Documents, Manuscripts, Maps, & Photographs
Manuscript Group 45, Andrew Bell (1757-1843), Collector of Perth Amboy Port and Land Surveyor Papers, 1745-1866 (Bulk dates: 1770-1820), 3 linear feet / 10 boxes/volumes
Call Number: MG 45 + Box number
Diary kept by this New Jersey loyalist, June 17-July 2, 1778, during "the march of the British Army across the Jersies - and the Battle of Monmouth"; a two-volume register of East Jersey land surveys, 1788-1842; cash books, 1801-1808; four volumes of financial records, land surveys, maps, and letters addressed to Bell as surveyor general of the Board of Proprietors of the Eastern Division of New Jersey, 1804-1842, and to John Rutherfurd (1760-1840). Included are letters of Richard Edsall, Samuel Hayes, Amos Pharo, and other deputy surveyors. A Perth Amboy lawyer, landowner, and Loyalist, Bell served during the Revolution as confidential secretary to Sir Henry Clinton and later to Sir Guy Carleton.
Gift (in part) of Andrew Bell Paterson.
Andrew Bell, the son of Mr. and Mrs. John Bell (d. 1778), was born on June 4, 1757 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His family moved to New Jersey where he was a law student of Cortlandt Skinner at the outbreak of the Revolution. Bell, a loyalist, joined the royal army in New York and in December of 1776 was appointed a clerk in the office of the British Commander in New York. He served under various men in that office, including Sir Henry Clinton and Sir Guy Carleton, and was involved in a number of skirmishes, including the Battle of Monmouth.
In 1779, patriots confiscated the New Jersey estate Bell had inherited upon his fathers death the year before. Bells sister, Cornelia (1755-1783), however, married William Paterson (1745-1806), an active patriot, creating ties to both the loyalists and the patriots for the Bell family.
At the close of the war, Bell settled in Perth Amboy, New Jersey and started over as a merchant. He was successful despite uncertain times and his loyalist background, and was appointed the collector of Perth Amboys port in 1800 for the final year of John Adams presidency. During this time period, he was also the deputy surveyor general of the East Jersey Proprietors and for approximately thirty-five years, ca. 1806-1842, served as the surveyor general. During his lifetime, he was active in St. Peters Church of Perth Amboy.
On September 23, 1782, Andrew Bell married the widow Susannah Moore (b. 1755), the daughter of Margaret and Daniel OBrien, in New York City. They never had children. Andrew Bell died in Perth Amboy on July 19, 1843.
See Family Tree.
-Honeyman, A. Van Doren. "Early Career of Governor William Paterson," Somerset County Historical Quarterly (July 1912) Vol. I, No. 3, pgs. 161-179, Vol. I, No. 4, pgs. 241-250.
-Jones, Alfred E. "The Loyalists of New Jersey," Proceedings of the New Jersey Historical Society (April 1926) Vol. XI, No. 2, pgs. 219-221.
The diary of Andrew Bell was a gift of Andrew Bell Paterson. The source of the remainder of the papers is unknown.
The papers mostly document the professional life of Andrew Bell, consisting of receipts, shipping documents, land surveys, maps, and a diary written during the Revolution. The papers date from 1745-1866, have bulk dates of 1770-1820 and measure three linear feet. The majority of the documents have been glued into large bound volumes and organized by record type: receipts, accounts, and shipping papers; court records; land surveys and maps and then arranged chronologically.
While the majority of the receipts in the collection belong to Andrew Bell, there are a number of receipts documenting the Paterson family, which Bells sister Cornelia married into. The papers contain receipts of Richard Paterson, William Paterson (1745-1806), William Bell Paterson, William Paterson (1817-1899), Andrew Bell Paterson, Euphemia (White) Paterson, Thomas Paterson, and Stephen Van Rensselaer Paterson. These items document goods bought and jobs paid for and include accounts and pew rents for St. Peters Church of South Amboy, of which Andrew Bell was an active member. There are also a number of documents belonging to various other individuals, most of whom seem to be merchants or shippers from Perth Amboy, Philadelphia, New York, or Providence, Rhode Island from the 1750s-1790s. These include: John Brayton, John Brown, Thomas Brown, John Cooshin, John Halsted, John Murray, Matthew Adams, Robert Stewart, the Lyell family, and the Terrill family.
There are also documents more closely related to the shipping business, particularly to trade at the Port of Perth Amboy. These items include manifests of cargo, including one listing "A return of loyalists property shipped on board the William & Mary;" an abstract of duties on the tonnage of vessels in the District of Perth Amboy, 1796-1799; and a list of licenses from the comptrollers office at Perth Amboy, 1798-1800. The receipts and accounts in the collection are often for goods shipped or the hiring of men for various vessels.
The papers also contain court records from Sussex County, New Jersey. These items include depositions, court orders, summons, warrants, sheriffs bonds, subpoenas, and articles of agreements.
Andrew Bells career as a land surveyor is well documented in three volumes of land surveys filed together with the pertinent survey maps and correspondence from deputy surveyors. The surveys are arranged alphabetically by county, then township, and lastly by date. While most date from Bells time as surveyor general, there are some documents addressed to and signed by Bells predecessor John Rutherfurd (1760-1840). The collection also contains a number of larger, loose maps of regions in Middlesex, Monmouth, Sussex, and Union Counties, New Jersey, along with two volumes registering surveys throughout New Jersey from the years 1785-1842. These registers record the surveyor, when the survey was received, who received it, and at whose request it was performed. One of the volumes also contains accounts for individual deputy surveyors, tracking each surveyors jobs and fees.
Lastly, the papers contain a copy of a diary written by Andrew Bell while serving under Sir Henry Clinton in the Revolution. The entries run from June 17-July 2, 1778 and document the British march across New Jersey, troop movements, and various skirmishes including the Battle of Monmouth. The diary was published in the Proceeding of the New Jersey Historical Society, Series I, Vol. 6, pgs. 15-19.
Manuscript Group 18, Parker Family (Perth Amboy, NJ) Papers: Contains Andrew Bell material
Manuscript Group 23, William Nelson (1847-1914) Manuscript Collection: Contains Andrew Bell material
Manuscript Group 530, Thomas Seabrook (1735-1805) Family Papers: Contains surveys signed by Andrew Bell
Manuscript Group 824, Smith Family Papers: Contains Andrew Bell material
John Bell = ( )
Processed by Kim Charlton, March 2000 as part of the "Farm to City" project funded by a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.
The New Jersey Historical Society