Justice of the Peace: Joseph H. Schooley Papers, 1922-1949

RECORD GROUP: Clerk of the Court
SERIES: Justice of the Peace: Joseph H. Schooley Papers
DATES: 1922-1949
VOLUME: 5 cubic feet, 12 volumes and 5 manuscript boxes

Schooley image
JOP Schooley

Left, Trenton Evening Times, November 25, 1914, p.2
Right, Photo courtesy Anna Van Hise, via John Fabiano, Monmouth County Historical Commission

Joseph Hankins Schooley was born June 25, 1890, in Allentown, the son of James Burtis Schooley and Virginia Wright. Schooley married Elizabeth Dilatush in 1914 and worked as a real estate and insurance agent as a member of the Monmouth County Insurance Agents Association. In 1913, he was elected Overseer of the Allentown Grange. In 1922, he began serving as a notary. Schooley served as Justice of the Peace in Allentown from 1925 to 1949 or longer. He died on April 9, 1976, in Allentown.
The Schooley series of docket books and loose papers includes records pertaining to both civil small causes and criminal cases from 1922 to 1949. The Small Causes Court docket books and loose papers represent the typical civil cases regarding actions at law, contracts (demands), tort (damages), and debts. The majority of criminal cases recorded in the Criminal Docket books and loose papers concerned motor vehicle violations of all kinds, disorderly persons, bad checks, larceny, false pretenses, neglect, and abuse. Exceptions to these typical cases include such topics as fraud, slander, auto theft, bastardy, seduction, manslaughter, and violations of the beverage control act and beverage tax. These are just a few of the different kinds of unusual cases to be found throughout the series. There is also one book with a record of Schooley’s service as a notary public from 1922-1930.

The types of documents found among the loose papers include summons, letters to the judge (from witnesses, insurance companies, attorneys, and Department of Motor Vehicles, et al.), bills, receipts, affidavits, checks, writs of attachment, demands for jury, counter claims, and all sorts of notes pertaining to these civil cases. The criminal case papers include complaints, warrants, convictions, court vouchers, and many of the same items found in civil cases (letters, bills, receipts, checks, etc.) Sometimes interesting items such as sample ballots, photos, calendars, newspaper clippings, sketches of motor vehicle accidents, and even advertisements from companies like Campbell Soup and Sears and Roebuck can be found in both civil and criminal records.

The main value of this series is for the study of social history. Insights into human behavior are conveyed by the different kinds and quantities of cases that were prevalent in this period. The records are also virtually unique for the study of the history of the judicial process as carried out by a Justice of the Peace in Monmouth County, an office which no longer exists. Although the Monmouth County Archives holds other justices’ docket books and a substantial volume of loose papers, the Schooley papers and docket books are the largest set of complementary books and loose papers in the Monmouth County Archives for a single justice. As such, they provide an unparalleled day-to-day record of a justice’s work. The records document the way such cases were handled. The series also contains genealogical and local history value through the names of plaintiffs, defendants, attorneys, witnesses, etc.

These records are open to the public.
These records are available in the Archives.
The loose papers are separated by case type, either criminal or civil, then arranged chronologically by year, then by last name of the defendant. Entries in the docket books are in chronological order.
Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan NJ 07726
(732) 308-3771
On June 21, 1995, the New Jersey State Archives transferred 3.5 cubic feet of Justice Joseph H. Schooley records to the Monmouth County Archives under Accession No. 1995-04. The accession consisted of five manuscript boxes of loose papers and twelve docket books. The State Archives had recently received the records as a donation from Schooley’s daughters.
This finding aid was created by Troy Dayton on September 12, 1995, updated July 12, 2018 by George Joynson. Many of the pages in the docket books had loose notes and papers attached with paper clips, including a few envelopes with cash paid as fines in the 1930s. These were removed and filed with the loose papers, with an annotation concerning the book from which they were separated (the cash is stored separately). This is why the number of manuscript boxes of loose papers went from five to nine after processing. The Schooley loose papers have not been microfilmed, indexed or scanned. The docket books were microfilmed along with other Justice of the Peace docket books.
See the Justices of the Peace finding aid.