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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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Finding Freedom: Andrew - Revolutionary War Bounty Land Claim

As a reward for military service during the Revolutionary War, veterans, like Andrew Ferguson, could apply to receive land in what is now the Midwest region of the United States. The land had been previously settled by Native Americans and taken over by the United States Government. According to an act passed by Congress in March 1855, veterans, their widows, or the children of deceased veterans could apply to receive 160 acres of land. This document records Andrew Ferguson’s application for his parcel of land. Ferguson’s application was approved, but he died in 1856, the same year he was granted the land. 

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Fold3.com

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Season of Independence: New Jersey State Constitution, July 2, 1776

New Jersey adopted a constitution that declared its own independence from Great Britain on July 2, 1776. The preamble of the document blamed the colonists’ grievances on the actions of Parliament and King George III and claimed that “all civil Authority under [the King] is necessarily at an End” before going on to lay out a new framework for government without Royal authority.

New Jersey State Archives, Department of State

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County, New Jersey Poll Lists, 1801

Upper Penns Neck Township
Salem County, New Jersey
October 13 & 14, 1801
Ink on Paper

This poll list is from an October 1801 state election that was held at the home of Philip Souder, an innkeeper in Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County. The election determined annual officeholders for the New Jersey State Assembly and Legislative Council, and for the Salem County Sheriff and Coroner. The town officers presiding over the election included Judge Joseph Borden, Assessor Jacob Wright, Clerk Isaac Ward, and Collector Philip Curriden. 

The poll list includes the names of 115 total voters. At least eight of these voters are women, accounting for about seven percent of the voters on the list. 

We assume Upper Penns Neck Township, like the rest of Salem County, voted Democratic Republican in the October 1801 election, but we do not know which candidates the township voters supported due to a gap in historical records.

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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Finding Freedom: Andrew - Revolutionary War Bounty Land Certificate

As a reward for military service during the Revolutionary War, veterans, like Andrew Ferguson, could apply to receive land in what is now the Midwest region of the United States. The land had been previously settled by Native Americans and taken over by the United States Government. According to an act passed by Congress in March 1855, veterans, their widows, or the children of deceased veterans could apply to receive 160 acres of land. The United States Department of the Interior sent this document to Andrew Ferguson in 1856 to officially grant him the land he earned for his service. Ferguson, however, died the same year. 

National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC/Fold3.com

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County, New Jersey Poll Lists, 1806

Upper Penns Neck Township
Salem County, New Jersey
October 14 & 15, 1806
Ink on Paper

This poll list is from an October 1806 state and 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 annual officeholders for the New Jersey State Assembly and Legislative Council, and for Salem County Sheriff and Coroner, in addition to Representatives for the 10th Congress of the United States. The town officers presiding over the election included Judge Philip Curriden, Assessor William Darling, Collector Thomas Summerel, and Clerk Gideon Denny. 

The poll list includes the names of 210 total voters. At least 23 of these voters are women, accounting for an estimated 11 percent of the voters on the list. 

Like the rest of Salem County, Upper Penns Neck Township voted Democratic Republican across the board in October 1806. Voters in the township supported Democratic-Republicans Jeremiah Dubois, Daniel Garrison, and Daniel Tracey for State Assembly; Jacob Hufty for Legislative Council; Samuel L. James for county sheriff; Lewis Dubois, Henry Fries, and Andrew Alston for county coroner; and William Helms, Thomas Newbold, Henry Southard, Ezra Darby, John Lambert, and James Sloan for Congress.

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: 1800 Bedminster Township Poll List

Bedminster Township, Somerset County, New Jersey
October 14 & 15, 1800
Ink on Paper

This poll list is from an October 1800 state election that was held at John Van Duyn’s tavern, located in a part of Bedminster Township, Somerset County, called Larger Cross-Roads. 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 Judge Joseph Annin, David Sevill, Alfoard Hernot, and Peter Stuphen. 

The poll list includes the names of 118 total voters. It lists the names of three women voters: Sarah Eoff, Margaret McDonald, and Eleanor Boylan. These women account for almost three percent of the voters on the list. This is the only known poll list to survive from before 1807 that shows who voters cast their ballots for. It also includes a referendum on changing New Jersey’s constitution, which had the potential to endanger women’s votes. Two of the women, Eoff and McDonald, voted against the referendum. 

Like the rest of Somerset County, Bedminster Township voted Federalist in 1800. Most voters in the township supported Federalists Peter D. Vroom for Legislative Council; James Van Duyn, William MacEowen, and Frederick Frelinghuysen for State Assembly; Joseph Doty for county sheriff; and William Forman for county coroner. 

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 Historical Society

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Election Locations

The recently discovered poll lists document elections that took place in four different townships in three New Jersey counties between 1800 and 1807. Each location is plotted on this 1795 map of the state. Prominent local taverns served as the polling places for the elections in Montgomery Township, Upper Penns Neck Township, and Bedminster Township. The election in Chester Township was held in a schoolhouse in Moorestown, Burlington County. 

Image courtesy of Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C.

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When Women Lost the Vote: A Revolutionary Story: Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County, New Jersey Poll Lists, 1802

Upper Penns Neck Township
Salem County, New Jersey
October 12 & 13, 1802
Ink on Paper

This poll list is from an October 1802 state election that was held at the home of Philip Souder, an innkeeper in Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County. The election determined annual officeholders for the New Jersey State Assembly and Legislative Council, and for Salem County Sheriff and Coroner. The town officers presiding over the election included Judge William Patterson, Assessor Charles Jones, Clerk Isaac Ward, and Collector Joseph Borden. 

The poll list includes the names of 241 total voters. At least 29 of these voters are women, accounting for about 12 percent of the voters on the list. 

Like the rest of Salem County, Upper Penns Neck Township voted Democratic Republican in October 1802. Most voters in the township supported Democratic-Republicans Samuel Ray, Edward Burrows, and Merriman Smith for the State Assembly and William Parrett for the Legislative Council. We do not know who they supported for county sheriff or coroner.

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: Upper Penns Neck Township, Salem County, New Jersey Poll Lists, October 1803

Upper Penns Neck Township
Salem County, New Jersey
October 12 & 13, 1803
Ink on Paper

This poll list is from an October 1803 state 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 annual officeholders for the New Jersey State Assembly and Legislative Council, and for Salem County Sheriff and Coroner. 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 252 total voters. At least 29 of these voters are women, accounting for nearly 12 percent of the voters on the list. 

Like the rest of Salem County, Upper Penns Neck Township voted Democratic Republican in October 1803. Most voters in the township supported Democratic-Republicans Edward Burroughs, Samuel Ray, and Merriman Smith for State Assembly and William Parrett for Legislative Council. We do not know who they supported for county sheriff or coroner.

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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