“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Trenton in Mercer County, New Jersey — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The West Jersey Proprietors Rule

The West Jersey Proprietors Rule Marker image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, November 2007
1. The West Jersey Proprietors Rule Marker
Inscription.  Between 1674 and 1702, the province of West New Jersey was owned and governed by a group of men collectively known as the West Jersey Proprietors. The first proprietors were two Quakers, Edward Byllynge and John Fenwick, who acquired rights to half of New Jersey in 1674 from John, Lord Berkeley. Berkeley, along with Sir George Carteret, had been granted the colony in its entirety by James, Duke of York, the brother of King Charles II of England ten years earlier. Following the bankruptcy of Byllynge, control of his share in the enterprise passed to three trustees – William Penn, Gawen Lawrie and Nicholas Lucas.

The Proprietors drew up the “Concessions and Agreements,” a historic framework for government and settlement in the new province, and began to sell shares in the colony. Internal conflict developed almost immediately, since Fenwick wanted to create an independent settlement on his share of the colony, while Byllynge and his trustees preferred a single unified colonizing effort. Fenwick planted the first settlement at Salem in 1675; the other proprietors sent out their first colonists in 1677 and focused their
The four subject markers under the 17th Century Arch image. Click for full size.
By Gary Nigh, November 2007
2. The four subject markers under the 17th Century Arch
Click or scan to see
this page online
settlement efforts further upstream along the Delaware around the village that later became the City of Burlington and the capital of West Jersey.

In the final years of the 17th century, in both West and East Jersey, friction began to build over the form and control of government between the colonists and the proprietors, many of whom, including the Provincial Governors, remained living in England. In 1702, as a solution to this unrest, the power of government passed to the Crown and the Royal Colony of New Jersey was created. The proprietorships have endured down to the present day, however, and they have been passed down through families and in some cases sold along with parcels of land. The proprietors of West Jersey still hold legal title to any unclaimed land discovered in the state and they have met in Burlington every April since 1688.

Links to learn more – New Jersey State Archives, Trenton; West Jersey Proprietors Office, Burlington
Erected 2004 by New Jersey Department of Transportation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionColonial EraEntertainmentSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1674.
Location. 40° 11.887′ N, 74° 45.498′ W. Marker is in Trenton
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, New Jersey, in Mercer County. Marker can be reached from New Jersey Route 29. This marker is part of South River Walk Park which is built over Route 29. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Trenton NJ 08611, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Europeans at the Falls of the Delaware (here, next to this marker); Quakers Lead the Settlement of West Jersey (here, next to this marker); William Trent of Trent’s Town (here, next to this marker); Pre-17th Century Trenton Timeline (here, next to this marker); Native American Artifacts – Clubs to Prehistory (here, next to this marker); Native Americans Exchange Furs for European Goods (here, next to this marker); What happened to the Lenape? (here, next to this marker); Who, What and Where were Sanhickans? (here, next to this marker). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Trenton.
More about this marker. This is one of 4 subject markers under the 17th Century Arch.
Credits. This page was last revised on February 3, 2021. It was originally submitted on December 16, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. This page has been viewed 2,579 times since then and 14 times this year. Last updated on February 2, 2021, by Carl Gordon Moore Jr. of North East, Maryland. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on December 16, 2007, by Gary Nigh of Trenton, New Jersey. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 8, 2021