Robert Monro of
Flanders, New Jersey
In the central part of northern New Jersey lies a small community named Flanders, the colonial birthplace of three Monro brothers and their niece who settled in Norfolk County, Upper Canada in after years. This community of a few hundred souls lies in rural Roxbury Township, Morris County west of Dover and east of Hackettstown.
In the Flanders Methodist Church Cemetery stands the gravestone of the Scottish immigrant ancestor Robert Monro who died on July 1, 1804 aged 87 years. His will dated a year earlier on June 28, 1803 named his wife Mary, their sons John, William, Robert and James and daughters Ann, Mary and Elizabeth. Of these John, Robert and James were all pioneering in Norfolk County at the time. Only William continued at Flanders and even his daughter Elizabeth (Monro) Douglass, also named in the will followed her uncles on the 450-mile trek northwest. We have not learned what became of the daughters named in Robert Monro’s will.
A number of pioneers from this area of New Jersey made a significant presence in Norfolk. In the years following the 1783 conclusion of the American Revolution others from Schooley’s Mountain a short distance to the southwest came to our county. Those who formerly called that area home included Reverend Jabez Collver, Timothy Collver and Frederick Sovereen to name several. About twelve miles to the southeast of Flanders lies Basking Ridge the former home of the Donald McCall family.
The Will of Robert Monro
There is an interesting aspect to the signed date and the probate of the will of Robert Monro of Flanders when compared to his gravestone. The date of death on the stone is clearly July 1, 1804. Yet his will was probated nearly a year earlier on August 4, 1803. This could be an early example of a living will.
The probate includes an inventory that indicates a man of modest means. However, the occupations chosen by his sons indicate a father who was able to provide them with a top grade education.
Oldest son John Monro held the rank of Lieutenant in the New Jersey Volunteers, a Loyalist force in the American Revolution. He was subsequently a substantial landowner in Upper Canada. His pioneer home in Walsingham Twp., Norfolk County is reputed to have hosted an early school.
William Monro the second son stayed in New Jersey where he served as a Judge of the Common Pleas in Morris County. He bought and sold a number of properties in the county from 1805 to 1844.
Robert Monro Jr. the third son was a physician, a much needed occupation in the backwoods of early Norfolk County.
Youngest son James Monro, a merchant, erected a substantial public house in Charlotteville Twp., Norfolk County. This served as the earliest seat for the London District Courts which governed the area.
The following was researched and provided by Charles C. Munroe III from a transcript viewed by him.
In the name of God Amen I Robert Monro, of the township of Roxbury and county of Morris in the State of New Jersey, being weak in body but of perfect and sound mind, blessed be God, do make and publish this my Last Will and Testament in manner following –
1) It is my will that my son John Monro and my son William and my son Robert and my son James shall have two shares of all my real and personal estate. It is my will the heirs of my daughter Ann, deceased, and my daughter Mary and my daughter Elizabeth shall have one share of all my estate, real and personal.
It is also my will that my granddaughter Elizabeth Monro, the daughter of my son William Monro, shall have out of my estate as followeth – one two year old mare, one cow, six sheep and one feather bed and bedding- also I bequeath and give to my wife Mary one third of all my real and personal estate during her life and after her death then it is my will that her third shall be deemed as above mentioned. Lastly I appoint my wife Mary executive and my son William Monro executrix of this my last will and testament. It is my will that my executive shall sell my lands.
In witness whereof set my seal sea subscribed my name to the same this twenty-eighth day of June one thousand eight hundred and three.
Signed, sealed, delivered and published by the said Robert Monro this my Last Will and Testament. In the presence of us the subscribers.
His mark Robert Munro ( an X mark )
Robert R. Henry
Benjamin F. Bird
To wit : Thomas Lanadon, one of the witnesses to this will being duly sworn doeth depose and say that he saw Robert Munro, the testor therein named, sign and seal the same and heard him publish, pronounce and declare the within writing to be his last will and testament and that at the doing thereof the said testor was of sound and disposing mind and memory as far as this informant knows and as he verily believes, and that Robert R. Henry and Benjamin F. Bird the other witnesses were present at same time and subscribed their names as witnesses together with this informant in the presence of the said testator.
Sworn at Morristown the 4th of August, AD 1803 before me
Jaber Campfield Turngate
Morris County to wit :
Mary Monro and William Monro the executors of the last will and testament of the within named Robert Monro, deceased, and being duly sworn severally depose and say that the within writing contains a true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods chattels and credits of the said deceased as far as have come to their knowledge or possession or to the possession of any other person or persons for their use.
Sworn at Morristown the 4th of August, 1803 before me
Jaber Campfield Turngate
Signed by her mark Mary Monro
Signed William Monro
Morris County, to wit:
Thomas Lanason, one of the appraisers of the within inventory, being duly sworn doeth declare that the goods, chattel and credits in the said inventory set down and specified were by him appraised according to their just and true respective rates and values, after the best of his judgment and understanding and that Benjamin Condit, the other appraiser was present at the same time and consented in all things to the doing thereof and that they appraised all things bought to their view for appraisement.
Sworn at Morristown the 4th day of August, 1803 before me Jabon Campfield Turngate
Inventory of the Estate of Robert Monro
The following was researched an provided by Charles C. Munroe III
To Wit : Mary Monro and William Monro the executors in the within testament named being duly sworn depose and say that the within instrument containing the ---- last will and testament of Robert Monro the testator there in named, so far as they know and as they verily believe that they will well and truly perform the same, by paying first the debts of the said deceased and then the legates in the last will and testament specified, so far as the goods, chattels and credits of the said deceased can thereunto extend; and that they will make and exhibit into the prerogative office of New Jersey true and perfect inventory of all and singular the goods, chattels and credits of the said deceased that have or shall come to their knowledge or possession, or to the possession of any of the person or persons for their use, and render a just and true account As an hereinto lawfully required.
Sworn at Morristown the 4th day of August AD 1803 before me
Jaber Campfield Turngate
Robert Monro in the Petition of his son JamesIn Canadian records there is one mention of the father of the Monro brothers. On March 31, 1797, James Monro filed an Upper Canada Land Petition stating that he married a daughter of Daniel (sic: Donald) McCall and brought his family to the province. He had received a grant of 200 acres of land. James noted that his father served His Majesty during the American Revolution and was expected in the province during the following summer. James requested additional land for himself and a grant for his wife, the daughter of a Loyalist. An attached certificate of Samuel Ryerse, JP dated 22 Mar 1797 stated that James was aged 25 years, born in New Jersey, a farmer.
 Transcript of the will of Robert Monro received from family researcher Charles C. Monro III
 Archives of Ontario, Upper Canada Land Petition “M” Bundle 1, Document Number 31
 Madeline C. Mutrie, Compiler. “Tweedsmuir History of St. Williams.” The St. Williams Women’s Institute, 1967. Undocumented family lore passed down in the Gillaspy, Woodward and Mutrie families.
 Charles C. Monro III photographed a page in the Morris County Register of Deeds with entries for Judge William Monro
 E. A. Owen, Pioneer Sketches of Long Point Settlement. William Briggs & Co. (Toronto: 1898) referred to him as “Dr. Robert Monro
 Fraser, Alexander, “Minutes of the Court of General Quarter Sessions of the Peace For the London District, 1800-1809, 1813-1818, in Twenty-second Report of the Department of Public Records and Archives of Ontario, 1933 (King’s Printer, Toronto, ON: 1934)
 Archives of Ontario, Upper Canada Land Petition “M” Bundle 2, Document Number 89