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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: PLG - Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 1801

Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 1801


This poll list is for an 1801 state election held at the Rocky Hill Inn in Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey. The election determined annual officeholders for the New Jersey State Assembly and Legislative Council, and for the Somerset County Sheriff and Coroner. The poll list includes the names of 343 total voters. At least 46 of the voters are women (about 14 percent of the voters on the list). It also includes the names of at least four free Black male voters. One voter is identified as Black on the poll list with the word “negro” next to his name.


There are a number of voters on this list who have yet to be identified. As the Museum of the American Revolution continues its research, please contact us if you know more about any of the voters. Share your research with us.

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Amy Walker Cheston

Amy Cheston owned 20 acres of land and some livestock when she voted as a widow in Montgomery Township. She lived until 1841 when she died at the age of 97.
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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Montgomery Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 1801

Montgomery Township
Somerset County, New Jersey
October 13, 1801
Ink on Paper 

This poll list is from an 1801 state election held at the Rocky Hill Inn in Montgomery Township, Somerset County. The election determined annual officeholders for the New Jersey State Assembly and Legislative Council, and for the Somerset County Sheriff and Coroner. The town officers presiding over the election included one judge, Robert Stockton, the town clerk, Frederick Cruser, and two poll inspectors, Hendrick VanDike, also known as Colonel Henry VanDike, and Thomas Skillman. 

The poll list includes the names of 343 total voters. At least 46 of these voters are women, accounting for nearly 14 percent of the voters on the list. It also includes the names of at least four free Black male voters, one of whom is identified as Black on the poll list with the word “negro” in parentheses next to his name. 

Like the rest of Somerset County, Montgomery Township voted Federalist in 1801. Most voters in the township supported Federalists Peter D. Vroom for Legislative Council; William MacEowen, James Van Duyn, and Frederick Frelinghuysen for General Assembly; and Peter Stryker for sheriff. The voting results for coroner are lost.

Note: The names recorded on this poll list were written by an election official, not by the voters themselves. The spelling of each voter’s name on the poll list may be different compared to how that same person’s name is spelled in other historical records and by the Museum of the American Revolution.

Images: New Jersey State Archives, Department of State

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Catherine Helms

The widow of a tavern keeper and ferry operator, Catherine Helms voted in 1800. She died in 1802 and is buried in the cemetery of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Pennsville, New Jersey.
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Finding Freedom: London - Troop Return of the American Legion

London arrived in New Brunswick, Canada, in 1783 with fellow members of the American Legion, a Loyalist military unit. This list of troops in the American Legion from 1785 records that London, then called London York, died at some point between 1783 and 1785. Like many other formerly enslaved men and women who resettled in Canada, London may have died due to sickness caused by the harsh living conditions and cold weather. Unfortunately, London died prior to receiving a plot of land in New Brunswick on which he could live as a free man.

Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, RS108 Land Petitions: Original Series

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Finding Freedom: Jack - Record from Trial of “Jack a Negro Man Slave”

On April 13, 1781, Jack faced charges of theft, rebellion, and attempted murder at the Botetourt County courthouse in Fincastle, Virginia. Like all enslaved people in Virginia, Jack was denied a jury trial. Instead, he was found guilty and sentenced to death by a group of justices. This written record of his case is the earliest known documentation of Jack’s activity during the Revolutionary War.

Court Order Book, Vol. 5a (pp.100-101), Botetourt County Courthouse, Virginia

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Finding Freedom: Andrew - United States House of Representatives’s Response to Revolutionary War Pension Pay Increase

In 1844, Andrew Ferguson sent a petition to the United States Government to request an increase in his Revolutionary War pension payments due to the growing pain of his wartime injuries. This written record documents the denial of Ferguson’s request by the House of Representatives one year later. According to this document, Ferguson had gathered support from “several hundred” people who signed his petition. The House of Representatives denied his application because Ferguson’s petition did not include sworn testimony from people that could authenticate his claims about his military service and wounds. 

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County, New Jersey Poll Lists, December 1803

Upper Penns Neck Township
Salem County, New Jersey
December 13 & 14, 1803
Ink on Paper

This poll list is from a December 1803 congressional election that was held at the houses of Andrew Alston and George Clark, innkeepers at Alston and the Cove in Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County. The election determined congressional officeholders for the United States House of Representatives. The town officers presiding over the election included Judge Andrew Vanneman, Assessor Charles Jones, Clerk Isaac Ward, and Collector Joseph Borden. 

The poll list includes the names of 115 total voters. At least three of these voters are women, accounting for just under three percent of the voters on the list. 

There were no Federalists on the ticket in Salem County for the 1803 congressional election. This may explain why voter turnout for this election was so low, since all Democratic-Republican candidates ran unopposed. Voters supported six Democratic Republicans — James Mott, Henry Southard, William Helms, Ebenezer Elmer, Adam Boyd, and James Sloan — for the United States House of Representatives.

Note: The names recorded on this poll list were written by an election official, not by the voters themselves. The spelling of each voter’s name on the poll list may be different compared to how that same person’s name is spelled in other historical records and by the Museum of the American Revolution.

Images: Salem County Historical Society

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Elizabeth Stryker Skillman

Of Dutch ancestry, Elizabeth Skillman was a member of the Harlingen Dutch Reformed Church in Somerset County. She owned a 220-acre farm following her husband’s death in 1796. She voted as a widow in 1801.
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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: PLG - Bedminster Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 1800

Bedminster Township, Somerset County, New Jersey, October 1800


This poll list for an 1800 state election includes the names of three women voters: Sarah Eoff, Margaret McDonald, and Eleanor Boylan. This is the only known poll list from before 1807 that shows how women voted and who they voted for. The election included a referendum on revising the New Jersey State Constitution, which could have endangered the right to vote for women and free people of color. Two women voted against the referendum.


There are a number of voters on this list who have yet to be identified. As the Museum of the American Revolution continues its research, please contact us if you know more about any of the voters. Share your research with us.


Images of the 1800 Bedminster Poll List coming soon!

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