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New blog 4359 2020-09-13 15:11:53 TITLE Roe Howell's Death and Land Titles (Romeo, Old Goats Club) :

CONTENTS: this is the main body of text

Blog 4359 :

Roe Howell died last week, a lovely, quiet man, who struggled with lymphoma for several years, but scarcely mentioned it in our monthly luncheons at Tavistock Country Club in Haddonfield. His death followed by a month that of Joe Holman, about whom another blog will be written. Both funerals are disrupted by the Caronavirus epidemic keeping the date uncertain.

The occasion missed at the Country Club, was the invention of Bob Twitchell some time ago, and was never officially named. It was variously referred to as the Old Goats Luncheon, or the Romeos, initials standing for " Retired Old Men Eating Out". Wives sometimes ate on neighboring tables, never at the table for men. I remember inviting the Mayor of Haddonfield, who happened to be a woman, and I never will forget the growls it produced among the members, so the subject of women members never came up again, let alone putting it to a vote. At that time I was in charge of calling the twelve members to remind them of Tuesday's luncheon, so I was more or less officially in charge. But my writ obviously did not extend to the subject of membership. I was the only one at the time who still retained a secretary, who first would remind me to make the calls.

Roe Howell had been the President of the Proprietors of East Jersey, the oldest corporation in America. Shortly after he resigned to become a resident of a sort of nursing home in Moorestown. the Proprietorship of East Jersey disbanded because of fear of lawsuits, so now the Proprietorship of West Jersey is the oldest corporation in America, unless someone in Massachusetts or Virginia wants to contest the issue. Another member of the table, Bill Taylor was the appointed Surveyor-General for both corporations for years until he suddenly died, but appointment of his son kept the matter within the Engineering firm of Taylor and Taylor. We will discuss the issue of land speculation and land titles in another Blog.

To acquaint people, let me say that the Proprietorships were created by the First King James of England, by drawing a line in the sand with his sword. It was a reward for seizing the land between the Connecticut and Delaware rivers from the Dutch. They got New Jersey as a reward for sheltering the two royal brothers (Charles and James) on the Island of Jersey off the English coast What's more, overthrowing permanently the Dutch claims to what became the three Quaker states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) plus New York and Connecticut. A line was surveyed from "The beach of Egg Harbor" to Dingman's Ferry on the Delaware, separating East from West Jersey. The southern marker is now three miles out to sea, but Dingman's Ferry (now a toll bridge belonging to the Dingman descendants) still exists among the morain ends of the glacier that deposited them. The original land was all sold, but New Jersey is water on three sides, so islands keep appearing. They belong to the Proprietors. You can still buy them, but they take years to dry out. If you wonder how this English corporation survived the Revolutionary War, it had to do with the fact that all the New Jersey Constitutional Convention delegates were Proprietors, and demanded continuity as the price of signing the document.

The present blog was written for the purpose of announcing the deaths of Howell and Holman, two of the finest gentlemen I have ever met, and very distinguished in their quiet leadership of two of the quietest firms having eminence in the nation. Look for announcements of their memorial services, whenever the convair virus permits.

Originally published: Sunday, September 13, 2020; most-recently modified: Saturday, September 19, 2020


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