HUNTERDON COUNTY, NEW JERSEY, SETTLEMENT PATTERNS
Col. John Reading was one of the first settlers along the Musconetcong River in what became Hunterdon Co, NJ. He named his manor "Mount Amwell" after his home village in England. John Reading Jr., surveyor and Indian agent, became the first native-born governor of the New Jersey Colony. English claims of ownership of land began in early 1600 when settlers moved into the area and negotiated peacefully with Lenni-Lenape tribes. In 1664, King Charles II made the presumptuous declaration New Jersey belonged to him. The English wished to seize the entire new Netherlands from the Dutch. 
The King granted to his brother, the Duke of York, all the territory lying between the Delaware and the Connecticut Rivers. In 1664, the Duke conveyed title to New Jersey to SIR JOHN BERKELEY and SIR GEORGE CARTERET. Ten years later in 1674, proprietorship was sold to JOHN FENWICK "in trust for EDWARD BYLLYNGE." Ballinger [sic] turned over management of his "whole undivided half" of New Jersey to WILLIAM PENN and two other Quakers, thus dividing NEW JERSEY into EAST JERSEY and WEST JERSEY. 
The TRUSTEES OF WEST JERSEY formed a stock company and shareholders obtained an interest in whole & undivided land, but did not own the land itself. Dividends were paid during the early 1680's in the form of title to tracts of land. Most of the ORIGINAL TITLES to LAND in HUNTERDON CO were secured as large tracts by this means. Over the ensuing years, these large tracts were reduced to SMALL FARMSTEADS and the division of land continued into the 18th Century. 
On March 11, 1714, the NJ Assembly "erected the upper parts of the Western Division of NJ into HUNTERDON COUNTY separating it from BURLINGTON COUNTY."  The new county was named after General ROBERT HUNTER, Royal Governor of the Provinces of New York and New Jersey. Minutes of Hunterdon County began on June 1, 1714 when the court was established in TRENTON. Trenton remained the COUNTY SEAT until *1785 and was the location of FREEHOLDER MEETINGS which began in 1739. County government was known as a "Board of Justices and Chosen Freeholders," continuing a practice of "freeman holding property and governing by property rights." 
Hunterdon County had a mixed population composed of immigrants from France, Holland, Germany, Scotland, England & Ireland. Its political institutions were liberal in character so that those who appreciated civil & religious liberty were particularly attracted. Many religious organizations began settlement early. Baptist settlers located in Delaware Twp. establishing churches listed on the National Register today.
Return to Josiah Herbert
Footnotes & Bibliography:
1. Brasch, F.R. & Hall, Robt. G., "Sites of Historic Interest: Hunterdon Co. Master Plan," Nov. 1979, Hunterdon Co. Board of Chosen Freeholders, p. 13.
3. Ibid., p. 14