The Romopock Deed of 1709

This article, by John A. Dater, was first published in “The Old Station Timetable” in December 1977.

This is a brief description of the facts concerning the deed along with a copy of its text. The deed of 1709 was instigated by Peter Sonmans, who in 1709 was authorized by the English segment of the Proprietors to come to America and acquire title to land in the area of the Royal Grant. This act was resented by the American board which was inactive at the time. Before they could act, the damage was done and legal action took place. Eventually they acquired title and the deed was filed Lib. 1, p. 411.

It was to the credit of the Proprietors of East Jersey that they bought the land from the Indians instead of seizing it, as happened in many places. This is the reason for the recent suits In New England where the Indians are trying to secure their rights.

According to the N. J. Historical Society Proceedings for 1932, Vol. 50, p. 370, we have the following information from the original deed: “Grantors: Sherikam, Memereskum, Manawagrum, Sipham, Mais Kanaipung, Waparent, Rawantagwaywohny, Magowaycum, Apiwamouhg, Touwischwitch, Ragotia, Toraum.”

“Grantees: John Amboyneau, Elias Boudinot, Peter Fauconnier (Merchants and Inhabitants), Lucas Kiersted, Yeoman of New York. For themselves and as agents for: John Barberie, Thomas Bayeaux, Andreas Fresneau, Peter Byard.”

“Native owners of a tract of land about 30 mi. back from ‘New-Ark’,conveyed, granted and gave title for consideration of t 135 (about $715).”

The deed was signed and sealed by the Indians “being all entirely sober” on Nov. 18, 1709. at Romopock and later acknowledged before Cornelius Haring, a justice of peace of the County of Orange, at Tappan on Dec. 5. 1709. The sale price was conveyed in trade goods brought up the Hudson to a point near Tappan.

This Is the deed description:

“Beginning at a spring called Assenmaykepahaka, being the northeastern most head spring of a river called in the Indian language Peramsepus and the Christians Saddle River; thence running southerly down the east side of said river, including the same, to a place called Raighkamack (Hohokus Brook) where a small creek or river coming from the northward falls into said Saddle River, about 16 miles distant from the above head spring, let it be more or less, thence Northwesterly just by a great rock called Pammaekaputa (Glen Rock), distant from the above said river about two miles, and so on the same course to that river known by the name Romopock, Punto and Pissaick.  Just by a small body of water above the plantation of Major Brockhulst (Pompton, at now the steel works) and from thence crossing the said river about a mile above a place where another river coming from Northwestward called Pamamaquancy, Pequaneck and Maysaghkin, now Pequanack River, falls into said river, thence to the top of the opposite mountain, thence along the top of the said mountain, and up the said Romopock River, and about one mile up every creek that falls into said river, crossing said creeks to the top of every opposite hill, and so along the said mountain and hills and creeks to a place about two miles above an Indian Field called Mahway – say (Mahwah), just over 1 thence the North side of a small red hill called Mamaitung (the little hill where the Torne Brook falls into the Ramapo River), thence along the northeasterly side of said hill Easterly to the above spring where the first course began.”Containing 42,500 acres, part of which was N.Y. State.”

This Romopock Deed was the first legal deed to the area, and it was so recorded. There were, however, various discrepancies in title which generated numerous suits which flit many pages in the Minutes of the Proprietors.