon. The principal businesses to be learned were blacksmithing, wheel-wrighting, seamanship, husbandry, housework, spinning.

New Jersey AHGP

Source: The Township Book of Great Egg Harbor, New Jersey Society of Pennsylvania, Volume 1, Compiled by Frank H. Stewart, 1917

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