Saving History: The Bull / Tuthill Deed

Contributed by Bryan J Dickerson, Township Archivist, Township of Brick, NJ

Daniel Bull Deed 1810 010
Bull-Tuthill Deed, 1810

In March 1810, the United States of America was barely 35 years old.   Seventeen states comprised the young nation.   James Madison was President.  Abraham Lincoln was only a year old.   And on 27 March 1810, Daniel Bull sold a tract of land to James Tuthill in the Town of Blooming Grove, New York.   Two hundred and three years later and 115 miles to the south,   James Tuthill’s deed was spared from oblivion by an astute member of the Brick Township Public Works Department.

On 27 March June 1810, Daniel Bull sold a one-acre triangular-shaped tract of land in the Town of Blooming Grove New York to James Tuthill for $10.   Located in central Orange County about 60 miles north of New York City, Blooming Grove was a small rural town founded on 23 March 1799.

Somehow, the original Bull / Tuthill Deed came into the possession of a resident of Brick Township, a large suburban municipality located in Ocean County, New Jersey.  This resident apparently did not see any value (historical or otherwise) for the Bull / Tuthill Deed.   In May 2013, she took the Deed (now in a large picture frame) to the Brick Township Public Works garbage and recycling transfer facility along with a large number of other items for disposal.  Dave McLaughlin of Brick DPW noticed the deed and instantly recognized its historical value.  He saved the Deed from disposal and turned it over to the Brick Township Municipal Archives for preservation.

Though fragile and stained in various places, the Bull / Tuthill Deed was in good condition.   The ink was still dark and the writing legible.  Apparently, minimal effort had been made by the previous owners of the document to preserve the document, beyond placing it in a glass frame.

Both McLaughlin and the Township Archivist decided that the deed properly belonged back in the community from which it originated.  So the Archivist called the Town Clerk of Blooming Grove, who enthusiastically agreed to receive the Bull / Tuthill Deed.

The next challenge was how to get the fragile 203-year-old document safely up to Blooming Grove.  Fortunately that problem was solved by another Township employee, Brunson Powner.  Fortuitously, he was heading to upstate New York for a wedding in July.  So he made a short detour to transport the Deed to Blooming Grove and return it to its community of origin.

Thus thanks to an alert municipal employee, this irreplaceable artifact of Blooming Grove history is now safely preserved in that community’s Municipal Building, instead of rotting away in a landfill in coastal New Jersey.

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