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-- Manuscript Group 45, Andrew Bell (1757-1843), Collector of Perth Amboy Port and Land Surveyor Papers, 1745-1866 (Bulk dates: 1770-1820)


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.

Biographical Note:

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 father’s death the year before.  Bell’s 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 Amboy’s 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. Peter’s Church of Perth Amboy.

On September 23, 1782, Andrew Bell married the widow Susannah Moore (b. 1755), the daughter of Margaret and Daniel O’Brien, 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.


Provenance Note:

The diary of Andrew Bell was a gift of Andrew Bell Paterson.  The source of the remainder of the papers is unknown.


Scope and Content Note:

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 Bell’s 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. Peter’s 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 comptroller’s 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, sheriff’s bonds, subpoenas, and articles of agreements.

Andrew Bell’s 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 Bell’s time as surveyor general, there are some documents addressed to and signed by Bell’s 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 surveyor’s 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.


Related Collections:

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 42, William Paterson (1745-1806) Manuscripts

Manuscript Group 530, Thomas Seabrook (1735-1805) Family Papers: Contains surveys signed by Andrew Bell

Manuscript Group 542, William Paterson (1745-1806) Docket

Manuscript Group 718, William Paterson (1817-1899) Papers

Manuscript Group 824, Smith Family Papers: Contains Andrew Bell material


Box/Folder List:

Box Folder Title Dates
Andrew Bell Diary
1 1 Diary from June 17-July 2, 1778, copied by Steven Van Rensselaer Paterson 1843
Receipts, Accounts, Shipping Papers
1 2 Andrew Bell: Cash Book 1801-1808
2 - Miscellaneous receipts, shipping receipts, cargo manifests, accounts: Dewar & Marshall, John Murray, Matthew Adams, Hannah Smith, John Halsted, Peter Smitzer 1753-1800, n.d.
Andrew Bell: Receipts 1790-1815
3 - Andrew Bell: Receipts 1808-1858, n.d.
John Brayton: Receipts 1761-1762
John Brown, Sophia Brown, Susannah Brown: Receipts and Accounts 1748-1833
Thomas Brown: Receipts 1790-1826
John Cooshin: Receipts 1758-1762
4 - John Cooshin: Receipts 1762-1765, n.d.
Lyell Family – Jane, Lorraine, Catharine, Polly, Mary, Thomas: Receipts and estate receipts, Andrew Bell was executor for Jane and Lorraine Lyell 1768-1812
Richard Paterson: Receipts and promissory notes 1748-1779, n.d.
William Paterson (1745-1806): Receipts 1762-1796
William Bell Paterson: Receipts and bonds 1817-1826
William Paterson (1817-1899): Receipts 1834-1866
Andrew Bell Paterson: Receipts 1826-1861
Euphemia (White) Paterson: Receipts 1816-1834
Stephen Van Rensselaer Paterson: Receipts 1834
Thomas Paterson: Receipts 1769-1773
Robert Stewart: Receipts 1745-1760, n.d.
Captain John, Elias and Sophia Terrill: Receipts, bonds, and estate receipts 1748-1825, n.d.
Court Records
4 - Sussex County Court Records 1781-1821
Land Surveys and Maps
5 - Land Survey Register

- also contains accounts tracking surveys of certain deputy surveyors: Samuel Cobb, Edward Condict, Silas Condict, Richard Edsall, Abraham Ryerson, Martin Ryerson, Theunis Ryerson, and Joseph Sharp

1785-1808, 1785-1813
6 - Land Survey Register 1808-1842
7 - Bergen County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Saddle River

- Franklin

- Pompton

Essex County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Newark

Hunterdon County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Bethlehem

Middlesex County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Perth Amboy

- South Amboy

- Woodbridge

Monmouth County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Dover

- Freehold

8 - Monmouth County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Lower Freehold

- Upper Freehold

- Freehold

- Howell

- Middletown

- Shrewsbury

- Stafford

- Wickatunk

Morris County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Chester

- Jefferson

- Mendham

- Pequanock

- Randolph

- Roxbury

Somerset County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Bridgewater

9 - Sussex County: Surveys and Survey maps

- Byram

- Frankford

- Hardyston

- Newton

- Vernon

- Wantage

- (also miscellaneous larger surveys and maps)

10 - New Jersey Maps:
- Middlesex County - Land on the Raritan and South Rivers n.d.
- Middlesex County - South Amboy: Drawn by A. Plum n.d.
- Middlesex/Monmouth Counties - Shore area near Sandy Hook and Raritan Bay n.d.
- Monmouth County - Freehold, surveyed for William Griffith and Joseph Mc( ) by Thomas DeBow 1816
- Sussex County - Plotted land n.d.
- Union County - Rahway: Lots of Lewis B. Brown to be auctioned 1835


Bell-Paterson Family Tree:

John Bell = ( )

Andrew Bell (1757-1843) = Susannah O'Brien (Moore)

Cornelia Bell (1755-1783) = William Paterson (1745-1806)

Cornelia Paterson (1780-1844) = Stephen Van Rensselaer (d. 1839)

William Bell Paterson (1783-1833) = Jane Eliza Neilson

Andrew Bell Paterson (d. 1876)

Stephen Van Renselaer Paterson (1815-1872)

William Paterson (1817-1899)

Cornelia Bell Paterson (d.1909)


Deputy Surveyors who performed the surveys in these papers:

James Allen John Kinnan
John L. Anderson Benjamin Lawrence
Nicholas Anosmith Elisha Lawrence
John Armstrong Joseph Lawrence
George Backster Richard M. Lawrence
Thomas Ball Thomas Millidge
Francis W. Brinley James H. Newell
Samuel Cobb Elias Ogden
Edward Condict Amos Pharo
Thomas DeBow Henry Plum
Silas Dell James Robinson
Anthony Dennis John Rockhill
Richard Edsall James D. Rogers
Samuel Emley Abraham Ryerson
John Forman Martin Ryerson
John B. Garrison Theunis Ryerson
Amaniah Gifford John Sharp
Samuel Hayes Abraham Woohton
Richard Herbert


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.

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