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In March, 1673, Lord Berkeley sold his undivided moiety of New Jersey to John Fenwick, by whom, in the following year, it was again sold. On July 1, 1676, was executed the famous "Quintipartite deed" by which the eastern part was given to Sir George Carteret, to be called east New Jersey, and the western part to William Penn and 11 other proprietors, to be called west New Jersey. The dividing line between the two parts as described in the act of March 27, 1719, was a straight line from the northwest corner of the province, on the Delaware River, to the most southerly point of an "island of sand known by the name of Little Egg Harbour.” Sir George Carteret, at his death in 1678, left his land to be sold. It was sold in 1682 to the 12 proprietors of west New Jersey, who admitted other partners. Confirmation grants were made to the proprietors of both Provinces by the Duke of York and confirmed by the King, but between 1697 and 1701 the proprietors repeatedly made petitions to be allowed to surrender their right of government to the Crown. In 1702 the surrender was made and was accepted by Queen Anne, and the two parts were united and made the province of New Jersey.92

For the history of the northern and eastern boundaries see New York, pages 109–113.

The grant from the Duke of York to Berkeley and Carteret defined the west boundary of New Jersey to be the Delaware River (see above).

The line between New Jersey and Delaware is thus described: 95 Low-water mark on the eastern side of the river Delaware, within the twelvemile circle from New Castle; and the middle of the bay below said circle.

In 1876 the Legislature of New Jersey authorized the governor to commence a suit in the Supreme Court of the United States to settle the boundary between New Jersey and Delaware.94 New Jersey claimed jurisdiction and title to the middle of the Delaware River and Delaware Bay within the 12-mile circle, while Delaware claimed the area to the low-water mark on the east shore. The suit commenced under this act was "dismissed without prejudice" in April,


Meanwhile the questions of jurisdiction and ownership of the tract had been under discussion by commissioners representing the two States, who in 1905 entered into a compact providing for concurrent jurisdiction over the disputed area, but they could not agree on the

0 See New Jersey State Geologist Final Rept., vol. 1, p. 89, Trenton, 1888. The name "Province of New Jersey" was later changed to "colony of New Jersey," and by act of Sept. 20, 1777, to "State of New Jersey."

03 Revised Statutes of Delaware, ch. 1, sec. 2, Wilmington, 1874.

94 Laws of the State of New Jersey, p. 57, Trenton, 1821.

95 205 U. S. 550.

proper location of the boundary line. This compact was ratified by the legislatures and approved by Congress by act of January 24, 1907. Suit was again entered in the Supreme Court at its October term, 1929, in an attempt to obtain a final settlement of this long-standing controversy. New Jersey's bill of complaint and Delaware's answer contain considerable historical matter relating to the two States. The adverse claims to the area in question were reviewed at great length in Senate Executive Document 21, Thirtieth Congress, first session, published in 1848. Although the total area involved is only about 22 square miles it includes valuable oyster beds and is, therefore, of importance to New Jersey.


Commissioners were appointed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to settle the jurisdiction over the Delaware River and the islands within it, and their report, ratified in 1783, is in part as follows: First. It is declared that the river Delaware from the station point or northwest corner of New Jersey, northerly to the place upon the said river where the circular boundary of the State of Delaware toucheth upon the same, in the whole length and breadth thereof, is and shall continue to be and remain a common highway, equally free and open for the use, benefit, and advantage of the said contracting parties, etc.

Secondly. That each State shall enjoy and exercise a concurrent jurisdiction, within and upon the water, and not upon the dry land between the shores of said river.

The rule for apportioning the islands was that they should be assigned to the State

to which such insulated dry land doth lie nearest, at the time of making and executing this agreement; and that all other islands within said river between the falls of Trenton and the State of Delaware, which are not hereinafter particularly enumerated, shall be hereafter deemed and considered as parts and parcels of the State, to which such island doth lie nearest at the date hereof; * * * islands hereafter formed * * * shall be classed and annexed * * according to the same principal.

The islands between the falls of Trenton and the Delaware line were divided as follows: Biles Island near Trenton; Windmill Island, opposite Philadelphia; League Island, Mud or Fort Island, Hog Island, and Little Tinicum Island were assigned to Pennsylvania. To New Jersey were given Biddles or Newbolds, Burlington, Pettys, Red Bank, Harmanus, Helms, Chester, and Shiverses Islands.96

In 1786 other commissioners were appointed by New Jersey and Pennsylvania for more accurately determining and describing the islands in the Delaware from the northwest corner of New Jersey down to the falls of Trenton. Their report was ratified and con

Revision of the Statutes of New Jersey, pp. 1181-1182, Trenton, 1877. 97 This is a mistake. The line runs south.

firmed by Pennsylvania and New Jersey in 1786. The New Jersey act of March 16, 1786,99 mentions 75 of the islands by name.1

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The Swedish West India Co., chartered by the King of Sweden in 1625, established the first permanent settlement on the west bank of the Delaware, occupying a part of the territory now in Pennsylvania and Delaware, although the Dutch had previously established trading posts there, which had been destroyed by the Indians. The Swedes acquired, by successive purchases from the Indian chiefs, all the land extending from Cape Henlopen to the great falls of the Delaware and called it New Sweden. In 1655 this territory was surrendered to the Dutch.3

By the conquest of the New Netherlands, in 1664, the Duke of York seems to have claimed successfully the settlements on the west bank of the Delaware as part of his dominions.

In 1681 Charles II of England granted to William Penn the Province of Pennsylvania. The following extract from the charter defines the boundaries: 4

all that Tract or Parte of Land in America, with all the Islands therein conteyned, as the same is bounded on the East by Delaware River, from twelve miles distance Northwards of New Castle Towne unto the three and fortieth degree of Northerne Latitude, if the said River doeth extende so farre Northwards; But if the said River shall not extend soe farre Northward, then by the said River soe farr as it doth extend; and from the head of the said River the Easterne Bounds are to bee determined by a Meridian Line, to bee drawne from the head of the said River, unto the said three and fortieth Degree. The said Lands to extend westwards five degrees in longitude, to bee computed from the said Easterne Bounds; and the said Lands to bee bounded on the North by the beginning of the three and fortieth degree of Northern Latitude, and on the South by a Circle drawne at twelve miles distance from New Castle Northward and Westward unto the beginning of the fortieth degree of Northern Latitude, and thence by a streight Line Westward to the Limitt of Longitude above mentioned.

The following explanation regarding the use of the word "begining" in connection with degrees of latitude in this grant is given by Donaldson:


It should be observed that the geographers of that day considered degrees of latitude as zones taking designation from their northern parallels; hence the

90 Laws of New Jersey, ed. of 1821, pp. 78-79.

1 There is a brief description of the boundaries in New Jersey State Geologist Final Rept., vol. 4, appendix, Trenton, 1898, and a longer description in vol. 1, pp. 39-90, Trenton, 1888.

The full legal title for Pennsylvania is "the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."
Hazard, Samuel, Annals of Pennsylvania, p. 185, Philadelphia, 1850.

Thorpe, F. N., op. cit., vol. 5, p. 3036.

Donaldson, Thomas, The public domain, its history with statistics, p. 46, Washington,


north boundary of Pennsylvania, designated as the beginning of the 43d degree, is really the 42d parallel. The south boundary, being the beginning of the 40th degree, was really the 39th parallel, a construction for which Penn earnestly contended in his dispute with Lord Baltimore in relation to the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Cushing says: "The idea of a parallel of latitude seems to be a band about the earth parallel to the Equator and 1° wide, with the 'beginning' nearest the Equator."

The grant to William Penn included a large tract of land in the northeastern part of the present State of Pennsylvania, generally referred to as the Wyoming Valley, which was claimed by Connecticut under its charter of 1662. (See fig. 9.) The Indian title to

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed]

FIGURE 9.-Historical diagram of Pennsylvania

this land was transferred to settlers from Connecticut by deed dated July 11, 1754, wherein the area was thus described: "

Beginning from the one and fortieth degree of north latitude, at ten miles distance east of Susquehanna River, and from thence, with a northerly line ten miles east of the river, to the forty-second, or beginning of the forty-third degree of north latitude, and to extend west two degrees of longitude, one hundred and twenty miles, and from thence south to the beginning of the forty-second degree, and from thence east to the aforementioned bounds

This area was organized by Connecticut in 1776 as the county of Westmoreland. The conflicting claims of Connecticut and Pennsyl

Cushing, S. W., Assoc. Am. Geographers Annals, vol. 10, p. 33, 1920.

7 Miner, W. P., History of Wyoming, p. 69, Philadelphia, 1845. See also Stone, W. L., Poetry and history of Wyoming, 2d ed., appendix, New York, 1844.

vania to this land were for many years a cause of dispute, and several battles were fought for its possession, but a court of arbitration appointed by the Continental Congress awarded it to Pennsylvania in 1782.

For a history of the northern and eastern boundaries of Pennsylvania see New York, pages 113-114, and New Jersey, page 117.

That part of the southern boundary of Pennsylvania which separates Pennsylvania from Delaware, as defined by the charter of 1681, is an arc of a circle of 12 miles radius, having New Castle, Del., as its center. This line was surveyed and marked in 1701 under a warrant from William Penn. (See p. 125.)

According to the original grant of 1681 the boundary between Pennsylvania and Maryland was to be the "beginning of the 40th degree of northern latitude," or what we would now call the 39th parallel of latitude. (See p. 119.) This boundary was for many years in dispute, Lord Baltimore claiming the country along Delaware Bay and River to the mouth of the Schuylkill, which was also claimed by the Duke of York under his grant of 1664. William Penn, in 1682, obtained from the Duke of York a release of his claim, but not until 1760 was an agreement reached with Maryland. Commissioners were appointed in 1732 and again in 1739 to run the line, but they failed to agree, and chancery suits were the result. Finally a decision of Lord Chancellor Hardwick in 1750 was taken as a basis for adjudication, and an agreement was signed July 4, 1760, by which the line between Pennsylvania on the one part and Delaware and Maryland on the other was to be determined as follows:

A due east-west line was to be run across the peninsula from Cape Henlopen to Chesapeake Bay. From the exact middle of this line a line was to be drawn north which would be tangent to the western arc of a circle having a radius of 12 English statute miles measured horizontally from the center of the town of New Castle. From the tangent point a line was to be drawn due north until it intersected a parallel of latitude 15 miles due south of the southernmost part of the city of Philadelphia. This point of intersection would be the northeast corner of Maryland, and from it the line was to be run west on a parallel as far as it formed the boundary between the two Provinces.

In 1760 commissioners and surveyors were appointed, who spent two or three years in measuring the base line and the tangent line between Maryland and Delaware. The proprietors became wearied with the delay and sent from England two famous mathematicians, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, who verified the work of their predecessors and ran the line between Pennsylvania and Maryland, ever since called the "Mason and Dixon line " and probably the most widely known boundary in the United States. (See fig. 9.) Mason

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