Manuscript Group 925, Roxbury, Chester, and Washington Townships (Morris County), NJ, Census books, 1820, 1830, 1840

Archives Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs

Manuscript Group 925, Roxbury, Chester, and Washington Townships (Morris County), NJ
Census books, 1820, 1830, 1840, 0.1 linear feet / 3 volumes
Call Number: MG 925(mc)



Census records for Roxbury Township, compiled in 1820 by Lum Foster and in 1830 by Rhece Nichols; census compiled by Nichols in 1840 for the Morris County townships of Roxbury, Washington, and Chester.

Gift, in part, of Frederick A. Foster, 1923.

Historical Note:

Roxbury Township in Morris County, New Jersey was founded in 1740 as the fourth township in the county.  The township included what would later become Chester, Washington, and Mt. Olive Townships, as well as Netcong and Chester Boroughs, Mt. Arlington, and parts of Stanhope and Hopatcong Boroughs.  Washington Township was created as a separate municipality in 1789, Chester Township followed suit in 1799, as did Mt. Olive Township in 1871.

In 1790, the first federal census was taken with one of its goals being to determine the number of representatives needed in Congress based on population.  These census books for townships in Morris County, New Jersey were probably compiled for the federal censuses held at the start of every decade.  However, the first surviving statewide census dates from 1830.  An individual with the title “Assistant to the Marshal of New Jersey” was given the task of taking the local or regional census.


History of Morris County, New Jersey (W. V. Munsell, New York, 1882).

Hosking, Annie Stelce, The History of Roxbury Township (Pyramid Press, Netcong, NJ, 1965).

Provenance Note:

These volumes were the gifts of Frederick A. Foster in 1923 and Mr. ( ) Nicholas, date unknown.

Scope and Content Note:

This manuscript group consists of three census books.  The first two censuses, both for Roxbury Township date from 1820 and 1830, and were taken by Lum Foster and Rhece Nicholas respectively.  The third census, includes the townships of Roxbury, Chester, and Washington, and was taken by Rhece Nicholas in 1840.  There is some uncertainty as to whether the first census is actually dated 1810 or 1820.  The date of the volume appears to have been altered, but based on the format and types of information it contains, it is likely to date from 1820.

Listings in these volumes include the name of the head of household, the number of occupants, gender, age classification, race, and free or slave status.  The two later volumes include additional information, such as occupation, military pension status, citizenship status, and health (deafness, blindness, and insanity).  In the back of these volumes are the aggregate statistics.  The occupational statistics in the third volume report that these townships were largely agricultural.

Summary of Census Statistics:

Date Township PopulationHouseholds Slaves “Free Colored”
1820 Roxbury 1712 278 71 12
1830 Roxbury 2262 555 6 50
1840 Roxbury 2230 398 1 59
1840 Chester 1321 236 7 42
1840 Washington 2451 403 1 89

Item List:

Folder Volume Census
1 1 1820 Roxbury
  2 1830 Roxbury
  3 1840 Roxbury
    1840 Chester
    1840 Washington

Processed by Luis Delfino, July 2001 as part of the “Farm to City” project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

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