Search This Blog

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Increment 18: New Jersey Superior Court Case #21387 (1749): The King v. South Bainbridge


Here is an interesting court document.  It appears that this case is from August 1749. One of the Middlesex County Samuel Bunnells provided evidence for the King in an inquisition into the poor state of Bainbridge's Bridge and the servicing causeway. This appears to have resulted in a writ for the Sheriff to take into custody Richard Fitz Randolph, William Stone, Ezekiel Fitz Randolph, and James Wilson. Interestingly enough, Ezekiel Fitz Randolph was one of Samuel Bonnell's fellow jurors in the 1764 inquisition versus Josiah Wynans.  

As with most of these, there are some disconnects that I cannot completely resolve. The inquest document clearly states that it was written the second Tuesday in August (12 August) 1749. The writ was written three days later (15 August, 23d year in the reign of King George the Second = 1749). The third document was written on the sixteenth of August and is also signed by Charles Read. However, it sure looks like it declares the year as the third year of the reign of King George the Third. If true, this would mean that this document would have been written in 1763. I think it most likely that all three were written in August 1749, but I cannot explain the third document. 

The fourth document appears to have been erroneously connected with this case. I can find no reference to the individuals listed in this final document with any of the individuals listed on the previous ones, and it appears this court case was from the post-revolutionary period (1790-1792).

I cannot, on a modern mop, make out where Bainbridge Bridge is or was along the South River. I imagine we can figure it out, however, and this location may help improve our understanding of where the Bonnells were in 1749.

John Bunnell 

George Farris reports:

The key to the location is that it was the Bridge over the South River on the King's Highway.  The Kings Highway connected all of the colonial capitals - running from Boston to Charleston.  There were three separate branches in New Jersey - but the only one that crossed South River was the one that ran from Amboy to Burlington and crossed the river at what is now the community of Old Bridge, NJ.

You can probably see Old Bridge and part of what was Kings Highway (the railroad followed the same route before 1850) better on the 1850 map of Middlesex at

Even at that time it was called Old Bridge.

Transcription of New Jersey Superior Court Case #21387 (1749): The King v. South Bainbridge 
Aug’t 1749
The King }  
v }
South Bainbridge }

Bella bera 
Edw’d Crowell  foner cui

Evidence for the King 

Deitrich Vemul
Thomas Aplegate
Samuel Bunnell

New Jersey }
Middx } fs.  At a Supreme Court of Indicature held at the City of Perth Amboy in the County of Middlesex in and for the Province of New Jersey the Second Tuesday in August in the Year or our Lord one Thousand Seven hundred and Forty Nine.

The Grand Inquest for our Sovereign Lord the King for the Body of the County of Middlesex being duly charged sworn and affirmed on the respective oath and affirmation of at least Twelve Honest and Lawfull men of the Said County DO Present that the Public and Comon Bridge situate in the King’s High Way upon and over a certain River call’d South River within the County of Middlesex aforesaid usualy called Bainbridge’s Bridges together with the Causeway thereunto adjoining and belonging for Sometime past has been and now is in a very ruinous Condition and in Great Decay for Want of repairing the Same So that the Loyal Subjects of our now Lord the King, upon over and across the Said Bridge and Causeway by themselves of with their Horses Cattle and Carriages Cannot and dare not Travel Pass and Repass without Great Danger and Hazard To the Comon Nusance of all the Said Loyal Subjects of our Said Lord the King who by reason of their lawfull Business have occassion to travell and pass over the Same And further the said Grand Inquest Do Present That the Inhabitants of the Said County of Middlesex of Right ought to Amend and Repair the Said Bridge and Causeway. 
J Hassell Att Gen’l 

New Jersey fs. George the Second by the Grace of God of Great Britain France and Ireland King Defender of the Faith &c  To our Sheriff of Our County of Middlesex Greeting we Command you that you Distrein Richard Fitz Randolph, William Stone, Eseek Fitz Randolph and James Wilson ##### By all their Several Lands and Tenements Goods and Chattels in your Bailywick so that neither they nor any of them nor any one for them or any of them Meddle with or lay their Hands upon the same until another precept from us there of you shall have, And that of the Issues of the same to us you Answer, So that you have their Bodys Before us at our next Supreme Court of Judicature to be held for our Province of New Jersey at our City of Burlington on the first Tuesday November next To Answer unto us of a Certain Delinquency for not Repairing a Certain Bridge in your County Scituate, and Built Across South River commonly Called Bainbridge’s Bridge with the Causeway thereunto adjoining and for which the Inhabitants aforesaid County of Middlesex Stand united before us, And have you then and there this writ  Witness Robert Hunter Morris Esq’r our Chief Justice at our City of Perth Amboy the fifteenth day of August in the Twenty Third year of our Reign
J Warrell Att Gen’l Read

New Jersey }
Supreme Court } Charles Read Esq’r moof the Justice of the Supreme Court of our Lord the King, for the province of New Jersey by virtue of the Statute in puk Case made & provided upon his own Proper knowledge presents  That there was and yet is a Certain C______ and _____ King’s highway Leading from Jersey on the South side of Raritan in the Southward of Perth Amboy to South River Bridge in the land af’d Was for all the days people of our Lord the King & his Predecessors with their horses Coaches Carts & Carriages to go return pass ride & Imbis at there to ie, and that the s’d Common and Public King’s highway on the eleventh day of this Instant August in the third year of the reign of our new Sovereign Lord King George the Third, at the Southward in the City af’d was and yet is so Close and overgrown with heer & Brush, for want of Due Cleaning the same that the Loige Subjects of our Lord the King this the same Day with their Coaches horses Carts & Carriages Could not During the time af’d BryoHangs Return pass ride & Labor without Danger to themselves & the Loss of their goods to the Common Nuisance & Great Danger of all the Subjects of our Lord the King & Against the peace of our Lord the King his Crown & Dignity &c And that the Inhabitants of the Southward of the City of Perth Amboy af’d the Highway af’d Ought to repair & amend when & so after as it shall be necessary  In Testimony whereof Thos Charles Read Esq’r to there presents hath set his hand and seal this sixteenth day of August in the year af’d
Charles Read

Sup Court 
David Kinpland } Copy of
v } Reasons 
Henry Speir } in Lnor
On bord

Abr Ogden Atty
Filed April Term


New Jersey Supreme Court
April Term 1790

And the said David Kerplam by Abraham Ogden his attorney comes into the said Supreme Court and says that the judgement af’d of the said Henry Speir Esq’r out to be unsaid and set aside for the following reasons, towit, for that it does not appear by the Reason and Providings afo’d returned by the said Speir that the said Joshua Sealy had any cause of action against the said David Kerplam, And also for this that it does not appear by the Ruro, Returns, and Providings of the said Henry Speir that the said Joshua Sealy did not from the parts on which it appears by the Rurno, Returns, and Providings af’d his action af’d was founded – And also for this that the summons af’d of the said Henry Speir Esq’r by which the said Henry Kaplam was summoned to appear before him in the action af’d was not sealed with the seal of the said Henry Speir – There is also manifest error in this that the said Henry Speir gave judgement for the said Joshua Sealy the Plaintiff when by the Law of the Land the Judgement ought to have been given for the said David Kerplam the Defendant – And the said David Kerplam Prays that for these and other errors in the Ruors, Return and Providings of the said henry Speir the judgement af’d may be reversed annult and held untruly Void and that he may be restored to all things which he has lost by the said judgement 
Abr Ogden Atty fs Shff  

In Lnor

No comments:

Post a Comment