New Jersey: Consolidated Chronology of State and County Boundaries

New Jersey Atlas of Historical County Boundaries

John H. Long, Editor & Historical Compiler; Peggy Tuck Sinko, Associate Editor; Emily Kelley, Research Associate; Laura Rico-Beck, GIS Specialist and Digital Compiler; Peter Siczewicz, ArcIMS Interactive Map Designer; Robert Will, Cartographic Assistant

Copyright The Newberry Library 2005

10 April 1606

King James I chartered two Virginia Companies, headquartered in different English cities, to establish colonies along the coast of North America, including islands within 100 miles and, by implication, extending inland 100 miles. Both charters covered New Jersey. The Virginia Company of London was assigned the coast between 34 degrees and 41 degrees north latitude, and the Virginia Company of Plymouth was assigned the coast between 38 degrees and 45 degrees north latitude. The colonies of the two companies were to be at least 100 miles apart, even where the grants overlapped. (Paullin, pl. 42; Swindler, 10:17–23; Van Zandt, 92)


The Dutch established trading posts on the Hudson River and claimed jurisdiction between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers, including present New Jersey. (Van Zandt, 74)


The Dutch established the first European settlement in the area of New Jersey at Fort Nassau (now Gloucester, N.J.) and erected the colony of New Netherland to cover an area that included New Jersey and part of New York. (Snyder, 4)

12 March 1663/1664

King Charles II granted to his brother, the Duke of York, an enormous territory that included New Jersey and colonies to the north and east. The Dutch actually controlled the areas of New York and New Jersey. (McCormick, 16; Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 5–6; Swindler, 7:161–163)

24 June 1664

New Jersey was created when the Duke of York sold the area (not yet occupied by the English) to John Berkeley and George Carteret for a proprietary colony. The area was defined as all land between the Delaware and Hudson rivers and south of a straight line from the intersection of the Delaware River and the parallel of 41 degrees north latitude to the place where the parallel of 40 degrees north latitude crossed the Hudson River. Actual transfer was August 1665. The straight line between the rivers ran through an area unsettled by colonists and was not demarcated. (McCormick, 17; Swindler, 6:375–377; Van Zandt, 79)

29 August 1664

From August to October 1664 the Duke of York's forces fought the Dutch, captured New Amsterdam (29 August 1664), took control of New Jersey, and renamed the province New York. The Treaty of Breda (1667) confirmed this conquest. The governor of New York administered New Jersey. (Parry, 10:231; Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 5)

July 1673

In the summer of 1673 Dutch forces recaptured New Netherland, including the area of present New Jersey. (Parry, 13:136; Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 31; Swindler, 4:282)

9 February 1673/1674

The Treaty of Westminster ended the Anglo-Dutch war and restored the Dutch and English colonies to their pre-war affiliations. The English proprietors of New Jersey regained actual control by the end of November 1674. (Parry, 13:136; Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 31; Swindler, 4:282)

29 June 1674

King Charles II re-granted to the Duke of York the territory he had granted on 12 March 1663/1664, including New Jersey. (Snyder, 8–9; Swindler, 6:387–389)

29 July 1674

The Duke of York confirmed his sale of the northern half of New Jersey to George Carteret but did not address the title of investors who had bought John Berkeley's claim to the rest of the territory. (Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 36; Snyder, 8; Swindler, 6:387–389)

13 November 1675

Four county-style courts were created in New Jersey; each was known by the towns it covered: Bergen and vicinity; Elizabeth and Newark; Woodbridge and Piscataqua; and Middletown and Shrewsbury [not mapped]. (Leaming and Spicer, 96; Snyder, 12)

1 July 1676

George Carteret and the other New Jersey proprietors executed the Quintipartite Deed to divide New Jersey into two distinct colonies, East New Jersey and West New Jersey. Both colonies were unorganized and technically were non-county area, and here they are known, respectively, as Non-County Area (West) and Non-County Area (East). A version of the dividing line that was different from the original specifications was accepted and demarcated in part in 1687 (Keith Line), the remainder was redefined in detail in 1688; segments of this line have been used to compose many county boundaries. Parts of the 1688 line must be estimated, and this compilation uses the versions chosen by John P. Snyder for his book on New Jersey's internal boundaries. Another survey of the dividing line, more accurately reflecting the original deed, was performed in 1743 (Lawrence's Line); it affected land ownership but not the county lines. (Snyder, 9, 13; Swindler, 6:398; Van Zandt, 79)


West New Jersey created from the Non-County Area (West) the county-like courts of Burlington and Salem but did not provide definite limits for them [not mapped]. Together, the unbounded courts covered the southern half of the colony, which area is mapped here as a single polygon under the name Indefinite Counties Area. The northern portion of the colony remained completely unorganized. The boundary between Non-County Area (West) and the Indefinite Counties Area is estimated to run along Assunpink Creek, where the line between Burlington and the non-county area would be formalized in 1694. (Snyder, 12)

7 March 1682/1683

BERGEN, ESSEX, MIDDLESEX, and MONMOUTH were created as the four original counties in East New Jersey. They covered the entire colony; Non-County Area (East) eliminated. Two segments of the line between ESSEX and Non-County Area (West) must be estimated, and this compilation uses the versions chosen by John P. Snyder for his book on New Jersey’s internal boundaries. (Shaw, 1:212, 231; Snyder, 10–11, 29–31; Wall and Pickersgill, 1:63)


West New Jersey created the county-like court of Cape May from Burlington at the southern end of the Indefinite Counties Area; limits of Cape May also were not defined completely and clearly [not mapped]. (Snyder, 12)

26 May 1686

West New Jersey created the county-like court of Gloucester between Burlington and Salem courts within the Indefinite Counties Area; limits of Gloucester also were not defined completely and clearly [not mapped]. (Snyder, 12)

8 January 1686/1687

Commissioners from East and West New Jersey settled details of the boundary to separate their colonies. Their version of the boundary lay to the west of the line described in the Quintipartite Deed of 1676. In April and May of 1687, George Keith surveyed the new line from Little Egg Harbor to the South Branch of the Raritan River where he was stopped. Segments of that boundary, known as the Keith Line, have been the basis for many county boundaries. (Another survey of the dividing line, more accurately reflecting the original deed of 1676, was performed in 1743. That became known as Lawrence's Line, and it affected land ownership but not county lines.) As a result of that change, ESSEX gained from Non-County Area (West), MIDDLESEX gained from Non-County Area (West) and from Burlington Court in Indefinite Counties Area, and MONMOUTH gained from Burlington Court in Indefinite Counties Area [Burlington not mapped]. (Snyder, 9, 31)

14 May 1688

SOMERSET was created in East New Jersey from MIDDLESEX; not fully organized, attached to MIDDLESEX. (Leaming and Spicer, 305; Snyder, 12, 29)

15 August 1688

The Dominion of New England formally incorporated East New Jersey (15 August 1688) and West New Jersey (18 August 1688) in accordance with the new royal governor's second commission (7 April 1688) and instructions (16 April 1688) from King James II. No change in counties. (Docs. of N.Y., 3:537, 554; Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 65–66)

5 September 1688

The Non-County Area of West New Jersey gained from ESSEX and SOMERSET in East New Jersey when the absentee governors of East and West New Jersey agreed on a compromise boundary between the two colonies from the north end of the Keith Line (1687) eastward to New York. This line was the boundary between the colonies until 1702 when they were unified, after which it continued as a boundary between counties. Two segments of the boundary between ESSEX and Non-County Area (West) must be estimated, and this compilation has adopted the versions chosen by John P. Snyder for his book on New Jersey’s internal boundaries. The southern limit at Assunpink Creek is estimated, based on long use. (Snyder, 9, 31)

18 April 1689

Upon learning of the Glorious Revolution (replacement of King James II by King William III and Queen Mary II) in England, Bostonians imprisoned the royal governor and other officials, thereby ending the Dominion of New England. Over the next months the Jerseys and the other colonies that had been united to form the Dominion had to resume self-government. Local officials in East and West New Jersey continued to perform their duties on their own authority until proprietary government was re-established in 1692. (Craven, 224; Morris and Kelly, pl. 11; Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 67)

12 November 1692

CAPE MAY gained from Indefinite Counties Area in West New Jersey after Cape May Court was converted to a county and the boundaries were defined completely and clearly. The division between Burlington and Gloucester courts in West New Jersey was redefined, but remained unmappable [not mapped]. (Leaming and Spicer, 508, 513, 514; Snyder, 29)

18 October 1693

The territorial division between Burlington and Gloucester courts in the Indefinite Counties Area of West New Jersey was restored to its pre-1692 configuration, still unmappable [not mapped]. (Snyder, 29)

17 May 1694

West New Jersey converted Burlington, Gloucester, and Salem courts into counties with the same names, but their boundaries remained incomplete and unmappable [not mapped]. Assunpink Creek was officially designated the boundary between BURLINGTON (and, therefore, the Indefinite Counties Area) and Non-County Area (West); Non-County Area (West) was attached to BURLINGTON [not mapped]. The Indefinite Counties Area gained from CAPE MAY when GLOUCESTER gained from CAPE MAY. CAPE MAY remained the only county in the southern part of West New Jersey with complete and clear boundaries. (Snyder, 29–31)

25 May 1700

Within the Indefinite Counties Area of West New Jersey, SALEM gained non-county territory west of CAPE MAY; boundaries of SALEM remained incomplete [not mapped]. (Leaming and Spicer, 574; Snyder, 30)

17 April 1702

Proprietors of East and West New Jersey surrendered to Queen Anne their rights to govern their colonies, and the two colonies were united into the single royal province of New Jersey. No change in counties. (Pomfret, Colonial New Jersey, 87; Snyder, 13; Swindler, 6:439–445, Van Zandt, 79)

21 January 1709/1710

BURLINGTON gained from Non-County Area (West); Non-County Area (West) detached from BURLINGTON. GLOUCESTER and SALEM gained from CAPE MAY. Boundaries of BURLINGTON, CAPE MAY, GLOUCESTER, and SALEM were complete and clear; Indefinite Counties Area eliminated. (Paterson, 2–4; Snyder, 30–32)

BERGEN gained from ESSEX; SOMERSET gained from MIDDLESEX; MONMOUTH exchanged with MIDDLESEX. (Paterson, 2–3; Snyder, 30–32)

Two segments of ESSEX’s boundary with Non-County Area (West) must be estimated and have been plotted following John P. Snyder’s interpretation. (Snyder, 30–31)

11 March 1713/1714

HUNTERDON created from BURLINGTON and Non-County Area (West). The non-county area was eliminated. (Paterson, 4; Snell, 196; Snyder, 32)

15 March 1713/1714

MIDDLESEX gained from SOMERSET. (Paterson, 4–5; Snyder, 32)


SOMERSET fully organized, detached from MIDDLESEX. (Snell, 568)

25 July 1719

New Jersey and New York agreed on the location of the northwestern terminus of their boundary, to be called Station Point, on the Delaware River about the parallel of 41 degrees, 40 minutes north latitude, as specified in the 1664 deed from the Duke of York. The location of Station Point was demarcated but the line from there to the Hudson River was not surveyed [no change]. (Snyder, 13)

15 March 1738/1739

MORRIS created from ESSEX and HUNTERDON. (Paterson, 12–13; Snyder, 32)

4 November 1741

SOMERSET gained from ESSEX. (Paterson, 13; Snyder, 32)

19 January 1747/1748

CUMBERLAND created from SALEM. (McMahon, 163; Paterson, 13–14; Snyder, 32)

28 March 1749

Boundary between MORRIS and SOMERSET redefined [no change]. (Paterson, 14; Snyder, 34)

8 June 1753

SUSSEX created from MORRIS. (Paterson, 15; Snyder, 34)

7 December 1763

Boundary between CUMBERLAND and SALEM redefined [no change]. (Paterson, 17; Snyder, 34)

1 September 1773

BERGEN lost to ORANGE (N.Y.) and SUSSEX lost to ORANGE (N.Y.) and ULSTER (N.Y.) when King George III approved the boundary between New Jersey and New York, as determined by a commission appointed in 1769 at the joint request of the two colonies after decades of dispute. Line defined as running from the junction of the Delaware and Neversink rivers, a spot several miles south of the terminus selected in 1719, to the Hudson River at the parallel of 40 degrees north latitude. The boundary was demarcated in 1774 and, despite small adjustments later during resurveying and a New Jersey claim to Staten Island, it has remained unchanged to the present. (Pratt, 2:789; Snyder, 13–14; Van Zandt, 76)

4 July 1776

New Jersey became an independent state. (Declaration of Independence)

26 November 1783

Islands in the Delaware River annexed to adjacent counties [not mapped]. (Snyder, 34)

24 November 1790

Boundary between MIDDLESEX and SOMERSET clarified [no change]. (Paterson, 103; Snyder, 34)

3 December 1807

BERGEN's eastern boundary was redefined to assert New Jersey's claim to the western half of the Hudson River in dispute with New York [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1807, p. 18; Snyder, 34)

28 November 1822

Boundary between CAPE MAY and CUMBERLAND redefined [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1822, p. 35; Snyder, 34–36)

CUMBERLAND's and SALEM’s jurisdictions also were extended to the main ship channel in Delaware River and Bay, thereby asserting New Jersey's claim to the eastern half of those waters [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1822, p. 35; Snyder, 34–36)

Water boundaries of ESSEX, MIDDLESEX, and MONMOUTH were redefined to assert New Jersey's claim to the western half of Arthur Kill, the water separating Staten Island, N.Y., from the New Jersey mainland [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1822, p. 35; Snyder, 34–36)

20 November 1824

WARREN created from SUSSEX. (N.J. Acts 1824, pp. 146–147; Snyder, 36)

28 June 1834

Congress confirmed the agreement between New Jersey and New York on the course of their over-water boundary line from the Hudson River to the Atlantic Ocean. (U.S. Stat., vol. 4, ch. 126 [1834]/pp. 708–711)

7 February 1837

ATLANTIC created from GLOUCESTER. (Lee, 4:283; N.J. Acts 1837, pp. 96–97; Snyder, 37)

PASSAIC created from BERGEN and ESSEX. (N.J. Acts 1837, pp. 96–97; Snyder, 36–37)

22 February 1838

MERCER created from BURLINGTON, HUNTERDON, and MIDDLESEX. (N.J. Acts 1838, p. 99; Snyder, 37)

27 February 1838

MERCER gained from SOMERSET. (N.J. Acts 1838, pp. 209–210; Snyder, 37)

14 February 1839

MERCER gained from HUNTERDON. (N.J. Acts 1839, p. 39; Snyder, 37)

22 February 1840

HUDSON created from BERGEN. (N.J. Acts 1840, p. 65; Winfield, History of Hudson, 332; Snyder, 37–38)

28 February 1844

MONMOUTH gained from MIDDLESEX. (N.J. Acts 1844, p. 141; Snyder, 38)

13 March 1844

CAMDEN created from GLOUCESTER. (Cooper, 42; N.J. Acts 1844, p. 237; Snyder, 38)

CAPE MAY gained from CUMBERLAND. (N.J. Acts 1844, p. 246; Snyder, 38)

HUNTERDON gained from MERCER, lost to SOMERSET. (N.J. Acts 1844, pp. 244, 253; Snyder, 38)

5 February 1845

MERCER gained from HUNTERDON. (N.J. Acts 1845, p. 32; Snyder, 38)

14 February 1845

HUNTERDON gained from SOMERSET. (N.J. Acts 1845, p. 45; Snyder, 38)

26 February 1845

CUMBERLAND gained from CAPE MAY. (N.J. Acts 1845, p. 58; Snyder, 38)

21 March 1845

MIDDLESEX gained from MONMOUTH. (N.J. Acts 1845, p. 148; Snyder, 38)

10 April 1846

CAPE MAY, CUMBERLAND, and SALEM boundaries in Delaware Bay redefined [not mapped]. (N.J. Rev. Stat. 1877, p. 203; Snyder, 38–40)

24 February 1847

MONMOUTH gained from MIDDLESEX. (N.J. Acts 1847, p. 86; Snyder, 40)

1 February 1850

MIDDLESEX gained from SOMERSET. (N.J. Acts 1850, pp. 5–6; Snyder, 40)

15 February 1850

OCEAN created from MONMOUTH. (N.J. Acts 1850, p. 73; Snyder, 40)

18 March 1851

MIDDLESEX water boundary redefined [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1851, p. 369)

Boundary between MONMOUTH and OCEAN clarified [no change]. (N. J. Acts 1851, p. 323)

19 February 1852

BERGEN gained from HUDSON. (N.J. Acts 1852, pp. 43–44; Snyder, 40)

29 March 1855

SOMERSET gained small areas from MIDDLESEX along road between Kingston and New Brunswick [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1855, pp. 490–491; Snyder, 40–41, 169, 175)

19 March 1857

UNION created from ESSEX. (N.J. Acts 1857, pp. 244–245; Snyder, 41)

20 March 1857

Boundary between BURLINGTON and OCEAN clarified [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1857, p. 477; Snyder, 41–42)

6 February 1858

MIDDLESEX exchanged small areas with SOMERSET along road between Kingston and New Brunswick [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1858, p. 29; Snyder, 42, 169, 175, 221, 227)

16 February 1860

UNION gained from MIDDLESEX. (N.J. Acts 1860, p. 97; Snyder, 42)

4 April 1866

MONMOUTH's northern boundary in Raritan Bay redefined [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1866, p. 964; Snyder, 42)

10 April 1867

CUMBERLAND gained from SALEM. (N.J. Acts 1867, p. 917; Snyder, 42)

25 February 1868

SALEM gained from CUMBERLAND. (N.J. Acts 1868, p. 118; Snyder, 42)

2 March 1869

MONMOUTH gained from OCEAN. (N.J. Acts 1869, p. 151; Snyder, 42)

28 February 1871

GLOUCESTER gained from CAMDEN. (N.J. Acts 1871, p. 314; Snyder, 42)

21 March 1871

Boundary between ESSEX and UNION clarified [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1871, p. 604; Snyder, 42)

5 April 1871

MIDDLESEX gained small area from UNION. (N.J. Acts 1871, pp. 1255–1256; Snyder, 42)

22 February 1876

Boundary between ESSEX and UNION redefined [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1876, p. 482; Snyder, 42)

16 March 1876

Boundary between SOMERSET and UNION adjusted to follow small change in Green Brook [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1876, pp. 484–485; Snyder, 42–43)

26 March 1878

CAPE MAY gained from CUMBERLAND. (N.J. Acts 1878, p. 562; Snyder, 43)

29 March 1878

Boundary between MIDDLESEX and SOMERSET redefined [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1878, pp. 568–569; Snyder, 43)

17 March 1882

Boundary between ESSEX and UNION clarified [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1882, pp. 365–366; Snyder, 43)

17 February 1891

UNION gained small area from ESSEX. (N.J. Acts 1891, p. 536; Snyder, 43–44)

30 March 1891

OCEAN gained from BURLINGTON. (N.J. Acts 1891, p. 538; Snyder, 44)

2 April 1891

CAPE MAY gained from CUMBERLAND. (N.J. Acts 1891, p. 541; Snyder, 44)

3 February 1892

Boundary between ESSEX and UNION redefined [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1892, pp. 483–484; Snyder, 44)

28 March 1892

GLOUCESTER gained from CUMBERLAND. (N.J. Acts 1892, p. 495; Snyder, 44)

9 April 1892

Water boundaries of BERGEN, HUDSON, MIDDLESEX, MONMOUTH, and UNION redefined to match the New Jersey–New York interstate boundary agreement of 1834, as detailed by joint commissions in 1887 and 1889 [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1892, p. 441; Snyder, 44–45)

9 April 1897

CUMBERLAND gained from GLOUCESTER. (N.J. Acts 1897, p. 188; Snyder, 45)

3 April 1902

BURLINGTON gained from ATLANTIC and CAMDEN. (N.J. Acts 1902, pp. 403–404; Snyder, 45)

17 May 1906

Coastal limits of ATLANTIC, CAPE MAY, MONMOUTH, and OCEAN redefined [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1906, p. 542; Snyder, 45)

24 January 1907

Congress approved a 1905 agreement between Delaware and New Jersey that provided for concurrent jurisdiction of disputed waters of the Delaware River and Bay, but no boundary settlement. (Van Zandt, 80)

28 October 1907

ESSEX gained small area from PASSAIC. (N.J. Acts 1907, p. 692; Snyder, 45)

15 March 1926

CAMDEN gained from GLOUCESTER. (N.J. Acts 1926, pp. 67–71; Snyder, 45–46)

3 April 1928

OCEAN gained from MONMOUTH. (N.J. Acts 1928, p. 683; Snyder, 46)

3 March 1931

CAMDEN gained small area along Good Intent Road from GLOUCESTER [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1931, p. 38; Snyder, 47)

5 February 1934

The U.S. Supreme Court, deciding a suit filed by New Jersey in 1929, settled the boundary between Delaware and New Jersey through the Delaware River and Bay along its present course [not mapped]. (Van Zandt, 80)

14 May 1938

Boundaries between ATLANTIC, CAMDEN, and GLOUCESTER redefined [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1938, p. 386; Snyder, 47)

18 July 1939

MONMOUTH gained a small area in Madison township from MIDDLESEX [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1939, p. 657; Snyder, 47)

26 June 1950

CAMDEN gained very small area along Great Egg Harbor River from GLOUCESTER [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1950, p. 871; Snyder, 47)

29 July 1958

ESSEX gained small area on the line between Millburn and Springfield townships from UNION [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1958, pp. 630–632; Snyder, 47–48)

17 December 1965

Boundary between HUNTERDON and SOMERSET clarified [no change]. (N.J. Acts 1965, p. 861; Snyder, 48)

10 July 1998

CAMDEN gained small area in Washington township from GLOUCESTER [not mapped]. (N.J. Acts 1998, pp. 608–610)