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Brotherton & Weekping Indian Communities of NJ

Weekping or Coaxen

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Tennent's Account of Move from Cranbury (Bethel) to Brotherton
1759 Map of Proposed Layout of Brotherton
Pictures of Brotherton
Primary Documents Related to Brotherton Indians
Native Men in the French & Indian War
Brotherton in 1761 & 1795
Message from the Brothertons to the Ohio Indians, 1767
Removal to New York, 1793 - 1803
Robert Skikkit - And Indian Soldiers of the Revolution
Weekping or Coaxen
Pictures of Weekping/Coaxen
Indian Rules of Descent of Lands
The Will of Charles Moolis & Legal Action to Stop It
The Court Battle over Moolis's Will
Court Action in Trenton
Confused Tenants & Powers of Attorney
State Control of Weekping
Efforts at Compromise at Weekping
Petition of the Indians, 1817
1819 Letter to the President
Federal Court Action
The Loss of Weekping
Miscellaneous Documents
Occum, Quakers, Moravian Texts & More
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mssmapvicentown.jpg
Early 19th c. map of Burlington County, showing Vincentown & Wm. Irick's property - (Coaxen Farm).

Undated manuscript map from the Burlington County library.  It shows Vincent Town to the east and along the main east-west road, William Irick's house, which is the site of the Coaxen Indian cemetery.  The house just west of Irick's, is set at the fork in the road, and matches the historical description of the house which was moved to this site by Isaac Ridgway while he was a tenant of the Coaxen Commissioners.  The road running north from this corner leads to Eayrestown, site of the mill and property of the Eayre family.  Asa Eayre was a key supporters of the Coaxen Indians and served as a commissioner of their lands.

southamptonmap_100dpi.jpg
1876 Map of Southampton Township: Weekping was located near the Irick Farm, between the two streams

1876ed.gif
Closeup of 1876 map. Coaxen Creek crosses the Eayrestown Road to the left.

An Introduction to the Title Transfer of              Weekping or Coaxen
 
The Wills family of West Jersey were committed to securing the rights of the region's Indian population out of a recognition that the Indian generosity towards the early settlers enabled these colonists to flourish and create a new world for themselves.  In 1740, Daniel Wills deeded the Coaxen land to the family of sachem Opollonwhen so that clear title to the land would remain in Indian ownership forever. 
 
According to native custom, the land was to belong to all the family and kindred of Opollonwhen.  These included his two brothers and his children (and relatives).  As outlined by Foster below, some of the inheriters left no direct issue.  One of the sons, Moonis, or Jacob Mulis, left the property by will to his three children in 1784.  Charles Moolis was the sole surviving child of Jacob when the former died in 1798, leaving the land by his will to Josiah Foster.  Using legal argument that only Charles Moolis had sole possession of the land, Foster ommitted the fact that the land belonged to the extended family of Opollonwhen, and was considered by the Brotherton Indians and the State of New Jersey as part of the Indian lands held in common.
 
Foster's claim to the land was contested for twenty years and was widely unpopular with local residents who resented his method of gaining Charles Moolis's signature on a dubious will.   However, by 1819, the Indians involved had long since moved on.  A civil case in federal court by Foster to eject some of the tenants on the property resulted (although the record is incomplete) in the federal court recognizing the validity of Charles Moolis' will.  Foster did not enjoy his victory; old age and debt led him to transfer his interest in the land to his two attorneys who had represented his case in court.
 

The following is a copy of a deed for two hundred and forty-two acres of land conveyed by John Wills to a remnant of what is known in this section as the "Coaxen" tribe of Indians:

"This indenture made the 8th day of October 1740, in the 14th year of the reign of our Sovereign Lord George 2d, over Great Britain France, and Ireland, between John Wills of the township of Northampton in the County of Burlington and Province of New Jersey (Gentleman), of the one part and the children of the late Indian King Opollonwhen, late of the township of Northampton, in the County and Province aforesaid, deceased, and his two brothers, called by the names of Teaunis and Moonis, Indians and natives of the westerly division of the Province of New Jersey, of the other part; Withnesseth, that the said John Wills for and in consideration of the sum of four shillings Current money of the aforesaid Province of New Jersey, to him in hand paid by the said Children of the said Indian King, and Teaunis and Moonis, his two brothers, at or before the ensiling and delivery of these presents, the receipt whereof, he the said John Wills doth hereby own and acknowledge, and thereof and of every part and parcel thereof doth hereby acquit, release and discharge said Children of the said Indian King, and the said Teaunis and Moonis, and every of them forever by these presents, and also for and in Consideration of the good will that he has to the children of Opollonwhen and his two brothers, Teaunis and Moonis, that they might have perpetual habitation for their generation, offspring, stock, or kindred forever; has given, granted, bargained, sold, aliened, enfeoffed, released, conveyed and confirmed, and doth by these presents, fully, clearly, and absolutely give grant bargain, sell, alien, enfeoffed, release, Convey and Confirm unto the Children of Opollonwhen and his two brothers Teaunis and Moonis, and their progeny forever; All that tract of land and plantation, situate in the forks of the Rancocas or Northampton River in the Township of Northampton, in the County of Burlington, and Province of New Jersey, and by the survey thereof lyeth thus bounded. Beginning at a Maple, marked with the letters B V R R, standing on the south side of the middle branch of the Rancocas, commonly called Ayres Mill Creek, and at the mouth of a small run of water, and runs thence by the land of John Burr, (1) south 30 30 E. 91 ch. 18 links, to a black oak by the head of said run; thence (2) still by said Burrs land, south 52 W. 62 ch. 50 links to a dead black oak with a living white oak by the side of it Marked for a corner; thence (3) by said Burrs, N 75 30 W. 12 ch. to a large White oak tree on the east side of Coaxen Run; thence (4) by the land of Daniel Wills, N 5 W. 21 ch.40 links to a White Oak; thence (5) by said Wills N. 43 W. 8 ch. to a stake; thence (6) N. 21 E. 1 ch. 50 links to a stake; thence (7) 23 W. 10 ch. to a stake; thence (8) N. 43 30 E. 18 ch. 50 links to the creek; thence (9) up the same south 88 (N. 43.30) 10 ch. 50 links; thence (10) S. 40 30 E. 2 ch. 50 links; thence (11) S. 40 E. 9 ch.; thence (12) S. – E. 6 ch. 40 links; thence (13) N. 22 E. 8 ch. 50 links; (14) S. 84 30 E. 4 ch; thence (15) S. 39 E. 8 ch. 50 links; thence (16) S. 57 E. 5 ch; thence (17) N. 67E. 6 ch. 50 links; thence (18) N. 20 E. 8 ch.; thence (19) S 53 30 E. 7 ch. 16 links to the place of the beginning, containing 242 acres with allowances for highways; which land being part of a warrant granted to him from the said John Wills from the Council of Proprietors, for the taking up of a quantity of 624 acres of land in the 5th division or taking up; bearing date the 9th of May, A.D. 1740, which said warrant being in the surveyor-general’s office will more and at large appear; and which share of land became of right to him, the said John Wills, by the last will and testament of his father Daniel Wills, deceased, bearing the date 25th March, 1698, and was by the said Daniel Wills purchased of William Biddle and Mary Olive, one-quarter part of a property, as by said deed, bearing date the 6th day of October, 1693, will appear at large in the Secretary’s Office in Burlington, Liber B, folio 336 and 337, recourse being thereunto had; together with all the houses, fences, and improvements whatsoever upon the said land, made an done, with all the mines, minerals, woods, underwood, fisheries, fowlings, hawkings, huntings, and all other the royalties, profits, hereditaments, and appurtenances to the said 242 acres of land an plantation bellowing or in any wise [way] appertaining, and all the estate, right and title, interest, property, possessions, claims and demands whatsoever of him the said John Wills, both in law and equity of, in, or to the said granted and bargained 242 acres of land an plantation and premises, and every part of a parcel thereof, with their and every of their appurtenances, and the revertions and remainders thereof, and of every part or parcel thereof. To have and to hold the said 242 acres of land an plantation, and every part and parcel thereof, with their and every of their appurtenances unto the children of the said Opollonwhen, and to his two brothers Teaunis and Mooris [Moonis], and their progeny, so long as the waters run in the lower Delaware and Rancocas or Northampton rivers, to their only proper use, behoof of the children of the said Opollonwhen, and his two brothers Teaunis and Morris [Moonis], and their generations, offspring, stock, or kindred, and to each of them as the said land may descend according to the custom used among the said Indians forevermore. And the said John Wills for himself, his heirs and executors, covenants grants and agrees to and with the children of the said Opollonwhen and his two brothers, and their progeny by these presents in manner and form following, that is to say. That the said John Wills, at the time of the sealing and delivery of these presents, is and standeth lawfully and rightfully seized of and in the said 242 acres of land, plantation, and premises, and every part and parcel thereof, with their and every of their appurtenances, as of a good, sure, absolute and indefusable estate and inheritance in fee simple, and now hath good right, full power, lawful and absolute authority in business to grant, bargain, sell, alien, enfeoff, release, convey and confirm the said granted and bargained 242 acres of land, plantation and premises as above limited and bounded as the map thereof is thereto annexed, unto the said children of the said Opollonwhen and his two brothers Teaunis and Moonis, and their progeny forever, according to the true intent, purport, tenor, and meaning of these presents; and that is shall and may be lawful for the children of the said Opollonwhen, and his two brothers Teaunis and Moonis, and their progeny from time to time, and at all time forever to transfer by the virtue of these presents, quietly and peacefully to have, hold, occupy, possess, and enjoy all and singular, the said 242 acres of land, plantation and premises, by these presents mentioned, with there, and every of their appurtenances without the lawful let, suit, trouble, hindrance, erection, ejection, or any other interruption of him the said John Wills, his heirs, executors, administrators or any other person or persons whatsoever lawfully claiming or pretending to claim any par of parcel thereof. The Quitrents thereout issuing unto our Sovereign Lord the King, his heirs and successors with arrears thereof, if any, be only accepted. And the said John Wills, for himself, his heirs and executors, bargains, grants and agrees, to and with the said Children of the said Opollonwhen, and his two brothers, Teaunis and Moonis, and their progeny, and by these presents, that the said granted, bargained 242 acres of land, plantation and premises, and every part or parcel thereof, with their and ever of their appurtenances unto the said Children of the said Opollonwhen, and his two brothers, Teaunis and Moonis, and their generation, offspring, stock, or kindred, or to such of them as the said land may descend, according to the custom and tradition used among the Indians, so long as the water runs in the river Delaware and Rancocas or Northampton rivers, against all and every person or persons whatsoever claiming, or that shall or may at any time or times hereafter lawfully claim any estate, right, title or interest of or to any part or parcel thereof with their, and every of their appurtenances; shall and will forever warrant and defend by these presents. In witness whereof the party first above named in these presents have to this Indenture set his hand and seal this day and year above written.

"John Wills. [Seal.]

Josiah Foster's Analysis of Title to Weekping
 

Statement of the Title of the Lands at Weekpink

Foster Collection, Box 6, Folder #1 "Indian" Papers

Pennsylvania Historical Society

 

A Statement of the Title of the Lands at Weekpink late Charles Moolis

It appears by Smiths History of New Jersey page 95 as well as by the records in the Secretarys Office at Trenton, that the proprietors of New Jersey purchased the lands between [Cross] and Rancouas Creek of the Indians except a few farms or Plantations which were Reserved by the Indians whereon they then lived -

And by the same History page 96 as also by the Records in the Surveyor Generals Office at Burlington it will appear that (upon the application of Mahamukwon alias King Charles an Indian Sachem to the Council of Proprietors) of the Boundaries of Purchas was settled & fixed in 1703 with the said [Excepted]

And it will also appear that the aforesaid Mahamakwon Alias King Charles Left three Sons, to wit, Ossollawin Teannis & Moonies, Ossollwin at the Death of his Father was by the White People called King Charles, and Moonis was called Jacob Moonis he was the Father of the Late Charles Moolis We have no account of the Death of Mahamukwon, but it appears by a deed in the Possession of Hudson Burr that in 1724 Ossollowin & Tiannis two of his sons, Sold & Conveyed fifteen Hundred Acres, a part of their Reserved Lands by meets and Bounds to John Burr, which Bounds runs and fits on three sides of the Lands now in dispute, Which appears to have been the Indians old homestead - Whereon they have lived Eversince, and never has been Conveyed to, or in the possession of any others But it also appears by the aforesaid Smiths History page 95 that John Wills (Whose Father Daniel Wills had also purchased lands of the Same Indians adjoining on those Lands) Advised the Indians to lay an English title on the lands yet Reserved and kept by them, and on the 19th day of May 1740 the same was surveyed and returned on the Rites of the said John Wills, a Considerable proprietor and on the 6th day of October, in the same year John Wills by deed Conveyed the same to the Children of Ossollowen, Tiannis and Moonis & as sd Deed will set forth, which will show that John Wills had no Expectation or wish to Lesson the Indians Right on those Lands by what by what he had done, It will appear by some of the old people in the Neighbourhood that Ossollowen left one son Called John Kitts, Teannis left no Issue Moonis alias Jacob Moonis left three Children to wit, Hannah Molly, and the late Charles, Jacob Moonis & Joh Kitts held and enjoyed the lands now in dispute between them, and in 1783 Jacob Moolis by his last will in writing duly proved and Recorded, left his lands to his three Children Hannah Moll and Charles, then John Kitts Died and left no Issue, by which death the whole Land became the property of the said Hannah Molly and Charles, Hannah and Molly dying before Charles and left no Issue by which means the Whole Decended to their Brother, the late Charles Moolis by whose will the present dispute Arrises -

And it may be further observed that in the last Indian sales of lands in New Jersey this Family refused to sell their Rights and never claimed any Right to or in the lands at Edgpillock - It is therefore to be supposed that Charles Moolis had as good a right to dispose of his land (he being the last of the Family) as his predecessors had to sell to the proprietors John Burr or Daniel Wills

On reverse: Recd Lib AT of Deed folio 207 etc. Secretary Office

Foster's Anaylsis of the Deed of Jacob Moonis [Note:  He did not use this line of reasoning when he maintained that there were no heirs to the property.]
 

Analysis of Jacob Moonis Deed/ND

Foster Collection, Box 6, Folder # 1 "Indian" Papers       

Pennsylvania Historical Society

Extract from Moniss['s] Deed

Unto the said Children of the said Indian King called Os,so,lo,when and his two brothers Teannis and Moones their Generation, offspring, Stock Progeny or Kindred, or to such of them as the said Land may Decend according to the Customs used among the Indians so long as the Waters run in the River Delaware and Ancocus

The following is the Dictionary Explanation

Generation { the begetting or bringing a thing into being allso the ages or Race or people

Offspring { that which is begot and bringeth fourth by another, as [ ], Children or Young Ones

Stock { the family, Race or Generation of Persons

Progeny { Children, or the offspring that comes from us: Our Issue, etc

Kindred { those allied by Blood and those by marriage, Relations

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