BEDMINSTER, NJ -- The Forbes family is donating the township's original charter, which dates back to 1749, to the municipality, Bedminster Mayor Lawrence Jacobs announced on Oct. 21.

"Several months ago, I received a letter from Christopher Kip Forbes asking whether the township would have any interest in accepting a donation from the Forbes family in the form of the original 1749 charter," Jacobs said at a meeting of the Township Committee.

The donation from SBKTM Holdings Inc. on behalf of the famed publishing family includes the Belcher, Jonathan, Royal Governor of New Jersey Bedminster Charter letters patent drafted on April 4, 1749, along with a display cabinet that was made by the Forbes family to house the document.

Sign Up for Somerset Hills Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

For many years, the original document was believed to have been destroyed in a fire at Township Clerk Aaron Longstreet's home in 1845, according to the website mrlocalhistory.org. However, the original charter actually turned up at an antique store in Mercer County years later, and, in 1989, Malcolm S. Forbes bought the charter from an antiques dealer in the area.

The charter has been displayed in a climate-controlled case in the Forbes offices in Bedminster since then.