Jacob Van Wickle (1770-1854)

Item

Person Record Title
Jacob Van Wickle (1770-1854)
Identifier
NJS-PER-00068
Given Name
Jacob
Family Name
Van Wickle
Alternate Name
Van Wikle
Van Winkle
Birth Date
1770
Death Date
1854
Sex
Male
Occupation
Legal
Slave Trade
Biographical Description
Jacob Van Wickle was a corrupt Judge of Common Pleas in Middlesex County who took advantage of his position to establish a slave trading ring. Jacob Van Wickle's son Nicholas Van Wickle and brother-in-law Charles Morgan were also involved in his scheme to buy groups of enslaved people in New Jersey at cheap prices and send them to the Deep South to make huge profits. The Lost Souls Memorial Project, which seeks to memorialize the the individuals whose freedom was stolen by Van Wickle's slave trading ring, has documented over a hundred victims who were taken away from their communities in New Jersey.

New Jersey law stipulated that, before any enslaved person could be taken away (or "removed") from the state, the enslaved individual had to appear in court and give their consent to relocate with their enslaver. If the enslaved person consented, then the Judges of the Common Pleas would issue a removal certificate authorizing this relocation. In 1818, Jacob Van Wickle signed 77 removal certificates authorizing his own son, brother-in-law, and other associates who were part of the scheme to remove Black men, women, and children from New Jersey to Louisiana and Mississippi. But these Black people did not actually give their consent and were instead coerced to leave New Jersey with the slave traders or else left the state under false pretenses after being lied to about their destination.

Newspaper accounts of the Van Wickle operation note that Van Wickle assembled and imprisoned groups of Black people under armed guard at his house on the South River, which newspapers dubbed the "South River Establishment." Researchers affiliated with the Lost Souls Memorial Project identify present-day East Brunswick as the location of Van Wickle's "South River Establishment."
Record Contributor
Jesse Bayker

Linked resources

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Charles Morgan (1775-1848) Agent
Lewis Compton Agent
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