Manuscript Group 574, Montgomery-Burnet Family (Monmouth County, NJ) Papers, 1700-1857 (Bulk dates: 1720-1800)

Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 574, Montgomery-Burnet Family (Monmouth County, NJ)
Papers, 1700-1857 (Bulk dates: 1720-1800), 0.2 linear feet / ½ small box
Call Number: MG 574



Financial and land transactions, and ars calami of Robert Montgomery, a lawyer from Allentown, Monmouth County, and Robert Montgomery (1787-1847) of South Trenton.  The elder Montgomery’s letterbook, 1793-1802, includes financial records kept by Stephen Pangburn from 1771 to 1778.  There are documents signed by Philip Freneau and John Reid.

Biographical Note:

Robert Burnet came to America sometime around the end of the 17th century.  He became a large landowner and a proprietor for the Eastern Province of New Jersey.  He had either brothers or sons named William and John and at least two daughters.  Upon the marriage of his daughter, Isabel, to William Montgomery, he sold some of his land in Upper Freehold, Monmouth County (near Allentown, New Jersey) to his new son-in-law.  This estate was called “Eglinton.”  William Montgomery probably had three sons, John, William, and Robert.  John and William were merchants in Philadelphia, and Robert, who was probably named after his paternal grandfather, inherited the family homestead of “Eglinton.” He married Elizabeth ( ) and had four surviving daughters: Lucy, Hettie, Sarah, Elizabeth.

Provenance Note:

The source of this collection is unknown.  Many of the documents are labeled on the back in blue ink with the words “Robt Montgomery’s papers 1881,” and it is therefore possible that they were donated to The New Jersey Historical Society in 1881.  The collection was given the title of “Montgomery Family,” but this was changed to “Montgomery-Burnet Family (Monmouth County, NJ)” at the time it was processed.

Scope and Content Note:

This collection contains papers largely from the Montgomery and Burnet families dating between 1700-1857, with bulk dates of 1720-1800.  The papers are divided by type: financial records, land documents, legal documents, correspondence, and miscellaneous; and then, if possible, by family: Montgomery, Burnet, or other.  Within each folder, items are arranged chronologically, with the exception of the correspondence, which is arranged alphabetically by receiver.

The collection is mostly made up of financial and land records.  The financial documents include receipts, bills, accounts, and promissory notes.  Of particular interest is a receipt dated October 21, 1723 for the sale of a “negro lad named York” to Robert Montgomery by David Lyell (folder 2).  There are also numerous receipts from such individuals as James McClaland (or McClalen), Colonel William Imlay, John Imlay, Robert Parent, Mary and Robert Pearson, and the estate of Arthur Lefferson.

The land dealings of the Montgomery and Burnet families are documented in this collection through survey maps and deeds for land in Monmouth County, New Jersey.  A number of the items document the transfer of land between the two families.

Robert Montgomery’s letterbook/account book further highlights the connection between the families.  The letters range from 1793-1802 and largely deal with Montgomery’s settlement of William Burnet’s estate.  The pages are numbered and there is an index on pages 48-49.  The book also contains a small number of accounts which read from back to front.  These accounts date from 1771-1778 and document such transactions as hauling and the sale of corn, buckwheat, flour, cider, and pigs.

The legal documents in this collection range in subject matter.  There is a copy of the will of Robert Montgomery made in 1827, a report for the Orphan’s Court, and two depositions discussing the alleged mob attack of Sarah Steward in 1761.  The relation between Sarah Steward and the Montgomery and/or Burnet families is unknown.  The same is true for the individuals concerned in the last item in this series, a signed document giving permission for Frances Tantum to marry Sarah Hepburn.

The correspondence in the collection is also haphazard and does not revolve around any one individual or one topic.  Correspondents include Robert Montgomery, William Burnet, Steven Warnes, Alexander Montgomery, Jonathan Rhea, Tilton Woodward, and the Township Committee of Upper Freehold.  The last folder contains miscellaneous items, mostly penmanship lessons.

Folder List:

Folder Title Dates
Financial Documents  
1 Letterbook/Account book – Robert Montgomery 1793-1802 / 1771-1778
2 Financial records (receipts, bills of sale, accounts): Montgomery Family 1718-1823
3 Financial records (receipts, bills, promissory notes): Non-Montgomery 1747-1848
Land Documents  
4 Land documents: Montgomery Family  
  – Note about the conveyance of land from William Burnet to Robert Montgomery 1750/51
  – Indenture: Robert Montgomery to Samuel Rogers 1798
  – Boundary agreement between John Hughes and Robert Montgomery 1817
  – Notice regarding an estate sale n.d.
5 Land documents: Burnet Family 1700-1746, n.d.
  – Note about a deed of exchange between Robert Burnet and John Read 1700
  – Deed: John Reid to Robert Burnet 1700
  – Agreement between Robert Montgomerie and John and William Burnet 1739
  – Agreement between John Burnot (sic) and Thomas Groom and Robert ( ) 1744
  – Survey map of William Burnet’s land 1745/46
  – Survey map of John Rogers’ land (torn) 1746
  – Survey map (torn) n.d.
  – Boundaries of Peter Burnet to Robert Hutcheson n.d.
  – Survey map: “Burnet’s map – a copy from Stettes original” n.d.
Legal Documents  
6 Two depositions in the case of Sarah Steward, who was allegedly attacked by a mob 1761
  Permission given by Jas. Hepburn to Frances Tantum to marry his daughter, Sarah Heburn 1762
  Copy of the will of Robert Montgomery 1827
  Copy of a report to the Orphan’s Court n.d.
7 Corrrespondence to:  
  – William Burnet from Steven Warnes March 30, 1765
  – Robert Montgomery from Alexander Montgomery November 27, 1794
  – Robert Montgomery from Jonathan Rhea September 16, 1799
  – Township Committee of Upper Freehold from Tilton Woodward 1857
8 Note from Gervay Pharo 1712
  Book page: An Introduction to Physic and Surgery n.d.
  Penmanship lessons: the alphabet n.d.

Processed by Kim Charlton, November-December 1999 as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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