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Friday, March 4, 2016

"Windsor" in 18th Century Middlesex County Court Records-Where is It?

The location references in the numerous documents from the NJ Archives that John B. obtained don't seen to be consistent in their references to Samuel Bonnells location - yet I think they may all be referring to the same place.   Samuel Bonnell of Windsor seems to have meant the same thing as Samuel Bonnell of Windsor Township and Samuell Bonnell of New Windsor Township.  The whole area was New Windsor Township until 1750 when it became just Windsor Township - but, apparently, it was just generally referred to as Windsor by the locals. Also, the terms Township and Town were often used interchangeably for the same entity in those days - as in the document listing "Town Officers for Windsor for 1762." 

 I point this out to avoid possible confusion of that more general location with the current town of Windsor in Robbinsville Township of Mercer County.  That town wasn't founded until 1818 and was not called Windsor until 1846.  So that could not have been the Windsor referenced in these documents from the 1700s. The current Robbinsville , East Windsor, West Windsor, and Princeton Townships were all part of the original New Windsor Township.  So far, the only location reference in the documents that has been more specific is the early reference to Penn's Neck which is the area across Stony Brook from Princeton University located between Stony Brook and the Millstone River.  

I keep looking for any clues in the documents that would help pin down where one or both of the Samuel Bonnells actually lived within Windsor/New Windsor Township. It's likely that they lived in more than one place over the more than 30 years covered by the documents but, so far, Penn's Neck is the only location that is very specific.  I look forward to seeing more of the documents as John works his way through them.

George Farris

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