RECORD GROUP: Courts
RECORD SERIES: Supreme Court of New Jersey
SERIES #: 3400
VOLUME: 11 volumes, 7 manuscript boxes
In 1702, Lord Cornbury, the first Governor of British New Jersey in North America, issued an Ordinance for Establishing Courts of Judicature. Under this ordinance, the Supreme Court of New Jersey was to meet once a year, rotating between Perth Amboy and Burlington. Cornbury empowered the court with jurisdiction over all pleas, civil and criminal.
In 1714, Colonial Governor Robert Hunter ordered that the Supreme Court sit every year at Burlington on first Tuesday of May and November, and at Perth Amboy on second Tuesday of the same months. Hunter’s ordinance also ordered that the justices go to the circuit and keep the Supreme Court in each county, once a year. The ordinance stated that Supreme Court Justices should be assisted by two or more Justices of the Peace of that county.
In 1728, the terms of the Supreme Court were increased, to sit four times a year at Burlington and four times a year at Perth Amboy.
In 1751, only cases involving £300 or more could be appealed to Supreme Court.
In 1764, Royal Governor William Franklin, the son of Benjamin Franklin, issued “An Ordinance for Holding Supreme Court for the Province of New Jersey.” Franklin’s ordinance provided that circuit courts were to be held once a year in all counties. They were to be presided over by a Justice of the Supreme Court and assisted by two Justices of the Peace in the county, with a jury of twelve men.
In 1846, the New Jersey Legislature approved an “Act Relative to Supreme & Circuit Court,” ordering that it shall consist of a Chief Justice and four associates. The court was ordered to meet four times annually at Trenton, on the first Tuesdays in January, April, July and October. The Act designated the court to hear and determine “common business,” but limited hearings on matters over property disputes to $3,000 and above. This Act ordered that the Chief Justice or one of the Justices of the Peace, before whom the Circuit in every county shall be held, shall try all issues.
In 1947, the State of New Jersey’s Constitution reorganized and unified the judicial system under the Supreme Court.
This book has an index on the front pages. It is labeled Book 2, but the location of Book 1 is unknown. The ledger is typed and shows judgments.
Supreme Court and other Courts, Register of Cases, 1893-1905, 3 books
These books have indexes on the front pages. Entries are handwritten in the ledgers and contain the plaintiff, defendant, date, and action.
Supreme Court loose papers, 1732-1926, 7 manuscript boxes
These loose papers are arranged by year, then by defendant. The cases are for, In Ejectment, In Trespass, In Debt, assault, bankruptcy, personal injury, property condemnation and other matters. Some case files include inventory lists of personal possessions, and extensive testimony.
Supreme Court Scratch Minute Books, 1899-1943, 7 books
The Scratch Minute Books are handwritten in pencil, then “scratched” out but readable.
Also included are the loose papers from three property assessment cases for municipal improvements: street paving and improvements on Sairs Avenue in 1906, Liberty Alley in 1907 in Long Branch, and various properties in Keyport for a new sewer line in 1911.
None of the information in the Supreme Court ledgers has been indexed, microfilmed or scanned.
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan NJ 07726