Hunting and Fishing Licensees, 1909-1924

RECORD GROUP: County Clerk
SERIES #: 14200
SERIES: Fish and Game Licensees
DATES: 1909-1924
VOLUME: 31 ledgers, and 1 manuscript box

1909 hunting laws image

This record series consists of County Clerk’s annual accounting ledgers of licenses issued by town clerks to residents and non-residents for fishing and hunting. The ledgers show the town clerk names, licenses issued with names, dates and fees, but Archives does not have actual copies of the licenses themselves.
Each town clerk in Monmouth County was responsible for issuing annual hunting and fishing licenses, collecting the fees, and forwarding the amount and an accounting to the County Clerk. The County Clerk in turn, deducted 5% of the total amount collected as a fee for the county service, then forwarded the remainder to the State Treasurer.

The New Jersey State Fish and Game Commission issued numerous books of 25 blank licenses, each with two stubs, along with hundreds of hunting law pamphlets, to the County Clerks, for them to distribute to the town clerks. Town clerks were to keep one license stub, and forward the second stub to the County Clerk annually.

Out of state residents could also buy a license through a New Jersey Fish & Game Protector. The first salaried Fish & Game Protector in New Jersey was hired in 1892. Sometime after 1920, the title was changed to Game Warden, then changed again to the current term of Conservation Officer. James M. Stratton of Long Branch was a Protector 1903-1932.

The fee for an annual fishing and hunting license in 1909 was $1.00. Licensees are predominantly male, but at least one woman, Helen L. Terhune, of Matawan, paid the dollar for a license in her name on November 8, 1909 (p134).
Currently, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Division of Fish and Wildlife, issues annual New Jersey Resident Firearm Hunting licenses for $27.50; a fresh water fishing license is $22.50.

The handwritten ledgers are yearly, and for fishing or hunting, or both, for residents and for non-residents. As town clerks submitted their reports, the county clerk recorded them into the ledgers. The ledgers include licensee names, residences, including out-of-county residences, dates issued, amounts collected, amounts forwarded, license numbers issued and stubs unused and returned. For some years, there are separate ledgers for licenses issued to Monmouth County residents, and licenses issued to non-resident (alien) persons. Each yearly ledger contains more than 3,000 licensee names. Some licensee names include titles such as Doctor or Reverend and occasionally race is noted.

Some consecutive listings have the same surname, indicating a family connection. Most licensees purchased their license in the town they resided, but it seems that was not required. Many of the reports from the town clerks show licenses being granted to out-of-town residents.

These ledgers document thousands of Monmouth County hunting and fishing licensees, their residences, dates they paid for their license, and their sporting interests. The ledgers can be useful to locate missing ancestors, to prove their existence or residence, to narrow the date of death time frame and other genealogical research issues.

An interesting side benefit of this series is that the names of the town clerks are provided. Also, the clerks recorded the licensee’s residences as neighborhoods, such as Holmeson, Wickatunk, Chapel Hill, Freneau, Phalanx, Harmony, and others.

Loose papers
There is one manuscript box of correspondence between the County Clerk and the New Jersey State Treasurer, and also yearly account summaries, receipts showing remittances, and miscellaneous issues such as the problem of town clerks being lax in submitting their reports on time.

These records are open to the public.
These records are available for research in the Archives. An index of licensee names, towns, book and page is in progress. An index of 3,560 licenses issued in 1912, and 1,197 licenses issued in 1913 is available.
The ledgers are annual accounts. Front pages have indexes, by town, and by town clerk surname. The first section is arranged by town and shows summaries of the dates, license numbers issued, license book numbers, remittances from town clerk, and unused licenses. The following section is chronological listings by town of licenses issued.
Monmouth County Archives
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan NJ 07726
(732) 308-3771
These records were transferred to the Archives by County Clerk Jane G. Clayton prior to 1994.
These records have not been microfilmed or scanned. An Excel spreadsheet index was created by Eunice Mayfield and this finding aid was created July 31, 2018 by George Joynson.