Record Group: 2200History
Subgroup: County Clerk's Office
Series: New Jersey State Chancery Court in Monmouth County
Dates: 1792-1925 (with gaps)
Volume: One box with 16 folders
The state Chancery Court of New Jersey was established in 1675 as a part of the court of common law, preceding even the Laws of the Royal Colony of New Jersey (1703). During the colonial period, the County Courts (Courts of Sessions) were held twice a year and tried "all causes actionable." The County Courts were renamed the Court of General Quarter Sessions in 1721. For matters involving sums of less than twenty pounds, the Chancery Court and the Provincial court of Assize, known as "the Bench," were the only forums to appeal the County Court's decisions.1 It was not until 1695 that the Court of Equity separated from the Court of Common Law to become a separate entity with its own justices. The Court of Equity became known officially as the High Court of Chancery.2
The Chancery Court today retains many of its original responsibilities. Included are matters concerning equity such as: deeds, property, boundary lines, contracts, figurative disparities, restrictive clauses, mortgages, and unfair business disputes, i.e. monopolies, corporate espionage, and labor disputes. The second branch of the Chancery Court (along with the aforementioned Equity branch) concerns matters pertaining to matrimony. One judge, appointed by the governor, presides over the cases, now heard daily. The jurisdiction of the Chancery Division of General Equity is listed as "Actions in which the plaintiff's primary right or the principal relief sought is equitable in nature, except as otherwise provided by subparagraphs (2) and (3), shall be brought in the Chancery Division, General Equity, even though legal relief is demanded in addition or alternative to equitable relief."3
The Chancery Court is distinguishable from Common Law as its matters pertain to fairness (equity) which is not applicable to Common Law. In 1280, King Edward the Confessor was the first to make this distinction.
Scope and Content
The Chancery Court records date from 1792 to 1925 and are arranged chronologically. The majority of the records are from 1840-1900. The papers were filed by the County Clerk's office. If someone had a problem, and their grievance was equitable in nature, they as a "complainant" brought up a case to the State Chancery Court of New Jersey in Monmouth County. The subjects that these cases dealt with are diverse and include: land searches, out-of-court settlements, tax bills, bills for fees, bills of complaint, divisions of estates, sheriff's statements, foreclosures, disputed property lines, mortgages, issues of lunacy, deeds, sheriff's sales, figurative disparity, and bankruptcy. There are 78 cases in the series of sixteen folders.
The series is arranged chronologically in sixteen folders; the series indexes are sorted by year, by complainant, or by defendant.
1. Franklin Ellis. History of Monmouth County, New Jersey. Louisiana: Polyanthos, Inc., 1992.
2. Frank Holmes., ed. History of Monmouth County, New Jersey 1664-1920, 3 Volumes. Vol. 1. NY: Lewis Historical Publishing Co. Inc., 1922.
3. Rules Governing the Courts of the State of New Jersey. Newark: Gann Law Books 1994.
July 19, 2000
- Clerk of the Court Records
- Circuit Court: Loose Papers, 1838-1935
- County Court: Appeals (Criminal), 1947-1979
- Circuit Court: In Equity, 1851–1902
- County Court: Law/Civil, 1948-1983
- District Court: Judgment Books, 1913-1961
- District Court, Special Civil, 1976-1979
- Justice of the Peace: Docket Books, 1856-1949
- Justice of the Peace: Schooley, Joseph H., 1922-1949
- Quarter Sessions: Minute Books, 1667-1948
- Oyer & Terminer: Books, 1856-1948
- Superior Court: Municipal Appeals, 1979-1994, 1996
- Superior Court: Recognizor Registers, 1922-1986
- Superior Court: Small Claims Division, 1980-1982
Page Last Updated: 12/21/2011 1:56:00 PM