New reply from Kari-Admin
Here are some helpful quotes from the emails from Mr Robinson, Vice President, Delaware Genealogical Society.
“Whorekill was the name given to what is now Lewes creek as well as what is now the town of Lewes, Delaware. This and the surrounding area were the ‘Whorekill district’. The city and county name was changed to Deale in 1680. The use of this name continued until about 1682 when the town became Lewes and the county became Sussex.”
“My understanding of early Delaware land patents is that they were granted by the ruling country (Great Britain) to colonial governors. The governors then made smaller grants to individuals. These were truly ‘grants’ given to individuals with the obligation to improve the land and pay a ‘quit-rent’ to the governors. It was used to encourage settlement in the area, and I’ve seen records were a grant was revoked for failure to improve the land. The quit-rent provided income to the fledgling colony. Do you know if your ancestor actually purchased 450 acres or if it was granted to him? There was also something known as ‘freedom dues’, which was a sort of pre-arranged termination bonus that went to the indenture once the time was up, and this was sometimes in the form of land.”
“Looking at the patent record, I do think this was a grant and not a purchase.”
“My reasoning is that if it was a purchase then the amount would have been mentioned. Also the fact that this is referred to as a patent, which involved a certain process and involved no payment or very little payment. Keep in mind that governments were competing for settlers. They wanted to turn land into productive farms with houses on them and collect quitrents if possible.
A couple of references I’ve used in thinking about this are Colonial Delaware, A History by John A Munroe and Scharf’s History of Delaware. Below are a few excerpts you might find interesting. Let me know what you think.
“Settlement gradually spread as old land titles were confirmed and new grants were surveyed and patented. An attempt was made to realize some profit from the land by collection of modest quitrent. Fees charged for confirmation of patents were apparently very small” [Munroe 66]
:… the average purchases [of land] were about £6 for each head of family; quit-rents one shilling sixpence” (Scharf V1 162]
“In the distribution of land to settlers, an attempt was made to attract English immigrants by grants as generous as those available in the New England colonies or in Maryland. Tracts of approximately fifty acres went to each member of a family, but the actual surveys seem to have varied from less than two hundred to over one thousand acres… warrants had to be secured from the governor…” [Munroe 74]
“The ducal government sought to collect quitrents, normally set at one bushel of wheat per hundred acres.” [Munroe 75]”
“On the port, my guess would be Virginia or Philadelphia. In my research, I’ve seen a large number of early settlers coming to lower Delaware from Virginia and Maryland so that would be my first guess.”
Original Post by Kari-Admin
I have been having an interesting email conversation with the Vice President of the Delaware Genealogical Society about the records I found for John Liming I in Delaware dated 1676 and 1677. The 1677 record lists John Liming with other men, who were given land patents in the Whorekill District of the Delaware Frontier of New York Colony. The patents were being carried by a man to New York to be registered and signed by Gov. Lord Andros. My question was, was the land purchased in England first and then they traveled or were they in the colonies already and purchased the land. His answer was that by the look of the patent, the land was a grant given to clear and farm the land and pay quit-rent to Lord Andros. So there was no up front purchase of the land. So this makes it possible that John Liming if he was the indentured John Lyning, to be able to acquire land in Delaware, improve it and then sell it and move to Monmouth and buy land there. Mr Robinson believes that the men who got patents were here in the colonies already. I did ask what port did he think John might have landed in, and he said that most of the people who settled southern Delaware pre 1680, came from the ports of Philadelphia, Maryland or Northern Virginia. The patents were probably given as early as 1675 but not registered till 1677. The 1676 records were from a court case where John Liming was being called as a witness. The case lasted a year and he was called to appear several times and did not. It looks like he finally showed up to the court in the fall. I am feeling excited by these new records I found and now these new leads given by Mr Robinson!!