Catalogue description Treasury Solicitor and HM Procurator General: Bona Vacantia, West New Jersey Society

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Details of TS 12
Reference: TS 12
Title: Treasury Solicitor and HM Procurator General: Bona Vacantia, West New Jersey Society

Records of the West New Jersey Society consisting of original in-letters, entry books and drafts of out-letters, minute books of its court and committees, ledgers and accounts, registers of the transfer of shares, maps and plans, original deeds and charters, a history of the society, and miscellaneous papers relating to claims, etc of legal and historical importance.

Although the records throw little light upon the society's trading activities during the early years of its existence, they provide much information concerning its holdings of land in New Jersey. Details concerning the management and disposal of these can be obtained from the society's correspondence with its agents in America as well as from its minute and letter books, accounts, deeds, plans, etc.

The records, and particularly the accounts and share registers, also illustrate the gradual distribution of the society's assets among those persons with a claim on its shares.

Date: 1658-1921
Related material:

See also Records of Chartered Companies in Division within CO

Separated material:

A significant gap is the absence of a minute book for the period between 1703 and 1728. However, it is suggested in the Society's official history that this might be because little business of note was transacted during that time.

Held by: The National Archives, Kew
Legal status: Public Record(s)
Language: English

West New Jersey Society, 1675-1921

Physical description: 100 bundle(s)
Immediate source of acquisition:

HM Procurator General and Treasury Solicitor

Selection and destruction information: Some of the records, considered of insufficient value to justify their preservation, were subsequently destroyed under the authority of a Destruction Schedule of 9 March 1926 (copy in TS 17/1255)
Administrative / biographical background:

The West New Jersey Society was a company formed about 1691 for the development of the 'Hereditary Government of West Jersey in America'. Tracts of land in West and East New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New England and elsewhere were divided into 1,600 parts, forming the shares of the adventurers. These on death fell to the heirs, executors or administrators of the deceased.

The affairs of the society failed to prosper and by the turn of the seventeenth century its development work had practically ended, although it remained possessed of its lands and property. These were gradually disposed of and by 1819 the whole of the society's effects had been realised. Thereafter, its duties consisted of dividing its assets among its shareholders.

In 1914 only twenty-eight and one third shares remained unclaimed, and in November of that year a Statement of Claim (Hovell and others v Attorney General 1914 H No 2476) was filed by three persons representing the society, in which they stated their readiness to deal with the funds constituting the remaining shares, if still unclaimed, as bona vacantia belonging to the Crown. These funds were transferred to the Crown, by an order in Chancery of March 1923.

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