Sheriff Charles Morgan Crosses Raritan Bay

Morgan Moment – Sheriff Charles Morgan Crosses Raritan Bay

I encountered the below December 1663 event in two separate sources which leads me to conclude that it actually did occur.  From the time the first Charles Morgan came to New Amsterdam in the New World from Wales (according to one source, his actual name was “Carel” or “Carle”), there have been at least five members of the Morgan family named Charles Morgan so its going to be easy to confuse them.  I believe the below event involves the first Charles (“Carle”) Morgan who, according to his great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great grandson Blair Case and other sources including “The Register of New Netherland 1626-1674“, was magistrate (Sheriff) of Gravesend, New Amsterdam (present day Brooklyn, New York) from 1657-1663.  Note that this Charles was the great-grandfather of Captain James Morgan, Sr.

The following is from page 5 of the 1903 book “William Bowne, of Yorkshire, England and his Descendants” by Miller K. Reading:

In 1663 a company of Puritans, living on Long Island, obtained permission of Governor Stuyvesant to settle on the banks of the Raritan.

A party of about twenty English, all or nearly all of whom had previously lived in the New England colonies but most of whom were then settled on Long Island, set out in a sloop from Gravesend, L. I., in December, 1663, and sailed across the bay to what is now Monmouth County, for the purpose of purchasing lands of the Indian sachems, with a view to settlement.

The men composing the party were John Bowne, William Golding, Richard Gibbons, James Holbert, Charles Morgan, Samuel Spicer, John Totman, Thomas Whitlock, and others — twenty in all. They made two or three more journeys from their homes on Long Island to the southern shores of the bay and finally purchased from the Indian chief, Poppemora and his people, the three “necks” of land known to the Indians as Newasink, Navarumsunk and Pootapeck. Having purchased the land of the Indians, “John Bowne, Richard Stout and three others, with their families, five families in all, came and made their settlement in the spring or summer of 1664, nearly a year before the [Monmouth] patent was issued.”

This same event also appears on pages 260, 261 & 262 of the 1875 book “East Jersey under the Proprietary Governments: A Narrative of Events Connected with the Settlement and Progress of the Province, Until the Surrender of the Government to the Crown in 1703” by William A. Whitehead.

Note that the original wording from the original the publication shown below remains intact even though it is not in alignment with 21st Century sensibilities.

9 Dec. We saw in the morning about 9 o’clock the English vessel coming down, on which we directly raised the anchor and sailed towards it; so as we did, arriving near her, we asked them from where they came; on which the skipper, Stoffel Elsworth, answered ‘from the Kil;’ asked what he had done there; answered, ‘he brought the English thither.’ We told him this was unbecoming, it was against our Government to act in this manner, and that he should answer for it; on which William Geldor cried out, “ well—it is well.” In the vessel were Charles Morgan, John Bon, James Holbert, John Totman, Sam Spyser, Thomas Wytlock, Sergeant Gybbings, from the first bay a man, named Kreupels-bos, one of Flushing, two from Jamaica, and a few more whom we knew not, to twenty in number. On the same day in the afternoon, returned about three, Hans the savage, whom we had dispatched on the eighth towards the Menesing Sachems who encamped it a considerable distance from the Raritan Kil; and Hans the savage conducted to us six or seven savages, who informed us, that the English, before Hans the savage came to them, had arrived there, and presented the savages with some wine, and two fathoms black seewant [i.e., wampum] and one white, after which they had asked them if they would sell to them some land; in the mean time [came] Hans the savage, when the whole was at an end, so that the English departed.

10 Dec. We departed again from the Raritan Kil, accompanied by two savages who were acquainted with the lands of the Menesings: we went down the bay, arrived at the kil which enters between Rensselear’s pier and the said point; met there again Stoffel Elsworth in his little sloop, and all the English sitting on shore near the kil; we went with our boat on shore, and went towards them along the strand; when we approached them we did see every one standing in arms. When the Sheriff Charles Morgan and John Bon advanced toward us, I asked them what was their business there, they answered, they went trading; we replied, if they went to trade, why then they had such a strong force with them? They said the savages were villians and could not be trusted, and therefore they went in such numbers; we told them, that we were informed they came to purchase lands from the savages, they answered, ‘we went only thither to see the land.’ We again told them that they ought not to undertake to purchase any land of the savages, as the largest part of it was already purchased by the Dutch. John Bon then asked me, under what government I presumed that they resided. I answered that they lived under that of the States General, and under that of the director General and Council here; to which he replied, why then are we not as well permitted to trade and explore land as ye? I answered him again, that they ought not to undertake to purchase any land from the savages, except that they previously obtained the consent of the Director General and Council; to which John Bon replied ‘it shall be well:’ then said Stoffel Elsworth, ‘I told them already the same, that they should not do it.’ Govert Lockermans told them then, ‘ye are a party of traitors as ye act against the government of the state:’ they said the king’s patent was quite of another cast. Lockermans asked ‘from where have ye your pass?’ they answered ‘from the Manhattans.’ Lockermans retorted, ‘ why do you act then against the state?’ to which Charles Morgan answered, ‘sek noty bey affet.” The English had their savage with them, who was of the Menesings, and had share in the murder of Mispath’s Kil, as our savage had informed us, whom we had taken with us in our sloop and carried hither, and his name was Quikems, living on the Newesing Kil, on the land called Townsing. We left then the English along shore and entered the kil about four miles along the west wall where the country was very mountainous; and the opposite side, as the savages informed us, was very poor, and some good land, old maize fields, and yet some plantations which I before explored with Corteljon: then we crossed the hilly parts about nine miles, and perceived by a sign on board, that Stoffel with his sloop and English had entered the kil. We remained before it during the night.

Originally posted on February 13, 2011.

One thought on “Sheriff Charles Morgan Crosses Raritan Bay

  1. charles gross

    This December 2013 is the 350 anniversary of the voyage you describe from Gravesend to Monmouth County. I am very interested in talking to you about this event. I and some friends want to enact a commemorative voyage. I was just reading on wikipedia about the religious situtation in Gravesend, Brooklyn. It seems that Peter Stuyvesant kicked the baptists and guakers out of Gravesend. Can you tell me any thing about this.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *