Brotherton & Weekping Indian Communities of NJ

State Control of Weekping

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
Books for sale
Guest Book

By 1802, most members of the the Brotherton community had left for New Stockbridge.   A number of Indian familes however, remained in New Jersey, including those living at their ancestral community of Weekping or Coaxen.   Ownership of Weekping was so confused, that the State of New Jersey passed a law in March 1806 to manage the land on behalf of the Indians.  The commissioners, Joseph Budd and Phineas Kirkbride were opponents of Josiah Foster.  These commissioners worked in cooperation with the Indian's representatives, Enoch Evans and John Haines.  In fact, Enoch Evans had previously been an Indian commissioer, but resigned from the post when the push was made to dissolve Brotherton in 1801.
Foster's Plea Against State Intervention
February 1806:

To the Honourabal the Legislative Council and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey Now Seting at Trenton.

The Memorial of the Subscriber Respectfully Sheweth

That your Memorialis was much surprised at Looking over the business before the Legislater as Published in the True American to find an account of a Petition from Sundary Indians of the County of Burlington Praying the Legislater by a Law to appoint some Person or Persons to take charge of these Lands in said county, Which Petition and the one accampaning it, have been [ ] Privetly Procured and is cerainly an Imposition on the Legislature, as well as Intended to Involve your Memorialest in great Difficultyes if not to Defraud him, Your Memorillest contens and that he thinks on good grounds that the Indians have no Lands in the said County of Burlington Except the Possession of a tract, that they with the assistance of some Evil Disposed Persons have unlawfully and violently taken from your Memorillest, which Lands are now in contest between your Memorillest and Persons acting unde Powers of Attorneys form those Indians that they have Incouraged to clame, which contest the Laws of the State are amply sufficeitn to settel and if then it shold appear to be the Propirty of the Indians it might be Proper to apply to the Legislature but certainly now is Premature Your Memorillest having Divers times and Divers ways indeavoured to bring this unhapy Dispute to a Issue but ahs as yet failed of his ardent wish, but as those Lands have been Devised to your Memorillest by Will which Will has been Legally Proven in the Prerogative Court and a Decree Passed thereon, your Memorillest therefore Prayes that the Legislature will not interfeer or if they do that they do not involve your Memorillest in greater Difficulties

And your Memorillest will Ever acknowlidge the favour

Josiah Foster

12th Febry 1806

March 1806

The Memoriel of the subscriber Respectfully sheweth

That your Memorillest finding a Bill Pending befor the Legislature appointing Commitioners to take charge of and Lease the Coaxin Land for the use of the Indians, your Memorillest having as he thinks a Just clame to those Lands by the Will of Charles Moolis which will hath been Legally Proven and Recorded finds himself compeled to Remonstrate against the [ ] Post in to a Law as he thinks it may opperate against him and strongening [strengthen] his opponent in an unlawfull forcable Entre and Detanur, for by virtue of the will aforesaid your Memorillest had Peasable Possetion and Leas the said Coaxen Land and Put tenants in Possession of the same which Possession has been unlaufully Rested from him by some of those very Persons applying for this Law or theire adherents and now apply for a Law to support them in there unlawfull Proceadures;

Your Memorillest having no wish to Defraud the Indians or Retard the settlement of this unhapy Dispute, but Prays that the Legislature will not Interfer as there is Persons allready acting for the Indians by virtue of Powers of attorney from them no Ingury can arise to the Indians by the Legislaters Leving the business as it now stands untill the Dispute may be settled and if then it shold appear to be the Indians Property, to appoint Commitions then may be Proper

Josiah Foster

4 March 1806

State Law for Management of Weekping:

Chapter CXVIII.  An Act appointing commissioners to take in charge the Coaxen lands in the county of Burlington.

WHEREAS  the Coaxen Indians by their petition to the legislature have represented they claim right to a tract of land in said county, of which they and their ancestors have been in possession of upwards of sixty years, and at this time from a variety of causes are entirely incapable of managing the same to the best advantage; they therefore request the legislature to pass a law appointing commissioners to take charge of and improve the same; which appearing reasonable that the prayer of the petitioners ought to be granted, THEREFORE:

Sec. 1.  BE IT ENACTED by the council and general assembly of this state, and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That from and after the passing of this act, it shall be lawful for Joseph Budd esquire, and Phineas Kirkbride, and they are hereby authorized and appointed to take and receive the possession of all the Coaxen lands of which the said Indians are at present in possession, and to put out the same on improving leases or otherwise at the discretion of the aforementioned commissioners; Provided nevertheless, that nothing in this act shall be construed so as to invalidate or in anywise affect the title, claim or demand of any person whatever, claiming title to, or interest in the said Coaxen lands, or any part thereof.

Sec. 2.  And be it enacted, That it shall be lawful for the said commissioners and their successors in office, to commence and prosecute all actions or suits of law for the recovery of any debt or debts due, and owing from any person or persons, to any or either of said Indians, or for any trespass committed on the said lands, or any part thereof.

Sec. 3. And be it enacted, That the leases or grants which shall hereafter be made by any of the said Coaxen indians, to any person or persons whatever, without the consent of the aforesaid commissioners, shall be null and void.

Sec. 4.  And be it enacted, That the said commissioners and their successors in office, shall render under oath, a just and fair account of all their proceedings, to the judges of the inferior court of common pleas, for the county of Burlington, in the term of May, yearly, and every year; and it shall be the duty of the said court to inspect, and if approved of by them, to allow said accounts, and also after allowing a reasonable compensation to said commissioners for their trouble, to order the appropriation of the remainder, if any there be, in such manner as they may think most proper, for the use and benefit of the said indians.

Sec. 5.  And be it enacted, That if any of the said commissioners should die or refuse to serve, then it shall be the duty of the court aforesaid to appoint a person or persons to fill every such vacancy.

Passed at Trenton March 13, 1806.

Commissioner Reports; 1807-1819 (NJ State Archives):

We the Subscribers commissioners being appointed and authorized by a Law of this State passed march the 12th 1806, to take charge and receive the possession of all the Coaxen lands, which certain Indians, was in possession of at the passing of said Law; to put out the same in improving leases, or otherwise at the Discretion of the commissioners, having taken possession of the said Coaxen lands in the month of march, 1806, and to let the same out on improving Lease, according to said law, we make the following report, and statement, to the Judges of the Inferior Court of Common pleas, and and for the county of Burlington In the term of may 1807, for their Inspection, confirmation, and order thereon, agreeable to said law. march 25th We contracted with and give Isaac Ridgway a Lease on all the said Lands (except a small piece resserve for the Indians) for five years, to Improve said lands, by clearing all the Meadow ground, fitt for Mowing, and some more upland to plow, to bring on said place, five hundred good cedar rails each year of said time, to build a Large barn, and corn house, to move a stable to the new Barn, to move two houses and put them together and repair them sufficiently to Live in, to dig a seller and put a stone wall under one of them, and sink a well and wall it with brick in said time; and to pay the sum of fifty three Dollars thirty three cents each year of said time; and not to farm the old upland that was cleared before, mor than once in four years All which Improvements, and money to be paid we conceive to be about $200.. a year

On Examining the accounts of the Indian agents, for the rest of said Lands since the Death of Charles Mulles, we find that the Indians and there agents had taken the rent all up, to there use, and to enable the agents to carry on the Law Suit against Josiah Foster Esqr, so as to keep the possession of said Lands, and there appears to be Due to Enoch Evans one of the agents the sum of $24.00 and to John Haines another agent the sum of 4.00 The commissioners charge themselves with the sum mentioned above being $53.33 and we crave allowance for the Demand of the agents being $28.00 for our services in Letting and Leasing out the Land several days 8.00 for settling the accounts of the former agents 1.00 for Writing the Leases 1.00 for services at several times on the premises since the Law was given 2.00 for making out this report and other services &ca two Days 3.00 [making a total expense of] 43.00 may 26th 1807 Ballance Due from the commissioners the sum of $10.33 under the Direction of the court for the use of the Indians

Barshaba Mulles the widow of Charles Mulles, we recommend to the consideration of the court; to have the remainder of the money, arising from last year rent; after paying the above stated Demands:

We further report that the Barn is built; and the tennant says he has got the rails for one year as the Lease requires

We state to the court for there order and Direction, as one of the tennants [John Pettit] that Lived on the premises before we got possession; refused to move of the premises and says he puts us to Defiance to get him off (or his wife says so), and they do not move off although they have been advise to, and Warn'd off weather we shall proceed to reject them of or not as the Law Directs, (the court order on this [)]

The above statement we humbly submitt to the said court for there confirmation and order theron

Joseph Budd Phineas Kirkbride} Commissioners for Coaxen Lands

1808 Abstract:  John Pettit, the unlawful tenant referred to above, was removed.  Of the $53.33 received in rent, $29.36 was paid to Barshaba Mulles.

1809 Abstract:  The dwelling house was moved to the fork of the road (site of the Wm. Irick house?).  A cellar was dug and a stone wall put under the house.  Of the annual rent, $42.33 was paid to the Indians.

1810 Abstract:  Reiteration of similar information about rails, improvements, etc.  The house mentioned in the 1809 report is described as being at the forks of the New road.  Amount paid to Barshaba Mulles, $42.33  (the commissioners only took $11. for their services for the preceeding two years).

1811 Abstract:  The Ridgway lease expired and there was a dispute as to the value of improvements made to the property.  The dispute was taken to court and a jury awarded Ridgway $14.36 for the value of the improvements (taken from the annual rent).  A new lease was executed with Robert Baxter for an annual rent of $66.67 plus monies made by the sale of wood.  The new lease reserves a house for Barshaba Mulles on the property.   Of the annual rent of $53.33, $23.50 was paid to Barshaba.

1812 Abstract:  Baxter's lease is for four years.  Of the $66.67 in rent, $55.67 was paid to Barshaba.

1813 Abstract:  A thorough review of all the income and expenses of the Coaxen land was presented and adjustments made accordingly.  Of the adjusted rent of $43.82, $32.82 went to the Indians.

1814:  No report filed; see 1815 for reason.

1815 Abstract:  Further adjustments to expenses were made and in 1814, only .25 cents was paid to the Indians.  In the interim, Barshaba Mulles died, and her coffin and grave expenses were paid by the commissioners.  The total balance due to the Indians was $24.90, but the commissioners did not know who to pay the sum to.  "I not knowing who the nearest relation is to the Mulles family, I must leave it with the court who the balance must be paid to," stated Joseph Budd.  Phineas Kirkbride, his fellow commissioner, had also died in the interim.  The court was asked to appoint a new commissioner.

1816 Abstract:  Baxter's original lease expired and a one year lease was signed with him for a total value of $250, which included rent and improvements.  After expenses were deducted, $72.90 was paid to the Indians as the court directed. [no mention of Indian recipient]  New commissioner was Asa Eayre (of Eayrestown, just east of Fostertown in Burlington County).

1817 Abstract:  Baxter's lease expired and a new lease with Clayton Joyce was signed.  The rent was $200 in money or in building a house or a small room (for Indian use?).  Of rent received, $94.90 was paid to Nancy West, the nearest relation to Barshaba Mulles.  West wished that a small home be built on the property, and a small amount paid to her for her support.

1818 Abstract:  Clayton Joyce paid $50 in money and $150 in improvements.  Nancy West had received $15 each year in support.  A total of $118.90 was due the Indians.

"And we would further report, that Josiah Foster of the state of pennsylvania has commence a law suit by having a Writ of Ejectment served on the said Clayton Joyce the tennant on the said Coaxen lands, to take them from the Indians as as it appears necessary that some oppiscion should be made against Foster claim,  & as there is no Indians able to carry on a lawsuit, but several a kindred claims Heirship to the Lands, we would sugest to the court for there order to allow us to take the above mentioned Ballance to Defend title in behalf of the Indians, and as much more of the rent as it comes due as well be sufficent to pay the cost of said lawsuit, and to make a report to this court some future day what the Expense or cost will be for the courts Allowance and confirmation &ca...    May the 26th 1818

Joseph Budd   Asa Eayre} commissioners"

1819 Abstract:  Clayton Joyce's value of improvements exceeded the rent that he owed, and a credit was given to him.  In addition, "as Josiah Foster had rejected him off of said Lands, he has not Done any improvements thereon since, but Expect to fulfill his Lease, by bringing on cedar Rails all in a short time and pay all his rent although the Ejectment has been brought to take the Land from the Indians - where he Lives"

"As the order of the court Last may term premitted us to take the money to carry on the Law suit in support of the Indians claim against Josiah Foster, and as the Law suit is not desided, we must ask of the court that the same order that was granted to us Last year to take the Ballance to carry on the Lawsuit may be Extended this year.

May the 25th 1819    Joseph Budd   Asa Eayre} commissioners"

End of Commissioner reports as the law suit was decided in Foster's favor in the federal court sitting in New York.



1807 Coaxen Commissioner Report given in full above.

Joseph Budd house, ca. 1750. Southampton Twp.

American Indian Research