RECORD GROUP: Special Collections
RECORD SERIES #: 15200.00
SERIES: Monmouth Title Company, 1889-1927
VOLUME: 5 cubic ft.
The Company was founded by Joseph McDermott, a lawyer specializing in deed research who went on to become Monmouth County Clerk for 40 years from 1898 to his death in 1938. During the earlier years of his tenure as Clerk, McDermott faced criticism due to the perception that the Monmouth Title Company was in direct competition with the County Clerk’s office and that the Company had reduced the title searching revenue usually generated by the Clerk’ s office. Under pressure, in 1923 McDermott sold his controlling interest in the Company but remained as director.
In 1925, the company bought an office on Main St. in Freehold adjoining the courthouse. During the first quarter of the 20th century, the Monmouth Title Company expanded rapidly and at one time had offices in Asbury Park, Freehold, Toms River, Mount Holly and Bridgeton.
In 1927, The Monmouth Title Company merged with the Asbury Park Mortgage and Title Guarantee Company and the County Guarantee Mortgage Company to form the Monmouth Title and Mortgage Guarantee Company which had the added business of selling and guaranteeing mortgage bonds. The business maintained an office on Bangs Ave. in Asbury Park. After the banking failures of the Great Depression, the state commissioner of banking and insurance requested that the directors turn over some of the Company’s operations to the state. The state commissioner was then appointed by the Court of Chancery as trustee for the bondholders and began years of liquidation lasting through the early 1940s.
What was left of the Company then merged with title abstract business of Stewart H. Farrell of Freehold in 1945 to form the Monmouth County Realty Abstract Company, headed by Judge J. Edward Knight. This new Company established its offices at 19 East Main Street in Freehold and relied heavily on the large archive of property records, maps, and deeds created by the Monmouth Title Company.
“Company Names Abstract Firm Sole Agent” Asbury Park Evening Press, July 28, 1947.
“Knight to Head Title Concern” Asbury Park Evening Press, January 27, 1945.
Property street numbers are largely absent from the files as the properties had yet to be subdivided into the current layout of properties. Other municipalities represented in the files are Monmouth Beach, Oceanport, Oakhurst, Eatontown, Sea Bright, Deal, and several others.
It is likely that the files pertaining to Long Branch and the surrounding towns were separated from the original record holdings of the company. Files pertaining to Freehold, where the company was based, and towns in other areas of Monmouth County are absent from the collection.
In addition to this finding aid, there is a corresponding database in the Archives with additional details about this collection.
125 Symmes Drive
Manalapan, NJ 07726