Commissioners of the Loan Office, 1776

RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
SERIES: Commissioners of the Loan Office
DATES: 1776
VOLUME: 1 volume

1776 Indenture, Joseph Wardell of Shrewsbury,
borrowed 86 pounds at 5% interest for four years
Commissioners of Loan Office book, p.38

This ledger book, entitled “Mortgages,” contains 166 pages of Indentures, documenting when a land owner borrowed money using his land as collateral in 1776.

The early 1770s found the New Jersey Colony in financial trouble due to the “…great scarcity of Gold and Silver within this Province, daily increasing from the Purchase of the Manufactures necessarily imported from Great Britain…” The colonists also complained that “the Inhabitants of this Colony are greatly obstructed in extending their Settlements, improving and cultivating their Lands, and lie under great Difficulties in paying their just Debts.”
To remedy the financial situation, the Governor, Council and General Assembly of the Colony of New Jersey enacted “An Act for striking One Hundred Thousand Pounds in Bills of Credit, and directing the Mode for sinking the same.” (New Jersey Archives, Third Series, Volume V, Laws of the Royal Colony of New Jersey, 1770-1775, pgs. 212-235).
The Act not only allowed for the printing of Proclamation Money but it established the Commissioners of the Loan Office in each County. The mission of the Loan Office was to loan money to help residents pay down some of their debt, or in some cases, to provide cash flow to farmers and merchants. Monmouth County received 10,690 pounds, the highest amount among the East Jersey counties.
The borrower had to put up his house and land as collateral so he was basically mortgaging his real estate. By law, his wife was also involved in the transaction and was required to sign for the mortgage. Borrowers had to sign the lower right hand corner of the page in the mortgage book which was also stamped with the seal of the Loan Office. When the mortgage was paid in full, that portion was torn off the page and given to the mortgagor as receipt of the payment.
The loans were for twenty years at 5% interest per annum. Payment was in “pounds of proclamation money.” For the first ten years, the mortgagor had to pay each year on the 25th day of March only the interest on the loan. After the first ten years, the borrower had to pay 1/10th part of the sum borrowed with the interest each year on the 25th day of March so that the last payment, together with the interest, was paid in full by the twentieth year of the loan.

There are 166 pages of forms filled out in the Monmouth County Commissioners of Loan Office Mortgage book beginning on July 8, 1776, and ending August 1, 1776. All were paid in full in April of 1780, as noted in the left hand margin of the pages. These Indentures or mortgages were recorded only during this short 3-week period.
The mortgage includes the name of the mortgagor and occasionally his wife’s name, residence, the location and description of the property, names of former owners of the property and the amount borrowed. Some indentures mention Deed book and page of the property transaction.
Two pages of the book were missing: page 24, Indenture for George Taylor and page 99, Indenture for Edward Taylor. Their names were identified by using the alphabetical index in the front of the book.

These records are open to researchers.

The book is available on microfilm at the Archives. There is a computer printout organized by last name of the mortgagor and the page of the mortgage.

The book pages are numbered and chronological.

Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan NJ 07726
Tel. 732-308-3771

This ledger book was transferred to the Archives by County Clerk Jane G. Clayton before 1999.

Except for the index of names in the front and the blank pages at the back, the ledger book was microfilmed December 9, 1998. A finding aid and an Access database were created January 6, 2011. The Access database was updated by Mary Hussey in March 2016. The finding aid was updated March 22, 2016, by George Joynson.