2014-03-20 / Front Page

Land deals will be focus of talk at society meeting

By CLARE MARIE CELANO
Staff Writer

FREEHOLD TOWNSHIP — Individuals who are interested in learning about land deals that made the area what it is today are welcome to attend a presentation at the Oakley Farm Museum, Wemrock Road, on April 2.

The Freehold Township Heritage Society will sponsor a presentation by historical land title research expert Joseph A. Grabas, who will speak about land deals in the early history of Freehold Township and the surrounding area.

Grabas has been designated as a certified title professional by the New Jersey Land Title Association and as a national title professional by the American Land Title Association. He is a founding trustee of the New Jersey Land Title Institute.

The presentation is part of the annual general membership meeting of the Freehold Township Heritage Society. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. and all are invited to the free event, Freehold Township historian Cheryl Cook said.

Attendees need not be members of the heritage society to attend the presentation.

Grabas has titled his talk “Good Deeds and Some Very Bad Deeds” and he will focus on land deals made in the mid-1700’s through the mid-1800’s. This time period was known as the pre-proprietary period through the antebellum period.

“Proprietors were governors of the land appointed by the King [of England],” Cook said. “They were land speculators and they were in charge of dividing land among the people.”

Cook noted that the Oakley Farm has had 13 owners and that many of those owners were from the era about which Grabas will speak.

“The owners in that time period made the most impact as to how the farm developed into what it is today,” she said, describing the farm as a “microcosm of the history of the area.”

Many of the descendants of the owners are buried in the area, according to Cook’s research.

She credited Dorothy Petricek, who is the Freehold Township Heritage Society’s historian, and Susan Davison, who is the society’s historical researcher, with being instrumental in researching the Oakley Farm.

“We always had the original deeds of most of the owners, but we never knew who did what, or why they did what they did, or why they wanted this particular piece of property. It all ties in,” she said.

Grabas has a long history in land title education in New Jersey, according to material provided by Cook.

He founded the Grabas Institute for Continuing Education in 2008 in order “to bring alternative historically based continuing education to the title, legal and real estate professions and to establish an organization that would support and sustain research into the impact of land ownership and conveyancing on the social and economic development of the state of New Jersey,” according to the material.

For further information about the Oakley

Farm Museum or the Freehold Township Heritage Society, go to http://twp.freehold. nj.us/oakley_ farmhouse, send an email to ftheritage1686@yahoo.com or call 732- 577-9766.

Contact Clare Marie Celano at ccelano@gmnews.com.

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