All of Branchburg, NJ

Historic Information

The Historic Information to follow was researched, designed and drafted by:
The Lore Office
65 Harlan School Road
Branchburg, New Jersey 08876

The Lords Proprietors of East Jersey and the First Land Grants

In the late 1600s, James Duke of York, Brother of King Charles II of England, granted patents for all the land in New Jersey, and the right to form a government, to two groups of proprietors. The West Jersey Proprietors were Quakers seeking religious freedom. The East Jersey Proprietors were mostly Scots seeking wealth. Almost all the land in Branchburg was first granted in large tracts to the individual proprietors themselves. On this map the original land grants are set off in different shades of green. Biographical information is given about these men where you see coats of arms. Although a few of them made efforts to establish plantations, most were purely speculators, and all sold their land to the real first settlers within a few years. A number of them were very wealthy and influential Scots at a time when the King of England was a Stuart of the Royal Scottish Line. During the period when the first land grants were being made in Branchburg, one of the major issues to face the Proprietors was the establishment of a line to separate the two provinces. One line that was proposed would have been drawn from Little Egg Harbor directly through what is now Somerville. But when the dust settled, Governors Cox and Barclay agreed on September 5, 1688, that the line should run “straight from Little Egg Harbor to the most westerly corner of John Dobie’s Plantation as it stands on the South Branch of the Raritan River …”thence to run along the back of the adjoining Plantations…” Part of the reason for the acceptance of this line was that a more easterly alternative would have invalidated the land grants of some very wealthy and influential Scots Proprietors. Whether the line was drawn to validate the land grants, or the land grants were made to influence the line, the net effect was to give the East Jersey Proprietors hundreds of thousands more acres to sell in a triangle of land from Somerville to Branchburg and extending all the way to Little Egg Harbor.

  • 1. The White Oak Tavern and its part in the incorporation of Branchburg in 1845.
  • 2. “White Oaks” – The Estate of William P. Bowman
  • 3. Thor Solberg - Norwegian American aviation pioneer.
  • 4. Readington Meeting
  • 5. Casper Berger – Redemptioner, Stone Mason, Tavern Keeper, and Miller in Readington Village.
  • 6. John Lord Drummond - Viscount Melfort, Laird of Lundie, and Lord of Riccartoun.
  • 7. The Swift Sure Stage Line
  • 8. “John Dobie’s Plantation” – 375 Acres south of Fairview Drive granted November 9, 1685.
  • 9. Billy Vosseller, Drummer Boy of the Rappahanock