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Published by the Author. 


Entered according to Act of Congress in the year 1881 by Gkobge Johnston, 
in tlae olflce of the Librarian of Congress at Washington^ D. C. 



The author has no apology to offer for writing this book, 
except this : tliat though certainly the second, and probably 
the first settlement made in the State of Maryland, more 
than two hundred and fifty years ago was within the limits 
of Cecil County, no other person has seen fit to write its 
liistory. For many years, indeed from the time the author 
was a school-boy, he has wished for information concerning 
the early history of this county ; and being unable to find it 
elsewhere, sought for it among the early colonial records of 
Pennsylvania and New York which liave been published, 
and among the dusty and dilapidated colonial records at 
Annapolis. After a careful examination of these, and the 
early land records of Cecil and Baltimore counties, and the 
records of the Orphans' and Commissioners' court of the 
former, he was fully convinced that sufficient material could 
be obtained from which to compile a history of the county. 
With this object in view the work was commenced. Subse- 
quent investigation showed that the early history of the 
settlements along the west bank of the Delaware River was 
so closely blended with that of those around the head of 
Chesapeake Bay that it was impossible to separate them 
without destroying much of the interest of the narrative. 

The author believing that others might wish to profit by 
his efforts to inform himself, and acting upon the sugges- 
tions of a few gentlemen whose judgment the public, did it 
but know their names, would value as highly as the author 
docs their disinterested friendship, concluded after much 
iiesitation to embody tlie result of his labor in the work 
wliich is now offered to the public. 



Of the manner in wliicl) tlie work has been done, the 
reader must jud_i2,e for himself. Tlie autlior is painfully 
conscious that it is far from being perfect. The loss of many 
of the early colonial and county records and the miserably 
dilapidated condition of many of those extant, have added 
greatly to the difficulty and labor of the work, and made it 
in some cases imi)ossible to refer the reader to the sources 
from which important information has been obtained. Not- 
withstanding which, the author has quoted largely from 
the archives of the State and county as well as irom 
the writings and correspondence of many persons mentioned 
in the work, believing it better to do this than to obtrude 
his own language and opinions upon his readers when it 
could be avoided. He has aimed to be impartial and truth- 
ful, and hopes if the following pages do not add much to the 
general stock of information they may be the means of pre- 
serving some portions of the history of the county, much 
of which has been irretrievably lost. 

The author takes this opportunity to thank the members 
of the Elkton bar and officers of the courts of Cecil and 
New Castle counties, and the officers of the Historical Socie- 
ties of Pennsylvania and Maryland, for the courtesy and 
kindness shown him while engaged in his arduous and pro- 
tracted labor. He also desires to acknowledge his indebted- 
ness to the authors of the Historical Sketches of the Draw- 
yers, White Clay Creek, Pencader, Head of Christiana, Rock, 
West Nottingham and Elkton Presbyterian churches, for 
valuable information derived from them; and the Right 
Reverend Bishoj) La}', of the Diocese of Easton, for the use 
of Rev. Ethan Allen's Manuscript History of the parishes in 
this county; and to Rev. E. K. Miller, rector of North VAk 
Parish, and Rev. Charles P. Mallery,the author of an inter- 
esting and valuable series of papers on Bohemia Manor, re- 
cently published in the Cecil Democrat ; to whose efforts he is 
indebted for much useful information. 



Captain Joliu Smith, of Virginia, explores the navigable waters of 
Cecil County— Smith's account of the Susquehaunock Indians — Other 
Indian tribes in the upper part of the Peninsula— Their weapons and cul- 
inary utensils Page 1 


First English settlement on Watson's Island — Edward Palmer — Wm. 
Clayborne establishes a trading post on Watson's Island Page 7 


George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore ^He is a member of tlie Vir- 
ginia Company —Plants a colony in Newfoundland — Obtains a charter 
for a colony in Maryland — Is succeeded by his son Cecil, who obtains 
another charter — Extracts from the charter^^The first colony under 
Leonard Calvert settles at St. Maries — War with the Susquehannocks — 
Treaty with them Page 11 


Early settlements on the Delaware — ^Ilenry Hudson — Captain Muy and 
others — Names of the Delaware — Fort Nassau — Swanendale — Peter Min- 
uit plants a Swedish colony at Wilmington — Fort Cassimir — Peter 
Stuyvesant conquers the Swedes Page 20 


First permanent settlement in the county— Other settlements — 
Spesutia Island —Trouble between the Dutch and English — Nathaniel 
Utie — He is sent to New Amstcl — Augustine Hermen and Resolved Wal- 
dron visit Maryland — Their meeting with the Governor and Council- 
Account of the early life of Augustine Hermen — His Map of Maryland — 
Extracts from his will — He obtains a grant of Bohemia .Manor and Mid- 
dle Neck — Makes a treaty with the Indians at Spesutia Islantl — First 
reference to Cecil County — Thompsontown — Indian forts Page 27 


Council of Maryland meet at Si)esutia Island — Exaiwination of persons 
who had suliered from the depredations of Indians along tlie Delaware 
River — Interesting correspondence between the Governor of Maryland 
and Alexander D'llinoyossa, Governor of New Amstcl — The Council de- 
clare war against the Susquehauuocks— Instructions to Captain Odber — 


Letter from D'llinoyossa — Augustine Hermen tries to make peace be- 
tween the Dutch and Englisli— Council meets at Susquehanna Point and 
are shown tlie fommission of Captiiin Neals recently arrived from Eng- 
land—Many of the Swedes from l^elaware settle in Sassafras Neck. 

Page 42 


Treaty with the Passagonke Indians at Appotiuinimink — Copy of the 
treaty — Scarcity of corn— Captain Odbcr gets into troub!e^A cowardly 
soldier — Trouble with the Senecas — Treaty with the Delaware Bay In- 
dians — Capture of a Seneca Indian— Letter from the justices of Baltimore 
County respecting the captive — Francis Wright and Jacob Clawson— Tor- 
ture of an Indian prisoner -War with the Senecas— Another treaty with 
the Susquehannocks — The Senecas attack the Susquehannock's fort at 
Turkey Hill, Lancaster County, and are repulsed — End of the Susque- 
hannocks Page 55 


Augustine Hermen and others naturalized — The Hacks— Hermen has 
a dispute with Simon Oversee —He tries to establish a village — Trouble 
among the Dutch — Sir Robert Carr conquers them — TJie name of New 
Anistcl changed to New Castle — Account of D'llinoyossa — Efforts of the 
Marylanders to extend their jurisdiction to the Delaware River — Durham 
County ^Road from Bohemia Manor to New Castle — Grant of St. Augus- 
tine Manor — Ephraim George, ^nd Casparus Hermen — Original limits of 
Baltimore County — Erection of Cecil County — The lirst court-house at 
Jamestown — Augustine Hermen and Jacob Young appointed commis- 
sioners to treat with the Delaware Indians — Account of Jacob Young. 

Page 71 


The Labadists — Sluyter and Danckcrs — Their joui-nal — They meet with 
Ephraim George Hermen and wife — Visit New Castle and Bohemia 
Manor — They go on down the Peninsula - Return and purchase the Labadie 
tract on Bohemia M.anor, and establish a community there — Destription 
of the Labadie tract and how they got it— Peter Bayard anil otheis — 
Description of the community on Bohemia Manor — Augustine Hcrmen's 
quarrel with George Holland — Letter from Ilcrmcn — Hermcn's patents 
of conlirmati(m— He obtains a patent for ^lisfortune, or th^Tihree Bohe- 
mia Sisters - Extent of his possessions- He invests his son Ephraim George 
with the right and title to Bohemia ■\Iauor — A curious deed — Augustine 
Hermcn's last will — His death and monumental stone- His place of 
burial— Codicil to his last will — His daughteri? Page 84 



Delaware^rantedtoWilliamPenu — Death ofCecilius Calvert, who is suc- 
ceeded by his son Charles— George Talbot— Obtains a patent for Susque- 
hanna Manor— Its metes and bounds — Courts Baron and Courts Leet — The 
name of Susquehanna Manor changed to New Connaught — Extent of 
Connaught Manor — Talbot obtains a patent for Belleconnell- Belle Hill — 
Talbot lays out New Munster— Makes a demand on William Penn for all 
the land west of the Schuylkill and south of the fortieth degree of north 
latitude — Runs a line from the mouth of the Octoraro to the movxth of 
Naaman's Creek — Lord Baltimore visits England — Talbot presides over 
the council during his absence — Presides over the court of Cecil County 
— Account of the court - Talbot makes a raid on the settlers east of Iron 
Hill — Builds and garrisons a fort near Christiana bridge —Account of the 
fort— Talbot's Rangers— Beacon Hill Trouble about the collection of 
the king's revenue —Talbot murders Rousby — Is carried prisoner to Vir- 
ginia — Makes his escape — Returns to Cecil County— Takes reiuge in a 
cave near Mount Ararat — Surrenders to the authorities of Maryland — Is 
taken to Virginia by command of the King Is tried and convicted of 
murder, but pardoned by the King — Returns to Cecil County and executes 
a deed for Clay fall — Returns to Ireland — Enters the Irish brigade, and is 
killed in the service of the King of France Page 109 


New Munster— Its metes and bounds— The Alexanders— Society — Cecil 
Manor — Charles Carroll— Fair Hill — The Scotch-Irish— Christiana Pres- 
byterian Church- Rock Church— The EngliStrRevolution-Its elfect on 
the Colony of Maryland— Nottingham — The Nottingham Lots— Original 
grantees— Reasons why the grant was made — The fust Friends' meeting-- 
house — The Little Brick or Nottingham Friends' meeting-house— Pop- 
pemetto— West Nottingham Presbyterian Church — Treaty with the 
Conestoga Indians — Thomas Chalkley visits them — Account of some of 
the first settlers of Nottingham— The Welsh tract — Its boundaries— The 
Baj)tist church on Iron Hill — The Pencader Presbyterian Church — Rev. 
David Evans — Rev. Samuel Davies — Iron Hill Page 133 


Characteristics of the early settlers — Augustine llernien succeeded by Ids 
son Casi)arus — Account of Casi)arus Hermen— Farms on Bohemia Manor 
— Death of Caspariis Hermen — Succeeded by his sou Ephraini Augustine 
— Sketch of Ephraim Augustine Hermen — His wives and children — John 
Lawson marries ^Nlary TIermcn — Peter Bouchell marries Catharine Her- 
men — Peter Lawson — Catharine (Herman) Bouchell — Her death — Jose])h 
Ensor — Quarrel about the possession of Bohemia ]\Ianor — Joseph Ensor, 
Jr. — Division of Bohemia Manor — Death of Peter Lawson Page 169 



Tlic Van Bibbers — They settle on Bohemia Manor — Their mill — John 
Jawert marries Casparus Ilermen's widow — Keeps Elk Ferry — Wild 
stock — Rangers — Collection of the King's revenue — Wild animals — 
Trade with England— Bill ul' lading — Slave trade — The Jesuit mission 
at Bohemia — The Cross Paths — James Heath, the founder of Warwick — 
Bohemia a port of entry — Ancient cross — Father Mansell — Peter Atwood 
and other Jesuits — The Jesuit school — Efforts to suppress the Jesuit 
mission — Labors of the Jesuit Fathers Page 18G 


First Friends' meeting-house — First Episcopal minister^North and 
South Sassafras parishes — First vestrymen — Population — Curious lot of 
church i)roperty — Fust Episcopal Church — Chapel of Ease in Elk Neck 
— Shrewsbury parish^Rev. Hugh Jones — Chapel on Buheniia Manor — 
Sketch of Rev. Hugh Jones — North Elk parish — First vestrymen — 
Richard Dobson — John Uamni — Rev. AValter Ross — Chapel near Battle 
Swarai) — Rev. William Wye — St. Mary Ann's Church, North East — Taring 
the Chuich — Death of Rev. Mr. Wye — Rev. John Bradford — Rev. John 
Hamilton — Clay fall Page 2U5 


William Dare — Bulls Mountain — "Friendship" — Old Simon — Trans- 
town — Ye Swedestown — John Hans Stillman — Smith's mill at Head of 
Elk — The Jacobs family — Henry Hollingsworth — Quarrel about Ncw- 
Munster road — Bridges over the head of Elk River — Road from head of 
Elk to New Castle— Sketch of Hollingsworth family— North East— First 
iron works — Roads leading to North East — Principio Iron Company — 
Samuel Gilpin settles at Gilpin's Rocks — William Black's account of 
North East — Immigration — Character of immigrants — Susquehanna fen-y 
— Road from ferry to Philadelphia Page 32i5 


Hundreds — Hotels — Charles Rumsey — Trials by jury — The Justices* 
court — Rules of the court — Removal of county seat from Jamestown 
to Court-house Point — Court-house and jail — Town at Court-house Point — 
Elk ferry traditions — Quarrel among the justices of the court — The 
lawyers Pago 240 


Ell'orts to estal>lish towns — Ceciltown, at mouth of Scotchman's Creek 
— Fredcricktown — Georgetown — The Acadians or French Neutials — Ac- 
count of them — They are sent to Louisiana arid Canada — Reasons for 
building Cliarlcstown — Its location — Public wharf and warehouse — Its 
exports — Fairs — Introduction uf toa and coffee — History of t'harlestown 
— Population by census of 1880 Page 253 



Presbyterian Churcli at Bethel — Visit of Rev. George Wliitefiekl — 
Preaches at Elkton and on Bohemia Manor — Presbyterian Chuich at Elk- 
ton — Disruption of Nottingham Presbyterian Church — Rev. Samuel Finley 
— Nottingham Academy — The Free School on Bohemia River — Rev. John 
Beard — The present church buildings — Name changed to Ephesus — Rev. 
James Magraw — Revival of Nottingham Academy — The Rock Presbyte- 
rian Church — Disruption — Rev'. James Finley — Murder of Hugli Mahaffey 
— Rev. James Finley goes West — Present church buildings — Rev. John 
Burton — Rev. Francis Hindman — Lotteries for church purposes — Man- 
ners, customs and character of the early Presbyterians — The Alexanders, 
and other emigrants to South Carolina Page 275 


Border war — Davy Evans dispossesses Adam Short — Petition of Sam- 
uel Brice — Arrest of Isaac Taylor and others — Agreement' between the 
heirs of William Penn and Lord Baltimore respecting the settlement of 
the boundaries — Proceedings in chancery — Renewal of border war — 
Thomas Cresap— Order of the King in Council — The temporary boundary 
line — Decree of Chancellor Hardwick— Diary of John Watson — Cape 
Henlopen — The trans-peninsular line — Death of Charles Calvert — 
Another agreement — Location of due north line — Difficulty of the work 
— Mason and Dixon— They land in Philadelphia — Latitude of that city — 
Account of their labors for the next five year.s — Re-location of the north- 
east corner of Maryland Page 296 


The Revolutionary War — The Quakers — Convention of 1774 — Commit- 
tee of Safety — Delegates to convention of 1775 — First military organiza- 
tion in the county — Henry Dobson — Military organizations in the county 
— Henry IloUingsworth makes musket barrels and bayonets for the army 
— Edward Parker makes linen and woolen goods for the use of the sol- 
diers — Invasion of the county by the British — They land at Court-house 
Point — Sir William Howe's proclamation — Part of army march 
to Head of Elk — Another part overrun Bohemia Manor — Account of the 
invasion — Court-house not burned — Doings of the American army— Skir- 
mishing on Iron Hill — Robert Alexander — Disloyalty of the citizens of 
Newark — Tories trade with the British — The Quakers refuse to perform 
military duty, and are court-martialed — Brick Meeting-house used for a 
hospital — Burglary at Head of Elk — Interesting correspondence — Lafay- 
ette's expedition to Yorktown passes through Head of Elk — His route 
through Cecil County — Journal of Claude Blanchard — Forteen Stodder, 
the negro soldier — Confiscated property — The Elk Foi-ge Company — 
John Roberts hanged for treason — The Principio Iron Company — Susque- 
hanna Manor — Lots in Charlestown — Property of Rev. William Edmisson. 

Page 318 


Removal of scat of justice to Charlestown — Reasons of the removal — 
Interesting correspondenoc — Charlestown Ferry — ^Conditiou of societj' — 
Stephen Porter kills Thomas Dunn^Escapes from jail, etc. — Is tried at 
Charlestown and convicted of manslaughter — Unsuccessful efVorts to 
build up Charlestown — Removal of county seat to Head of Elk — Rev. 
Joseph Condon's address to citizens of Elk — Opjjosition of the citizens 
of Chailestown to the removal of the county seat — Act of Legislature 
authorizing the erection of public buildings at Elktown — Elkton incor- 
porated — Court meets in Elkton — ^Members of the Elkton bar — Trouble 
about roads — The first almshouse — Sale of free school farm — Rum- 
sey's steamboat — The Susquehanna Canal — Rivalry between Havre de 
Grace and the town of Chesapeake — First arks on the Susquehanna 
River — Malignant fever in Elkton Page 352 


Octoraro forge — Cecil Manufacturing Company — New Leeds — Chesa- 
peake and Delaware Canal — Benjamin H. Latrobe — The canal feeder — 
Riot at Elkton — "Treeket the Loop" — Supplementary Act — Work re- 
sumed on the canal — John Randel — He sues the canal company — Com- 
pletion and cost of the canal — Difficulty of construction — l*ort Deposit — 
Philip Thomas — Port Deposit Bridge Company — Bridge burned — Sale of 
Sus(iuchanna canal — The log pond — Susciuehanna and Tide Water canal. 

Page 381 


Comity divided into election districts — County commissioners — Loca- 
tion of boundary line between Cecil and Harford — Number of mills in 
Cecil (/'ounly — Elkton wheat market — Manufoctories — (Hiarlestown — 
Elkton bank — Ijine of packets between Baltimore and Philadeliihia via 
Elkton — Frenchtown and New Castle Turnpike Company — Curious pro- 
vision in the charter Page 401 


War of 1812 — British licet in Chesapeake Bay — Camp of observation 
on Bulls mountain — General Thomas ]\I. Foreman — Forts Hollingsworth 
and Deiiancc— (Colonel AVilliam Garrett — Persons employed in building 
Fort Defiance — British land on Spesutia Island — Visit Turkey Point — 
Burn Frenchtown — Zcb. Furgusson — British fail to reach Elkton — Inci- 
dents and anecdotes— Burning of Havre de Grace — Poetical extract — 
Pillaging— British burn Principio Furnace — Destruction of Frederick- 
town and Georgetown — Brave defense of Colonel Veazey — List of militia 
under him— Treaty of Ghent— Rejoicing— Accident at Fort Hollings- 
worth Page 408 



First steamboats on the Elk River — Lines of transportation — French - 
town and New Castle Railroad Company — Construction of Fienchtown 
and New Castle Railroad — First locomotives and cars — Telegraphing — 
The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad — Riot at Charles- 
town — Sale of Frenchtown and New Castle Railroad Page 424 


Clergy of the Established Chui-ch— Their powers and duties — They in- 
cur the displeasure of the common peoi^le — What Rev. AVilliam Duke 
says of them — Presbyterian clergymen— Spiritual condition of the peo - 
pie— Introduction of Methodism— First Methodist society — Character of 
the early Methodist preachers — Rev. Francis Asbury visits Bohemia 
Manor — He refuses to take the oath of allegiance — Methodists favor the 
royal cause — Retrospective glance at the history of the Episcopal 
Church — North Elk parish — Rev. John Thompson — Rev. Joseph Con- 
don — St. Augustine parish — Progress of Methodism — Cecil circuit — 
Hart's maeting-house- First Methodist meeting-house at North East — 
First parsonage — Bethel meetiug-house — Goshen — Revival at Bethel — 
North Sassafras and St. Augustine parishes — Richard Bassett joins the 
Methodists — Rev. Henry Lyon Davis — Death of Rev. Joseph Condon — 
Rev. William Duke — His life and labors— Methodism supplants Episco- 
pacy — First Methodist society at Elkton — Methodism and Presbyterian- 
ism at Charlestown — Hopewell and xisbury — Methodist Protestant 
churches Page 43.3 


Miscellaneous information — Newspapers — Fisheries — Chrome — Granite 
quarries — Iron — Iron Works — Paper mills — Free schools — Population. 

Page 4(i3 


The Hall family — The Evans family — Dr. Amos A. Evans — The 
Mitchell family — Colonel George E. Mitchell — The Rurasey family — The 
Mauldin family — The Gilpin family — The Rndulph family — The Leslie 
family — The llyland family — The Churchman fiimily^ — The Defoe family 
— The Ilartshorne family — Colonel Nathaniel Ramsaj' Page 480 


On page 13, seventli line from bottom, for George read 
Cecil. On page 142, eleventh line from top, for May read 
Mary. On page 243, fifth line from bottom, for 1G59-60 read 
1G50-60. In foot note on page 344, for chapter XVIII 
read XXVIII. 


Captain John braith, of Virginia, explores tlie navigable waters of 
Cecil County -Smith's account of the Susquehannock Indians— Other 
Indian tribes in the upper part of the Peninsula— Their weapons and cul- 
inary utensils. 

The first white man tliat visited Cecil County was llie 
illustrious John Smith, of Virginia. In the summer of the 
year IGOS he fitted out an expedition at Jamestown, and 
proceeding to the head of Chesapeake Bay partially explored 
the Susquehanna, North East, Elk and Sassafras rivers. 
The Indian name of the Sassafras River was Toghwogh. 
Smith and his companions ascended it for some distance 
and were received by the native Indians with much kind- 
ness, he and his companions being the first white men they 
had ever seen. Smith says, in his account of the expedition, 
that the white people had much trouble to keep the natives 
from worsiiipingthem as gods. Smith tried to ascend the 
Susquehanna River, but could get no further than Iavo miles 
up on account of the rocks. He states that the Indians 
could ascend it in their canoes for tlie distance of about two 
days' journey. He gives a wonderful account of the size 
and prowess of the chief of the Susquehannas,* and says 

■•^' Tlie name of this tiibe, like that of many of the others, is spelled in 
dilferent ways by the early historians and in the colonial records, in i{Uoting 
from which the original has 1 een followed. 


tliut tlic "calves of his legs were three-quarters of a yard 
about, and all the rest of his limbs so answerable to that 
proportion, that he seemed the goodliest man he ever saw. 
The Susquehannas met them with skins, bows, arrows, tar- 
gets, beads, swords and tobacco l)ipes, for presents, ^ihey 
seemed like giants, and were the strangest people in all thee 
countries, both in language and attire; their Umguage well 
becomes their proportions, sounding from them as a voice 
in a vault." " Their attire is the skinnesof beares and wolves, 
some have cossacks made of beares heads and skinnes, that a 
man's head goes through the skinnes neck and the ears of 
the bcare fastened to his shoulder, the nose and teeth hanging 
down his breast, another beares face split behind him, and 
at the end of the nose hung a pawe, the half sleeves coming 
to the elbows were the necks of beares, and the amies through 
the mouth with pawcs hanging at their noses. One had the 
head of a wolf hanging in a chaine lor a Jewell, his tobacco 
pipe, three-quarters of a yard long,prettil3 carved with a bird, 
a deare, or some such device at the great end, sufficient to 
beat out one's braines, with bowes, arrows, and clubs, suitable 
to their greatness." Smith states that the Susquehannocks 
numbered about six hundred able men, and that they lived in 
palisaded towns in order to defentl themselves against the 
Massawomekes, who were their mortal enemies, and lived on 
Bush River, which he named Willowbye's River. To the 
Susquehannock's River, Smith gave the name of Smith's 
Falls. The North East River he called Gunter's Harbor, 
and says that "the highest mountain we saw northward we 
called Peregrine's Mount." Mr. Bozman expresses the 
oj)inion in his History of Maryland that Peregrine's Mount 
and Gray's Hill, just east of Elkton, are identical. But a 
careful examination of the ma}) accompanying Smith's 
history seems to indicate very conclusively that the moun- 
tain referred to by him as Peregrine's Mount is the highland 
just east of the town of North East, now called Beacon Hill. 
Many persons have been disposed to doubt the account 


wliich Smith gives of tlie size and prowess of the Snsquehan- 
nocks, but recent discoveries made by the workmen while 
digging the foundations of the bridge of the Cokimbia and 
Port Deposit railroad across the Octoraro Creek of a num- 
ber of human skeletons, which were evidently the remains 
of persons of extraordinary size, seem in some measure to 
confirm his account. 

The Susquehannocks belonged to the Iroquois stock, as 
did the famous confederacy of the Five Kations, which at 
this time inhabited the country north of them and included 
the Mohawks, Oneidas, Onondagos, Cayugas and Senecas, 
which were afterwards joined by the Tuscaroras, after which 
the confederacy was called the "Six Nations." The Massa- 
womekes, who seem to have been the only other tribe in 
Maryland that were capable of competing with the Susc^ue- 
hannocks, probably belonged to the same stock ; while the 
T(>ckwoghs, who were of a more gentle disposition probabl}' 
belonged to the Algonquin or Muscogee stock. The Min- 
quas inhabited the banks of Christiana and Brandywine, 
and like many of the smaller tribes, of which there were 
twelve in the State of Delaware,* belonged to the Leni Le- 
nape, which in our language means the original people.. 
These tribes seem to have been the principal ones that in- 
habited the country within the original limits of Cecil County 
when Smith explored the Chesapeake Bay. Half a century 
later the colonial record ; and correspondence between the 
Dutch settlers along the Delaware River and the authorities 
of Maryland contain many references to other tribes whose 
history is unknown, and whose location it is impossible to 
determine. The Passayontke Indians who are sometimes 
mentioned amongothertribes that inhabited the shores of the 
Delaware Kiver, there are many reasons to believe, lived 
near Passyunk Creek, wliich is in the southern part of the 
city of Philadelphia. 

* Vincent's History of Delaware, page 66. 


At the be<rinniiifr of the last ceiitiirv the Chauhaniiauks 
lived on the banks of the Susquehanna about fifty miles 
above its mouth, and numbered about forty men. The 8us- 
quehannoeks once had a fort at the mouth of the Octoraro 
Creek and are believed to have had at an early day a town 
near the mouth of the Coi estoga Creek, in Lancaster County. 
Smith, on his map of the bay, locates a fort of the Togh- 
woghs a few miles above the mouth of the Sassafras liiver. 
The Shawanese originally lived in the .south, but being 
threatened with extermination by the surrounding tribes, 
left their original location, migrated northward, and ap})ear 
to have been finally absorbed by the more powerful tribes 
near which they .settled. Some of them stopped in Elk 
Neck, and for a long time after it was settled by the Euro- 
peans that part of it along the North East River was called 
"Shawnah." Many of the tribe that settled there are said 
to have been industrious basket-makers and successful fisher- 
men. They had a village a short distance south of Arundel 
Creek, which was the name once applied to the run in the 
southern i)art of North East. There is a tradition of a bat- 
tle having been fought between these Indians and another 
tribe, probably the Susquehannocks, a short distance fronji 
the site of their village. Some of them remained in this 
part of the county for many years after it was settled by the 
whites, as is shown by the fact that a few of them were bap- 
tized as members of the Episcopal church at North East. 
There is also reason to believe that at least one of them was 
employed by the Principio Iron Company ; the name of 
hidinn James being found upon the books of that company 
for the year 1726. There was also, as is shown by an old 
petition on record in the clerk's office at Elkton, an Indian 
village called Poijpemetto, not far from the mouth of Ivock 
I\un and probably near the Indian Spring, which is not far 
from the site of the old chapel east of Port Deposit. But 
they were a wandering people and frequently migrated from 
one place to another, and their villages being composed of. 
rude huts and their forts of poles or stockades set in the 


ground, soon rotted away and left no trace of their existence. 
The Susquehannocks retained possession of the eountr}' 
between the North East and Susquelianna for many years 
after they had ceded tlie land west and south of those rivers 
to tlie English. They probably did tliis in order to enjo}'^ 
the privilege of fishing in the head of the bay. That part 
of the county between the two last-named rivers is very rich 
in the remains of their weapons and utensils; many thou- 
sand of them having been found within the last few years. 
Their darts and spear-heads vary from less than an inch to 
five and six inches in length; some of them are made of 
flint, others of a finer stone resembling cornelian. They are 
found to some extent in all parts of the county, but are more 
plentiful along the branches of the Elk, North East, the 
Octoraro and its tributaries. In a few cases as man}' as a 
hundred of them have been found together, indicating that 
they had been buried in the ground and remained undis- 
turbed perhaps for centuries. Occasionally flint implements 
have also been found of a few inches in length, and not un- 
like a rude knife-blade, which were probably lashed to a 
wooden handle and used for cutting. Many implements 
designed for grinding corn have been found along the head 
of the bay and in the Eighth District. These are made of a 
grayish stone which is somewhat harder than soapstone, but 
easily worked. Some of these imi)lements are about four 
inches in diameter and in shape similar to an oblate sphe- 
roid ; that is, a globe much flattened at the poles. Others are 
from ten to fifteen inches in length, cylindrical in form, and 
from an inch and a half to two inches in diameter in the 
middle, and tapering towards the ends. They are not un- 
like an ordinary rolling-pin, and were probably used for 
pestles to mash or grind corn. Many stone axes have also 
been found in the county. They are made of the same kind 
of materials as the pestles, and are generally about eight 
inches in length and not often more than three or tliree and 
a half inches in width on the edge, of an oval sliape, ajid 
grooved near the other end so as to retain the liaiidle, which 


was split, and to wliicli the axe was lashed with rawhide 
thongs or tlie sinews of animals wliich they used for that 
purpose. A few curiously-shaped implements or weapons, 
for it is liard to tell to which class they belonged, have been 
found in the northwestern ])art of the county. Some ot 
them are made of a whitish stone that is not found in th\t 
part of the country. They were evidently intended to be 
used on a handle, for they are perforated in a very skillful 
manner with a round hole a half or three-quarters of an 
inch in diameter. They slightly resemble a double-bitted 
axe, which has led to the belief that they were used in battle. 
Though somewhat like the other stone axes, they were not de- 
signed for cutting, but were admirably adapted for breaking 
a man's skull. The Eighth District is particularly rich in 
the remains of their culinary utensils, which consisted of 
rude pans, cups and dishes, made of the soa])Stone which 
abounds in that part of the county. Some of these are well 
finished and nicely shaped and give evidence of much 
artistic skill, but many of them are unfinished and others 
have evidently been broken while in course of construction. 
Not the least curious of their works are the sculi)tured 
rock.s, which are to ba found in the Susquehanna Iviver a 
short distance above the mouth of the Conowingo. These 
rocks contain a large number of hieroglyphics and a few 
pictures of animals of the cat kind, the signiiication of 
which are known only to those who ])laced them there. 
Their manner of making darts or arrow heads has been a 
matter of much inquiry and curiosity. For this i)urpose they 
wrapped tiieir left hand with buckskin and used a rib bone 
of some of the animals they killed, holding it between the 
thuml) and fingers of the left hand — in which they also held 
the arrow head — and used it as a lever, apjdying the {)ower 
to the other end with their right hand. This statement may 
be controverted ; but such is the method now in use by the 
Indians on the Western i)lains who make arrow lieads simi- 
lar in sluqie to those found in this county from pieces of 
jxlass bottles. 


Fii-st English settlement on Watson's Island — Edward Palmer — Wm. 
Clayborne establishes a trading post on Watson's Island. 

Historians are unaiiimonsly of the opinion that the first 
settlement of the English, within the present limits of Cecil 
County, was upon Palmer's Island (now called Watson's 
Island), near the moutli of the Susquehanna River, and just 
above the railroad bridge at that place. There certainly 
was a trading post on that island before the arrival of the 
Pilgrims of Maryland under Leonard Calvert, brother of the 
second Lord Baltimore, in 1G34. To William Clayborne, 
who was a member of the Council of Virginia, and who 
there is reason to believe had established a trading post on 
Kent Island as early as 1G27, is accorded the credit of estab- 
lishing this trading post; but investigations recently made 
by Mr. Neil, and published in his book entitled "Tlie Found- 
ers of Maryland," seem to indicate very clearly that there 
may have been a settlement or trading post on that island 
before Clayborne established himself upon Kent Island. Mr. 
Neil says, "the letters of John Pory, secretary of theVirginia 
Company, which are yet extant in London, and which are 
dated anterior to the time of Clayborne's settlement on Kent 
Island, inform the Company of a discovery made by him 
and others into the great Hay northward, where we left set- 
tled very Jtappily nearly a hundred Englishmen ivith hope of a 
good trade in furs." 

The island was called Palmer's Island after Edward Pal- 
mer,* a ne})hew of the unfortunate Sir Thomas Overbury, 

* When and l)y whom it was so named has not been ascertained. But 
it bore that name as early as 1G52. 


who \vu.s ])ui.sun(jil by the malicious arraiif^ements of the 
wanton wife of tlie Earl of Somerset some time between the 
years 1012 and 161C. Palmer was a man of learning and 
culture, and contemplated the establishment of an academy 
in Virginia. One writer of the time in which he lived, 
says Mr. Neil, connects the i)urchase of the island with this 
enterprise, from which it may be inferred that he engaged 
in the fur trade, which was very lucrative at that time, with 
a view of getting the means to carry out his laudable enter- 
prise. It is said to have failed on account of some of' the 
agents he employed. When Palmer's Island was first taken 
possession of by Lord Baltimore's agents in 1037 four ser- 
vants were found there, and some books as follows: a statute 
book, fiv^e or six little books and one great book. The find- 
ing of these books at a trading post away in the wilderness 
indicates that Palmer resided there at one time, for only a 
gentleman and scholar would have been likely to have had 

The fact that Clayborne had a trading post on Palmer's 
Island is established upon a firmer basis. Clayborne was 
an ambitious man, and some time after the arrival of the 
Pilgrims in the Ark and JJovc, who, soon after their arrival, 
took [)ains to dispossess liim of Kent Island, presented a 
petition to the King of England, in which petition he refers 
to the fact that "he and his partners, while acting under a 
conimission from under his Majesty's hand divers years jiast 
(which divers years Bozman believed were the years 1027, 
28, and 29), discovered and planted the island of Kent in 
the Chesapeake, which island they bought of the kings of 
that country ; that great hopes for trade of beavers and other 
commodities were likely to ensue by the petitioner's dis- 
coveries," etc. It is further stated in the petition that the 
petitioners "had discovered and settled a plantation and 
factory upon a small island in the mouth of a river, at the 
bottom, of the said bay (at the head of the bay was what they 
meant), in the Susquehannocks' country, at the Indians' de- 


sire, and purchased tlie same of them ; by means whereof 
they were in great liopes to draw thither the trade of beavers 
and furs whicli the French then wholly enjoyed ' in the 
Grand Lake of Canada.' The petitioners then propose to 
pay to his Majesty the annual sum of £100, viz., £50 for the 
isle of Kent and £50 for the said plantation in the Susque- 
hannocks' country; and they further pray to have there 
twelve leagues of land from the mouth of the said river on 
each side thereof down the said bay southerly to the sea- 
ward, and so to the head of the said river and to the Grand 
Lake of Canada."* From these facts it is plain that tlie set- 
tlement on Watson's Island was a place of importance before 
the arrival of Lord Baltimore and his colonists, and that it 
was made about twenty-five or thirty years after the bay 
was first explored by the adventurous Smith. It was no 
doubt the first settlement made within the present limits of 
Cecil County. Although Cecil County was not erected into 
a county till 1674, its history commences at the time of the 
establishment of the "Plantation" on Watson's Island by 
Clayborne, which is probably about two hundred and forty- 
four years ago. It is the intention of the writer to trace its 
history as well as the scanty data the ravages of time have 
left will afford him the means to do; to tell of the bold and 
daring men whose courage and enterprise led them to these 
shores, and whose industry and perseverance have made 
our county one of the foremost in the State; to recount as 
well as circumstances will permit their earh' struggles and 
the hardships they met with ; to speak of their manners and 
customs, and note the changes that education and refine- 
ment from time to time wrought in them. 

The configuration of the country at the time of the first 
settlement so far as the hills and streams are considered, 
was much the same as it is at present. But the primeval 
forests that then covered it have disappeared ; and owing to 

* Bozman's Hist. Md., Vol. II., p. 69. 


this the surface of the country has changed very much — 
large swamps and morasses have dried up, and the channels 
of the streams have changed; indeed some of them liave 
entirely disappeared. Deer, bear, wolves, opossums, hares, 
squirrels, wild turkeys, pheasants, wild pigeons, and many 
other kinds of animals abounded in the forests, and the 
creeks and rivers were well stocked with beavers, otters, 
muskrats, and all kinds of water fowl. 


George Calvert, the first Lord Baltimore — He is a member of the Vir- 
ginia Company —Plants a colony in Newfoundland — Obtains a charter 
for a colony in Maryland — Is succeeded by his sou Cecil, who obtaius 
another charter — Extracts from the charter — The first colony under 
Leonard Calvert settles at St. Maries — War with the Susquehannocks— 
Treaty with them. 

George Calvert, the first Baron of Baltimore, was tlie 
founder of Maryland. He was a Catholic and distinguished 
for piety and learning, and filled many important offices 
under the government in the reign of James the First. 
Like many of the public men of that time, he saw the im- 
portance of the Western continent and the facilities it 
afforded for the acquisition of wealth. In 1G09 lie was a 
member of the Virginia Compan}' of planters.* He after- 
wards became interested in Newfoundland, and planted a 
colony there in 1G21. He subsequently obtained a patent 
from King James I. for a territory in that island which he 
called Avalon. His reason for calling his grant by that 
name, as given by Scharf in his History of Maryland, is as 
folbws: "Tradition reports that Joseph of Arimatliea, 
having come to Britain, received from King Arviragus 
twelve hydes of land at Avalon as a dwelling-place for 
himself and his companions, and here he preached the 
gospel for the first time to the Britons, and built an abbey, 
in which he was afterwards buried, and which long re- 
mained the most renowned and venerated monastic estab- 
meiit in the island. As Avalon had been the starting point 
of Christianity for ancient Britain, in pious legend at all 

* Scharfs Hist. Md., Vol I., r- 31. 


events, so Calvert hoped tliat liis own settlement might be 
a siniihir starting point, IVoni which the gospel should 
spread to the heathen of the Western World ; and he 
spared neither labor nor expense in his efforts to carry out 
this noble and devout purpose." 

The climate of Newfoundland was found to be entirely 
diflerent from what might have been anticipated ; and after 
spending some time and much money in the vain effort to 
sustain his colony by developing the resources of the 
country, he was forced to abandon the enterprise. He sub- 
sequently visited Virginia in search of some more desirable 
situation for his colon}^ and no doubt would have settled 
there ; but upon being required to take the oath of supremacy 
and allegiance, he, as a conscientious Catholic, refused to do 
so, and had to look elsewhere for an eligible location for his 
colony. He therefore returned to England, and applied to 
his Majesty Charles the First for a grant of land lying to 
the southward of James River, in Virginia, between that 
river and the bounds of Carolana,* now called Carolina. 
A charter lor a large territory' south of the James Kiver 
was actuall}'- made out and signed, in February, 1631. But 
some of the prominent men of Virginia, among whom was 
William Clayborne, before mentioned, who has very aptly 
been called the "evil genius of Maryland," were in England 
in the spring of that year, and so violently opposed the 
planting of the new colony within the limits of Virginia, 
that C'alvcrt besought his Majesty to grant him, in lieu of 
the other, some i)art of the continent to the nortliward, 
which was accordingly done. 

Lord Baltimore, it is said, drew up the charter of Mary- 
land with his own hand, and left a blank in it for the 
name, which he designed should be Crescentia, or, the land 
of Crescence, but leaving it to his Majesty to insert. The 
King, before he signed the charter, asked his lordship what 

*Sch:nrs Hist. Md., Vol. I., p. oO. 


he should call it, who replied that he desired to have it 
called something in honor of his Majesty's name, but that 
he was deprived of that happiness, there being already a 
province in those parts called Carolina. " Let us, there- 
fore," says the King, " give it a name in honor of the 
Queen ; what think you of Mariana?" To this his lordship 
expressed his dissent, it being the name of a Jesuit who 
had written against monarchy. Whereupon the King pro- 
posed Tera Maripc, in English, ISIaryland ; which was 
mutually agreed upon and inserted in the charter. And 
thus the proposed colony, or rather the land it was expected 
to settle upon, was named in honor of Henrietta Maria, 
daughter of Henry IV., King of France and Navarre, and 
sister of Louis XHL, usually called Queen Mary by writers 
of that day. 

The charter of Maryland was different from any other 
granted for a similar purpose in this : that it was more 
liberal than they, as were also the laws made under it, and 
the policy pursued by the illustrious men who received it. 

Before the charter had been finally adjusted and sealed. 
Lord Baltimore fell sick and died,, in London, in the fifty- 
third year of his age. His eldest son, Cecil Calvert, succeeded 
his father, and inherited his titles as well as his fortune and 
spirit. Another charter, differing in no essential particular 
from the first one, was made out, published and confirmed, 
on June 20th, 1632, investing him with all the rights and 
privileges which his Majesty had intended to confer upon 
his father. 

The preamble to the charter of Maryland, after reciting 
the fact that Geoi^ge Calvert, " treading in the footsteps of his 
father, being animated with a laudable and pious zeal for 
extending the Christian religion, and also the territories of 
our Empire, hath humbly besought leave of us, that he mny 
transport by his own industry and expense a numerous 
colony of the English nation, to a certain region, hereinafter 
described, in a country hitherto uncultivated in tlie parts of 


America, and partly occupied by savages having no knowledge oj 
the Divine Being, and that all that region, with some certain 
privileges and jurisdictions appertaining unto the whole- 
some government and state of his colony and region afore- 
said, may by our Royal Highness be given, granted and 
confirmed unto him and his heirs." The language used 
in the sentence which we have italicised was most unfortu- 
nate, and was used many years afterwards with powerful 
effect in circumscribing the territory of Maryland. The 
metes and bounds of the province as set forth in the charter, 
were as follows: All that part of the Peninsula or Chersonese, 
lying in the parts of America between the ocean on the east 
and the bay of Chesapeake on the west ; divided from the 
residue thereof by a right line drawn from the promontory 
or headland called AVatkin's Point, situated ui)on the bay 
aforesaid, near the river Wighco on the west, unto the main 
ocean on the east; and between that boundary on the south, 
unto that part of the bay of Delaware on the north, which 
lyeth under the fortieth degree of north latitude from the 
equinoctial, where New England is terminated ; and all the 
tract of that land within the metes underwritten (that is to 
say), passing from the said bay, called Delaware Bay, in a 
right line by the degree aforesaid, unto the true meridian 
of the first fountain of the river Pattowmack, thence verging 
towards the south, unto the further bank of the said river, 
and following the same on the west and south, unto a 
certain place called Cinquack, situate near the mouth of the 
said river, where it disembogues into the aforesaid bay of 
Chesapeake, and thence by the shortest line unto the afore- 
said promontory or place called Watkin's Point." 

Cecil or Ciecillius Calvert, for he was baptized by the first 
name and confirmed by the second one, intrusted the com- 
mand of the first expedition he sent to Maryland to his 
brothers Leonard and George, constituting the former lieu- 
tenant-governor or general. This expedition, which con- 
sisted of two vessels, the Ark and the Dove, and nearly two 


hundred persons, reached Virginia safely, and after spend- 
ing a short time there proceeded to the Chesapeake Bay, and 
ascending the Potomac River landed at Saint Maries, where 
the first town in the State was founded on the 27tli of March, 
1634. It is not within the scope of this work to give the 
history of that settlement in eztenso ; we shall therefore only 
refer hriefly to such parts of it as are calculated to throw 
some light upon the history of this county. 

The Pilgrims found the Indians (Yoacomacoes), from 
whom they purchased the site of their town, in great dread 
of the Susquehannocks, who were their mortal enemies and 
who never ceased to make war upon them and ravage their 
country. The Yoacomacoes for this reason received and 
treated the Pilgrims kindly at first, but in a short time be- 
gan to show symptoms of hostility, being, as is alleged, insti- 
gated to do so by William Clayborne, who, as before stated, 
had possession of Kent Island and had established a trading 
post on Palmer's Island, at the mouth of the Susquehanna 
River. This hostile act on the part of Clayborne was the 
commencement of a protracted struggle between him and 
Lord Baltimore, wliich lasted till 1637, when his property 
was confiscated and he was attainted of high treason. A 
few years afterwards (in 1642) this man Clayborne and one 
Richard Ingle, who is called a pirate and rebel, and some 
others from Virginia and elsewhere, engaged in a conspiracy 
to overthrow the authority of Lord Baltimore. They seized 
Kent Island and invaded the western shore and forced the 
lord proprietary to seek refuge in Virginia. The causes of 
this rebellion as well as its history, owing to the destruction 
of the records of the colony during that period, are very 
imperfectly understood ; but there is no doubt that Clayborne 
took advantage of the political and religious trouble wliich 
then agitated the mother country to avenge himself upon 
Lord Baltimore for the loss of his possessions and prospec- 
tive trade in the Chesapeake Bay. Owing to this rebellion 
and also to the hostile attitude of the natives which was 


occasioned by i^ the growth of the colony was slow. The 
Susqiiehannocks gave tlie colonists much trouble in the early 
clays of the settlement at St. Maries, and in May, 1G39, the 
Council resolved to invade their country, and to that end 
passed the following order, wliich sliows the condition of 
society and the mode of warfare at tliat time : " Whereas, it 
is found necessary forthwith to make an expedition upon 
the Indians of the Eastern Sliore upon the public charge of 
the province ; it is to tliat end thought fit that a shallop be 
sent to ^^irginia for to provide twenty corslets (steel plates 
for the covering and protection of the chest), a barrel of 
powder, four round lets of shot, a barrel of oat meal, three 
firkins of butter, and four cases of hot waters ; and that five 
able persons be pressed to go with the said shallop and 
necessary provisions of victuals be made for them, and that 
a pinnace be pressed to go to Kent (Kent Island) sufficiently 
victualed and manned, and there provide four hogsheads of 
meal ; and likewise that a pinnace be sent to the Susquehan- 
noch sufficiently victuded and manned, and thirty or more 
good shott, with necessary officers, be pressed out of the 
province, and that each of the shott be allowed after the 
rate of 100 pounds of tobacco per month," etc., etc. The 
colonists appear to have spent the summer in making 
preparations for this warlike expedition against their foes, 
but their courage was not equal to the task of invading their 
country amid the storms and snows of the following winter, 
an<l the enterprise was abandoned. There appears to have 
been many hostile incursions of the Intlians into the terri- 
tory occupied by the early settlers about this time and many 
rumors of wars that no doubt kept them in a state of almost 
constant excitement and alarm. 

Some of the writers -of that period assert that the Swedes 
then settled on the C]iri.<;tiana, where Wilmington now 
stands, sold firearms to the Susquehannocks, and hired 
some of their soldiers to them to instruct them in the art of 
war as i)racticed by the Europeans; but the evidence of this 


is not conclusive, and it is quite as likel}", if the Indians 
had firearms at all, that they got them from the French in 
Canada, or tlie' Dutch at Manhattan, or from some of the 
tribes of the Five Nations, who may have obtained them 
from the French or Dutch, with whom they traded. 

But little else worthy of note occurred in comiection with 
the Susquehannocks until 1652. In that year a treaty was 
made with tliem, which is the first of which any record has 
been preserved. This treaty was made "at the River of 
Severn," where Annapolis now stands. It may be found at 
length in the appendix to Bozman's History of Mar3dand, 
in which it is stated tlmt a blank occurs in the first article. 
A critical examination of the old Council Book will con- 
vince any person familiar with the peculiar chirography of 
that time that there is no blank in it, and tliat the word 
which Mr. Bozman says in another place is illegible, is in 
reality the word trees. The first article of tliis treat}^ is as 
follows : "Articles of peace and friendsliip treated and agreed 
upon the fifth day of July, 1652, between the English 
nation, in the province of Maryland, on the one party, and 
tlie Indian nation of Susquesahanough on the other partie, 
as followetl) : First, that the English nation sliall have, 
hould and enjoy to them, their lieires and assigns forever, 
all the land lying from Patuxent River unto Palmer's 
Island, on tlie westerne side of the baye of Chesepiake, and 
from Clioptank River to the northead branch, which lyes to the 
northward of Elke Pdver, on the easterne side of the said baye, 
with all the islands, rivers, creeks, trees, fish, fowle, deer, 
Elke, and whatsoever else to the same belonging, excepting 
the Isl of Kent and Palmsr's Islend, which belong to Cajv 
tain Clayborne. But nevertheless it shall be lawful for tlie 
aforesaid English or Indians to build a liouse or forte for 
trade or any such like use or occasion at any tyme upon 
Palmer's Island." Tlie treaty furtlier sti[)ulated for the 
return of fugitives escaj>i)ig from either of tlie contracting 
parties, and provided that when the Indians desired to visit 



tlie En<:;lisli they should come by water and not by land, 
and that not more than eight or ten of them at one time, 
and that each party, when visiting the othe'r, sliould carry 
with them and exhibit the token, which they appear to have 
mutually exchanged witli each other, so that they could be 
recognized and entertained. And, after pledging the con- 
tracting parties to a perpetual peace, luliich was to endure 
forever to the end of the ivorld, provided that if it should so 
happen that either ]yarty should grow weary of the peace, and 
desire to no to war, they should give twenty days' notice by sending 
in and delivering up this ivriting. This treaty was signed by 
Richard Bennett, Edward Lloyd, Thomas Marsli, William 
Fuller and Leonard Strong, commissioners on tlie part of 
tlie English, and on tlie part of the Indians by "Sawahegeh, 
Auroghtaregh, Scarhuhadig, Ruthchogah and Nathheldi- 
anch, warr captaines and councillors of Susquesahanougli, 
commissioners appointed and sent for the purpose by the 
nation and State of Susquesahanougli;" and was witnessed 
by "William Lawson and Jafer or Jasper Peter, the last 
individual signing it for the Swedes governor. Why it 
was that Jasper Peter witnessed this treaty on behalf of the 
Swedes governor, will forever remain a myster3\ He most 
probably was an Indian trader from the Swedish settlement 
at Christina,* which will- be referred to in the next chapter. 
It will be seeji from tlie first article of this treat}' that the 
Susquehannocks, in tlie interval since Captain Smith ex- 
plored the Chesapeake Bay, had extended their territory on 
the western sliore from the west bank of the Susquehanna 
to the Patuxent River, and on the eastern shore from the 
northeast to the Choptank River. The probability is that 
the tribes that Smith found .south of the mouth of the Sus- 
quehanna and northeast were tributary to the Susquehan- 
nocks, and that the latter had long claimed the country and 
enjoyed the privilege of hunting and fishing along the 

* Where Willmiiigton now stands, afterwards called Christiana. 


shores of the bay in the territory mentioned in the treaty. 
The great accumulations of 03^ster shells found near the 
mouth of Fairlee Creek, in Kent County, and at other places 
further down the bay, which are believed to have been 
placed there by migratory Indians, seems to favor this idea. 
The reader will notice that Kent and Palmer's islands are 
said to belong to Captain Clayborne. The facts are that at 
this time the government of Maryland was in the hands of 
his friends, and that he had re-entered and taken possession 
of them a short time before the treaty was made.* 

* Hanson's Old Kent, page 7. 


Early settlements on the Delaware — Ileiuy Hudson — Captain ^Nley aucl 
others — Names of the Delaware — Fort Nassau — Swanendale — Peter Min- 
uit plants a Swedish colony at Wilmington — Fort Cassimir — Peter 
Stuyvesant conquers the Swedes. 

The reader Mill bear in miixl that it is not the purpose 
of this work to give a history of Cecil County solely ; the 
history of the settlements immediately surrounding it, being- 
so closely interwoven Avith its own, that its history would be 
incomplete without a glance at their origin and contempo- 
raneous doings. Such idea is embodied in the title of this 
book; and inasmuch as Maryland, by the terms of its char- 
ter, extended to the Delaware Bay and river, and to the 
fortieth degree of north latitude, which is some distance 
above the mouth of the Schuylkill, it is highly important in 
order that the reader may properly understand the liistory 
of the early settlements in Cecil County and elsewhere near 
the head of the ( -hesapeakeBay, that he should be informed 
of the efforts that were made from time to time by other 
nations to plant colonies along the Delaware. From a period 
commencing with 1G59, and continuing for at least" half a 
century, the history of Avhat transpired along the western 
shore of the Delaware bay and river as far north as Phila- 
delphia, is so closely blended with that which transpired 
within the present limits of Cecil County that it is impossi- 
ble to give an intelligible account of one, without having a 
correct knowledge of the other. During this period was 
laid the foundation of that intimacy between the people of 
the upper part of the Eastern Shore of Maryland, and the 
settlements along the AVestern Shore of the Delaware, the 


effect of whicli miiy yet be seen, in the diversion of much of 
the trade that legitimately belongs to Baltimore City, to 
Philadelphia and Wilmington. For the reasons already 
mentioned, and from the fact that many of the early settlers 
of this county came here from the settlements on the Dela- 
ware, it will be necessary, from time to time, to refer to the 
colonies on that river, and trace their history, which will be 
done as briefly and succinctly as the importance of the sub- 
ject will permit. 

The Delaware River was discovered by Henry Hudson, 
an Englishman in the employ of the Dutch East India 
Company, in 1600; but no steps were taken to effect a settle- 
ment along that river or bay until 1614. In that year the States- 
General of Holland, the government of which was deeply 
interested in maritime discoveries, passed an edict granting 
exclusive privileges to any persons who should make any 
important discoveries in the New World. Under this edict 
five vessels, fitted out by merchants of Amsterdam, sailed 
to the mouth of the Manhattan River, as the Hudson was 
then called. One of the vessels, the Fortune, commanded 
by Captain Cornelius Jacobson Mey, subsequently sailed 
south and entered the Delaware Bay. It is from him tliat 
the eastern cape of the Delaware Bay derives tlie name of 
Cape May. 

One of these vessels was burned, and to supply its place a 
smaller, one was built, in which, after the return of the 
others, Captain Hendrickson who was left in charge of the 
new vessel, proceeded to explore the Delaware Bay and 
river. He ascended the latter as far as the mouth of the 
Schuylkill, and is believed to have been the first white man 
that ever trod upon the soil of the State of Delaware. While 
here he purchased three native inhabitants from the Min- 
quas, who held them in slavery, for whom he gave in ex- 
change kettles, beads and merchandise.* This happened in 

* Vincent's History of Delaware, ^'ol. I, page 103. 


IGIG. The Delaware River has been known by many 
names. Vincent, in his liistory of the State, informs his 
readers that tlie Indians called it by no less than five. The 
Dutch called it Zuydt, or South River ; by which name it 
is frequently mentioned in the early records of this county ; 
they also called it Nassau River, and Prince Hendrick's or 
Charles River ; the Swedes, New Swedeland stream ; the 
English, Delaware, from Lord De-la Avar, the title of Sir 
Thomas AVest, who occupied a prominent position in the 
early history of Virginia. 

The privileges of the first Compan}' having expired^ 
another one called the West India Company was chartered 
for the purpose of effecting settlements and trading with the 
natives along the shores of the South River. Under the 
auspices of this Company a settlement was made and a fort 
called Fort Nassau constructed, a short distance below Phila- 
delphia on the other side of the river, near where the town 
of Gloucester, New Jersey, now stands. This w^as done in 
1623. The history of this fort is shrouded in obscurity. 
Some of the early Swedish writers affirm that it was aban- 
doned by the Dutch after they had conquered the Swedes^ 
and was found in possession of the Indians in 1G33. Other 
writers assert that the Dutch at New Amsterdam maintained 
a trading post there for many years, and till after the Swedes 
had established themselves on tlie other side of the Dela- 
ware River. 

The next effort to effect a settlement on the Delaware was 
probably made in 1631, for the time is not very certain. 
This settlement, which the Dutch called Swanendale, was at 
Lewes, and was made by a compan}' of Dutchmen who ex- 
pected to realize much gain from catching whales in the 
Delaware Way. The colony was brought over by David 
Peiter/en Do Vries, a Hollander, wh(«, after leaving it com- 
fortably located under command of one Gillis Ilossett, re- 
turned to his native country. The next year De Vries re- 
visited Swanendale and found that some time during: the 


interval the whole colony had been massacred by the In- 
dians. De Vries learned from the Indians that the colo- 
nists had erected a pillar on which they had fastened apiece 
of tin, upon which was traced the coat-of-arms of the united 
provinces. One of the chiefs wanted the tin to make into 
tobacco pipes and took it away, which gave offence to the 
officer in command, who complained to the Indians so bit- 
terly that to appease his wrath they slew the oflender. The 
Dutch regretted the deatli of the chief, and told the Indians 
they had done wrong to kill him. Subsequently, some 
of the friends of the murdered Indian resolved to avenge 
his death, and taking advantage of a favorable opportunity 
when all the Dutch, except a sick man, were at work in the 
field, attacked and slew them all. 

The planting of this colony of unfortunate people at the 
mouth of the Delaware Bay, had a very important bearing 
upon the history of Maryland ; and owing to tlie phrase- 
ology of tlie charter of that province had more to do with 
circumscribing the territory of the State of Maryland than 
all other circumstances combined. 

To Peter Minuit belongs the credit of planting the next 
colony in the State of Delaware. He had been appointed 
Director-General of New Netherlands, which then included 
New York, New Jersey, Delaware, and part of Connecticut, 
in 1624, and had been recalled eight years afterwards, hav- 
ing quarreled with the company who had employed him. 
Probably with the view of avenging himself upon them, he 
offered his services to the ci'own of Sweden, with tlie inten- 
tion of effecting a Swedish settlement on the South River, 
and offered to conduct the enterprise. J lis OiTer was accep- 
ted, and the expedition sailed from Sweden, as is supposed, 
in the fall of the year 1037. Th> expedition, it is supposed, 
consisted of about fifty persons, many of Avhom, it is said, 
were criminals.* Judging from tlieir history as gleaned 

* Vincent's History of Delaware, Vol. T., pajje 145. 

24 iii>T()Kv OF CKCir, (orxTV 

from the correspondence between their governors and the 
authorities iit New Amsterdam after the Hutch conquered 
tliem, morality and religion were at a low ebb among 
them, though they always seem to have made great preten- 
sions to the latter. The expedition reached this country in 
April, 1638, and sailing up the Delaware Bay and river, 
entered the Minquas Creek, which thoy called tlie Christina, 
and landed at the foot of Sixth street, in what is now the 
city of Wilmington. They at once commenced the erection 
of a fort, wliicli, in lionor of their young ijueen, they named 
Fort Christina. A small town called Christinaliam or 
Christina Harbor was also erected near the fort. 

About this time (1638) the Dutch, who had established a 
trading })Ost at New Amsterdan, ■which was on Manhattan 
Island, where New York now stands, in 1610, began to look 
more diligently to their interest on the Delaware,* and 
complained loudly to the government of Holland of the 
injury done to their trade by the Swedes on the Delaware. 
The history of the quarrels between tiie Dutch and Swedes, 
and tlieir efforts to outdo each other and obtain control of 
the country along the Delaware during the next .seventeen 
years, is too intricate to be given in this place. But it is 
important that the reader sliould be informed tliat during 
this time the Swedes had extended their possessions by 
purchase from the Indians from their first settlement on 
the Christiana up the Delaware to a point within what is 
now the city of Philadelphia. During this period they 
erected forts on Tinicum Island, where the Lazaretto is now 
located, and at the mouth of Salem Creek, in New Jersey, 
with the iiilcution of commanding the niivigation of the 
Delaware River and ultimately preventing the Dutch from 
visiting their ibrt at Gloucester. They al.'^o had established 
a trading |iost on an island in the Schuylkill liiver, and 
were so successful in their trade with the Indians on the 

^' Fonis's Oiiyiiial Setllfineiits on thu I'ehiwaiv, page ')2. 

iri.->TOKV <JF CECIL COl'XTY. 25 

west bank of the Delaware as to excite the fears of the 
Dutch that they would ultimately supplant them and force 
them to abandon their trade altogether. 

Peter Stuyvesant, a man of great energy and decision of 
character, was made Governor of New Amsterdam in 1647, 
and soon afterwards set about devising measures to regain 
some of the lost prestige of his countrymen on the Delaware. 
To this end he purchased from the Indians all the land be- 
tween the Christiana and Bombay Hook, and erected a fort, 
called Fort C'assimir, on a point of land then called Sand- 
huken, now New Castle. This fort was erected in 1651. It 
was onl}' about four miles from the Swedish fort at Chris- 
tina. Shortly after it was finished an armed vessel arrived 
from Sweden and summoned the garrison to surrender. 
Being in no condition to stand a siege, they did so, and the 
Swedes took possession of the fort and garrisoned it. The 
capture of this fort no doubt added to the jealousy and 
rancor of the Dutch ; but Stuyvesant bided his time, and 
having made ample preparation, sailed from New Amster- 
dam in August, 1655, in command of a squadron of seven 
armed shi})s, containing between six and seven hundred 
men, for the purpose of conquering the Swedes and taking- 
possession of the country. Fort Cassimir, the name of 
which the Swedes had changed to Fort Trinity, capitulated 
without resistance. Rising, the Swedish governor, defended 
Fort Christina as well as he could, but was soon forced to 
surrender, and in a short time the whole of New Sweden, 
as the country on the west bank of the Delaware was then 
called, fell into the hands of the Dutch. By the terms of 
capitulation of Fort Christina, Rising, and all other Swedes 
who wished to do so, were allowed to return to Gottenberg, 
a port in the North Sea, in a ship to be furnished by the 
Dutch. They seem to have been afraid or ashamed to go 
back to Sweden. Those who chose to remain were tendered 
the oath of allegiance, which was taken by most of them. 

After the conquest of New Sweden it was divided into 


two colonies, one of whicli included Fort Christina and the 
land immediately around it, and extended from Christina 
River down to lionibay Hook. This was called "The Colony 
of the Company." The other extended from the north boun- 
dary of the Company's colony up the Delaware to the 
extent of the settlement, and was called "The Colony of the 
City." It belonged to the city of xVmsterdam, and was 
governed by the burgomasters and council of that city, 
through Peter Stuyvcsant and his council. 

Before the erection of Fort Cassimir, in 1651, all business 
was transacted in the name of " The Statcs-( Jeneral and the 
West India Company,"' jointly. Now their concerns were 
divided. Lands lying within the territory of the city were 
conveyed in Amsterdam by the burgomasters and council. 
Deeds for those within the limits of the Company were ex- 
ecuted b}' directors and commissaries.* Xowithstanding 
this diversity of iiiterest, both colonies were under the 
jurisdiction of Stuyvesant, who appointed the governors 
and commissaries, and exercised a general surveillance 
over the affairs of each of them. New Amstel, now New 
Castle, which was founded about this time, was the residence 
of the governor of the colony belonging to the Company. 
Altona, now Wilmington, was the capital of the other 
colony. The Swedish families are stated by Ferris as num- 
bering one hundred and thirty. Such, brielly stated, was 
the condition of affairs along the Delaware in IGoO, when 
the authorities of >hirylaii(] took the first steps to dispossess 
the interlopers. 

* Fcnis's Hist, of the Oiijriiial SettlenieJits on tlio Dt'laware, page 106. 


First permanent settlement in the county - Other settlements — 
>pesntia Island —Trouble between the Dutch and English— Nathaniel 
jtie — He is sent to New Amstel— Augustine Herman and Resolved Wal- 
Iron visit Maryland — Their meeting witli the Grovernor and Council — 
Vccount of the early life of Augustine Herraen — His Map of :Maryland— 
Extracts from his will— He obtains a grant of Bohemia Manor and Mid- 
lie Neck— Makes a treaty with the Indians at Spesutia Island— First 
■eference to Cecil County — Thompsontown— Indian forts. 

The first permanent settlement in Cecil County, so far as 
:he writer has been able to learn from laborious and patient 
investigation of everything calculated to throw any light on 
:he subject, was made in 1658, upon the farm which for 
DQore than a century and a half has been in the possession 
Df the Sirncoe family of this county. This farm may be 
found on the map of the county, and is located a sliort distance 
northwest of Carpenter's Point fishery, and not very far 
from the mouth of Principio Creek. It appears from papers 
m posscosion of Mr. George Simcoe, of Bay View, the present 
3wner of the farm, that it was part of a tract of four hundred 
acres taken up and patented on the 20th July, 1658, by one 
William Carpender, under the name of Anna Catharine- 
Neck. It is described as butting on Bay Head Creek, now 
called Principio Creek. George Simcoe, who was a felt- 
maker from Prince George's County, purchased two hundred 
acres, part of the original tract, from Carpender Littington, 
in 1720, whicli is described as adjoining tiie land of Francis 
Clay, who, there is little doubt, sought to perpetuate his 
name by applying it to the historic tract of land called 
"Clay Fall," which included a large jiart if not all the land 


in Carpenter's Point Neck. It is probable that other settle- 
ments were made about this time, along the Bay shore west 
of Principio Creek, and that a few straggling settlers from 
Kent Island had settled on the main land in the south- 
western part of Kent County, which, as we shall see, was 
afterwards foi- a period of thirty-two years included in this 
county. There is also reason to believe that a few settle- 
ments had been made along the Sassafras River near its 
mouth, but no record of any of them has come down to the 
present time. Judging from the fact that the Susquehan-. 
nocks reserved the country between the North East and Sus- 
quehanna rivers, in the treaty of 1652, and there being no 
■evidence that they ever ceded it to the English, it is reason- 
iible to conclude that the first settlers at "Clay Fall" were 
Indian traders, located there for the purpose of trafficing 
with the Susquehannocks, who continued to frequent this 
part of the county for many years after this time. 

Spesutia Island had been settled for some time before this, 
for there is evidence that the Dutch at Altona knew of it 
the next year and called it Pearson's Island, 

Many of the Swedes and Finns — for many of the latter 
had settled along the Delaware — not liking the government 
•of the Dutch, took refuge among the English settlements be- 
fore named, and among them were six soldiers, who had 
deserted from the Dutch service. At a meeting of the Coun- 
cil of New Amstel, on June 20th, 1659, it was resolved to re- 
quest the governor of Maryland to return tliese deserters. The 
Dutch did not know the governor's name, nor where he lived, 
but the}^ were acquainted with Nathaniel Utie, who then resi- 
ded upon Spesutia Island, and who no doubt was in the 
habit of visiting the Dutch settlements; and so they sent the 
letter to Utie, who agreed to forward it to the governor, 
though he informed those who delivered it to him that he 
had a commission in his house authorizing him to visit the 
Dutch, and had delayed starting upon his mission because 
Lord Baltimore had arrived and ordered a survev of the 


ountry to be made, with a view of convincing the Dutch 
hat they were located within his province. Utie told them 
f that was the case, that measures would be taken to reduce 
he Dutch and make them acknowledge the jurisdiction of 
►laryland, and that Lord Baltimore had no intention of 
,bandoning any part of his territory. The assertion made 
)y Utie that Lord Baltimore had arrived was not true, and 
le probably made it to intimidate those who composed the 

Nathaniel Utie was one of the most prominent pioneers 
if civilization at the head of Chesapeake Bay. The time of 
lis settlement upon Spesutia Island is unknown, but it was 
»robably made soon after the treaty with the Susquehan- 
locks, in 1652. The beautiful island opposite Turkey Point 
ierives its name from him. The word means Utie's Hope. 
le probably came from Virginia, and was, no doubt, a rela- 
ive of John Utie, whose name occupies a conspicuous position 
Q the history of Virginia from 1623 till 1635. In the 
Drmer year he and ten others addressed a letter to the king 
Q reference to the affairs of that colony. He was at that 
ime a member of the Couijcil of Virginia. He afterwards 
;ot into political trouble and his property was confiscated. - 

Nathaniel Utie was appointed councilor. May 6th, 1658. 
^he next day he was licensed to trade with the Indians in 
he province for beaver and other furs. He seems to have 
•een a member of the last Assembly, and to have been made 
, councilor on account of " the great ability and affectionate 
ervice done in that Assembly by him." He was authorized 
Q his license to arrest all persons trading in the upper part 
f the bay not having license. On the 12th of July follow- 
Qg he was commissioned as captain of all the forces be- 
ween tlie coves of Patuxent River and the Seven Mountains, 
,nd was to command as his own company all the forces 
rom the head of Severn River on the north side thereof to 
he Seveji Mountains. This is tlie only time the Seven Moun- 
ains are mentioned in the colonial records. It is impossible 


to ascertain, with certainty, what highlands were thus digni- 
fied by tlie name of mountains; l^ut the name was evidently 
applied to seven of the largest hills near the head of the bay, 
and there is little doubt that Bulls' Mountain and the other 
eminences in Elk Neck are the mountains referred to. In 
1661 the council of the colony met at Spesutia ; and Utie, 
who had been a member of a bogus Assembly that met at 
St. Clement Manor in 1659, in the time of Fendall's rebellion, 
and which had indulged in legislation hostile to the Lord 
Proprietary, petitioned the council "to add a further act of 
grace, that his former offences may not be prejudicial to 
him hereafter." It seems from this that he had already 
been pardoned, but the council very graciously granted his 
petition. He represented Baltimore County in the House 
of Burgesses in 1665; and the next year was one of a num- 
ber of commissioners appointed to negotiate with the gover- 
nors of Virginia and North Carolina in reference to the dis- 
continuance of the planting of tobacco in those provinces 
and Maryland for one year, in order to enhance the price of 
that article. lie owned a considerable quantity of land 
near the mouth of the Gunpowder and also owned land 
along the Sassafras River. 

George Utie and Richard Wells were ordered to be sum- 
moned before the provincial court in 1601, " for not sending 
letters down to the Governor according to the acts of Assem- 
bly, and for contemptuously nailing uj) a letter of the sheriff 
directed to the governor." They probably lived on Spesutia 
Island, and the former was, no doubt, a relative of Nathaniel 
Utie. It seems from his treatment of the sheriff that he 
was as stubborn and courageous as Nathaniel. He repre- 
sented Baltimore County in the House of Burgesses in 1661, 
and was also commissioned sheriff of Baltimore County in 

This meagre sketch contains all the particulars of interest 
that we have been able to glean from the colonial records of 
this period of the Utie family. 


The bold stand taken by Utie gave great alarm to the 
Dutch, and so many of the settlers in consequence removed 
to Maryland and Virginia that scarcely thirty families re- 
mained in New Amstel. 

Governor Fendall on the receipt of the letter containing 
the extraordinary demand for the return of the deserters, 
being anxious to carry out Lord Baltimore's instructions, 
called a meeting of the council at Anne Arundel (now An- 
napolis), on the 3d of August, at which meeting it was 
' Ordered that Colonel Nathaniel Utie do make his repaire 
to the pretended Governor of the people seated in Delaware 
Bay, within his Lordship's Province, and that he do give 
them to understand that they are seated within this, 
his Lordship's Province, without notice given to his Lord- 
ship's Lieutenant here, and to require them to depart 
this Province." ..." That in case he find opportunity, 
he insinuate unto the people there seated, that in case they 
make their application to his Lordship's government here, 
they shall find good conditions, according to the conditions 
of plantation granted to all comers into this province, which 
shall be made good unto them ; and that they shall have 
protection in their lives, liberty and estates, which they 
shall bring with them." Whereupon a letter was sent from 
Governor Fendall to the Dutch on Delaware Bay, in which 
he acknowledges the receipt of the letter from the Dutch 
governor there, and recites the fact that the Dutch colony 
is located south of the fortieth degree of north latitude and 
within the limits of Lord Baltimore's grant, and requires 
him (the Dutchman) to depart "or to excuse him (Fendall) 
if he should use his utmost endeavor to reduce that j^art of 
his Lordship's Province unto its due obedience under him." 

This letter was intrusted to Utie, who, accompanied by his 
brother, his cousin, a Major Jacob de A^intz, and servant, 
and four fugitives, arrived at New Amstel on the 6th of 
September, 1650. 

It seems that the fugitives went voluntarilv, for three of 


them were arrested by the authorities at New AmsteL The 
accounts of this visit which have come down to us, warrant 
the belief that Utie was a cunning and skillful diplomatist^ 
and that he fully carried out the instructions which had 
been given to him by the council. His actions during the 
course of the negotiations with the Dutch are said to have 
been both boisterous and aggressive ; so much so that Stuy- 
vesant censured Governor Jieekman and Alrichs for not 
arresting: him. But his efforts to induce the Dutch to ac- 
knowledge the authority of Lord Baltimore were unsuccess- 
ful ; and this attcm])t to extend the jurisdiction of the gov- 
ernment of Maryland to the Delaware River, like many 
others that were subsequently made, proved to be a failure. 
The Dutch were very badly frightened by Utie's behavior^ 
and immediately sent messengers overland to Manhattan, 
to inform Stuyvesant of the demands he had made. Fear- 
ing that the messengers might meet with some disaster, the 
next day they dispatched a vessel for the same purpose. 
Governor Stuyvesant upon being informed of the condition 
of affairs on the Delaware, dispatched Augustine Herman 
and liesolved (or Rosevelt) Waldron upon a mission to 
Maryland for the purpose of adjusting the difficulty. They 
came by the way of New Amstel and left there on the 13th 
of September, 1G59. They kept a journal during their 
journey, in which they state that they were accompanied by 
some guides, mostly Indians, and convoyed by a few sol- 
diers. They traveled by land, taking the first day a course 
west northwest from New Castle. They continued this 
course for four and a half Dutch miles (about thirteen and 
a quarter English miles), when they took a due west course, 
and after traveling three more Dutch miles, the Indians re- 
fusing to proceed any further, encamped for the night. On 
the first of October thev continued their iournev, ooinpr 
west by south, and then directly south. The country at first 
was hilly and then low. They soon arrived at a stream, 
which the Indians infoniied tlicm fiowcd into the Bav of 


Virginia — the Chesapeake Bay. The}' followed this stream 
until they found a boat hauled upon the shore and almost 
dried up. Dismissing four of their guides and retaining 
only a man named Sander Boyer and his Indian, they 
pushed off, but were soon obliged to land again, as the boat 
became full of water, wliereupon they turned the boat up- 
side down and caulked the seams with old linen. They thus 
made it a little tighter, but one was obliged to sit continu- 
ally and bail out the water. Proceeding doAvn this stream, 
they soon reached the Elk River. There must have been 
great changes in the branches of the Elk River since that 
time, for none of them are now navigable. The probability 
is that they reached the North East, which they mistook for 
the Elk. Here they made a fire and remained till evening, 
wlien they proceeded, but with great trouble, as the boat had 
neither rudder nor oars, but only paddles. Going downtlie 
bay they arrived at the Sassafras River, where they stopped 
at tlie plantation of a man named John Turner. Here they 
met a man named Abraham, who Avas a Finn, and had been 
a soldier at Fort Altona, and who had run away with a 
Dutch woman from the settlements on the Delaware and 
taken refuge in Maryland. They proceeded down the bay 
and soon reached Kent Island, where they were entertained 
by a Mr. Wicks for a short time, and soon afterwards had 
their first interview with the governor and council of Mary- 
land at Patuxent. At this meeting Herman and Waldron 
presented the governor and council with a letter and their 
credentials from Governor Stuyvesant, in Dutch, and which 
were Englished by Mr. Simon Oversee, by order of the coun- 
cil. In this letter Stuyvesant speaks of being mucli aston- 
ished when he understood that Colonel Utie had served the 
notice upon the Dutch in Delaware, requiring them to va- 
cate their settlement there, and argues the case at some 
length, and takes exception to the instrument, because it 
was not dated. He calls it " a seditious cartebell, in form of 
an instruction, without any time or place, or where or from 



whom, or in whose name, order or authority it was written,"" 
etc. ; and concludes by stating tliat he sent his agents and 
ambassadors, Hermen and Waldron, to remonstrate against 
the proceedings of the governor and council of Maryland. 
The credentials of tlic ambassadors were of much greater 
length and contained a great deal more protestation and 
argument than tlie letter. The ambassadors also delivered 
a paper of considerable length, in which the arguments in 
favor of the claim of the Dutch on the Delaware are very 
succinctly set forth. 

During the progress of their deliberations, which were- 
protracted for several days, the Dutch ambassadors Avere 
shown a copy of Lord Baltimore's charter, whereupon they 
called the attention of the council to the fact that his lord- 
ship was invested with a country not before inhabited, only 
bv a certain barbarous people called Indians. And inas- 
much as the country on the Delaware River was settled be- 
fore the patent was issued, his Royal Majesty's intention was 
not to invest him with title to the settlements on the Dela- 
ware. Upon the ground taken by these ambassadors at this 
early stage of the dispute between Lord Baltimore and the 
Dutch, his claims to all the land between the Delaware and 
Chesapeake bays and as far north as the fortieth degree of 
north latitude w^as ultimately defeated. The fact that Her- 
men and Waldron were the first to call attention to this 
matter proves them to have been persons of great ability ^ 
and shrewd and cunning diplomatists. Col. Nathaniel Utie, 
who was a member of the council at this time, appears to 
have shown a great deal of temper. He was i)robably some- 
what vexed at the want of success that attended his efforts 
when at New Castle. This attempt to settle this difficulty, 
like the one that preceded it, proved to be a failure in its 
main object ; but was productive of good in this particular, 
that it caused the English and their neighbors along the 
Delaware to become better acquainted. It was also the 
means of bringing Augustine Hermen to settle in this county. 


After the negotiations were over, Waldron returned to New 
Amsterdam Avith an account of them, and Hermen went to 
Virginia, as he expresses it, "to inquire of the governor 
what is liis opinion on the subject, to create a division be- 
tween them both, and purge ourselves of the slander of 
stirring up the Indians to murder English at Accomac."' It 
seems from tliis, that the Dutch had made themselves 
obnoxious to the Virginians as well as to the Marylanders ; 
but as the two latter were upon the best of terms at this 
time, it may have been that the Virginians had espoused 
the cause of the Marylanders and slandered the Dutch, as 
Hermen asserts. It is probable that Hermen remained in 
Virginia for some months on business connected with the 
map whicli he afterwards made of that province and Mary- 
land ; for the authorities at New Amsterdam, on dispatching 
Captain Newton and Wirlett'to that colony " on a mission, 
in February, 1660, instructed them to inquire in Maryland 
if danger threatened tlie South River," and to avail them- 
selves of tlie " aid and tongue of Augustine Hermen," at 
that time in Mrginia. 

The history of this distinguished man, and that of his 
immerous descendants, is so closely interwoven with that of 
Cecil County for a quarter of a century after this time that 
some account of his previous life will be interesting. He 
was a native of Prague, a city of Bohemia ; but at what time 
he came to New Netlierlands is not precisely known. He 
was in the em})loy of the West India Company, and was in 
compan}' with Arent Corssen in 1633, at the time of the 
Dutch purchase from the Indians of the lands which in- 
cluded the site of Philadelphia, on tlie Schuylkill, near the 
mouth of which Fort Beversrede was subsequently erected. 
He probably returned to Holland and came back again to 
this country under different auspices than those of his first 
adventure here. In June, 1641, he was with Laurens Cor- 
nelisson, an agent of Peter Gabry & Sons, and Mr. Broad- 
head says he " came out under the patronage of the Chamber 

ob ]IISToi;v OK CIXII. < (UNTV 

of Eiickhuy.sen as agent of the mereaiitile house of Gabry 
of Amsterdam." The same year he was established in trade 
of the general character common at the time, and afterwards 
made several voyages to Holland in the prosecution of his 
commercial enterprises. Some years later we find him in- 
terested in privateering, and one of the owners, in 1649, of 
the frigate La Garce, engaged in depredations on the Spanish 
commerce. He was unfortunate in his business enterprises, 
and in September, 1652, " a fugitive" from his creditors, his 
aflairs in the hands of assignees, who were finally discharged 
as such March 18th, 1653. In May following he was granted 
"liberty and freedom" by the council, and excused for 
having broken the company's seal ; " having settled with his 
creditors," the same month he was bearer of dispatches from 
Governor Stuyvesant to the New England authorities at 
Boston, respecting an alleged -conspiracy of the Dutch and 
Indians against the English. In December, 1658, he obtained 
permission to make a voyage, doubtless for trade to the Dutch 
and French islands in the West Indies, and arrived at the 
Island of Curacao, April 18th, 1659. In his public positions 
he rendered useful and important seryice to the colonv. He 
was one of the Board of Nine Men then organized, September 
25th, 1647, and held the office in 1649 and 1650. One of 
the ambassadors to Rhode Island in April, 1652." * 

Augustine Hermen married Jannetje (Jane) AVrlett, a na- 
tive of Utrecht, in New Amsterdam, December 10th, 1651. 
They were the parents of five children : Ephraim (Jeorge, 
Casi)arus or {Jasi)ar, Anna IMargaretta, Judith and Francina, 
all of M'hom were baptized in the Dutch Reformed Church at 
New Amsterdam, of which their parents are believed to have 
been members. The map generally called Hermen's map 
of Maryland, in consideration of the making of which he 
obtained the grant of Bohemia Manor and Middle Neck, 

♦From Ancient Families of New York, by Edwin H. Purple, in the 
N. Y. Gen. and IJio. Hecord, April, 1878, page 54, 


includes all of DelaAvare and considerable portions of the 
other States contiguous to Maryland. It was engraved and 
published by Faithorne, of London, in 1672L and contains 
a medallion portrait of Hermen, probably the- only one 
extant. The map is very authentic, so far as it represents 
the western shore of the Chesapeake and the peninsula be- 
tween the Chesapeake and Delaware bays. A tradition has 
long been current among the people of Bohemia Manor that 
upon a certain occasion after Hermen settled in Maryland 
he went back to New Amsterdam where, for some reason 
now unknown, he was arrested and confined b}^ order of the 
authorities there. In order to escape he feigned insanity 
and requested to be allowed the company of his 'horse, a 
splendid gray charger. The favor was granted, and Hermen 
mounting the horse seized a favorable opportunit}^ and dash- 
ing through one of the windows of his prison, which were 
twenty feet from the ground, started for New Castle, which 
he reached in safety, though closely pursued by his enemies. 
His liorse is said to have swam the Delaware River and 
carried his master safely across, and to have died from over- 
exertion shortly after reacliing the shore. There is probably 
some truth in this story, for Hermen had a painting com- 
memorative of some adventure of that kind. Two copies 
of this painting are yet extant, one of which is in the 
possession of one of his descendants, a member of the Troth 
family, of Camden, New Jersey. He made a will which is dated 
November 8th, 1665, and though never proved, is recorded 
among the land records of Baltimore County, in Book T. S., 
number I. K. xVmong many other interesting things, it 
contains the following clause : " I do appoint my burial and 
sepulcher, if I die in this bay or in Delaware, to be in Bohe- 
mia Manor, in my garden by my wife Johanna ^'arlett's, 
and that a great sepulcher stone shall be erected upon our 
graves three feet above ground, like unto a table, with 
engraven letters tliat I am the first seater and beginner of 
Bohemia Manor, Anno Domini, IGOO, and died," etc. This 


will shows that he had at that time property in New York, 
which if his children left no heirs he directs shall he applied 
to the erection of a free school. lie directs that his sons 
shall have at eighteen years of age, and his daughters at 
marriage, six milch cows, six breeding sows, and six breed- 
ing hens, with a male of each one of those species. His son 
Ephraim George and his friend John Browning, with whom 
he afterwards had a bitter quarrel, were to be executors of 
this will. 

Augustine Hermen aforesaid seems to have become 
enamoured of the rich soil and genial climate of this lati- 
tude during his visit to ^Laryland and Virginia, in 1659. 
His mercantile speculations had not proved as profitable as 
he expected, and he resolved to leave the barren shores of 
Manhattan Island and take up his residence on the fertile 
plains of what was afterwards called Bohemia Manor. His 
motive was a laudable one, namely, to acquire a princely 
domain for himself and his children, and thereby to per- 
petntate his name. With these ends in view he proposed 
to Lord Baltimore to make the map before mentioned. 
This was a work of some magnitude, and cost him "no 
less than the vaiuc of about two hundred pounds ster- 
ling, beside his own labor." It also required much time, 
and was not finished until the ex})iration of .some years 
after he had received his first patent, which was dated June 
19th, 1 G62, which was the year after he moved his family from 
New Amsterdam to Bohemia Manor in Cecil County. This 
patent is a legal as well as a literary curiosity. After greeting 
all persons to whom it should come, in the name of the Lord 
God Everlastinrj, and referring to the "conditions of planta- 
tions," which Avere certain regulations in regard to the terms 
upon which titles to i)lantations could be acquired in the 
province, it " grants unto Augustine Hermen all that tract of 
land called liohemia Manor, lying on the east side of Chesa- 
peake l>ay and on the west side of a river "in the said bay, 
called I'.lk Bivcr, on the nortliLrnmost side of a creek in 


the said river, called Hermen's Creek. Beginning at 
the easternmost bound tree of the land of Philip Calvert, 
Esq. (who had previously obtained the grant of a thousand 
acres at Town Point), and running south by east up the 
said creek of the length of two thousand perches to a marked 
oak, standing by a cove called Hermen's Cove, and from 
the said oak running northeast for'the length of three hun- 
dred and twent}^ perches until it intersects a parallel line 
running west for the length of two thousand perches, to the 
said land of Philip Calvert, Esq. On the west with the 
said land, on the south with the said creek, on the east wdth 
the said line, on the north with the said parallel. Contain- 
ing and now laid out for four thousand acres, more or less, 
together with all royalties or privileges thereunto belonging 
(royal mines excepted)." This manor of Bohemia was to 
be holden of "Cecilius, Lord Baron of Baltimore, and of his 
heirs, as of his manor of St. Maries, in free and common 
socage, by fealty only for all manner of service, yielding 
and paying therefor yearly unto us and our heirs, at our 
receipt at St. Maries, at the two most usual feasts in the 
yesiY, viz., at the feast of the annunciation of tlie Blessed 
Virgin Mary, and at the feast of St. Michael, the Archangel, 
by even and equal portions, the rent of four pounds sterling, 
in silver or gold, or the full value thereof, in such commo- 
dities as we or our heirs shall accept in discharge thereof." 
By patent bearing the same date, and for the same consider- 
ation mentioned in the other patent (the making of a map 
of the province), Hcrmen became the owner and proprietor 
of Little Bohemia, or Bohemia Middle Neck. The fact that 
Hermen obtained two patents for two distinct tracts of land, 
that were only separated from each other by a small stream 
of water, may seem strange and unusual at this day. 
People now would have made one patent include the whole 
tract ; but the manners and customs of that day were quite 
•different from those of the present. Hermen intended 
Bohemia Manor for an inheritance for his eldest son, and 


in view of this fact there is nothing strange in not in- 
chiding Little Bohemia in the same patent. 

It will be seen, from an 'nspeetion of the foregoing quota- 
tion from the patent for Bohemia ]\Ianor, that its boundaries 
difl'er very much from what they arc at present. 

The probability is that neither of the tracts were ever 
located according to the -metes and bounds set forth in the 
original patents, for Hermen states in his journal that dan- 
ger from Indians prevented an accurate inspection and sur- 
vey of his lands, and that he made a treaty with the Indians 
at Spesutia Island and purchased this land from them. He 
states in his journal that " there was an imaginary survey 
recorded the 13th of September, 1659, for Philip Calvert,. 
Esq., of a one thousand acres on the point between Elk 
River and Oppoqucrmine River (now Bohemia River), ad- 
herent or includent to Bohemia Manor, his Honor did let it 
fall to the said Augustine Hermen, who, having proposed 
to his Lordship in England the erecting of a town thereon^ 
Jiis Lordsliip promised all reasonable privileges to him, the said 
Augustine Hermen, and first undertaking, willing to have the 
town called, Ceclltown and the county Cecil County, sending {tO' 
that purpose) in a charter, as a foundation to all other townshijys^ 
in this province, remaining in the office under the great seal 
dated January 24th, IGC)!,'' which charter above referred to 
was issued more than a year before Hermen received the 
first patent for Bohemia Manor. This is the first reference 
to Cecil County in the early records of the province. It indi- 
cates that Hermen originated the name. Calvert's land, as 
the reader will perceive, was located at the junction of the 
Elk and Bohemia rivers; and though Ceciltown was not built 
upon it, it still bears the name of Town Point. 

Tliis year (1659) a tract of land, containing four hundred 
acres, was taken up and patented at Frenchtown, on the Elk 
River, under the name of Thompsontown." At this time 
there was a fort garrisoned by the iMiglish on Watson's 
Island, and probably one on Spesutia Ishnul. A few year.«i 


after this there is reason to believe the English had a fort 
or block-house in Sassafras Neck, not very far in a south- 
westerly direction from the junction of the Great and Little 
Bohemia River. The Indians also had a fort on Iron Hill 
and one on the west bank of the Susquehanna River some 
miles north of the State line, and were in undisputed pos- 
session of all the country between the head of Chesapeake 
Bay and the Delaware River, except the places we have 
named and perhaps a few others along the Elk and North 
East rivers. 


Council of Mrtiylaud meet at Spesutia Island — Examination of persons 
■wlio had suffered from the depredations of Indians alonj;' the Delaware 
River — Interesting correspondence between the Governor of ilaryland 
and Alexander D'llinoyossa, Governor of New Amstel — The Council de- 
clare war against the Susquehannocks— Instructions to Captain Odber — 
Letter from D'llinoyossa — Augustine Ilermen tries to make peace be- 
tween the Dutch and English— Council meets at Susquehanna Point and 
are shown the commission of Captain Neals recently arrived from Eng- 
land — ]\Iany of the Swedes from Delaware settle in Sassafras Xeck. 

On account of the troubles with the Indians and Dutch, 
the council of IMaryland frequently met at and near the head 
oif the bay for the purpose of investigating the facts, mak- 
ing treaties with the Indians, etc. It met at Spesutia for the 
former jnirpose on the 13th of May, 1661, when it was or- 
dered that all persons who have suffered an}' damage b}' the 
Indians, or have engaged with them in an hostile manner, 
be summoned to appear at that place on the 15th instant. 
This summons was directed to be sent from house to house 
as low as Patapsco River. Then follows the information of 
Peter Meyer touching the death of four Englishmen in their 
passage between Delaware Bay and the head of Chesapeake 
Bay by Indians, upon Wednesday, in Easter week last, to 
the effect that upon Friday, in Easter week, coming at the 
Sand Hook, there came unto him one Foppo Yanson (called 
by the Dutch Foppo Jansen Outhout) and told him that he 
feared some Englishmen were killed by the Indians, because 
seeking his horse in the woods he saw an Indian pass by 
with a gray hat with ribbons tied upon a pack at his back ; 
that a while afterwards the said Foj^po Yanson showed him 


the Indian that liad the hat at liis back ; that by the assist- 
ance of Mr. ^^'illiam Hollingswortb, of New England, and 
some others, he did apprehend the said Indian with his 
■companion, whom, upon demand of justice, the governor of 
the same phice committed to prison ; whereupon the rest of 
the Indians in the town tied and left one pack behind them, 
in which pack he found an English red war coat, with a 
hole in the back, wet, and a canvas bag, all bloody, and an 
English pair of shoes; that one of the prisoners was re- 
leased, that he might go and fetch their king: and that the 
next day the others were released, but upon what ground, 
he knows not. And the said Peter Meyer further informs 
the council, that, demanding of the said Indian how he 
■came by that hat, he answered it was given him by another 
Indian, called Oconittka, who had killed an Englishman ; 
that he had desired the pack of goods in which the war coat 
and bloody bag were found to be arrested, which was accord- 
ingly done ; but that coming the next day to inquire for it, 
the man of the house where it was deposited answered that 
it was given to the Indian again, and that he was told by the 
Dutch that the Indians did threaten him as being an Eng- 
lishman for to kill him. This man Peter Meyer had a quar- 
rel about this time with 'Sh. Lears, a Finnish priest, who lived 
on tlie Delaware River not far from where Chester now 
stands. He had struck the reverend gentleman in the face 
and mutilated him in a shameful manner. For this offence 
the authorities at New Amstel had attempted to bring him 
to trial. It also appears that they had fined him for selling 
liquor to the Indians, and no doubt he was glad of the op- 
portunity to vent his wrath upon them, by giving the fore- 
going information to the Marylanders. 

llobert Gorsuch was then examined touching the engage- 
ment with the Indians at Gunpowder River. He stated that 
the Indians came to his house on the 11th of April, 1G61, 
some dressed in blue and some in red match coats, who 
killed his wife and plundered his house, and about four or 


five days after came to bis house again and killed some five 
cows and a steer, and some hogs, as he supposeth. 

John Taylor said that upon Easter eve, in the afternoon, 
there came two Indians to his house, but he not understand- 
ing their language, pointed at them to be gone ; he not hav- 
ing heard before of a murder committed upon Robert Gor- 
such's wife, and they accordingly departed. The next day 
these same Indians nturned with seven more and one 
woman, who, coming near his landing, shot off a gun to 
give him notice, as he considered; whereupon he went to 
the landing to them, and tliey asked him for some tobacco, 
which he did give them, and upon sight of anqtlier canoe 
of Indians, bid them be gone; one of them understanding 
and speaking a little English, upon which they went away, 
and steered, as he thought, toward a plantation hard by, 
where two bachelors lived, named Edward Eouster and John 
Fouster ; that John Fouster coming in a canoe toward the 
Indians, shot at said Indians and came immediately away 
to this informant's house; whereupon the said Indians shot 
three guns at the said Fouster, and immediately went and 
plundered his house, and came round about two weeks after- 
wards and plundered his tobacco house, where his goods 
then lay for want of room in hisdwelling-house, to the value 
of one thousand pounds of tobacco; that upon notice given 
of this plunder, William Wigwell, John Fouster and Edward 
Svvanson went forth alter the said Indians, to know why 
they plundered the said tobacco house, and coming up to 
them in the woods, where they were sitting round a tire, 
they immediately surrounded the said English and dis- 
charged a volley often shots, killing the said John Fouster, 
and at a second volley wounded William Wigwell, notwith- 
standing which shot, they fought them tliree hours and 
made their retreat good, since which time the said Indians 
liave killed eleven head of cattle and twenty head of hogs. 
Demanding of the Indians who they were, they answered 
they were all Sustiuchannaughs, as all Indians used to do 
that come to his house. 

iiisToi;v i)V (■h:(iL coiwrv. 45 

Thomas Overton and William Hallis saith that, about the 
25th of A})ril hist, Thomas Sampson and Richard Haves, 
seeing two canoes with nine Delaware Bay Indians coming- 
down Bush River; watching their canoes, did discern that 
they steered toward their plantation, upon which the said 
Sampson and Richard Hayes came and brought tliese infor- 
mants news of their coming ; so upon that, they took to 
their boats and arras and met the Indians, and inquired of 
them whether they were Susquehannaughs, yea or no, and 
they answered no ; and whilst that these informants were 
talking with one of the said companies in one of the canoes, 
the other canoe with Indians went ashore ; and as soon as 
they were on the shore, one of tlie informant's dogs l)it one 
of the said Indians, and upon that the Indian turned him 
about and shot the dog and killed it, and immediately 
another of the said Indians that was on the shore shot at 
these informants and their company, and the bullets came 
through the boat ; then the said informants and their com- 
pany shot at the Indians that were in the other canoe and 
killed five of tliem — that is all the Indians that Avere in that 
canoe; and further, these informants saith, that the Indians 
on the shore did kill one of their company, called John 
Spurne ; and further knoweth not. 

At this meeting a letter was read to the council from 
William Hollingsworth,' directed to his most respected 
friend Col. Nathaniel Utie, from the Sand Point, in Dela- 
ware Bay, written some time in April, 1661, about the 
murder of four men who left the Sand Hook on the seven- 
teenth of April, and whose names he did not know, but 
who Averc murdered by the Indians while on their way from 
Sand Hook (New Castle) to the head of the bay, and whose 
bodies, he had been informed by the Indians, lay at a place 
called Saquosehum. Twenty Indians had come to Sand 
Hook, and he had caused two of them to be arrested and 
placed in the guard-house, but afterwards sent one of them 
to inform their sachem. Both Dutch and Indians, he writes, 


are luueb displeased at the arrest of the Indians. lie there- 
fore asks the advice of Utie, and ])rays tliat some person 
may be sent to inquire further into the matter. In a post- 
script he adds that tlio Indians threatened to kill some 
Englishmen, then at the Sand Hook, when they started 
home to their families in Maryland. Philip Calvert there- 
upon, on the fifteenth of May, IGGl, addressed a letter to 
Alexander D'Hinoj'ossa, then Governor of New Amstel, as 
follows : 

"I understand from Mr. Hollingsworth of the murder of 
four men belonging to this province by the hands of some 
Indians, your neighbors; and further, upon his accusation, 
you had committed them to guard. I send this express to 
you, to be informed of the true state of the matter. It is 
not our custom to put up (with) the injuries of Indians, nor 
to bury tlie blood of Christians in forgctfulness and oblivion; 
therefore I request you to deliver me the Indian prisoners, 
that I may deal with them according to our justice in like 
cases. I am now at Spesutia, and there shall remain till I 
have provided for the safety of the people and the honor of 
our nation, and shall exi)ect an answer from you to such. 

'' Your servant, 

" Phil. Calvert." 

To which D'Hinoyossa replied as follows: 


15th Mav, Old Stvleward, 

'the 2Gtirof New Slyle. 
"Out of which M'e iiave seen that, U|)on the advice of 
Mr. Hollingsworth, you are come to the islands of 
Nathaniel Ctie for to examine the lamentable murder done 
by the Sanhican Indians unto four Englishmen. (It is 
thus): Forasmuch as hath api>eared to us that how have 
been four persons, out of the province of Maryland, which, 
after two days' stay, departed from hence to their ])lantation, 
as they said, and by the way are met by the said Indians, 
by whom they are murdered. And on Marettico, on the 
Iron Hill, met them two Indians coming from the Minquas 
country; to one of them they did give a hat, and nothing 
else; to the other they gave nothing. The same two In- 
dians came to tlie tcAvn, imagining nothing; but the mur- 


derers, which killed the man, did very secretly and speedily 
pass this place up to the river; two or three inhabitants of 
New Amstel did, in the meanwhile, lay hold of these Indians, 
and I caused them to be brought to the fort; but after 
many examinations, found them not guilty, but that it was 
done by another nation ; therefore we have released tliem, 
because the innocent cannot suffer for the guilty; otherwise 
it would be a case grounded of no reason, besides there is 
some time past between, and would have occasioned between 
us and the Indians a difference which might damage us 
with them to an open war, whereby the culture of the 
country and the advancement of the colony would be much 
hindered, in Avhich, apparently, your Honor would take no 
comfort nor content with the two Indians, which have not 
been actually in the fort; and therefore let your Honor be- 
assured that the releasing of the two Indians hath not been 
done out of any ill intent, nor to the prejudice of so good 
Christians, our neighbors, in favor of the heathens, which 
have committed from time to time divers murders and rob- 
beries upon our nation, also wishing that we could lay hold 
of tliis good opportunity in revenging ourselves upon the 
murderers also. To conclude, your Honor may be confident 
that the shedding of Christian blood is most detestable unto 
us, assuring yourself that we shall contribute in all things 
to the preservation of friendship with neighbors of our 
belief, for as much as might be done without prejudice to 
our own nation. So I commit your Honor to God's keeping, 
who will give his blessing to your government, so just. 
" Your serviceable friend, 

''Praise God in all things, lOOl, 

"Alexander D'Hinoyossa." 

What the old Hollander meant by " Marettico on the Iron 
Hill " has not been ascertained. It was probably an Indian 
name applied to some part of the country between Iron Hill 
and Grey's Hill, now called Ked Hill. The reader will ob- 
serve that, like some of his countrymen of the present time, 
D'Hinoyossa had iv rather limited command of the English 

Following this, on the same page, is to be seen the follow- 
ing letter, which was evidently presented to the Council at 
this meeting at Spesutia, and which speak-; for ifself : 

48 uisTujjv (»r cixiL (orNTv. 

^' Mk. W'kk.iit: 

" Be ])leased to do so inucli as to let nie know how it is with 
you at the west for trade. The Indians tlireaten to kill me, 
and tliat is the reason I cannot come. I must march in my 
house with seven or eight guns loaden, and 1 have no 
comfort irom the inhabitants here, Indians and Dutch both 
saying that I am an Englishman. I I could have time 
to s})eak half an hour with you. Mr. Hollingsworth is very 
sorry he hears no answer of his letter. Give everybody 
notice, and look to yourself night and day. The Indians 
are very strong and not far from you. I would have written 
more, but I dare not dare. Warn James at Turkey Point 
to remove. 

" Your loving servant, 

" Gakratt Rltten. 

"May 15th, 1601." 

Then follows the commission of Captain John Odber, 
authorizing him to take command of fifty soldiers and to 
march with them to the Susquehannaughs' fort. This fort 
■was probably just above the junction of the Octoraro Creek 
and Susquehanna River. There is no doubt whatever about 
the Susquehannaughs having a fort at that place, because 
John Hans Stillman testified that he had seen it there. 
Stillman was an Indian trader, and at one time had a trading 
post at the junction of the Big and Little Elk Creek. He 
also had a trading post at the mouth of the Susquehanna 
River, and was well acquainted with the Indians. His evi- 
dence, taken many years afterwards, when he was a very old 
man, may be seen in Penn's Breviate, which was submitted 
to the English Court of Chancery when Penn and Baltimore 
were quarreling about their boundar}' lines. 

Vincent, in his History of Delaware, says this fort was 
upon Iron Hill ; but had he consulted the colonial records 
of Maryland he would probably have formed a different 
opinion. It was the Minquas who lived along the Christiana 
which flows at the base of Iron Hill, that had the fort on it. 
Tliere is no evidence now extant tending to prove that the 
Susquehannocks ever exercised control over that part of the 


The instructions to Captain Oclber are : " Imprimis : You 
are to choose some fit place either within or without the fort, 
which you are to fortify for your own security, and to de- 
mand the assistance of the Susquehannauglis to fetch tim- 
ber and other necessaries for the fortification, according to 
articles now concluded between us ; and further, to cause 
some si)urs or flankers to be laid out for the defence of the 
Indian fort, whom you are, upon all occasions, to assist against 
the assaults of their enemies. 

" Second : Upon your arrival at the fort, immediately press 
them to appoint some one or more of their great men, to 
whom you shall make your applications on all occasions — 
that is, either of demanding assistance to lielp fortify, or of 
provisions, or upon any orders received from us. 

"Third : Procure that certain persons be appointed, who 
are to be messengers between you and us, according to 
articles, and be sure advise us of every accident of import- 
ance that shall befall you or the Susquehannauglis, and of 
the proceedings of our affairs. 

" Fourth : You are carefully to inform yourself of the pro- 
gress of the war between them and the Cinaqoi Indians, 
and if you find them, start in it, to press them discreetly 
to a vigorous prosecution of it. 

'' Fifth : You are carefully to avoid all quarrels with the 
Indians ; and therefore, permit not the soldiers (to) sit drink- 
ing or gaming with them, but keep them to exact military 
discipline, and, to avoid idleness, often exercise them. 

" Sixth : Make diligent inquiry touching the murderers of 
the woman in Patapsco River, and of John Norden and his 
companions on their wa}- from Delaware Bay, &c.; and if 
you find they liave any of the said murderers in the fort, 
see them shot to death, or send them down to us to be pro- 
ceeded against according to our laws. 

"Seventh: Lastly, you are to have a very wary eye upon 
all Dutch that come to the fort, ob.serving their actions and 
treaties with the Indians, but «lio\v not any animosity against 



them ; if you find any close contrivances to our prejudice, 
give us speedy notice, and oppose, Avith discretion, any open 
actions that may tend to our loss." 

The council met at Spesutia again on May 21st, 1661. 
(Present as before). Then was presented this letter : 

" New Amstel, 

28th of May, 1661. 
Stilo Novo. 
" Right Honorable : 

" My last, the six and twentieth of May, was in haste, be- 
cause the Indians would not stay by the same. I did assure 
your Honor of the upwright affection which we have for 
the keeping of a good neighborship, I have by this occa- 
sion, Abraham Van Naas* going that way by instruction, 
ordered and authorized for to declare by word of mouth, 
that license to depart to the two Indians that were appre- 
hended was not in favor of the barbarous heathens, nor to 
the prejudice of good neighbors, they having not been ac- 
cessory to the murder ; wherefore, I would not keep them, 
such proceedings not being agreeable with our nation's cus- 
toms, being a case that will bring us into great danger of 
a war and a quarrel with the Indians; it being now 16 days 
])ast before we had any intelligence from the province of 
Maryland, in that behalf; we therefore, do assure your 
Honor that we will be, upon all occasions, willing. We hope 
that, in time to come, there M'ill be a good traffic between 
us, though this present difference betwixt you and the 
Indians of this river are something disfavorable to it. Yet 
we hope that the Almighty God will show an expedient way 
that these differences might be composed, for wars are pre- 
judical to commerce and uncertain how they might fall out, 
nor what time they may take, that the M'hole nation for five 
or six evil doers should suffer, is a thing to be lamented, 
yet needful that the murderers should be })unished for an 
example. I have, in general, understood from the Indians 
that they (trade) with tlie English upon very advantageous 

* Abraham Van Naas was .secretary and notarj' public at New Amstel. 
D'llinoyossa afterwards ((uarrcleil with him l)ecause he wouhl not praise 
him when writinj; the minutes of the council. 


conditions (and desire) with the English (to) make peace, 
that sucli faults be no more committed. In case I can serve 
your Honor in the business, I shall be willingly inclined to 
it; and, so wishing your Honor a happy government and a 
good end of these troubles, shall rest, 

" Your Honor's affectionate friend and servant, 

" Alexander D'Hinoyossa." 

D'Hinoyossa was induced to write this letter of explana- 
tion and apology by information received from Augustine 
Hermen, who, as stated in a previous chapter, that year 
settled upon Bohemia Manor, and seems to have acted as a 
peace-maker between the old Hollander and Philip Calvert, 
the Governor of Maryland. Hermen wrote to D'Hinoyossa 
that the English foster the opinion that the inhabitants of 
New Amstel and the Hoernkill secretly instigate their sav- 
age neighbors along the Delaware to commit murders and 
robberies upon the Marylanders. The instructions given to 
Captain Odber prove that in this, as in most other things, 
Hermen was right. After which was called in Abraham 
Van Naas, in the said letter mentioned, who, being desired 
to declare what he had in commission to say from the gov- 
ernor, Alexander D'Hinoyossa, declares that they had done 
their endeavors to detain the Indian murderers ; but could 
not, for want of power to defend themselves, any longer keep 
them; that in revenge of what the}^ had done the Indians 
had burned them a mill, which they were forced to pass by 
for the present till they should be better able to avenge 
themselves of the injuiy ; that the governor of the Sand 
Hook did send for the king of those Indians that had com- 
mitted the aforesaid murder, and demanded of them the 
reason why the}'' did it. Answer was made that it was done 
by a company of vagabond rangers that delighted in mis- 
chief, and run from nation to nation, whom, if tliey could 
catch, they would deliver them up to justice ; but, that 
since they had done it, they were fled. 

The council met at Susquehanna Toiiit (which was no 


doubt the point just below Perry ville), on July 1st, 1661. 
There is reason to believe that the governor and secretary 
came to Susquehanna Point to meet Captain James Neals, 
who came there from England via New Amstel, where he 
probably landed shortly before. Captain Neals brought a 
letter from Lord Baltimore, wliich was read at this meeting 
of the council. This letter was dated at London, December 
14th, 1660. 

At this time the New Englanders claimed all the Atlantic 
coast from New England to Virginia: and many years be- 
fore had actually effected a settlement on the Delaware near 
the mouth of the Schuylkill, but from which they had been 
ousted by the Dutch. Captain Neals, who had been in Hol- 
land the year before as agent for Lord Baltimore, had been 
instructed " to inquire of the West India Company if they 
admitted his (Baltimore's) right on the Delaware; if not, to 
protest against them, and to demand the surrender of the 
lands on the Delaware Bay." Neals had an interview with 
the representatives of the West India Company, who asserted 
their right by possession under the grant of the States-Gen- 
eral, for many years, without disturbance from Lord Balti- 
more or any other person. They resolved to remain in pos- 
session and defend their rights, and if Lord Baltimore 
persevered and resorted to violent measures, to use all the 
means God and nature had given to protect the inhabitants. 
Lord Baltimore, however, took care to obtain from the king 
soon after a confirmation of his patent.* Lord Baltimore, 
in speaking of Captain Neals, uses the following language: 

" I hope when he comes you and he and my other friends 
will think upon some speedy and effectual way for reducing 
the Dutch in Delaware Bay. The New England men will 
be assisting in it, and Secretary Ludwell, of A''irginia, 
assured me before he went from here that the Virginians 
will be so, too. Ikit it were well to be done M'ith all celerity 

* Scharf s Hist, of Md., Vol. I., page 251. 


convenient, because, perhaps, the New England men, falling 
upon them at Manhattans, may take it into their head to fall 
upon them at Delaware, too, and by that means pretend 
some title to the place," etc. 

Whereupon the council took a view of his Honor's com- 
mission to Captain James Neals, which was granted for the 
levying of men to make war upon " certain enemies, pirates 
and robbers that had usurped a part of Delaware Bay lying 
within the fortieth degree of northerl}'' latitude." 

This commission was quite lengthy, and authorized the 
captain to make war upon the Dutch in Delaware Bay and 
everywhere else that he could find them, and to capture 
and destroy them both upon the land and on the sea, and 
not only them, but their aiders and abettors; in which 
work all his lordship's officers, both civil and military, were 
to assist. They were to drive them from the bay and cap- 
ture their ships and vessels, and after bringing the vessels 
and cargoes to the province of Maryland, and having them 
appraised, were, upon payment of one-twelfth of the ap- 
praised value to his agents, to be allowed to retain them. 

The council took the commission and the whole subject 
into consideration, and came lo the conclusion that in- 
asmuch as it was uncertain whether the town of New 
Amstel was within the fortieth degree of north latitude, 
they had better wait until that was ascertained, inasmuch 
as his lordship had not authorized a war with any but such 
as had usurped some part of the province. They thought 
it was not likely that the ^'irginians and New Englanders 
would take i)art in the war, because " the Dutch trade was 
the darling of the people of Virginia, as well as of this 
province," and indeed all other plantations of the English ; 
and this province alone not being able to bear the charge 
of the war that will thence ensue with the West India Com- 
pany in Holland, upon any attempt upon that place, which, 
]iot only from their protestation, lately made at Amsterdam, 
but also by late letters from Holland, appears to be resolved 


upon by them in case any force shall be used by us against 
the said colony of New Amstel. They therefore resolved 
that all attempts be foreborne against the said town of New 
Amstel until such time as letters from his lordship may 
again be had in answer to what hath been written to his 
lordship concerning this affair, and that observation may 
be taken at the head of the bay of Chesapeake, thereby to 
find certainly whether the said town of New Amstel do lie 
within the fortieth degree of northerly latitude or not ; and 
further, that trial be made whether assistance from Virginia 
and New England may be had for the reducing and main- 
tenance of that place against the Dutch. 

This year the Dutch authorities on the Delaware at- 
tempted to force the Swedish part of the population, who 
seem to have incurred their displeasure by their sociability 
with the Englisli settlers at the head of Chesapeake Bay, to 
take up their residence above the mouth of the Schuylkill. 
This many of them refused to do ; and probably also being 
afraid of a war between England and Holland, Peter Meyer,^ 
Oloff Stille, and fifteen others, applied for and had patents 
of naturalization issued to them. Many of them settled in 
Sassafras Neck. The Dutch governor (D'Hinoyossa) and 
Hermen were now on the best of terms, and the former was 
accused by his contemporaries of selling the public stores to 
the latter, and ajipropriating the money he received for 
them to his own use. The colonial records for this period 
show that the Indians of this county and the Dutch settlers 
were sources of much annoyance to the authorities of Mary- 
land. Nobody had been punished for the murder of the 
four Englishmen upon Iron Hill; and, as we have seen, a 
war with the Dutch was imminent. 


Treaty with the Passagonke Indians at Appoquinimink — Copy of the 
treaty — Scarcity of corn — Captain Odber gets into trouble — A cowardly 
soldier — Trouble with the Senecas — Treaty with the Delaware Bay In- 
dians — Capture of a Seneca Indian — Letter from the justices of Baltimore 
County respecting the captive — Francis Wright and Jacob Clawson — Tor- 
ture of an Indian prisoner— War with the Senecas — Another treaty with 
the Susquehannocks — The Senecas attack the Susquehannock's fort at 
Turkey Hill, Lancaster County, and are repulsed — End of the Susque- 

Probably witli a view of securing the co-operation of the 
Indians in case of a war with the Dutch, Governor Calvert, 
accompanied by his secretary (Henry Coursey) and John 
Bateman, one of tlie councilors, had a meeting with the 
Passagonke Indians, who, at that time, lived on the Dela- 
ware River above Chester, probably where Philadelphia 
now stands. This meeting took place at Appoquinimi 
(which is now called Appoquinimink), on Thursday, the 
19th of September, 1G61. The minutes in the council book 
for that year, in reference to what was done at that meeting, 
are so much more interesting than any abridgment of them 
that it has been deemed best to insert them here. 

"Then came Pinna, king of Picthanomicta, in Delaware 
Bay, showing that, whereas there had been divers men slain 
by the English belonging to the Passagonke Indians, now 
under his command, and among them his own brother, in 
revenge of which divers English had been slain by those 
Indians; yet that he did believe all those outrages were 
committed by the English without orders from tlie governor 
and council; that those revenges were taken by his Indians 
without his or any of liis great men's knowledge; therefore 
(he) did desire that all miglit be forgotten, and that from 


henceforward liis Indians miglit live in peace with the 

"To which the governor answered that he did desire 
peace, so he did desire justice also, and provided that they 
would deliver up those Indians that killed John Norden 
and Stephen Hart,, with his companions, to be proceeded 
against, according to our justice, he would come to articles 
of jicace with him. 

•'Whereunto the said Pinna an.swered that the English 
had begun the war and first killed one of his men as he was 
peaceably coming by their plantation, and overset their 
canoes, out of which they lost three guns: afterwards pur- 
sued them into the woods and there shot at them ; that his 
Indians fled, having lost one man and their goods. In their 
way home they met the said Norden and Hart and com- 
panions, and, contrary to the advice of an old man of the 
company that stood weeping by and persuading them to 
speak with the great men of the English first, did kill the 
said Norden and Hart and companions, saying that the 
English would have war; but since that time the English 
had set upon two canoes of Indians and killed five of them, 
and amongst them his own brother, all which, notwith- 
standing, he was willing and desirous to make a peace be- 
tween us and his Indians, forgetting the blood of his own 

"Then did the governor demand satisfaction for the cat- 
tle and hogs of John Taylor. To which he answered that 
they were not killed by his Indians, for they immediately 
fied, but by Minquas and .Sinigos (Senecas). 

'' Wliereupon was taken into consideration the informa- 
tion of John Taylor, Thomas Overton and others, taken at 
Spesutia the 13th of May last, and considering tiic relation 
of Pinna in the main to agree with the said information, 
and the governor and council calling to mind that the said 
John Ta\'lor, since information in writing taken, had often 


paid that John Foster,* who shot at the Indian (as per in- 
formation), affirmed that he liad killed him, resolved to 
come to articles with tlie said Pinna upon this consideration, 
that the English had hegun the war by the said John Foster 
killing the said Indian upon Easter days. And for as much 
iis it is certain th-jt the said Indians, whom Foster shot at, 
immediately fled after they killed Foster in the woods, and 
upon the 17th day of April, met Norden and Hart near the 
Iron Hill, and there murdered them, and that the Minqua 
or Sinigo Indians were about that time doing mischief and 
killing cattle about Patapsco River and those quarters, as 
appears by the information of Ivobert Gorsucli, taken the 
13th of May aforesaid, resolved that all further demand of 
satisfaction for these cattle be waived, and that sufficient 
jirovision in the articles be made for the security of our 
stock of cattle and hogs for the future, and that the treaty 
be immediately begun, lest General Stuyvesant at the Man- 
hattans make an advantage of those Indians against us, it 
being doubted whether there be a war between Holland and 
England or not." 

The treaty was headed in the council book, from which it 
Avas copied as follows: 

" Articles of peace and amity concluded between the Hon. 
Philip Calvert, Esq., Governor, Henry Coursey, secretary, 
and John Bateman, councilor, on behalf of the Lord Proprie- 
tary of this province of Maryland, and Pinna, king of 
Picthanomicta, on the behalf of the Passagonkc Indians 
on the other part (viz.) : 

" Imprimis: That tliere shall be a perpetual peace betwixt 
the people of Maryland and the Passagonke Indians. 

"Second: It is agreed between the aVjove said parties that, 
in case any Englishman for the future shall hapjien to find 
any Passagonke Indian killing either cattle or hogs, then it 
shall be lawful for the English to kill the said Indian. 

* Called .John Foustcr in the ineceding chapter. 


" Third : It is agreed betwixt the above said parties that, 
in case any Indian or Indians shall happen to kill any 
Englishmen (which God forbid), then the said Indian, with 
all that company of Indians with him which consented to 
the said murder, shall be delivered to the English, there to 
be proceeded against, according to the laws of this province. 

" Fourth : It is further agreed betwixt the above said par- 
ties that, in case any Englishman shall happen to run 
amongst the Passagonke Indians, the said Indians bring 
them to Peter Meyers; and then for every Englishman that 
they shall deliver, they shall receive one match coat. 

"The mark (M) of Pinna." 

The above said articles were signed interchangeably by 
the governor and council and the Indian commissioners, 
and delivered this 19th of September, in thirtieth year of 
his Lordship's dominion over this province of Maryland, 

The Dutch account of this treaty is to the effect that only 
one Indian chief " from tlie east end of the river " a{)])eared, 
and that the English offered to deliver annually two or 
three thousand hogsheads of tobacco to them at Appoquini- 
mi or at the head of Bohemia. 

Corn was very scarce in 1661, and it is worthy of remark 
that William Hollingsworth, who helped arrest the Indians 
in New Castle, who had murdered the Englishmen on Iron 
Hill, though licensed by tlie council of Maryland to trade 
with the Indians, was prohibited from exporting any corn 
lie might obtain from them. The petition of one Hannah 
Lee, widdy, states that she had been granted the privilege of 
keeping ordinary at St. Mary's during the session of the 
(jleneral Assembly, but had no corn to maintain lier said 
promise, and craves to be allowed to trade with the Indians. 
She was license<l to trade with the Indians for corn only. 
The next meeting of the council was held at St. Mary's on 
the 12th of October, 1661. At this meeting the case of Cap- 
tain John Odber was taken into consideration, and he was 


required to give an account of his expedition to the Susque- 
liannauglis' fort. The council asked him why he came 
down without orders from the governor. To whicli he re- 
plied that the Susquehannaughs came to him and told him 
that they could not compel their men to furnisli the soldiers 
with provisions according to treaty stipulations, and had 
advised him to transport his troops and ammunition down by 
Avater. This seems to be what he meant to say ; but the 
scribe who made the record used such obscure language, 
that it is by no means certain what the captain did say, 
and there is reason to think that the Indians offered to 
assist him in transporting his men and arms to the settle- 
ments some distance down the bay. There is reason to 
think that the captain may have been troubled with 
cowardice or conscientious scruples, and that he purposely 
mystified his narrative to conceal his cowardice. His story 
was by no means satisfactory to the council, and they re- 
quired him to give a written account of the expedition, at a 
meeting of the council, on the 27th of the ensuing Novem- 
ber, at which time Jacob Claw :on, Francis Stockett and 
Samuel Palmer, who lived at the head of the bay, were to 
be summoned to give information. John Everitt v/as also 
before the council at this meeting to answer for his con- 
tempt in running from his colors. He pleaded that he 
could not bear arms agains tthe Indians for conscience' sake. 
He was committed to custody till the meeting in Noveml)cr, 
at which time he was to be tried by a court-martial. Cap- 
tain John Collier, who had impressed Everitt, was suiii- 
moned to testify in the case. Captain Odbcr probably 
made good his escape from the colony before the meeting in 
November, for when he was called at that meeting he ap- 
peared not. This is the last time his name appears in the 
record. After tlie case of Odber was disposed of at tlie 
November meeting, that of Everitt was taken up, and it was 
ordered that he be tried "at the next provincial court for 
running from his colors, and, in the interim, be committed 


info the sheriff's hands, and tliat the sherifl' impannel a 
jury against that time, and in tlie meantime the said Everitt 
was to be kept in cliains and hake his own breadJ^ The 
rceords of the })rovincial court are not extant, consequently 
tlio result of the trial is unknown. 

The records of tlie province for the year 1GG2 show that 
the Indians still continued to be troublesome. But not- 
witlistanding this the Marylanders seem to have turned 
tlieir attention to the development of the resources of the 
•colony. This year the council passed a law for the encour- 
agement of tanners of leather, in which the exportation of 
hides was prohibited under severe penalties. The Mary- 
landers and Susquehannaughs were at peace with each other 
iit this time, but the former were at war with the Senecas, 
who now begun to make raids upon the few scattered settle- 
ments of the English along the western tributaries of the 
Chesapeake Bay. In the spring of tliis year they penetra- 
ted as far south as tlie liead of South River in Anne Aruii- 
<.lle County, which a})pears to have alarmed the council 
very much, for they ordered all the powder and shot in the 
colony to be seized for the use of the country, and that 
scouts be sent to the heads of all the rivers and the head of 
the bay, with orders to arrest or kill all Indians found 
there. The governor of New Amstel was informed of what 
had been done, and was requested to inform the Passagonke 
and Delaware Bay Indians, with the former of whicli tribes 
the reader will recollect the Maryhmdcrs had made a treaty 
of friendship the year before. The troubles with the Sene- 
cas continued to grow worse and worse, and on July 4th, 
1GG3. the council were informed by letters from the inhab- 
itants of Baltimore County, at the head of the bay, that the 
Indian'; had recently murdered two of the inhabitants at 
the head of the bay, and one other in Batapsco River, with 
two youths also, which the Indians had either carried away 
or killed. 

In the August foHowing, the council met at (ioldsmith's 


Hall, which is believed to have been on Bush River, and 
gave instructions to Samuel Goldsmith to notify the Sus- 
quehannaughs to come down and treat with the commis- 
sioners of Baltimore County. It is evident from the instruc- 
tions given to Goldsmith, that the council had framed the 
articles of the proposed treaty and had authorized the com- 
missioners to have the treaty executed and signed by the 
Indians. At this time the Susquehannaughs, though until 
recentl}' upon peaceable terms with the English, seem tO' 
have been iniimidated by the Senecas ; and, from what 
follows, it seems that no treaty was made at this time with 
them. But in August, 1663, Governor Charles Calvert,, 
attended by three of his councilors, made a treaty with 
three kings of the Delaware Bay Indians at New Amstel. 
The Indian kings were represented by their ambassadors — 
Monickle, Chehoock and Tichecoon. The treaty was very 
similar to that made with the Passagonke Indians at Appo- 
quinimi (now Appoquiniraink) two years before, except that 
the Indians agreed, when they had occasion to visit any 
Englishman's house, that they would lay down their arms 
and cause some w^hite thing to be held out before they 
approached the said house. It was also stipulated that the 
Indians would inviolably observe these same articles toward 
the Dutch in Delaware Bay ; from which it is plain that the 
English no longer regarded the Dutch and Swedish settlers 
as a band of " murderers, pirates and robbers." Probably 
the hostile incursions of the Senecas had caused them both 
to forget their own differences and to cultivate feelings of 

In the early i)art of June, 1664, a Seneca Indian was taken 
prisoner at the house of a Mr. Ball, which was somewhere 
on the Patapsco River, under the following circumstances : 
Twenty-one of the Senecas came to the house under pretence 
of a friendly truce ; but the inmates of the house, suspecting 
a possibility of treachery, began to provide for their defence, 
which, being perceived by the Indians, they tied, except 


one, who, being more valiant tlian liis comrades, remained 
behind and was cai)tured. Tlie Indian was taken to Major 
Goldsmith, who sent him to Francis Wright, who lived on 
the North East River, near the mouth of Principio Creek. 
Mr. Wright and three other persons examined the captured 
Indian, who stated that the Senecas had no hostile feeling 
against the Christians, but had brought them a present of 
forty beaver skins and belts of peake for the Susquehan- 
naughs that desired peace; that the boys that were taken 
iind the men that were killed at the mill were captured and 
killed by the Senecas. He further said, that if he had been 
taken by the Susquehannaughs, he should not have been 
put to death by them, and that all the joints of his body — 
using the figurative language of his own countrymen — 
were belts of peake that he had laid out for desire of peace 
and quietness. On being questioned of the strength of the 
Susquehannaughs, he said there were seven troops of them, 
«and that the party he belonged to numbered two hundred ; 
and, when asked why so many of them were out on a mission 
of peace, he answered nothing, but that their fort did not 
desire any war with Christians; that the troo])s were come 
out for revenge of the death of his son and two Indians more 
that had been taken and burnt by the Susquehannaughs. 
The first part of his story not agreeing with the latter part, 
those who had him in charge sent a letter to the authorities 
at St. Mary's, stating that tliey were unable to understand 
who or what he was, but that their Honors would be con- 
vinced that he and his party bore no good will to the 
English. They stated that he was the first Indian taken, 
and by God's providence without the shedding of Christian 
blood. They appear to have been much alarmed, and the 
next day, the 7tli of June, 1GG4, held a court at ye house of 
Mr. Fi-ancis Wright, as we learn from the following letter, 
which throws so iiiucli light upon the history of these 
Iroublc-^ouK' times, that we publisli it verbatim: 


"From Clayfall, this 7th of June, 1664. 

^'May it Please Your Lordship : 

"Since our first, a court hath been hehl for this county at 
ye house of Mr. Francis Wright, where ye Indian being 
again had, and in some measure re-examined, nothing ap- 
pearing to any purpose but what we have in our first given 
your Honors to understand. Yesterday, when ye prisoner 
was here, there was several Susquehannaughs to ye number 
of forty, and two of Civilitye's uncles, who made show of 
much joy at his being taken, for they very well knew him, 
and were sensible of his warlike exploits, and would per- 
suaded us to have burnt him, but we certified them it was not 
our manner to torture our prisoners, but that happily he 
might be sent home to his country both lor their good and 
others. But we cannot find yet what this prisoner did 
allege in his own behalf (as to matter of beaver and peake 
which he has said they brought with them to purchase 
peace) to be true, whether had they any good intentions. 
AVe have done our utmost endeavors, according to our abili- 
ties, for ye obtaining a full discovery and perfect relation, 
that your Honors might have more full intelligence of what 
did and was very likely to happen. What we have and do 
understand, herein is inserted, and do conceive that your 
Lordship should have thoughts for (to send) tliis prisoner 
w^ith a present to his own country, in hopes of purchasing 
thereby a peace, which, by every one we think, is much re- 
quired and most earnestly desired, Jacob Clawson hath vol- 
untarily and of his own free will declared to us his readi- 
ness to go upon your command ; and shall, to ye utmost of 
his ability (for ye country's sake), aid and assist any one that 
your Lordship shall think fit to employ in a matter of so 
gi'eat consequence, and further that he is verily persuaded 
that if such a thing were to be acted, Civilitye, in ye behalf 
of all ye Susquehannaughs, would also go, and that thereby 
a peace might be procured. Ye Susquehannaughs, wo know, 
would willingly embrace a peace if obtained, but are un- 
willing (through height of spirit) to sue for it. We have 
credible information by a gentleman from Manhattoes, now 
here present, who is thither with all expedition returning, 
that many of tlie Cenacoeswill (through a customary trade) 
from ye last of June until ye middle of -hily, be at ye Ibrt 
at Avanis, to whom, once desired, he would give this 


relation, tliat he saw one of tlieir couutrvmeii (naming his 
name) that ye English had taken, attempting- to do mischief, 
and that he was well and fairly by ye English dealt witlial, 
not after ye manner and cruelty that they showed to some 
of us which they did formerly take, and that there was great 
liopes that he would, in some time, come amongst them 
again, for by his kind usage hitherto he conceived no less. 
If what we have done appears to your Lordship too much or 
too little, we liave nothing to j)lead but our ignorance, hum- 
bly craving pardon. 

"Your Lordshij)'s in all due obedience, 

"TifOMAs Stockett, 
" Samuel Goldsmith, 
" EiiANcis Wright." 

Francis Wright and Jacob Clawson were formerly from 
the settlements on the Delaware. They are mentioned in a 
letter from Beekman to Stuyvesant, dated April, 1G60, in 
which he refers to some property belonging to an orphan 
child whose mother had died either at Colonel Utie's or 
.Jacob Clawson's, and states that he (Clawson) took over to 
Holland, besides other property, according to the letter of 
his partner, Francis Wright, "two silver key chains and 
two or three silver knife handles belonging to the child." 
In the letter Beekman calls Clawson his friend. The child 
was then at New Amstel. its nanu was Amstelhoop, or 
hope of Amstel.* 

This man Francis Wright obtained a })atent for a tract of 
land afterwards called Clayfall, it being part of what is now 
called Carpenter's Point Neck, on the 19th of September, 
1G59, and, as will be seen from the above extract from Beek- 
man's letter, M'as a partner of Jacob Clawson. Like the 
other settlers on Carpenter's Point Neck, referred to in a 
preceding chapter, they were no doubt Lidian traders. 
Wright died in 1GG7, and left no heirs, in consequence of 
which the land escheated to the lord proprietary, which led 

*See documoHts relating to the Colonial History of New York. Vol. XII., 
page 307. 


to a very interesting lawsuit nearly a century afterwards.* 
The Senecas, which was probably the name given by the 
English to all the different tribes of the Five Nations, con- 
tinued to be troublesome, and Thomas Mathews informed 
the council, by a letter dated at Patapsco the 7th of June, 
1664, that he had been sent for to visit the north side of the 
Potomac River, and that he went there and found the 
English had taken two Indian prisoners; "that they put 
one of them to the torture, and he confessed there were 
sixty Indians in his company on the north side of the 
Potomac River, and that they intended to make war and kill 
the English, and that they had cut off one house, and the 
English had killed six of them." They stated there were a 
hundred more who had gone to the head of the bay to kill 
Englishmen and Susquehannaughs too if they came nigh 
them. The endorsement upon this letter was as follows. 
It fully explains the object of Mr. Mathew's visit : " For 
ye Right Honorable the Lieutenant-General. These from 
ye Indian interpreter, Mr. Thos. Mathews, for ye safety 
of this province, from house to house, post-haste." 

On the 27th of June, 1664, Lewis Stockett was com- 
missioned colonel and commander of all the forces to be 
raised between the coves of Patuxent River and ye head of 
ye bay, on both sides of the bay and the Isle of Kent. The 
council, on the same- day, took into consideration the in- 
cursion of the Cenego (Seneca) Indians, and proclaimed war 
against them, and offered a reward of a hundred arms' 
length of Roenokef to any person, whether English or 
Indian, that should bring in a Cenego prisoner, or both his 
ears if he be slain ; and that all the kings of the friendly 
Indians be sent to to order out their people in pursuit of 
the Cenegos, and that the respective military officers be 
authorized to press arms, provision and men to go in com- 
pany with the friendly Indians. "And that the Indian 

* See Harris and McHenry's ^Maryland Reports, Vol. I., page 190. 
t Rough bits of shell rudely shaped and pierced for stringing. 


taken at Patapsco be sent down to St. Mary's and kept in 
irons ; and that a letter be written to General Stuyvesant to 
request him to give notice to ye Cenegos trading at Fort 
Range that we have such a person prisoner, whom we shall 
keep alive till we see whether they desire a peace or not, 
because no present come. And if they desire not a })eace, as 
he alleges, we shall put him to death ; and that Jacob 
Clawson do give notice to ye Susquehannaugh Indians of 
this, our intention, and to require them to declare whether 
they are willing to join with us in this message ; till which 
answer come this live shall be deferred." What came of 
the Seneca we are unable to say. If he was sent back to 
his countrymen upon a mission of peace, he most certainly 
failed in it ; for the next year, in June, 1665, we find the 
English again preparing for war with the Senecas. Captain 
William Burgess was commissioned colonel and military 
commander of the forces of the colony, and a long list of 
instructions were given him, in which he was ordered to 
" keep several parties ranging the woods as well to the head 
of Patuxent as Patapsco and Bush rivers, and even up to 
the utmost bounds of the province upon the Susquehanna 
River." He was instructed to report to his commander-in- 
chief once a week, and for this purpose was authorized to 
press messengers expressly to bring letters to the governor. 
He was to take special care of the people in Patapsco and 
Gunpowder rivers, and was to associate with him any 
friendly Indians, but was to take special care that his troops 
did not game or wrestle with them, and thus to avoid all 
cause of quarrel. The sheriffs of the counties were ordered 
to see that the neighbors of those who were pressed to go 
upon the expedition attended to the crops of the soldiers. 
The instructions given to the sheriffs were elaborate and 
interesting. We make the following extract: "You are 
straightly charged and commanded to issue your warrants 
to tlie several constables in your county to take notice 
what persons have been pressed for this present expedition, 


and what crops they have standing of corn and tobacco, 
and what ground they have prepared for tobacco, and the 
same to cause to be tended and planted as the ssasons do 
present and need shall require by the people of the neigh- 
borhood, for and during the term of six weeks next after his 
departure, if he or they shall be so long absent upon ye 
service." These orders were addressed to the sheriffs of St. 
Mary's, Calvert, Anne Arundel, Kent and Charles counties. 
On July 26th, 1665, the council ordered that the soldiers 
now ready be sent forthwith to the frontiers ; that is to say, 
that the parties drawn out of St. Mary's, Charles and Kent 
counties be sent into Baltimore County, there to secure that 
county as well on the eastern as on the western side of ye 
bay, and to be commanded by Colonel Lewis Stockett or 
some other fit person of an abler body to endure the hard- 
ships of the woods being in that county, and to be ap- 
pointed by him. Whether the troops were sent upon the 
contemjilated expedition or not is uncertain, for the record 
for that year contains no further information on the subject. 
Quiet seems to have prevailed along the frontier till the next 
June (1666), when three war captains of the Susquehan- 
naughs met the council at St. John's, in St. Mary's County. 
The war captains desired the continuance of their league 
with the English, and stated that they had always been 
ready to have delivered Wanahedana (which was the name 
of the Indian that had murdered the men at the mill in 
Baltimore County) to the English, and desired that the vil- 
lainy of one man might not be imputed to the whole nation. 
They also requested the aid of the English, they having lost 
a considerable number of men while ranging the country 
around the head of the Patapsco and the other rivers. They 
further stated that the Senecas intended to storm their fort 
in August next, and afterwards they intended to fall upon 
the English and exterminate them. This treaty differed 
slightly from those previously made, in this respect, that it 
was stipulated in it that the Susquehannaughs should de- 


liver the Indian accused of murdering the men at the mill, 
who was then in captivity among the Senecas, if he ever 
returned, and all other Indians hereafter guilty of murdering 
any of the English. It was also stipulated " that any Indian 
hereafter convicted of killing any hog or cattle belonging to 
the English, should pay for every hog fifty fathoms of peake,*' 
and for every head of any other sort of cattle one hundred 
fathoms of peake for satisfaction to the owners of every such 
beast ; " and that the king of Potomac and his two sons 
were to be delivered up prisoners to Samuel Goldsmith with 
all convenient speed. 

The Senecas seem to have commenced hostilities a little 
earlier than usual the next year (1667), for measures were 
taken at a meeting of the council, on the 8th of February, to 
raise as many men as possible to march against them with 
all expedition possible. The quota of troops assigned to 
Baltimore County indicates the sparseness of its population 
at this time, its quota being only thirty-six men. George 
Utie and Major Goldsmith were ordered to procure fifteen 
barrels of corn and 2,200 weight of meat out of Baltimore 
County for the use of the troops. This expedition probably 
never was sent against the Senecas, for we learn from the 
minutes of a meeting of the council held at St. Mary's on 
the 24th of the next August that " Mr. Francis Wright of 
Baltimore County being sent b}' the Susquehannaughs, was 
called in, who declared that the said Indians did require 
assistance and ammunition from the council sufficient to go 
against any Indians and likewise declared enemies to the 
inhabitants of this province according to one of the articles 
of a treaty of peace made by the English and said Susque- 
hannaughs." Whereupon it was ordered that so man}^ men 
be pressed as the Susquehannaughs shall require to their 

* Small cylindrical pieces of clam or mussel shell, like the bugles now 
used for trimming ladies' dresses. They were strung upon strings, and 
used by the Indians for money. 


aid and assistance, and that they be sent up forthwith. Also 
that a quantity of powder be delivered with Mr. Francis 
AVright, and the said Indians to be supplied out of the same, 
as the said Wright shall see requisite and convenient. 

The governor and council further determined to go up 
into Baltimore County, and there to give the Susquehan- 
naughs a meeting about the 15th day of September next to 
treat with the said Indians about the peace and safety of 
this province and how to proceed (with the Susquehan- 
naughs' assistance) against any Indians now held and de- 
clared enemies of this province. 

The volume containing the minutes of the council for the 
succeeding years is not to be found, and the preceding 
chapters contain nearly all the authentic history of tlie 
troubles between the English and the Susquehannaughs 
that is now extant ; though tradition tells of a fearful fight 
between the Susquehannaughs and the Five Nations at a fort 
belonging to the former. This fort was on the east bank of 
the Susquehanna River, a short distance above the mouth 
of the Conestoga Creek, in Lancaster County, near a hill 
called Turkey Hill. Large quantities of Indian arrow heads 
and some small cannon balls have from time to time been 
found in the vicinity. The fight at the fort probably oc- 
curred in 1682, for the lower branch of the Legislature in 
that year made provision for the daughter of a Swede who 
had been killed at the Susquehannaughs' fort. Eight hun- 
dred warriors of the Five Nations are said to have invested 
tho fort on Turkey Hill and made several assaults upon it, 
but were repulsed. They finally resorted to a stratagem 
which also failed. They sent twenty-five of their young 
men to the fort for provisions, stating that they would return 
as soon as they were supplied. The Susquehannaughs knew 
their treachery and seized them in the fort and burnt the 
whole of them alive. Those on the outside retreated hastily, 
but were pursued by the Susquehannaughs and nearly all 
killed. The Five Nations and the Susquehannaughs were 


constantly at Avar with each other for some years afterwards, 
when the latter, becoming much reduced, were nearly all 
exterminated in Western Maryland by the English. The 
few that were left were incorporated with the odds and ends 
of other tribes, and for some years lived along the Susque- 
hanna River, near the Conestoga Creek, in Lancaster Coun- 
ty. They probably were, from the fact that they lived near 
the creek of that name, called the Conestoga Indians. 


Augustiue Hermeu and others naturalized — The Hacks— Hermen has 
a dispute -with Simon Oversee— He tries to establish a village — Trouble 
among the Dutch — Sir Robert Carr conquers them — The name of New 
Amstel changed to New Castle— Account of D'Hinoyossa — Efforts of the 
iMarylanders to extend their jurisdiction to the Delaware River — Durham 
County — Road from Bohemia Manor to New Castle — Grant of St. Augus- 
tine Manor — Ephraim George, and Casparvis Hermen — Original limits of 
Baltimore County — Erection of Cecil County — The first court-house at 
Jamestown — Augustine Hermen and Jacob Young appointed commis- 
sioners to treat with the Delawai-e Indians — Account of Jacob Young. 

Of the history of Augustine Hermen for some years after 
he came to Bohemia Manor very little is known ; but he 
was probabh' engaged in making the map before mentioned, 
and there is reason to think that he followed his profession 
of surve3'or, and also engaged in trade. In 1660 he applied 
to the council for a patent of naturalization for himself and 
his children, which was granted. He and his five children, 
and John Jarbo, Anna Hack and her sons, George and 
Peter, were all naturalized the same year, and were the first 
persons of whose naturalization any account has come down 
to us. These Hacks were no doubt the Hacks whose name 
has been perpetuated by being applied to Hack's Point, 
which is on the south side of Bohemia River, nearly oppo- 
site where the manor house stood. 

The proceedings of council upon this oocasion sliow that 
" Hermen had of long time used the trade of this province," 
from which it may be inferred that he continued to trade 
after he came here to reside permanently. The council book 
of this year shows that he had had a dispute witli Simon 
Oversee (no doubt the same person Avho had translated the 


credentials of Hermen and "Waldron upon the occasion of their 
embassy to ^Maryland in 1659j, and had entered into bonds 
for settling it by arbitration. It appears from the record, 
that the bonds had been forfeited for non-performance of 
the award, and he wishing to bring suit upon them, alleged 
that the umpire, one RobertSlye, unlawfully detained them. 
He therefore prayed to have the bonds delivered to him to 
make good his demand in court. 

The sheriff of St. Mary's County was directed to obtain 
the bonds and deliver them to the clerk of the provincial 

It appears from the records of the council for 1662 that 
Hermen had surveyed land on Ceciltown River (the Elk 
River), in Baltimore County, for one Xehemiah Coventon 
and others, of Accomac County, Virginia; but they having 
failed to enter the lands and pay the fees and costs of sur- 
veying, the council ordered that any other persons might 
take the lands and pay him his cost and charges. 

In 1661 (as is supposed, for the letter is without date) he 
wrote to Beekman, then governor of Altona, as follows : " I 
visitecl my colony on the river (the Bohemia), and dis- 
covered at the same time the most proper place between 
this situation and South River. I am now engaged in 
encouraging settlers to unite together in a village, of which 
I understand that a beginning will be made before next 
winter. From there we may arrive by land in one day at 
Sand Hoeck, and may perhaps effect a cart road about the 
same time. The Maquas Kill (creek) and the Bohemia 
River are there only one mile distant from each other, by 
which it is an easy correspondence by water, which must be 
greatly encouraging to the inhabitants of New Netherlands."* 

There is no reason to believe this village was ever built, 
the above extract being the only reference to it in any 
writing of that period. Its proposed location will forever 

* Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, page 321. 


remain a matter of doubt ; but it probably was intended to 
have been built near the head of Bohemia, or on Bohemia 
Manor near where Hermen erected the manor house. Mr. 
Vincent in his History of Delaware confounds it with Port 
Herman, a village on the Elk River, which was founded 
about thirty years ago. 

The difficulties between the officers of the West India 
company at Alton a and the colony at the city of New 
Amstel culminated in 1663, in the cession of the territory 
of the company to the city of Amsterdam, the authorities of 
which continued D'Hinoyossa as governor of the whole of 
their possessions on the Delaware. The next year D'Hino- 
yossa resolved to establish himself at Appoquinimink, where 
Odessa now stands, evidently with the intention of enjoying 
the advantages to be derived from the trade with the Mary- 
landers, which at that early day was carried on by means 
of the facilities afforded by the navigation of the Bohemia 

But in this he was destined to be disappointed, for the 
next year King Charles H. determined to dispossess the 
Dutch of the settlements they had made on what the English 
claimed as their territory. To this end he granted to his 
brother James, Duke of York, a patent for all the country 
from the Connecticut to the Delaware Bay. Shortly after 
this grant was made war was declared between tlie English 
and Dutch, and the same year New Amsterdam surrendered 
to an expedition under command of Colonel Richard 
Nichols, and the name of that place was changed to New 

Shortfy after the surrender of New Amsterdam an expe- 
dition under Sir Robert Carr was sent to Delaware Bay, 
which without much bloodshed took possession of the 
country according to Carr's instructions, in the name of his 
Majesty the King of England. The name of New Amstel 

* Vincent's History of Delaware, page 413. 


was now changed to New Castle, and Altona was called by 
the name of Christiana. 

New York and the country along the Delaware remained 
in possession of the English till 1673, when war again 
breaking out between the Dutch and English, they were 
conquered by the former. In the interval the government 
of New York was administered by Ricliard Nichols and 
Francis Lovelace, under both of whom Captain John 
Carr Avas deputy governor of the settlements along the 
Delaware. The downfall of the Dutch in 1064 termin- 
ated tlie connection of D'Hinoyossa with the settlement 
at New Castle. He first appears in the history of that 
place in 1656, at which time he was lieutenant under 
Captain Martin Krygier, who was commander of the 
military force of the Dutch. In 1659 he succeeded Jacob 
Alricks as vice-director of the company in Amsterdam^ 
under whose auspices the colony at New Castle then was. 
He appears to have been quite as hard-headed, stubborn and 
vindictive as Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch governor of New 
York, to whom he should have been subordinate, but whose 
authority he did not hesitate to set at defiance wdienever he 
chose to do so. In 1662, AVilliam Beekman, who was also 
vice-director of the company and the peer of D'Hinoyossa, 
complained to the authorities at New York that D'Hino3'Ossa 
had suddenly departed to Maryland. This sudden depar- 
ture of D'Hinoyossa was in answer to a letter which he re- 
ceived from the governor of Maryland, inviting him to 
meet him at the house of Hermen, on Bohemia Manor. 
What took place at that meeting, or why it was held, cannot 
now be ascertained ; but a short time after the meeting was 
held, Beekman accused him of selling every article for 
which he could find a purchaser, even powder and musket 
balls from the magazine. Beekman states that Augustine 
Hermen was one of the purchasers. 

It seems plain that D'Hinoyossa studied to advance the 
interests of Maryland more than those of Delaware. He 


probably had reason to apprehend the ultimate extinction 
of the Dutch authority, and wished to have an asylum in 
which to take refuge-when the time of need arrived. After 
the conquest by Sir Robert Carr, D'Hinoyossa took refuge 
in Maryland, and his property, including an island in the 
Delaware River, was confiscated and given to Carr. D'Hin- 
oyossa received a grant of the whole or part of Foster's 
Island which is a part of Talbot County, in the Chesapeake 
Bay, from Lord Baltimore. No doubt this was on account of 
the favor he showed the English in Maryland during the 
latter part of the time he was in authority in Delaware. He 
was a soldier of fortune, and is said in his early life to have 
been in Brazil. He returned to Holland and engaged in the 
war against Louis XIV., and died in Holland. 

Ten years had now ela})sed since the iruitless attempt had 
been made to adjust the dispute about the possession of the 
west bank of the Delaware. During this time little or no- 
thing had been done to extend the jurisdiction of Lord Bal- 
timore to the eastern limit of the territory named in his 
charter. But the country along the Delaware being now in 
possession of the English, the council of Maryland took ad- 
vantage of this and renewed their efforts in behalf of the lord 
proprietary. At a council held July 28th, 1669, it was "order- 
ed that the country from the Whorekill (which was the name 
applied to Le^^Ts Creek, and seems also to have been the name 
by which the eastern part of Kent County was called), to the 
degree forty of northerly latitude be erected into a county 
and called by the name of Durham County, and that the 
surveyor-general do make out the northerly bounds of this 
province as near as possible at the degree forty northerly 
latitude, and return his observations to the deputy-lieuten- 
ant in council, and that Mr. Brooks, the governor's steward, 
be desired to provide the governor's sloop with men and 
victuals for the accommodation of the surveyor-general up 
tlie Bay by the 29th instant, October." 

This is the onlv reference to Durham County that has 


been found i n the records of council, and it is not likely that an j^ 
•effort was made at tliat time to locate the northern boundary of 
the province. But on tlie 2Gth of the next November, one 
Jerome White went to New Castle in the interest of Lord 
Baltimore, and finding by observations that the town was 
south of the fortieth degree of north latitude, he thereupon 
wrote to Governor Lovelace, saying "he could do no less than 
acquaint him with the fact." He also made demand 
for the town of New Castle and all the islands and territories 
thereunto belonging, lying on the west to the main ocean 
and Delaware Bay, from the bounds of Virginia to the for- 
tieth degree of north latitude.* But as the disputed terri- 
tory had been granted to tlie Duke of York, Lovelace was 
precluded from acceding to this demand and continued to 
hold the territory in the name of his Majesty. 

Hermen seems to have always been on the best of terms 
with his neighbors on the Delaware, and in 1671 the au- 
thorities at New York ordered those at New Castle to clear 
one-half of a road from that place to Hermen's plantation, 
the Marylanders having offered to clear the other half. This 
year Hermen obtained the grant of St. Augustine Manor 
from Lord Baltimore. It extended from the mouth of St. 
George's Creek southward along the Delaware River, to the 
mouth of Appoquinimink Creek, and west from the Dela- 
ware River to the ancient boundary of Bohemia ^hmor, and 
included the country east of Bohemia Manor from the Chesa- 
peake and Delaware Canal to th.e head of Appoquinimink 
•Creek, and from the ancient eastern boundary of Bohemia 
Manor eastwardly to the Delaware River. 

A canal to connect the waters of the Chesapeake and 
Delaware bays was already talked of, and Hermen no 
doubt selected this land because his knowledge of the topo- 
graphy of the country led him to think the canal would be 
made through this part of the Peninsula, and he wished to 
receive the benefit that would follow its construction. 

*See council book of that year, in possession of Md. Hist. Society. 


Though the manor of St. Augustine was within the limits 
of Lord Baltimore's charter there is reason to believe that 
Hermen never had possession of any part of it, except a few 
hundred acres on the river bank opposite Reedy Island, and 
probably a small tract lying near the head of the branches 
of Drawyer's Creek. For it appears from an examination 
of a paper in the volume of Penn manuscripts in possession 
of the Pennsylvania Historical Society, that Hermen the 
next year took possession under a license from Governor Carr, 
of a tract of land on the river side opposite Reedy Island, 
and that his sons, Ephraim George, and Casparus, settled 
there. Their object seems to have been by so doing to claim 
possession of the whole manor, if Lord Baltimore succeeded 
in making good his claim as far east at the Delaware River. 
Ephraim George, and Casparus Hermen, sons of Augustine, 
continued to reside in the territory along the Delaware for 
some years, probably till after the death of their father. 
The former was clerk to the court of Upland (now Chester) 
and New Castle, in 1676; vendne-master at New Castle the 
next year, clerk of customs and collector of quit rents in the 
jurisdiction of Upland and New Castle courts in 1677. Cas- 
parus, in connection with Edmund Cantwell (one of the 
ancestors of the Cantwell family of this county) obtained a 
grant of two hundred acres lying on each side of Drawyer's 
Creek, for the use of a water-mill, in 1682. He represented 
New Castle County in the General Assembly of Pennsylva- 
nia from 1683 to 1685. 

The authorities of Maryland having failed to extend their 
jurisdiction over the country claimed by Lord Baltimore by 
peaceable means, resolved to try the effect of force. Accord- 
ingly a military expedition was fitted out in the year 1672 
and placed under the command of one Jones, who proceeded 
to the settlement at the Whorekill and laid waste the country 
and devastated it terribly. The Dutch settlers there were 
more successful in their agricultural pursuits than the 
colonists in Maryland. And while the latter devoted all their 


energies to the production of tobacco, the former turned 
their attention to the cultivation of wheat, and were in the 
habit of supplying the ^hirylanders witli it. It is said that 
this malignant and vindictive expedition led to the punish- 
ment of those who sent it, and that the colonists of Mary- 
land suffered much for want of food a few years afterward 
when their crops failed. Indeed a woman is said to have 
killed and eaten her own child during the time of this 
severe and terrible famine. She was executed for the crime, 
and when upon the scaffold declared her belief that the 
famine was a retributive act of justice sent by infinite wis- 
dom in punishment of the raid upon the Whorekill. 

A certain Henry Ward, gentleman, as he is called in the 
act that was passed for his punishment, was a member of 
this expedition to the Whorekill. He was also a member 
of the council, and, though he was called a gentleman, he 
took advantage of his position, and represented to the 
council that he had lost a valuable horse while upon the 
expedition in the service of the country. The council 
allowed him eighteen hundred pounds of tobacco to in- 
demnify him for the loss he had sustained. But somehow 
it came to the ears of the council, in 1674, that Mr. Ward 
had not lost a horse, and had been lying about the matter, 
in order to get tobacco to which he had no right. 

This is the first instance on record of an official of the 
province attempting to cheat the public. The council very 
promptly fined him four thousand pounds of tobacco, which 
appears to have taught fraudulently-disposed people a 
wholesome lesson, for no other record is found of occur- 
rences of this kind among the ancient archives of the 

Soon after the settlement of his sons on the Delaware a 
road was constructed from Hermen's Manor plantation to 
their residence. This was probably the first road on the 
Manor. The west part of this road was on or near the 
track of the present road leading from St. Augustine to 


Bohemia Bridge. For many years after Hermen's death 
this road was called the old man^s imth. Its construction 
was a work of no small magnitude, for it was said to have 
been twenty -two miles in length. The ordinary roads in 
use at this time did not deserve the name of roads, for they 
were only spaces or paths cleared of trees, and often so nar- 
row and obscure that it Avas very difficult to follow them. 
It was not till 1704 that it was enacted that the public roads 
should be cleared and grubbed at least twenty feet wide, 
and that oVerseers should be appointed to keep them in 
repair, and erect bridges over heads of rivers, creeks, 
branches and swamps where the}^ were required. This act 
also directed that all roads leading to the court-houses in 
the several counties should be marked " by two notches cut 
in the trees on both sides of the roads aforesaid, and another 
notch a distance above the other two. . . Roads leading to 
a church were to be marked at the entrance into the same ; 
and at the leaving of any other road with a slip cut down 
the face of the tree, near the ground." Roads leading to a 
ferry were to be marked with three notches. When roads 
ran through old fields they were to be marked b}' stakes 
discernible from each other, and notched like the trees. 
Even after this great improvement upon roads our fore- 
fathers must have labored under much difficulty when 
traveling after nightfall. 

In the year 1678 Hermen and Jacob Young were ap- 
pointed commissioners to treat with the Indians. Their 
commission is as follows, and may be found in the first 
book of the land records of Cecil County : 

"by the lieutenant-general. 

" Thomas Nottey, Esq., Lieut enant-General and Chief Gov- 
ernor of the Province of Maryland, under the Right Hon- 
orable Charles, our Lord and Proprietary of the same, to 
Augustine Hermen and Jacob Young, gentlemen, greeting: 

" Whereas, Complaint to me hath been made that several 


injuries and abuses liave been frequently offered to divers 
the inhabitants of this province as to their stock of hogs, 
horses and cattle, by the Delaware Indians hunting upon 
their lands and driving away their stocks, pretending as 
just, right and title they have to the land, by reason whereof 
the inhabitants are very much molested and damnified; for 
prevention whereof for the future I have, by and with the 
advice and consent of his lordship's council, authorized and 
appointed you, the said Augustine Hermen and Jacob 
Young, to treat with the said Indians touching the prem- 
ises, and to know of them what part and what quantity of 
the land in Baltimore and Cecil counties they pretend to, 
and what satisfaction the}' may demand to quit their claim 
thereto, to the end that the same may be duly executed and 
paid, and the inhabitants of this province quietly and 
peaceably enjoy their possession without any further moles- 
tation. An account of the proceeding herein you are to 
transmit unto myself and his lordship's council with all ex- 
pedition possible. Given under my hand and seal this 
14th day of June, in the third year of his lordship's 
dominion over this province, Anno Domini, 1678." 

This Jacob Young, tliere is reason to believe, was the same 
man who was charged some years before with seducing the 
wife of Lears, the Swedish priest at Altona, but it was 
afterwards proved that, at the time he and Mrs. Lears abscond- 
ed, the reverend gentleman had broken open Young's trunk 
with an axe, during the time he was stopping at his house, 
and most likely he had not used his wife as well as he should 
have done, and the court fined him heavily for assuming to 
exercise judicial as well as priestly functions. The court 
were of the opinion that the fugitives had fled to Maryland, 
and sent an express there to search for them. The priest 
did not take the loss of his wife very much to heart, for, a 
few" Aveeks after she ran away with Young, lie married him- 
self to another woman, which called down upon him the dis- 
pleasure of the dignitaries of the government, who censured 


him severely, not so much for performing his own marriage 
ceremony as for doing so on Sunday. 

At the date of his commission Young lived somewhere 
along St. George's Creek, probably on the north side of it, 
for the Dutch claimed that he was under their jurisdiction. 
At this time, and for many ^^ears afterwards, there was a 
cart road leading from where Chesapeake City now stands 
past his house to the Delaware River, near Delaware City or 
Port Penn. This road was called, in the old writings of that 
period, Jacob Young's cart road. 

In IGSO the governor of Delaware issued a warrant to 
sheriff Cantwell of New Castle, " requiring him to summon 
Jacob Young to appear personally before the governor and 
council cf New York, to answer for presuming to treat with 
the Indians in this government without any authority." 

This indicates that the treaty was made, and that Jacob 
Young lived on Hermen's Manor of Augustine. 

The Albany records, from which has been obtained much 
valuable information respecting the history of this period, 
contain no evidence to show that the warrant was ever 
served upon Young. For this and many other reasons it 
seems probable that he fled to the wilderness between Prin- 
cipio Creek and the Susquehanna River and secreted him- 
self in that part of the county east of where Port Deposit 
now stands, and where a certain Jacob Young was living 
nine years afterwards. 

Thirteen years liad elapsed since the project of establish- 
ing a county to be called Cecil County had been proposed 
by Hermen and assented to by Lord Baltimore, and yet the 
county had not been erected. For fifteen years before this 
time, that is to say, from the year 1G59 to 1674, the land 
that had been taken up and patented on the Western Shore 
from the mouth of • the Patapsco River to the head of the 
bay, and on the Eastern Shore from the head of the bay 
as far south as Worten Creek, as well as that along the 
rivers on the Eastern Shore was described as being in Balti- 
more County. F 


The first volume of Land Records of Cecil County con- 
tains a number of deeds for land along Sa.rrsafras River and 
elsewhere on the Eastern Shore, in which the land for which 
they were given is described as being in Baltimore County. 
The same may be said of the first volume of the land 
records of Baltimore County, in which it is stated that Bohe- 
mia Manor is located in East Baltimore Countv. If more 
evidence is wanting to convince the most skeptical that 
Baltimore County at first included the upi)er part of the 
Eastern Shore, it may be found in the fact that Augustine 
Ilermen for some years after he came -o Bohemia Manor and 
})robably till tlie erection of Cecil County was one of the 
justices of Baltimore County. The same may be said of 
Captain Tliomas Howell, who owned large quantities of land 
at Howell's Point on the Eastern Shore, where there is no 
doubt he resided. Indeed, there is reason to believe that 
the court for Baltimore County frequentl}^ met on the East- 
ern Shore, which was certainly the case in 1664, when it was 
held at the house of Francis Wright, at Clayfall, in refer- 
ence to the case of the captive Seneca. 

The original boundaries of Cecil County, as created in 
1674, by proclamation of Governor Charles Calvert, are de- 
scribed as follows : " From the mouth of the Susquehanna 
River down the eastern side of the bay to Swan Point, thence 
to Hell Point, and so up Chester River to the head thereof."* 
Nothing appears to have been said about the eastern or 
northern bounds of the county, because they were in dispute, 
nevertheless the lord proprietary still claimed to the Dela- 
w^are and to the fortieth degree of north latitude. These 
bounds were slightly varied by another proclamation issued 
a few days afterwards, which there is reason to believe threw 
a small part of what is now the extreme soutliAvestern part 
of Kent County under the jurisdiction of the authorities of 
Kent Island. 

♦McMahoii's llistoiy of Maryland, page 02. 


The first court-house was erected on the north side of Sassa- 
fras River, a short distance east of Ordinary' Point, at what was 
afterwards called Jamestown, and is now designated on the 
map of Cecil County as Oldtown. At this time, probably not 
a dozen persons inhabited that part of the county north of the 
Elk River, and the}' lived along the North East River and so 
near to other navigable water as to have easy access to the 
court-house by that means. Very little is known of the first 
court-house, except that it was built by Casparus Hermen 
in 1692. It seems to have been a small structure, from the 
fact that it is stated in evidence taken before a land com- 
mission many years afterwards, that the jurors were in the 
habit of leaving it and holding their deliberations under 
the shade of an oak tree which stood on the river bank 
near by, and which for this reason was called the Jury Oak. 

Before the court-house was built the court met at public 
and sometimes at private houses, as is shown by the minutes 
of the court. Some time in the yeir 1690 it met at the house 
of Thomas Jones, and on the 12th of April, 1692, it met at 
the house of Shadrack Whitworth. At the next court, 
which was held at INIatthias Matthiason's, this same Shad- 
rack prayed the court to be admitted an attorney to practice 
iii the court. His petition was granted and he was ad- 
mitted and took the oath. One William Nowell also 
prayed to be re-admitted, and promised to remove the cau- 
ses that had led to his suspension, which seemed to be the 
fact that he had refused to take the oath of alliance and su- 
premacy. On the 10th of August, 1692, the court met at 
Matthias Matthiason's. At this court, the same Shadrack 
was sued by one Robert Davidson, planter of Kent County. 
From the entries made in the minute book for this session 
of court, we learn that Shadrack was a churgeon. He was 
probably one of the first surgeons that practiced his profes- 
sion in Cecil Countv. 


The Labadists — Sluyter and Danckeis — Their joui-nal — Thej' meet -with 
Ephraim George llermen and wife — Visit New Castle and Bohemia 
Manor — They goon down the Peninsula — Return and purchase the Labadie 
tract on Bohemia Manor, and establish a community there — Description 
of the Labadie tract and how they got it— Peter Bayard and others — 
Description of the community on Bohemia Manor — Augustine Ilermen's 
quarrel with George Holland— Letter from llermen — Ilermen's patents 
of confirmation — He obtains a patent for ^lisfortvine, or the three Bohe- 
mia Sisters — Extent of his possessions — He invests his son Eijhraim George 
with the right and title to Bohemia l>Linor — A curious deed — Augustine 
Hermen's last will-^His death and monumental stone — His place of 
burial — Codicil to his last will — His daughters. 

The Labadists were a sect of Christians that flourished in 
the latter part of tlie seventeenth century and took their 
name from their founder, Jolm Labadie, wlio was at one 
time a Jesuit priest, and afterwards embraced the doctrines 
of Calvin, He seems to liave been hard to please in matters 
of religious faith ; and, probably because he did not find the 
creed of any religious sect adapted to his peculiar views, he 
originated one himself, which was better adapted to his 
wishes and wants. One great distinctive feature of the 
Labadie creed was, that the believers in his doctrine should 
live in communities by themselves. In accordance with 
this tenet of their faith, they had established a community 
at Wiewert, in Denmark, and being full of zeal and mission- 
ary enterprise, had established, or tried to establish, another 
community at Surinam; but the climate and country proving 
unfavorable, they were soon forced to abandon the enterprise 
at the latter place. The community at AMewert sent two of 
their number, Peter Sluyter, alias Vorsman, and Jasper 
Danckers, alias Schilders, to America, in the latter part of 


the year 1679, where they spent a part of that and the fol- 
lowing year in " spying out " a good location for the colony. 
They traveled together, and kept a journal during this visit, 
in which they described the country through which they 
passed and speak of the people with whom they were thrown 
in contact. Their journal was found in the possession of a 
bookseller in Amsterdam a few years ago. In what manner 
it had been preserved could not be ascertained, but it is 
probable that it passed from the hands of some member of 
the community of Labadists at Wiewert, and after the lajDse 
of many years ceased to be appreciated and fell into the 
hands of the bookseller, where the secretary of the Long , 
Island Historical Society found it. The Society had it trans- 
lated and published, and as the Labadists at Bohemia Manor 
were so intimately connected with the early history of Cecil 
County, and were the only colony of these strange people 
that was established in the United States, the reader, it is 
hoped, will pardon the author for quoting largely from it, 
and for saying much about the Labadists and their doings 
upon Bohemia Manor when they lived there nearly two 
hundred years ago. 

Sluyter and Danckers landed in New York, where they first 
met Ephraim Hermen,the eldest son of Augustine Hermen, 
who had recently been married and had not yet taken his 
wife to New Castle, where he then lived. They state that 
Ephraim and his wife rode upon the same horse while mak- 
ing the journey from New York to New Castle. 

Ephraim Hennen's wife's maiden name was Elizabeth 
Van Rodenburgh. She was the daughter of John Van Rod- 
enburgh, at one time governor of the island of Curacoa, in 
the Caribbean Sea. Ephraim's father had long sought the 
hand of her mother in marriage, but was not successful. 
The two Labadists appear to have been on intimate terms 
with young Hermen soon after they first met him. They 
traveled in company with him and his wife, as before stated, 
from New York to Chester, and afterwards stopped at his 


house during their sojourn in New Castle, he having left 
them at Chester and arrived at New Castle first. 

During the sojourn of these travelers at New Castle they 
appear to have ingratiated themselves into the good graces 
of Ephraim Hermen, who become a convert to their religion. 
They also speak of his sister Margaretta, who then lived 
with him, in a way that indicates they hoped to proselyte 
her. Whether she became a member of the community on 
the Manor has not been ascertained, but it is probable she 
did not, because her father, who at first treated the Labadists 
with respect, and who, it appears, gave them some encourage- 
ment, had reason to regret having done so. They speak of 
Ephraim Hermen's wife as having the quietest disposition 
of any person they met Avith in America, and no doubt 
their efforts to convert her to the Labadie faith and the 
intluence they liad over her had much to do with the con- 
version of her husband. They represent him to have been 
very godless and wild in his early life, but say he had 
become reformed at the time of their visit. 

After obtaining a passport or letters of credit and intro- 
duction from Mons. Moll, Mr. Alricks, and Ephraim flermen, 
who were the dignitaries of the court at New Castle, they 
left there in company with Mr. Moll to visit his plantation, 
which was about fifteen miles from New Castle, in the direc- 
tion of Casparus Hermen's place, which they state was on 
the Delaware River, near the head of the bay. Speaking of 
Mr. Moll's plantation, they say : " There was no person 
there, except some servants and negroes, the commander 
being a Parisian. The dwellings were very badl}' appointed, 
especially for such a man as Mons. Moll. There was no 
place to retire to, nor a chair to sit on, or a bed to sleep on. 
For their usual food the servants have nothing but maize 
bread to eat, and water to drink, which sometimes is not 
very good, and scarcely enough for life. Yet they are com- 
pelled to work hard and to spend their lives here in Virginia 
and elsewhere in iJanting tliat vile tobacco, winch vanishes 


into smol'Cy and is, for the most part, miserably abused. It 
is the chief article of trade in the country. If they only 
wished it, they could have every thing for the support of 
life in abundance, for they have land and opportunity 
sufficient for that end, but this insatiate avarice must be 
fed and sustained by the blood}^ sweat of these slaves. After 
we had supped, Mr. Moll, who would be civil, wished us to 
lie upon a bed that was there, Avhich we declined ; and as 
this continued some length of time, I lay down on a heap of 
maize, and he and my comrade afterwards did the same."* 

After leaving ^Mr. Moll's place they went to Casparus Her-, 
men's place, which was then called Augustine, and was on the 
Delaware River just south of the mouth of Appoquinimink 
Creek, where they spent the night. The next day they pro- 
ceeded on towards Maryland, which they soon reached, and 
" speakof it as being the most fertile part of North America," 
and say it " is to be also wished that it was the most healthy." 
No doubt the fever and ague prevailed in Cecil County at that 
itme, and that there was much of the country in a swampy 
condition and covered with Avater. Augustine Hermen's map, 
made a few 3'ears previous to this time, has a note upon it, 
stating that the solid land between the head waters of Back 
Creek and Bohemia River and the streams that flow into 
the Delaware Bay is but a few miles wide. This accounts 
for the commissioners, Waldron and Hermen, taking a 
northwest course from New Castle when going to the Chesa- 
peake Bay some years before. They undoubtedly took this 
course to avoid the swamps and stagnant water they would 
have had to cross if the}' had gone directly from New Castle 
to the head of Elk. Danckers remarks that "there are few 
Indians in comparison with the extent of the country," 
and that they " lived in the uppermost part of ^Maryland 
— that is, as high up as it is yet inhabited by Christians." 

* The journal, tliough called by both their names, seems to have been 
written by Danckers. 


Wlien they readied Augustine Ilermen's, they presented 
to him the letter from his son Casparus, and he received them 
with much kindness. " His plantation was going into de- 
cay as well as his body for want of attention. There was 
not a Christian man, as they term it, to serve him; nobody 
but negroes. All this was increased by a miserably, doubly 
miserable, wife, but so miserable that I will not relate it 
here. All his children have been compelled, on her account, 
to leave their father's house." This is the only evidence 
extant tending to show that Augustine Hermen married a 
second wife. He makes no reference to one in his will and 
it is probable the Labadists were mistaken in regard to this 
matter, or they may have willfully misstated it. Their jour- 
nal is one of the most bilious and splenetic works ever pub- 
lished. But though the}' seem to have been depraved 
enough to have lied when it suited their purpose, they 
probably told the truth about the appearance of the country 
through which they passed. The genealogical record in 
Hanson's "Old Kent" in regard to Hermen's second wife is 
proved to be incorrect by the records of the Reformed Church 
in New York, where his children were baptized. 

The two travelers relate that they were directed to a place 
to slcc'}), but the screeching of the wild geese and other wild 
fowl in the creek (the Bohemia lliver) before the door pre- 
vented them from having a good sleep. The next morning 
after Hermen had signed the pas-'ijiort* which Mr. Moll, 
Alricks and Ephraim Hermen had given them, they pro- 
ceeded on down the peninsula and crossed the Sassafras 
River at a place where there was an ordinary. Their pas- 
sage over the river cost them each an English shilling. This 
ferry was cither at Ordinary Point or at Oldtown lust 
above it. 

These disciples of Labadic went on down the peninsula, 
and spent a week in looking for a favorable location. They 
appear to have intended to visit the eastern shore of Vir- 

* Augustine Hermen was a justice of the court at this time. 


giiiia ; but the settlers in the lower part of Maryland 
advised them not to proceed further in that direction, and 
told them there were so many creeks and marshes there 
that they would find it difficult to travel. On their way 
back Danckers speaks as follows of the multitudes of wild 
fowl they found in a creek, which, as near as we are able to 
judge, was a tributary of the Sassafras : " I have nowhere 
seen so many ducks together as were seen in this creek. 
The water was so black with them that it seemed, when 
3^ou looked from the land upon the water, as if it were a 
mass of filth or turf ; and when they flew up there was 
a rushing and vibration of the air like a great storm coming 
through the trees, and even like the rumbling of distant 
thunder, while the sky over the whole creek was filled with 
them like a cloud, or like the starlings fly at harvest time 
in fatherland." A little further on he speaks of the wild 
geese they saw in the Sassafras on their return: "They rose 
not in flocks of ten or twelve, or twenty or thirty, but con- 
tinuously, wherever we pushed our way; and as they made 
room for us there was such an incessant clattering made 
with their wings upon the water where they rose, and such 
a noise of those flying higher up, that it was as if we were 
all the time surrounded by a Avhirlwind or storm. This 
proceeded not only from geese, but from ducks and other 
water fowl ; and it is not peculiar to this place alone, but it 
occurred on all the creeks and rivers we crossed, though 
they were the most numerous in the morning and evening, 
when they are most easily shot." They were greatly im- 
pressed by the majestic appearance of the noble foi^est trees 
they saw in this part of Maryland. These were no doubt 
fine specimens of trees, and perhaps many of them were 
many centuries old when they gazed upon them. The 
location of an ancient tree that stood at or near the north- 
west corner of the Labadie tract is marked upon Griffith's 
Map of Maryland, which was published in Philadelphia in 
1793. It was called the ''Labadie Poplar,'' and was noted 


for its great age and size, and must have been of much 
notoriety, as it is the only tree located on that map. They 
also spoke of the abundance of wild grapevines they saw 
while upon this journey. There was a considerable number 
of (Quakers in this part of Maryland at this time, and 
a little further on in the journal it is stated that they 
visited the place of Casparus Hermen with a view of i)ur- 
chasing it for the use of their community, and say that '' it 
was objectionable only because it lay on the road, and was 
therefore resorted to by every one, and especially by these 
miserable Quakers." They had met a Quakeress at Upland 
(Chester) some time before, who, they state, was the "great 
prophetess from ]\Iaryland." She was traveling in company 
with two other women, also Quakers, who had " forsaken 
husband, children, plantation and all, and were going 
through the country in order to quake." They came to the 
house where Danckers and Sluyter were stopping, and drank 
a dram of rum with each other, after which they began to 
shake and groan, so that the Labadists wondered much 
what it all meant and what was about to come of it. She 
did not quake much at that time, however; but the next 
day she sat next Danckers at dinner and quaked very hard, 
so hard that she shook the bench upon which they and a 
number of otliers were sitting. 

AVilliam Edmunson.'^a traveling preacher from England, 
also visited the Quakers on the Sassafras Ilivcr a few years 
after this time, and speaks of stopping at the house of one 
William Southerly, a Quaker, who lived there. These 
thrifty people were no doubt attracted there by the fertility 
of the soil and the easy terms upon which they could 
acquire titles to plantations, and the freedom to hold any 
religious opinions they pleased. The great thoroughfare 
between the Delaware and Chesapeake at that time was 
along the Bohemia and Sassafras rivers and Appoquinimink 
Creek, and this no doubt led to the early settlement of that 
part of the county; and the Quakers were the first to see 


the advantages to be derived from being located upon the 
route or in close proximity to it. These two Labadists 
found a Quaker near the Bohemia River and alongside of 
the road leading from Augustine Herraen's to his son's 
place on the Delaware, who was living in a little shed not 
much bigger than a " dog's kennel," but who was engaged 
in building a house, which he intended to use as an ale- 
house. It is plain from these facts that these Quakers were 
among the earliest settlers of our county, but they do not 
appear to have remained here long or to have been numer- 
ous enough to have left any enduring marks or monuments 
of their sojourn. 

There is a remarkable difference between the journal of 
AVilliam Edmunson and that of Danckers ; the former says 
but little about the country and was wholly engrossed in the 
work in which he was engaged — the spread of the Gospel ; 
while the latter rarely refers to this matter, but speaks of 
everything else. The journals are evidences of the truth 
of the Scriptural maxim, that " out of the fullness of the 
heart the mouth speaketh." 

The Labadists gave the planters of Maryland and Virginia 
a very bad character. How they were able to speak of the 
planters of the latter State does not appear, for they did not 
visit it. Their austere and rigid doctrines had biased or 
prejudiced their minds, and most likely the description 
is a great deal too highly colored. If the trutli were 
known, the men they speak so disparagingly of were prob- 
ably as good, if not much better, than themselves. Their 
conduct afterwards proves them to have been men of poor 
character and of little or no piety. They speak of the 
planter as " godless and profane, and say they listen neither 
to God nor his commandments, and have neither church 
nor cloister. Sometimes there is some one who is called a 
minister, who does not, as elsewhere, serve in one place — for 
in all Virginia and Maryland there is not a city or village 
— but travels for profit (precisely what they were doing 


themselves, as their subsequent actions and conduct abund- 
antly shows), and for that purpose visits the plantations 
through tlie country and addresses the people; but I know 
of no pubhc assemblage being held in these places." "When 
the ships arrive with goods, and especially with liquors, 
such as wine and brandy, the}^ attract everybody (that is, 
masters) to them, who indulge so abominably together, that 
they keep nothing for the rest of the year, yea, do not go 
away as long as there is any left, or bring anything home 
with them which might be useful to them in their subse- 
quent necessities." 

After their return from their journey down the peninsula, 
the two Labadists visited New Castle again, and probably 
induced Ephraim Hermen to persuade his father to sell them 
part of Bohemia Manor, for about this time they speak of 
Ephraim Hermen and Mr. Moll visiting Augustine Hermen, 
who had made his will and left Ephraim, his eldest son, heir of 
his rank and title, in other words "Lord of the Manor," and 
they thought that "Augustine wished to make some change 
in his will, because he had offered some of his land which 
he had entailed upon Ephraim to them." 

The Labadists were miserabl}' mistaken in the supposition 
they made ; for if the old man, then tottering upon the verge 
of the grave, wished to see his son and confer with him in 
regard to his lands, or his will disposing of them, it was 
that he might remonstrate with him about his connection 
with the Labadists, for a year or two afterwards he made a 
codicil to his will, in which he appointed three of his neigh- 
bors his executors, assigning as the reason for tlieir appoint- 
ment in place of his son Ephraim, that he adhered to the 
Labadie faction and was using his best endeavors to 
proselyte his brother and sisters, and he feared the Labadists 
would become, through Ephraim's efforts, the owners of all 
liis lands. 

Having concluded the business for which they came to 
America, the two pioneer Labadists returned to Wiewert. 


They revisited this county in 1683, bringing with them 
from Wiewert a few of the sect to which they belonged, for 
the purpose of organizing the community on the Manor. 
Hermen refused to consummate the sale to them, and only 
did so when compelled by the court. The deed for the 
Labadie tract was executed by Hermen on the lltli of Au- 
gust, 1684, to Peter Sluyter {alias Vorsman), Jasper Danckers 
{alias Schilders, of Friesland), Petrus Bayard, of New York^ 
and John Moll and Arnoldus de la Grange, of Delaware, in 
company. The land conveyed embraced the four necks 
eastwardly from the first creek that empties into the Bohe- 
mia River from the north, east of the Bohemia bridge, and 
extended north or northeast to near the old St. Augustine 
or Manor church. It contained thirty -seven hundred and 
fifty acres. The land is of good quality and will compare 
favorably with the best land on the peninsula. The selec- 
tion of this tract of land did credit to the judgment of the 
two Labadists who selected it for the establishment of their 
community. They appear to have been better judges of 
land than they Avere of matters pertaining to religion and 
piety. It adds nothing to the credit of a disreputable per- 
son to assume a name to which he has no right ; what then 
must be thought of these men who set themselves up as re- 
ligious teachers and expounders of the Word of God, and 
who were so zealous in the cause they had espoused as to 
cross the ocean in order to promulgate their religious faith 
and establish a new community of their proselytes, when 
they start with a lie upon their lips and travel under 
assumed names. There may have been some reason un- 
known that satisfied their consciences for acting in this man- 
ner ; but the means they used to obtain the title to their land 
and their subsequent doings while upon the Manor, indi- 
cate that they were men that made a cloak of their religion, 
and who were governed by sinister and mercenary rather 
than by philanthropic and Christian j^rinciples. 

John Moll was a Dutchman and chief judge of the court 


at New Castle. He was in business in Bristol, in England, 
at one time, but failed and migrated to Virginia, and traded 
there and in Maryland for a time. La Grange was probably 
a Frenchman. lie lived in New York at one time, and the 
two Labadists a})]iear to have had letters of introduction to 
him. Danckcrs, in his journal, speaks of Jiim as a great fop, 
and when ho first met him had a very mean opinion of 
him. He was in the habit of trading to New Castle, and 
professed to be a convert to the Labadie religion. Bayard 
is said to have been a hatter, and probably Avas the most, if 
not the only, sincere and honest man among the original 
grantees of the " Labadie Tract." 

These three men, who no doubt were friends and associ- 
ates of Ephraim Hcrmen, who seems to have been a man of 
not very superior mental ability, appear to have let them- 
selves be used as willing tools in the hands of Laba- 
dists to aid them in the consummation of the conspiracy to 
obtain part of the Manor, of which the weak-minded Eph- 
raim was cognizant. No doubt they expected to reap much 
benefit from the establishment of the Labadie community 
so near them, Avhich was probably the reason why they pro- 
fessed to believe in the new religion, for immediatel}' after 
the company received the deed from Augustine Hermen, 
INIoll and La Grange conveyed their interest to Sluyter and 
Danckers, who appear to have been at that time, and for 
some time afterwards, the leading spirits in the community. 

Bayard retained his interest in the land till 1688, when 
he probably became disgusted with the doings of the Laba- 
dists and quit the community. Both he and E})hraim Her- 
men were at one time veiy .strong in the Labadie faith. 
They both deserted their wives in order to follow the teach- 
ings of these strange fanatics, who entertained strange views 
in regard to marriage, of which more will be said hereafter. 
The misguided and undutiful Ephraim is said to have re- 
pented of his folly and returned to his wife, but in less than 
two years was taken sick, became crazy, and died, fulfilling 


by his untimely end the malediction of his father, who, as 
it Avas said, pronounced tlie curse upon him that he might 
not live two years after uniting himself with the sect. 

The community was composed of a few emigrants from 
the community at Wiewert and a few persons from New 
York, together with a few more converts and probationers 
from the vicinity of the community in Maryland. 

Sluyter sent to Friesland for his wife, who came over and 
Avas installed as a kind of abbess or Mother Superior over 
the female part of the establishment. In 1693 Sluyter be- 
came the head of the community, Danckers, then in Hol- 
land, having in that year conveyed his interest in tlie land 
to him. Sluyter and his wife seem to have been rigid discip- 
linarians as well as mercenary and grasping people. They 
had man}^ slaves, and did a thriving business in the culti- 
vation of tobacco, notwithstanding Danckers spoke so con- 
temptuously about it in his journal a few years before. 
Slavery was against the doctrines of the Labadists; but 
Sluyter found it profitable, and introduced it into the com- 
munity on the Manor, where it prevailed while the commu- 
nity lasted. Probably there was no one who had tlie cour- 
age to report his bad practices to his superiors at Wiewert. 

The community on the Manor was under the surveillance 
of the mother church at Wiewert, and before a person could 
become a full member of the former community their case 
had to be referred to the mother church. Sluyter acted his 
part so well that he was requested to go to Wiewert, in order 
that he might take an important place made vacant by the 
death of an eminent brother, but he preferred to remain on 
the Manor and traffic in slaves and tobacco, and lord it over 
the poor diipes he had under his control. This suited him 
better than a subordinate position at Wiewert, for he was a 
man better fitted to rule than to be under tlie control of 
others. A few years after he became proprietor of the 
Labadie tract, he sold the uppermost of tlie four necks to 
John Moll, Jr., who was no doubt a son of John ]Moll, who 


had helped him and Danckers in their efforts to obtain the 
land from Augustine llernien. The conduct of these men in 
this transaction about this land looks bad, after the lapse of 
nearly two hundred years, and indicates that if they 
were not positively dishonest, they were very far from 
being good Christians. The consideration named in the 
deed from Slu3'ter to Moll is £112 10.5. sterling mone}'' of 
old England ; but the great probability is that he got the 
land for nothing, and tliat it was the price of the duplicity 
of his father, the elder Moll. If tlie Dutch judges and 
officials at New Castle a few years before were no better 
than Moll, it is no wonder that the Swedes and Finns about 
New Castle were driven to take refuge in the wilderness in 
Maryland ; indeed the wonder is that any of the inhabitants 
remained under the control of the Dutch, and that their 
province along the Delaware was not depopulated. 

Two accounts of the Labadie community upon the Manor 
have come down to modern times. Samuel Bo wens, a 
Quaker preacher who visited them in 1702, thus describes 
their curious ways: " After we had dined, we took our leave, 
and a friend, my guide, went with me and brought me to a 
people called Labadists, where we were civilly entertained in 
their way. When supper came in it was placed upon along 
table in a large room, where, when all things were ready, 
came in at a call twenty men or upwards, but no women. 
We all sat down, they placing me and my companion near 
the head of the table, and having passed a short space, one 
pulled off his hat, but not so the rest till a .short space after, 
and then they, one after another, pulled all their hats off, 
and in that uncovered })osiure sat silent, uttering no words 
that we could hear for nearly half a quarter of an hour ; 
and as they did not uncover at once, so neither did they 
cover themselves again at once, but as they put on their 
hats, fell to eating, not regarding those who were still un- 
covered, so that it might be ten minutes' time or more 
between the first and last putting on of their hats. I after- 
wards queried with my companion concerning the reason of 


their conduct, and he gave for an answer, that they lield it 
unkiwful to pray till they felt some inward motion for the 
same, and that secret prayer was more acceptable than to 
utter words, and that it was most proper for every one to 
pray as moved thereto by the Spirit in their own minds, I 
likewise cjueried if they had no women amongst them. He 
told me they had, but the women ate by themselves and the 
men by themselves, having all things in common respecting 
their household affairs, so that none could claim any more 
right than another to any part of their stock, whether in 
trade or husbandry ; and if any had a mind to join with 
them, whether rich or poor they must put what they had in 
the common stock, and afterwards if they had a mind to 
leave the societ}^, they must likewise leave what they brought 
and go out empty handed. They frequently expounded the 
Scriptures among themselves, and being a very large family, 
in all upwards of an hundred men, women and children, 
carried on something of the manufacture of linen, and had 
a large plantation of corn, tobacco, flax and hemp, together 
with cattle of several kinds." 

The colonists conformed in most respects to the mode of 
living adopted at Wiewert. They slept in the same or ad- 
joining buildings, but in different rooms, which were not 
accessible to each other, but were ever open to the father or 
such as he appointed for the purpose of instruction or exam- 
ination. Their meals were eaten in silence, and it is related 
that persons often ate together at the same table for months 
without knowing each other's names. They worked at 
different employments in the houses, or on the land, or at 
trades, and were distributed for that purpose by the head of 
the establishment. Their dress was plain and simple, 
eschewing all fashions of the world. Cfold and silver orna- 
ments, jewelry, pictures, hangings, lace and other fancy work, 
were prohibited, and if any of the members had previously 
worked at such trades, tliey had to abandon them. They 
worked for the Lord and not for themselves. The product of 



their labor was not to satisfy their lusts and desires, hut like 
the air, simply for their physical existence, and hence all their 
goods and productions should be as free and common as the 
air they breathed. They were to live concealed in Christ. 
All the desires or aversions of the flesh were, therefore, to 
be mortified or conquered. These mortifications were to be 
undergone willingly. A former minister might be seen 
standing at the washtub, or a young man of good extrac- 
tion might be drawing stone or tending cattle. If any one 
had a repugnance to particular food, he must eat it never- 
theless. They must make confession of their sinful thoughts 
in open meeting. Those who were disobedient were pun- 
ished by a reduction of clothing, or being ]»laced lower 
down the table, or final exclusion from the society. There 
were different classes among the members, which were to be 
successively attained by probation, in conforming to the 
rules of the establishment, and the final position of brother 
obtained by entire severance from the world. Tiieir peculiar 
belief about marriage was, that a member of their com- 
munity could not live in the marriage relation with a per- 
son who was not a member of it. While it was all right in 
their opinion for Labadists and unbelievers to marry, it was 
very wrong and sinful for a Labadist to marry an un- 
believer. It was owing to their efforts to enforce this 
peculiar doctrine that Ephraim Hermen deserted his young 
and amiable wife and called down upon himself the dis- 
pleasure and maledictions of his aged and infirm father, 
who no doubt was shocked and mortified by his conduct. 

One of their converts, who lived in the vicinity of the 
community, met with a tragic death. It happened in this 
wise: He had been induced to leave his wife, and had lived 
with the community for a time; when they supposed him to 
be sufficiently confirmed in their doctrine to remain stead- 
fast in the faith, permitted him to reside with his wife again ; 
he was still in tlie haljit of attending their meetings, and 
one day, whether Sunday or not is not stated, while going 


to attend the Labadie meeting, he met with a stray horse, 
which he took with him for the purpose of delivering it to 
its owner. The horse pleased Sluyter so well that he im- 
mediately began to covet it, and after service was over he 
placed the man upon it, in order to try its speed, intending, 
if that pleased him as well as its appearance did, to try and 
effect a trade with the owner. The horse ran away with 
the man, and, making a short turn in the road, he struck 
his head against a tree and was killed. 

The colony, in a few years after it was established, appears 
to have been both detested and despised by the people in 
the vicinity. 

In 1698 there appears to have been a division of the land 
of the Labadists among the principal members of the com- 
munity, for Sluyter in that year conveyed, for a merely 
nominal rent, the greater portion of the land which, as 
before stated, he then held, to Hermen Van Barkelo, Nicho- 
las de la Montaigne, Peter de Koning, Derick Kolchman, 
Henry Sluyter, and Samuel Bayard, and, as before stated, 
sold another portion to John Moll, Jr. Sluyter retained one 
of the necks himself and became very wealthy. He died in 
1722, and though there seems to have been some kind of an 
organization of his followers kept up while he lived, it is 
said that the Labadists were all scattered and gone five years 
after his death. 

The Labadists gave Augustine Hermen a great deal of 
trouble, of which no account has come down to us, but there 
is abundant evidence extant to show that he bitterly re- 
gretted having given them any countenance. Nor was this 
the only trouble he met with. In his case the accumu- 
lation of wealth brought an accumulation of care and 
trouble with it. Though he had been successful in acquir- 
ing a very large estate, and held it by an indisputable title 
from the lord proprietary of the province, yet, notwith- 
standing this, he was put to much trouble to keep covetous 
people from encroaching upon his dominion and depriving 



him of part of it. On the second day of November, 1680, 
he presented a petition to the governor and council of the 
province, in which lie recites that one "George Holland, 
with other envious persons, had coveted, and were ';0ne 
about privately to take away part of his children's land in 
Bohemia upon false allegations and untrue bounds." These 
false allegations appear to have been, that the metes and 
bounds of Bohemia Manor and Bohemia Middle Neck in- 
closed a great many more acres of land than the patents 
called for. The petition recites that he had obtained a 
warrant for a re-survey, and that the deputy-surveyor, one 
•Joseph Chew, after he had surveyed the land and made a 
plot of it, for which Ilermen paid him nineteen pounds of 
tobacco, had run away; that he had kept a plot himself, 
which he had returned to the office of Mr. Painter, who, it 
would seem, was at that time in charge of the surveyor-gen- 
eral's office, and who had promised to send him a new 
patent in consideration of six hundred acres of land which 
he had relinquished to him for it. The petition refers to 
several other persons, and closes by stating that the peti- 
tioner " had no other refuge left than his Lordship's favor, 
and that he therefore prayed his Lordship's goodness would 
be pleased to grant, and command that his patent might be 
issued forthwith without any longer delay," and that he 
had been at " great charges and trouble about it already, 
and hoped his Lordship would not suffer his estate to be 
consumed by unjust officers that work by the rule of right and 
urong for jjrivate gain." It was thereupon " ordered by the 
council that their clerk notify Mr. Painter to produce the 
papers in his office, and that a letter be sent to the petitioner, 
acquainting him therewith, and desiring him to transmit 
the certificate and plots, which he had by him, to ye clerk 
of ye council at ye city of St. Maries, with all expedition, 
who is to present the same to this board for perusal, when 
his Lordship will give further answer to the prayer of the 


These proceedings of the council did not produce the 
effect that Hermen desired. Probably the council, like many 
that have succeeded it, was trammeled by red tape, and 
was more concerned about "how not to do it" than it was 
about how to settle the dispute and end the difficulty between 
Hermen and his grasping and covetous neighbors, for he 
sent the following letter, among several other letters and 
papers, to some one, probably the clerk of the council, who 
read it at a meeting of the council held at St. Mary's, on the 
16th day of August, 1681, nine months after the writer had 
presented the petition before referred to. This letter is valu- 
able, as showing the peculiar style of phraseology that pre- 
vailed at the time it was written. 

"Rt. Hox'ble — 3Iij Lord: — My weakness and hindrance in 
my domestic affairs, having no overseer, makes me defer 
my coming down to your Lordship's until some time in 
September next. Meanwhile, John Browning and George 
Holland, having surveyed privately fourteen hundred acres 
of land out of my Middle Neck, which I have appointed a 
portion for my son Casparus Hermen, I have sent an exact 
journal to Mr. Lewellin, in your Lordship's land office, of 
my first foundation and seating of Bohemia Manor, to 
maintain my right and claim against those deluding alle- 
gations which false intruders may fill your Lordship's ears 
withal. If your Lordship would be ])leased to peruse, at 
some leisure time, it will perhaps put your Lordship in mind 
of things your Lordship now not thinks on. I have also 
entered a caveat against John Browning and George Holland, 
desiring Mr. Lewellin to pass nothing in my predjudice. 
I humbly pray your Lordship be pleased to second it by 
your Lordsliip's commands. I have not, at present, troubled 
your Lordship with any other of mv grievances, having 
given your Lordship too great a trouble with the above, 
which I hope your Lordship will excuse. 
" Rt. Hon'ble, your Lordship's most 

faithful and obedient servant, 

" Augustine Hermen. 

^'/ime, 7/6 13^/i, 1681." 


The caveat referred to in the above letter is as curious 
and unique in its phraseology and style as is the letter, and 
concludes as follows, written in a bold, large hand across 
the page : " Every One Beware of a cheate," Immedi- 
ately following this letter, and running through a period of 
several months, several other letters appear upon the records 
of the council, in which he speaks of his journal, a copy of 
which he submitted to their inspection and guidance, and 
which -was entered upon their journal. 

After much tribulation, the governor and council ordered 
a resurvey to be made, which most likely was done, and 
the patents of confirmation were made to Plermen. These 
patents were dated the 14th of August, 1G82. In them is 
recited the fact of the quarrel between Hermen and Hol- 
land; and it is stated that wuthin the original bounds, as 
recited in the first patents, there were contained 2,000 acres 
of swamps, barrens and pocosons,^ from which it may be in- 
ferred that, as the forests were removed, the w^ater in the 
swamps dried up and the appearance of the surface of the 
country changed. The tract called "Misfortune" (probably 
so called on account of the trouble he had about his other 
land) was granted to Hermen the same year and day. This 
is the tract that he afterwards called the "Three Bohemia 
Sisters" (it included the land upon Avhich the northern part 
of Chesapeake City stands), and contained by estimation 
1,339 acres and rented for 27s. Q>d. It was north of Bohemia 
Back Creek and bounded on the west by Long Creek. It 
would seem that Hermen was successful in establishing his 
title to Little Bohemia, and that right and justice were upon 
his side, and that the old gentleman had reason to congrat- 
ulate liimself upon the successful vindication of his title. 
Probably he died in the belief that his son Casparus was le- 
gally invested with a good title to Little Bohemia; but such 

*An Indian word, meaning low wooded grounds or swamps, mostly 
dry in summer, and covered with water in winter; usually covered with 
wliito nak or otl.or timlior. 


was not the fact, for it will be seen by reference to the land 
records of the county, that in 1715, thirty -three years after 
Hermen obtained his patent of confirmation for Little 
Bohemia, his grandson, Ephraim Augustine (son of Cas- 
parus), and his wife, Isabella, conveyed 883 acres of the 
same Little Bohemia or Middle Neck to Thomas Larkin, of 
Anne Arundel County. The deed recites the fact that John 
Larkin, the father of the said Thomas, had patented the 
land before Augustine llermen had obtained his patent for 
it, " and that the said Thovias Larkin had made his rigid to the 
said land appear to be prior to the right of the Hermens ; for 
these reasons, as stated in the deed, and for divers other 
good and valuable considerations, E. A. Hermen, who was 
then lord of Bohemia Manor, and his wife, conveyed their 
interest in the land to Larkin. This appears to have been 
the end of the quarrel, and proves conclusively that at least 
one grant was made inside the lines of Little Bohemia pre- 
vious to 1662, which is the date of Hermen's original patent 
for the land called by that name. The boundaries of the 
land, which Hermen at this time held by patents from Lord 
Baltimore, were, as well as can now be ascertained, as fol- 
lows: Starting from Town Point, at the junction of the Elk 
and Bohemia rivers, and following the Elk River and Back 
Creek to the mouth of Long Creek ; up Long Creek to some- 
where near the Delaware line ; thence south along an old 
road, the location of which is now unknown, to near the 
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal ; thence eastwardly along 
the course of the canal to the mouth of St. George's Creek, 
near where Delaware City now stands; thence down the 
Delaware River to the mouth of Appoquinimink Creek ; 
thence up that creek and across the intervening land to the 
head waters of Little Bohemia River, and down it to the 
place of beginning. The reader will observe that this tract 
contained many thousand acres. The land is probably the 
best on the peninsula. 

The eventful life of the founder of Bohemia Manor was 


now near its close, and on the 9tli day of August, 1G84, 
he invested his son, Ephraim George, witli the right and 
title to the manor aforesaid by a deed of feoffment, which 
was executed upon tliat day. This deed, like many legal 
j)apers of that time, contains many curious provisions. The 
consideration mentioned in it is as follows: " Five thousand 
pounds of good, sound and merchantable tobacco and casks, 
and also six barrels of good beer or strong beers, one anchor 
of rum or brandy, one anchor of spirits, two anchors or 
twenty gallons of good wine, and one hogshead of the best 
cider out of the orchard, and one cwt. of good Muscavado 
sugar for my particular private spending; and lastly, if I 
should resolve to remove irith my abode to any other 
place in the country from off the Manor, then he, my said 
son, is obliged to ])ay towards m}'' said board the sum of 
2,000 pounds of tobacco and casks; and if I should happen 
to go to New York, tlien my son is to furnish me witli £25 
in money." 

The quantity of liquors mentioned in the aforesaid con- 
sideration appears to be very large at the present day, but it 
must not be forgotten that at the time this instrument was 
executed the manners and customs tliat prevailed in Eng- 
hiiid in feudal times, wlicn the lords and nobility kept open 
house and dispensed alms and charity with a munificence 
that would put to shame tlie generosity of modern civiliza- 
tion, j)revailed to some extent in Maryland; and it was only 
fitting and proper that the ibunder of the manor should 
have the means to entertain his friends in a manner suited 
to the dignity of the position he formerly occupied. At that 
time, and for a century afterwards, liquor was considered as 
one of the necessaries of life. 

On the 27tli of September, 1G84, Hermen made his will. 
This will, as stated in it, "was written with his own hand 
signed with his own liand, and sealed with his own seal," 
and proves him to have been a man of much learning and 
great ability. The ruling passion of his life, the great object 


for wliicli he toiled and strove, appears to liave been to found 
a family and, by doing tliis, to perpetuate his name. When 
he obtained his patent, more than twenty years before, for 
his beautiful and magnificent manor of Bohemia, he no 
doubt intended it for the possession of his eldest son, and 
expected and hoped that in the ages to come his descend- 
ants would trace tlieir descent from him with satisfaction 
and pride. " He directs, in his will, that his monument 
stone, with engraved letters of him, the first seaier and 
author of Bohemia Manor, anno 1660,* shall be placed over 
his sepulcher, which was to be in his vineyard, upon his 
manor plantation upon Bohemia Manor, in Maryland." The 
phmtation is situated a few miles above the mouth of the 
beautiful Boliemia, where the old ferry was once kept, and 
where the bridge of more modern times is now located. On 
this farm, though in a dilapidated condition, may be seen his 
"Monumental Stone." It contains the following inscription : 




ANNO 1661. 

His monument stone is a slab of oolite, the kind of stone 
from wliicli the line stones along Mason and Dixon's line were 
wrought. This kind of stone is very durable, and is proba- 
bly better able to resist the action of the elements than an}' 
otiier kind of stone. The slab is about three feet wide and 
seven feet long. No doubt the provision of Hermen's will 
in reference to this stone was carried into effect, and that it 
once covered the place of his sepulcher ; but many 3'ears 

* The reader will notice the discrepancy between this date and that on 
the tombstone. This one was taken from a copy of the will, the other 
from the stone itself. 


ago Richard Bassett, who was a relative of Hermen and who 
was once governor of Delaware, erected a vault on the manor 
plantation for the safe keeping of the remains of his family, 
and removed this ancient historic slab from Hermen's grave 
and converted it into a door for the vault. This vault was 
erected some distance from the original burying-place upon 
the manor plantation, and in it w^ere deposited the remains 
of the members of the families of the Bassetts and Bayards. 
The remains of James A. Bayard, one of the commissioners 
that negotiated the treaty of Ghent, were deposited in this 
vault, where they remained till a few years ago, when Rich- 
ard H. Bayard had them all removed to another vault in the 
cemetery on the bank of the Brandy wine. The slab in memory 
of Augustine Hermen was then sufi'ered to lie neglected near 
the site of the vault, and by some means was broken into three 
pieces; whicli were gathered up and placed in the yard of 
the house on the farm near the bridge. The bank or ditch 
around an inclosure, which is said to have been his deer- 
park, is quite plain and is about three feet high. The view 
down the Bohemia from where the manor house stood, the 
site of which is yet quite plain, is magnificent and delight- 
ful. Bulls' Mountain and the hills of Elk Neck loom up 
many miles distant, Avhile at the base of the eminence, upon 
which the manor house stood, the waters of the beautiful 
Bohemia sparkle in the sunlight as they flow onward to 
mingle with the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Owing to 
the removal of tlie slab, the exact place of Hermen's sepul- 
cher, like the place of the sopulcher of Moses, is unknown. 

The will directs that all and every one of the inheritors 
or possessors, lords of Bohemia Manor, shall add to their 
Christian name and subscribe themselves by their ancestor's 
name ^'Augustine" or forfeit their inheritance to the next 
heir. He devised his Bohemia Middle Neck to his second 
son, Casparus, and his tract called " Misfortune," or the 
"Tliree Bohemia Sisters," he divided among his three 
daughters ; and, lest the great object which appeared to 


have been the ruling passion of his life should be defeated 
for want of heirs male to perpetuate his name, he orders in 
his will that, in that case, the custody of his estate shall be 
committed " to the Rt. Honorable Lord and Proprietary and 
most Honorable C4eneral Assembly, from time to time sitting 
in this province of Mar^dand, for the use, propagation and 
propriety of a free donature school and college of the English 
Protestant Church, with divine Protestant Minister, in free 
alms and divine service, hospitality and relief of poor and 
distressed travelers, etc., under the perpetual name of the 
Augustine Bohemia, to God's praise and glory forever." 

Reference has been made to a codicil to Hermen's will, 
which was made, as before stated, on account of the adherence 
of his son Ephraim to the Labadie faction. This curious 
document, a copy of which is in the possession of the His- 
torical Society of Maryland, was evidently written by 
Hermen or at his dictation. No new bequests are made in 
it; but "Edward Jones, William Dare and Mr. George Old- 
field, his loving friends and neighbors, were jointly and 
severally appointed overseers and trustees" to see his said 
will executed; for the trouble of which execution he allows 
them the use of 100 acres of his land, then not cultivated, 
for twenty-one years, for the sum of 10s. sterling per an- 
num. This codicil was signed by John Cann, James Wil- 
liams, John White, Samuel Land and William Hamilton, 
neither of which names occur in any of the old documents 
or public records of this county at that period ; neither was 
the codicil ever admitted to probate; for which reasons and 
some others it' is probable that the document was executed 
at New Castle, Delaware. 

The time of Hermen's death is uncertain, but it probablv 
took place in 1686, as his will was admitted to probate in 
that year. Though the place of Llermen's sepulcher is un- 
known, and the memorial stone that once marked his last 
resting-place lies broken in the dooryard of his descend- 
ants ; thougli perhaps few of them know aught of the last 


provision of his will, the one in reference to the charity 
school and liouse of entertainment, still his name and 
nationality have been perpetuated by being applied to 
Bohemia River, Bohemia Manor, St. Augustine Church, St. 
Augustine Manor, and the pretty little town of Port Hermen. 
Anna Margaretta, the oldest daughter of Augustine Her- 
men, married Matthias Vanderhuyden. His name indicates 
that he was a native of Holland, and the old colonial laws 
show that he was naturalized in 1G92. He was a prominent 
man, and for a long time was one of the justices of the 
quorum. He probably died in 1729, for his Avill was proved 
in that year. He left three daughters, the eldest of whom 
married Edward Shippen, of Philadelphia, of whom the 
wife of Benedict Arnold, the traitor, was a descendant. 
Augustine Hermen's second daughter, Judith, married John 
Thompson, a descendant of whom, Samuel Thompson, now 
lives upon ])art ot the land devised to lier by her father, 
the founder of the manor. Francina married a i\Ir. AVood. 
She left children ; but the family is believed to be long 
since extinct. (^^\^ - 


Delaware granted toWilliamPenu — Death ofCecilius Calvert, who is suc- 
ceeded by his son Charles — George Talbot — Obtains a patent for Susque- 
hanna 3[anor — Its metes and bounds — Courts Baron and Courts Leet — The 
name of Susquehanna ]Manor changed to New Connaught — Extent of 
Connaught Manor — Talbot obtains a patent for Belleconnell— Bellehill — 
Talbot lays out New Munster — Makes a demand on William Penn for all 
the land west of the Schuylkill and south of the fortieth degree of north 
latitude — Runs a line from the mouth of the Octoraro to the mouth of 
Naaman's Creek — Lord Baltimore visits England — Talbot presides over 
the council during his absence — Presides over the court of Cecil County 
— Account of the court— Talbot makes a raid on the settlers east of Iron 
Hill — Builds and garrisons a fort near Christiana bridge —Account of the 
fort — Talbot's Rangers — Beacon Hill — Trouble about the collection of 
the king's revenue — Talbot murders Rousby — Is carried prisoner to Vh'- 
ginia — Makes his escape — Returns to Cecil County — Takes refuge in a 
cave near Mount Ararat — Surrenders to the authorities of Maryland— Is 
taken to Virginia by command of the King — Is tried and convicted of 
murder, but pardoned by the King — Returns to Cecil County and executes 
a deed for Clayfall — Returns to Ireland— Enters the Irish brigade, and is 
killed in the service of the King of France. 

In 1672 war wai again being waged between the English 
and Dutch, and New York and its dependencies along the 
Delaware came under the jurisdiction of the latter, and Gov- 
ernor Lovelace was succeeded by Anthony Clove, who re- 
mained in office until 1674, when he was succeeded by Sir 
Edmund Andross, who was commissioned by the Duke of 
York ; the country from the Connecticut River to the Dela- 
ware Bay having in the meantime fallen into the hands of the 
English, where it remained until 1681, when William Penn 
received his charter of Pennsylvania from King Charles 
II. In 1682 Penn received a grant from James IL, then 
Duke of York, of the hind on the west bank of the Delaware 


River and Bay, now included in the State of Delaware, and 
took possession of it the same year, having in the meantime 
appointed his cousin, William Markham, governor of Penn- 
sylvania, and instructed three commissioners who he ap- 
pointed for that and other purposes, to lay out the city of 

Cecilius Calvert, second Lord Baltimore, the founder of 
Maryland, died on the oOth of November, 1075. He was 
succeeded by his son, Charles Calvert, who had been gover- 
nor of the province since KJOl. He returned to England in 
1676, where he remained four years, and came back to 
Maryland in February, 1680, to resume the management of 
his government,* probably bringing with him his kinsman 
George Talbot, who for a few years was destined to play a 
cons})icuous part in the history of this county. 

This warm-hearted, courageous and impetuous Irishman, 
about whom so much has been written and of whom so little 
is known, was the cousin of the second Lord Baltimore, and 
is supposed to have been a relative of that infamous Dick 
Talbot who was his contemporary, and of whom Lord 
Macaulay draws such a revolting picture in his History of 
England. It is probable they were both from the same part 
of Ireland, and so far as bluster and devil-may-care courage 
was concerned, they appear to have been much alike. How- 
ever, no skillful limner like Macaulay has drawn the por- 
trait of George, and probably there are not sufficient data 
extant to enable any one to accomplish it successfully if 
they had the ability to execute or disposition to attempt the 
task. While there appear to have been many traits in the 
characters of these two men that were common to each of 
them, the preponderance of virtue appears to have been in 
favor of George; for, while Dick was contented to remain in 
England and play the sycophant to a corrupt and imbecile 
monarch, whose want of manhood alone prevented him 

* Scharf-s Ilistoiy of Md., Vol. I., pages 283-84. 


from being the tyrant that his imperious disposition and 
superstitious education led him to think his duty and eter- 
nal happiness demanded he should be, George chose the 
more manly occupation of planting a colony in the wilder- 
ness that then skirted the wild and romantic Susquehanna. 

George Talbot is first mentioned in the records of the 
council for the year 1680, in which year he obtained his 
first patent for Susquehanna Manor. The unsettled bound- 
ary of Maryland had been a source of vexation and annoy- 
ance to the Lords Baltimore, and no doubt Charles Talbot 
flattered himself that his cousin was just the man to extend 
his dominion and sustain his authority in the territory in 
dispute. Had Talbot been less fiery and impetuous, he 
would probably have been more successful; as it was, his 
zeal in behalf of his illustrious cousin defeated the object he 
had in view ; indeed, it is thought that an unfortunate effort 
he made to vindicate Lord Baltimore's authority — the mur- 
der of Rousby — was the principal cause that led to his loss 
of influence at the court of the English monarch and his 
ultimate loss of the territory along the Delaware. 

Talbot, during the few years he was in authority in Cecil 
County, acted a more conspicuous part in its history than 
any of his contemporaries or any one of those who had pre- 
ceded him, except perhaps its illustrious founder, Augustine 
Her men. 

The reasons that induced Lord Baltimore to grant unto 
Talbot the extensive manor of Susquehanna are stated in 
the patent as follows : After the greeting of all persons to 
whom it should come in the name of the "Lord God ever- 
lasting," which was the form in which such instruments 
were written at that time, it proceeds as follows: "Know ye 
that for and in consideration that our right trusty and right 
well-beloved cousin and councilor George Talbot, of Castle 
Rooney, in the county of Rosscommon, in the kingdom of 
Ireland, Esq., hath undertaken, at his own proper cost and 
charges, to transport, or cause to be transported into this 


province within twelve 5'ears from the date liereof, six hun- 
dred and forty persons of Britisli or Irish descent here to in- 
habit; and we not only l)aving a great love, respect and 
esteem for our said cousin and councilor, but willing also to 
give him all due and lawful encouragement in so good a 
design of peo})ling and increasing the inhabitants of this 
our province of Maryland, well considering how much the 
same will contribute and conduce to the strength and de- 
fence thereof, and that he may receive some recompense for 
the great charge and expense he must necessarily be at in 
importing so great a number of persons into this, our pro- 
vince, as aforesaid, and the better to enable him to do us,, 
our heirs and our said province further good service an:l for 
divers other good causes and considerations, etc., etc. . . . 
we have thought fit to grant unto our dear cousin and 
councilor all that tract or dividend of land called Susque- 
hanna, lying in Cecil County, in our said province of Mary- 
land, butting and bounding as follows, viz. : Tieginning at the- 
furthest northeast head of North East River, by a line drawn 
northwest till it intersects the Octoraro River, then by the 
said river till it falls into Susquehanna River, and by the 
said river to the mouth therof, from thence by the head of 
the ba}^ of Chesapeake to the mouth of North East River,, 
and by the said river to the head thereof, containing, by 
estimation, 32,000 acres, be the same more or less." By this- 
patent, which was dated at St. Maries, June 11th, 1680, Tal- 
bot was also authorized and empowered to hold courts baron 
and courts leet. 

A few words descriptive of the character and power of 
these courts may be interesting and instructive. The king, 
by a legal fiction which the peculiarity of the case required, 
could do no wrong, and justice was supposed to flow in 
copious streams from him to his superior courts, and being 
subdivided into smaller cliannels, says Sir William Black- 
stone, the whole and every part of the kingdom was plenti- 
f^ully watered and refreshed. Hence that ju.stice might he 


brought even to each man's door, every manor created by 
the crown had, as incident thereto, courts for the trial of 
causes therein arising. The manorial court, having civil 
jurisdiction, was known as the court baron, the principal 
business of which was to settle controversies relating to the 
right to land within the manor. In it also were tried causes 
where the matter in controvers}' was less than forty shil- 
lings. The court was so called because every three weeks 
the barons or freeholders met at the castle or manor house 
to assist the lord of the manor in dispensing justice. The 
court leet was a court of record held once a year within a 
manor. The term leet comes from the Latin word lis, a, law- 
suit, and leet court is the court at which the suit of the king 
was instituted, it being a court having jurisdiction over 
criminals or breakers of the crown kiAV. The business 
transacted in it was very similar to that which is daily 
transacted before the courts of quarter sessions and police 
courts in our larger cities, the design being to convict tlierein 
every variet}' of offenders and criminals, as well those of 
the highest grade known to the law, and also eaves-droppers 
and tattlers. We have not found anything in the records 
of Maryland tliat leads us to believe that any other person 
was ever authorized to hold courts of this kind in Cecil 
County. Hermen, though he was here twenty years before 
this time and fourteen years before the organization or 
erection of the county, was not empowered to do so by his 
patent. Indeed, it is not probable that courts baron or 
courts loet wore ever licld in tlic jtrovince, tbough many of 
the early proprietors of manors in other parts of the province 
were invested with the authority necessary for holding 

Nothing more is said of Talbot in the journal of the 
council of Maryland during the three following years, and 
it is probable that he spent a part of that time in visiting 
his native country upon business connected with the settle- 
ment of his manor. On the 4th of April, 1C84, he presented 



a petition to the council, which was then sitting at St. 
Mary's, in which he stated that he had brought into the 
province since 1682 about sixty persons, which leaves 580 
yet to be made good, or in lieu thereof £58 sterling; and 
offers to his lordship 13,920 pounds of tobacco, being the 
value of £58 sterling at one j)enny per pound of tobacco. 
It is plain from this statement in Talbot's petition that he 
w^as to pay twenty-four pounds of tobacco yearly per capita 
for the number of emigrants not yet imported into the 
province. There is no mention of this matter in the original 
patent, but it is probable that there was an agreenient or 
understanding to this effect. He also states in his petition 
that the bounds of his manor of Susquehanna are suscep- 
tible of a doubtful construction, and prays for a confirmation 
of said patent, in which the bounds may be specified as fol- 
lows : Beginning at the lurthest and uppermost source and 
fountain head of North East River (henceforth to be called 
Shannon River), and all the lines to be as they are in the 
first patent, with mention of satisfaction received for the 
rights w^anting (which refers to the payment of the tobacco 
for the persons not yet brought into the province), whereby 
your petitioner may be encouraged to build, improve and 
inhabit that desert and frontier corner of your lordsliip's province. 
This petition was granted, and Talbot was invested with 
authority over one of the largest grants of land ever made 
to an individual in the province of Maryland. 

Although Talbot characterizes his manor as a desert and 
frontier corner of the province, and although the patent is 
silent on the subject, yet it appears that there Avere a few 
settlers on it as before stated, prior to 1G80, who had ob- 
tained grants from the lord proprietary, whose rights were 
duly respected by Talbot. Though Talbot's manor is called 
Susquehanna in the patent, for some reason the name Avas 
changed to New Connaught. For what reason or at what 
time it was changed, has not been ascertained; but for some 
time about this period Susquehanna Manor and the country 


lying east of it was called New Ireland, no doubt because 
other large grants of land were made to Irishmen there ; 
and it is probable that when this section of countr}^ was 
j5rst called New Ireland, the name of Susquehanna Manor 
was changed. Talbot, as the reader will recollect, tried to 
change the name of Nortli East River, and prayed that it 
might thereafter be called Shannon River, but in this he 
was unsuccessful, and the wildly rushing creek and quiet, 
placid river now bear, and for more than a century past 
have borne, the original name (North East) that was given 
them, in all probability, by the earh' settlers very soon after 
the adventurous Smith had explored the bay, more than two 
hundred and fift}^ years ago. Talbot, like many of the other 
early settlers in Maryland, had a desire for the acquisition 
of land that was hard to satisfy ; nor is this to be wondered 
at, for in Ireland he had seen the advantage that the pos- 
session of land gave to the aristocracy and was familiar with 
the prestige and power of the nobility, hence it was quite 
natural that he should wish to possess a large rather than a 
small manor. In the only deed from Talbot now on record 
in Cecil County, dated the 10th of June, 1687, the imagi- 
nary northeast . line for the nortli eastern boundary of his 
manor is described as beginning at the farthest northeast 
fountain head of Shannon River. This is the second, and 
probably the last time that tliat boundary was changed. 
By what authority the change was made can only be con- 
jectured, but it was probably done while Talbot was one of 
the deputy-governors of the province, which will be noticed 
further on. By changing the starting point of the imagi- 
nary northwest line ^'from the furtliest and uppermost source 
and fountain head of North East or Shannon River^' to the "fur- 
thest northeast fountain head of that stream," Talbot suc- 
ceeded in adding many thousands of acres to his manor and 
extended its limits about three-fourths of a mile further up 
the Octoraro, or to about five and one-quarter miles above 
the line as now established between Maryland and Pennsyl- 


vania. Supquelianna or New (.'oiiiiaught Manor now in- 
cluded about one-lialf of the Fiftli, all of the Sixth and 
Seventh, and nearly all of the Ninth districts of Cecil 
County, and all of West Nottingham, about one-half of East 
Nottingham, and onc-tliird of Lower Oxford township, in 
Chester County. 

Talbot, who was now located somewhere west of head of 
Elk River, probably near the head of North East or the 
mouth of Principio Creek, seems to have been very active 
in trying to extend the authority of Lord Baltimore as far 
eastwardly as possible during the year 1683, for on the 16th 
of April of that year he obtained a patent in his own name 
for two thousand acres at the head of Elk, under the name 
of Belleconnell. This tract was situated just east of the 
Big Elk, and extended forty perches in an easterl}' direction 
from the bend in tlie creek, called the " Half Moon," to near 
the top of Grey's Hill ; thence two hundred perches north 
by a line parallel with the creek ; thence west to the Big- 
Elk Creek, which was its western boundary. Belle Hill is 
on the northern })art of this tract, and no doubt was so- 
named for that reason. On the 29th of August of the same 
year he, then being surveyor-general of tlie province, loca- 
ted the tract called New INIunster, which was further up the 
Big Elk and extended a short distance beyond the bounds 
of Maryland as determined many years afterwards by 
Mason and Dixon, and which will be more fully described, 
hereafter. On the 17th of September he was commissioned 
to make a formal demand on AVilliam Penn for the land 
wesi of the Schuylkill Jlivcr and south of the fortieth de- 
gree of north latitude, and seven days afterwards appeared 
at Philadelphia for that purpose. 

Shortly after Penn's arrival in America he disi)atched two 
messengers from New Castle to Lord Baltimore, " to ask of 
his health, ofter kind neighborhood, and agree upon a time 
tlie better to establish it.""" No record of the reception these 

* llazavd's Ainials uf Pa.. pa{,'e Gli"). 


messengers met with exists, but judging by the subsequent 
action of the authorities of Marvhind, it was not a very- 
cordial one. Talbot's mission in Philadelphia was attended 
w'ith no success. Having failed to induce the authorites of 
Pennsylvania to comply with his demands, he ran a line 
from the mouth of the Octoraro to the mouth of Naaman's 
Oreek,* in the latter part of this year, which he marked by 
notching the trees in the woods through which it passed. 
This line, which Avas intended to mark the northern limit 
■of the province, deprived him of about one-half of his 
manor of Susquehanna ; and it is hard to understand why 
he should apparently relinquish hi.s claim to the northern 
part of it. But he probably doubted his ability to main- 
tain his right to the whole of it, and resolved to defend his 
claims to the southern part by force of arms. 

In 1684 Lord Baltimore went to England upon urgent 
bu.siness connected with his colony in Maryland. His son, 
Benedict Leonard Calvert, a minor, was appointed governor, 
but in the same commission nine persons were appointed 
deputy-governors under him. George Talbot is the first one 
■of tlie deputies named in the commission, and it is probable 
tliat he presided at the meetings of these deputy-governors. 
He had previously been a member of the privy council of 
tlie governor, and was at this tinie surveyor-general of the 
province. Li addition to his other duties, Talbot at this 
time presided over the court of this county. Inasmuch as 
the metliod of transacting legal business at that early day 
is interesting, a brief account of the transactions of the court 
-during his administration is inserted here. 

" Att a court lield for Cecil County ye Sth day of January 
ill tlie 0th year of the dominion of ye right hon'ble Charles 
<S:l'., Ainioq Dominic I680. Present George Talbot, Esq., 

* This creek, so called from nn Indian chief of that name, empties 
into the Delaware River a short distance ahove where the northern 
bonnthirv of that State strikes the Delaware River. 


one of his lordships councellrs, & Nathaniel Garrett, gent. 
The said Geo. Talbot & Nathaniel Garrett appear in eourt 
& adjourn the same for want of commissioners to make a 
full court till the 12th day of !March next ensueing." 

" Three accounts,'^ in the language of the record, " were 
agreed at this court & 12 accounts were continued till next 

The next entry in the old record book is as follows : 
" March ye 11th, 1683. All actions dye and abate upon the 
Doquett for want of an adjournment. Wm. Pearce, Nathan- 
iel Garrett, Wm. Dare, Geo. Wardner, gents, only being 
present, and they not of the quorum." 

The meaning of the latter part of the last sentence is 
rather ambiguous, but the writer probably meant that there 
was not a quorum present, though he does not say so. 

" Wm. Dare, of Cecil County, gent, appointed and put in 
to be higli-sheriff of the said county by the Rt. Hon. Charles 
Absolute, lord and proprietor of the province of Maryland 
and Avelon lord baron of Baltimore, May ye 23d, 1684. 
Then came William Nowell and took the oath of an under- 
sherifi' in usual form before Nathaniel Garrett, of Cecil 
Co. gent." 

At the next court, which was held on the 10th day of 
June, 1684, George Talbot and seven justices were present. 
Talbot presided over the court, and the justices, who are also 
called commissioners, took the oath of office; their commis- 
sions were issued in the name of the lord proprietary, on the 
26th day of the April previous. The commission of George 
Oldfield, as county attorney for the lord proprietary, is re- 
corded immediately after the record of the administration 
of the oath of office to the justices. It is the first commission 
of a State's attorney that we have been able to find upon 
record in this county. As such it is invested with much 
interest that it would not otherwise have, and for this reason 
we copy it: 

" Charles Absolute, lord, &c., &q. To Geo. Oldfield, gent. 


greeting: Out of the trust and confidence we have in your 
integrity and honesty and in your slvill & insight in the 
laws and in the practice of courts, we have thought lit to 
constitute and appoint you the said Geo. Oldfield to be 
our Attorney in all causes civil and criminal wherein we 
shall be concerned & which shall fall within the cognizance 
of a county court, and courts which shall be held for our 
county of Cecil hereby Impowering and streighily enjoining 
you to appear & prosecute for us in all civil causes and ac- 
tions in the said court wherein we shall be plaintiff & to 
appear and defend us in all civil causes and actions in the 
county aforesaid wherein we shall be defendant, as also to 
present, indict, and prosecute in the said county all break- 
ers of the peace & transgressors of the laws and acts of As- 
sembly within the county aforesaid; you are also to observe 
all such orders as you shall from time to time receive from 
us or our leftenent-General in our abscence & from our At- 
torney-General for the time being, to have hold and enjoy 
the said office of our county Attorney for Cecil County with 
all fees, benefits and perquisites thereunto belonging for 
and during our will and pleasure & no longer. Given 
under our hand and lesser seal at arms this 19th day of 
March, 1683." 

George Oldfield was one of the "loveing friends and 
neighbors" that Augustine Hermen appointed in the codicil 
to his will as a trustee or overseer j to see his will " duly exe- 
cuted." He lived in Elk Neck, and a point of land, a short 
distance below Welch Point, is yet called by his name. He 
is believed to have been a Catholic, and was suspended from 
practicing his profession in the court of Cecil County because 
he refused to take the oath of supremacy and allegiance in 
1690, which was just after the revolution in England, which 
ended in the flight of James II., and also firmly established 
the Protestant religion in England. 

Just after the record of Oldfield's commission the follow- 
ing petition appears upon the record: "To the worshipful, 


the commissioners of Cecil Co. The hiimhle Petition of 
Thomas Joce humbly sheweth that your Petitioner humbly 
prays and craves the favor of this worshipful court that you 
would be pleased to admit your petitioner to practice as an 
Attorney of this court and your petitioner shall ever pray." 
"Admitted and sworn this 10th of .June, 1684." 

Then follows this order of the court: "Whereas there is 
not as yet any seal for this county for writs <k processes 
which do issue out of this court we do therefore for the ease 
of the inhabitants of the same order John Thompson, clerk, 
for the time being to sign all processes and writs which do 
issue from this court with his own hand." 

After noting that seven accounts upon the docket were 
agreed the court adjourned till ye 12th day of August, 1684, 
on which day it again met, George Talbot and the seven 
justices before named being present. This court, after being 
in session two days, during which time liftcen civil cases of 
no interest to the general reader were disposed of, adjourned 
till the 9th day of September, 1684. 

These brief extracts from the dilapitated old book contain 
all the record of the civil administration of (xcorge Talbot 
in Cecil County. 

After the departure of Cliarles Calvert for Enghmd, Tal- 
bot seems to have assumed almost dictatorial powers in the 
northeastern })art of llie province. In the early part of 
April, 1684, he made a raid upon the ])lantation of one 
Joseph Bowie, who lived somewhere east of Iron Hill, about 
eight miles from New Castle. Bowie's testimony may be 
found in the proeeedings of the council of Pennsylvania; 
it was taken on the Pith of the 4th month, 1684, and is as 
follows: "About ten days since, ( "olonel Talbot ridd up to 
my house and was ready to ride over me and said d — n 
you, you dog whom do you seat under here, you dog? You 
seat under nol)ody : you have no warrant from Penn no my 
lord ; therefore get you gone or else I'll send you to Saint 
Marie's; and I being IVightend. says he you brazen-faced. 


impudent, confident, dog, I'll shorten Penn't? territories bye- 
and-bye." It is added in the record, tliat, "the neighbors 
said they saw Bowie's land surveyed away." 

About this time Talbot built a fort, which is described as 
being near Christiana bridge, on a spot of land belonging 
to the widow Ogle, which indicates tliat it may have been 
near Ogletown, which he garrisoned with a few of his re- 
tainers, not so much for any warlike purpose, as to establish 
and maintain possession of the country west of it. This 
fort was built of logs, and Avas described by those who had 
seen it, as "about thirteen or iburteen feet long, ten feet wide, 
and covered with slij^ wood." The garrison consisted "of 
six or seven men," (Irishmen no doubt) "who Avere esteemed 
C'atliolics, and behaved i)eaccably towards the inhabitants, 
among whom they frequently went." The garrison was 
commanded by one Murray, and was supplied with provis- 
ions pressed from the people living on Bohemia Manor, by 
one Thomas INIansfield, who at that time was })ress master, 
an officer whose duties seem to have been similiar to those 
of the captains of press-gangs of England in more modern 
times. The garrison continued to hold this fort for about 
two years, and till after Talbot went out of power, when they 
got drunk and layed out in the cold, from the effect of 
which they were so badly frost-bitten that some of them 
died, and others lost their limbs.''" Shortly after the occu- 
patio)! of this fort the shei-iff of New Castle County sum- 
moned a posse of the citizens, and accompanied by divers 
magistrates and other dignitaries, repaired to the fort and 
demanded of Talbot, who seems to have been in comman<l 
at that time, by what authority he appeared in that posture? 
AVhcreupon "Talbot, with divers of his company, bid them 
stand off, presenting their guns and muskets against their 
breasts, and he, })ulling a jniper, commander-like, out of hi.s 
bosom, said. ' here is my Lord Baltimore's commission for 

*Seo testimony in Pcnns I>rcviJt. 


what I do.' " Proclamation was then made in the king's 
name for them to depart according to law, "but in the same 
war like posture they stood, and in the Lord Baltimore's 
name refused to obey in the king's name."* 

During the palmy days of Talbot's administration in this 
county he had a company of mounted rangers whose duty 
it was to scour the country and repel the attacks of hostile 
Indians, a few of whom still lingered in the country north 
of New Ireland. A line of block-houses at convenient dis- 
tances extended from one end of it to the other, and signals 
were established for the purpose of calling his clan together. 
Beacon fires on the hills, the blowing of horns, and the 
firing of three musket shots in succession, either in the day- 
time or at night, gave notice of approaching danger and 
called this border chieftain's followers around him, Vho, 
with strong arms and stronger hearts, were ready to do his 
bidding. There is no doubt that Bacon Hill, which was 
originally called Beacon Hill, was so called, from being the 
site of one of these signal fires. Talbot had much trouble 
with the affairs appertaining to the extreme northeastern 
part of the province in the years 1683 and 1G84; but there 
were other troubles that grew out of the unfortunate con- 
dition of affairs in England. The weak and vacillating 
Charles the Second, then king of England, was near the end 
of his inglorious reign, and for a long time had viewed 
with jealous eyes the powers and franchises Avith which the 
charter of Maryland invested the lord proprietary. So 
jealous indeed was Charles, that, in the last year of his 
reign, he threatened to institute proceedings in the court of 
chancery, with a view of wresting the charter from Balti- 
more. No doubt his cupidity was increased and his jeal- 
ousy aggravated by the fact that that instrument shielded 
the people of Maryland to some extent from his rapacity. 
Parliament, which for a long time was excessively loyal to 

* Pennsylvania Archives, Vol. I., page 88. 


the House of Stewart, had passed an act in his reign for the 
collection of a tax or duty upon the products that were ex- 
ported from the southern colonies; and Maryland being 
much interested in the culture of tobacco at this time, this 
tax was considered by the inhabitants as being onerous and 

The collectors of this tax were appointed by the king, and 
were in no wise amenable to the government of the colo- 
nies. The office of tax collector has always been a thank- 
less one, and these collectors, representing as they did the 
royal authority, were no doubt as tyrannous and arbitrary as 
they dared to be. Years after this time the records of this 
county show that they were in the habit of farming out the 
offices they held. They were each supplied with a vessel, 
in which they cruised upon the navigable waters in their 
districts while in the prosecution of the business apper- 
taining to their offices. At tliis time, and for some time 
before, one Christopher Rousby was one of the collectors of 
tlie king's customs in Maryland, and there is the record of 
a letter sent by Lord Baltimore to the president of the king's 
council, in which he speaks of Rousby as " having been a 
great knave and a disturber of the trade and peace of the 

In 1684, a few months after the departure of Lord Balti- 
more for England, an armed ketch or brig, commanded by 
Captain Thomas Allen, of his Majesty's royal navy, arrived 
from England and cruised for some time in the lower parts 
of the Chesapeake Bay contiguous to St. Mary's, Avhich, at 
that time, was the capital of the province. This Captain 
Allen, while he was upon good terms with the collectors of 
the king's revenue and quite willing to carouse and riot 
with them, treated the representatives of tlie proprietary 
Avith a haughtiness and contempt that soon produced a dis- 
astrous result. He went on shore and visited Mr. Blackiston, 
who at that time appears to have been chief collector of 
Maryland, and who resided at St. Mary's. His marines also 


"went ashore and probably got drunk ; at all events they 
acted in a boisterou.s and swaggering manner, and did not 
hesitate to appropriate some of tlie property of tlie citizens 
■of (lie town, which they carried away with them. 

After spending a few days in this manner the swaggering 
<?aptain went on board of his ketcli, weigiied anchor and set 
sail towards the Potomac, and thence sailed down the 
bay along the coast of \'irginia. Not content with the mani- 
festation of his authority upon land " lie annoyed the cap- 
tains of many of the bay craft and other peaceful traders 
that he met with, by compelling them to heave to and submit 
to be searched. He also overhauled their papers and 
•offended them with coarse vituperation of themselves and 
of the lord proprietary and his council." Virginia was at 
this time governed by a royal tavorite, Lord Howard of 
J'^ftingliam, who no doubt was ready u])on every occasion to 
]>lay the sycophant to his royal master, or to entertain any of 
his underlings who, no matter how remotely, represented 
liis authority. Tiiere is no doubt, judging from what sub- 
j^equently ha])pened, that Allen went to Virginia and spent 
the intervening time between his first and second visit with 
ijyrd Howard, the governor, and that they discussed the 
governmental affairs of Maryland and the prospects of the. 
ultimate success or failure of Baltimore's efforts to sustain his 
-authority and maintain his rights. 

In about a month after his first visit Allen returned to 
^hlryland. This time he anchored near Rousby's house, 
wliich was on or near to Drum Point. As yet Captain 
Allen had not condescended to make any report of his 
arrival in the province to any otlicer of the })roprietary, or 
in any way to recognize or acknowledge his authority. 
Upon the occasion of this second visit of Allen, Talbot it 
seems was at St. Mary's, or in the vicinity, whether by acci- 
dent or design has not been ascertained. He doubtless 
lieard of the contemptuous conduct of Allen and Rousby. 
No doubt the knowledge of their conduct, aggravated by 


the treatment that his illustrious kinsman had received 
from his royal master, caused his indignation to overcome 
his judgment, and he went on board the ketch, which was 
called the Quaker, for the purpose of enforcing some little 
show of respect to, or obtaining some acknowledgment of,, 
his own authority. Be this as it may, he and the two 
royal officers pretty soon got into a quarrel, which waxed 
hot and continued for some time ; and when he wished to 
go on shore he was prevented from doing so, whereupon he 
drew his dagger and stabbed Rousby to tlie heart. This 
sad and unfortunate event took place on the 31st of October, 
1684, less than three months after the last time that Talbot 
presided over the court of Cecil County, and fully accounts 
for the absence of his name from the records of our court 
subsequent to that date. Talbot's fellow-members of the 
council made a fruitless effort to get Allen to surrender him 
to the authorities of Maryland, ostensibly that he might be 
punished for murdering Rousby, but really no doubt in 
order to shield him from the vengeance of Allen and his 
crony, the s3'cophantic Howard. 

After parleying for a short time Allen set sail for Virginia,, 
and carried Talbot, whom he detained in irons on board 
his warlike vessel with the peaceful name, with him and 
handed him over to the governor of that province, who 
incarcerated him in Gloucester prison. Then began a cor- 
respondence between the remaining members of the council 
of Maryland and the governor of Virginia, in which the 
wofiknos.y and humiliation of the former and tlie strength 
and vindictiveness of the latter are strikingly exemplified. 
Considering the treatment that the lord proprietary had re- 
ceived from the crown of Great Britain, and the fact that 
the prestige and power of the House of Baltimore had for 
some time before this been waning, it is much to the credit 
of the council that they made the feeble efforts they did to 
effect tlie release of their fellow-member. Having no means 
by which to enforce their legitimate demands, they were 


disregarded, and Talbot remained a prisoner in Virginia, 
whose arrogant governor treated the demands of the Mary- 
landers with contempt and set their authorit}' at defiance. 
But Talbot had a wife, who all this time was at home, 
where good wives and mothers are always found, in the 
house of her lord, on Susquehanna Manor, which there is 
every reason to believe was at the falls of Back Creek, now 
Principio Creek, just above where the railroad crosses that 
stream. She, good woman, no doubt was sadly grieved by 
the unfortunate occurrence that deprived her of the com- 
panionship and protection of her husband. Talbot also 
had a few faithful friends, who did not desert his cause in 
this time of extremity, as the sequel will show. Among 
these faithful retainers of Talbot were Phelim Murray, a 
cornet of cavalry under the command of Talbot, and Hugh 
Riley. The latter has descendants that bear his name 
living in the Eighth district of this county; and the 
McVeys and others in the Ninth district are also remotely 
connected with him. These men and Mrs. Talbot now 
planned and put in execution a scheme for tlie rescue of 
this brother chieftain, in which English arrogance and vin- 
dictiveness were defeated by Irish friendship and ingenuity. 
To Murray has generally been accorded the credit of this 
scheme, but there is little doubt that it was suggested by 
the love and affection of the wife of the prisoner. Mrs. 
Talbot, accompanied by her youngest child, a bo}' of two or 
three years of age, and attended by two Irish men servants, 
repaired to St. Mary's, while Murra}'' and Riley followed her 
in the shallop of Talbot, which was navigated by one Roger 
Skreen, a celebrated seafaring man of that day, who took 
the shallop to the Patuxent River and anchored it at a 
point about fifteen miles from St. Mary's, whither Mrs. 
Talbot repaired, and the party set sail for the Rappahan- 
nock River and landed at a place about twenty miles dis- 
tant from Gloucester prison, in which Talbot was confined. 
This was about the last of January, 1685. If the winters 


at that time were as severe as they generally are now, it 
must have required an amount of courage and fortitude 
which few of the women living at this time possess to have 
enabled this woman to endure the cold, anxiet}- and priva- 
tion incident to this perilous expedition. Immediately after 
the arrival of the shallop, Murray and Riley each mounted 
a swift horse that was furnished them by a confederate in 
Virginia, and started for the prison at Gloucester, where, by 
some means, of which Irish wit and suavity doubtless com- 
posed a part, they effected the release of the captive Talbot, 
and returned with him safe and sound to the shallop early 
the next morning. It is to be presumed that with as little 
delay as possible they sailed toward the eastern shore of the 
bay and continued to hug it closely, w^hile, like many other 
fugitives of a later period, they made the best speed they 
could toward the north. 

Without any mishap Talbot and his friends reached Sus- 
quehanna Manor in safety. This happened in the early 
part of February, 1GS5, and a few da3's afterwards Lord 
Howard made a demand upon the authorities of Maryland 
for the surrender of the fugitive, and the council of Mary- 
land made a great show of trying to arrest him ; and as 
stated in the chronicles of the times, the air resounded from 
one side of New Ireland to the other with the " hue and cry" 
that was raised. Proclamations were made and every means 
were exhausted to effect the arrest of the fugitive, but with- 
out success. Why the council were now so anxious to se- 
cure the arrest of their former president, when they a few 
months before had protested so energeticalh^ against his re- 
tention in ^'irginia, is one of the many strange things met 
with in history ; but no doubt they acted wisely and as cir- 
cumspectly as circumstances permitted them, and under all 
this show of obedience and submission to the representative 
of royalty in Virginia, there was probably concealed a de- 
termination to shield rather than capture the fugitive. Tal- 
bot was provided with a flaxen wig and other means of dis- 


guise aiul kept liiinsell" well iiit'ormed of tlie Avhereabouts 
of the officers of tlie hnv, luiy one of wliom would i)rol»ably 
have given him linielv warning of their ajiproacii and aided 
liim in effecting his escajie, if tlicy could have done so with- 
out jeopardizing fhcmselves. 

It was at this critical time in his life that Talipot took 
refuge in the cave that, while it was in existence, was called 
by his name. This cave was a short distance below Port 
Deposit, on the east side of the Susquehanna River, close by 
the water's edge and immediately above the mouth of Her- 
ring Run. One hundred and ninety-two years ago tin* place 
and its surroundings Avere quite different from what they 
are to-day ; then the waters of the river Avere saldoni dis- 
turbed save by the fragile canoes of the savages as they came 
from the regions of the great lakes and i)ine-covered moun- 
tains of the far north to exchange their peltries for the trink- 
ets that the white man kept for that purpose at Palmer's 
Island, a few miles further down the river. 

Mount Ararat, whose base on the northern side is washed 
by the limpid waters of the boisterous little stream, then, as 
now, stood silent and alone in the magnificence of its gran- 
deur and beauty ; but the busy, bustling town, whose com- 
merce and industry now wakes the echoes among its granite 
hills, was not dreamed of by the anxious fugitive as he 
stretched his weary body on his lonely couch to seek in the 
sweet oblivion of sleep the rest that a troubled mind pre- 
vented him from obtaining while aAvake. Talbot's cave was 
a natural formation in the gi-anite bluff, nnd was about 
twelve feet wide and extended back from the river into the 
rock about eighteen feet ; it was about ten feet high, and 
was in a good state of preservation sixty years ago, and 
traces of it remained distinctly visible till a much later 
period ; but about thirty years ago the modern march of 
improvement in this utilitarian age destroyed all trace of it, 
and the granite rocks that sheltered the lord of Susque- 
hanna Manor now lie submerged in Chesapeake Bay, where 


they were i)laced to eifect an improvement upon its naviga- 
tion in the vicinity of the "Rip Raps " many years ago. 

Tradition, with its usual inaccuracy, says that Talbot 
dwelt in this cave for a long time, and that he had a pair 
of falcons or liawki with him, by means of which he ob- 
tained his subsistence, his falcons catching the wild fowl on 
the river. This is not at all j)robahle, for there is evidence 
extant to prove that he was seen and recognized by Robert 
Kemble while at the house of George 01 dfield, in Elk Neck, 
Avhither he had gone in his shallop, which was beating about 
in Elk River during the brief period he was sojourning at 
the house of his friend. This Robert Kemble is one of the 
witnesses of Augustine Hermen's will; he probably resided 
in Elk Neck or on Bohemia Manor. We know but little 
more of him ; but he probably was a man of some distinc- 
tion, though nearly every trace of him has been lost and 
the tide of oblivion has nearly covered and concealed his 

After fleeing from place to place, now hiding for a while 
in the cave, and anon lying concealed in the houses of his 
friends, the courageous Irishman, probably to save his 
friends further trouble and anxiet}' on his behalf, voluntarily 
surrendered himself to the authorities of Maryland and was 
committed for trial in the provincial court ; wdiereupon the 
arrogant Iloward renewed his demand that the culprit be 
sent to Virginia in order to be tried there. The council of 
Maryland were in no haste to.reply to this demand, and it 
was not till uf\or the Inpse of sevornl weeks that they made 
any rei)ly to it. 'i'he news of the accession of James the 
Second had reached their ears a short time before, and he 
being of the same faith as Lord Baltimore, they had reason 
to hope that his influence with the king might mitigate or 
neutralize the displeasure of their new sovereign, which 
they feared he might otherwise visit upon them. They 
probably never would have surrendered Talbot had not the 
lord proprietary Avritten to them, under date of Juh' 30, 



1685, "that it formerly was, and still is, the king's pleasure 
that Talbot shall be brought over in the Quaker ketch to 
England to receive his trial there; and that, in order there- 
to, his Majesty had sent his commands to the governor of 
Virginia to deliver him to Captain Allen, commander of" 
said ketcli, who is to bring him over." 

This letter was received on the 7th of October, 1685, 
nearly a year after the unfortunate occurence upon the 
Quaker ketch. Talbot was thereupon sent under guard to 
the governor of Viriginia, where he was tried for the mur- 
der of Rousby on the 22d of April, 1GS6. He was con- 
victed, but his kinsman, the lord proprietary, no doubt 
seconded in his efforts to that end by Dick Talbot, who 
probably was a still nearer kinsman of the culprit than he, 
was prepared for the emergency and had obtained a pardon 
for him, which he had transmitted to Virginia before the 
conclusion of the trial. 

Of Talbot's history subsequent to his trial very little is 
known, but he is believed to have returned to this county, 
for in June, JG87, he executed the only deed given by him 
for land in this county, that is upon record. 

The deeds that were written two hundred years ago are 
very curious documents. The conveyancers of that time 
never left any thing out of a deed that there was any prac- 
tical method of putting in it, hence they contain many 
strange covenants and provisions. This deed from George 
Talbot to Jacob Young, for the tract of land called Clayfall, 
contains much valuable historical information in regard to 
the manners and customs of the early settlers upon Susque- 
hanna Manor. The consideration named in it is the " Iron 
work of a Swedes mill, 200 young ai)ple trees now growing 
near the present dwelling house of the said Young & lastly 
for and in consideration of a bargain and sale which the 
said Young promiced to make to me and my heirs forever 
for 5s. sterling of ye seat of a mill that he formerly caused 
to be built at the head of Piny creek vulgarily called Mill 


creek in ye county &. manor aforesaid & fifteen acres of land 
contiguous to ye said mill seat, &c." This mill was on the 
creek that is yet called Mill Creek and probably Jacob 
Young had settled at the head of that creek before Talbot 
obtained his grant. However this may have been, this is 
the first mill we find mentioned in the early history of the 
county. No doubt it was a water-mill. The Swede's mill, 
the iron work of which is mentioned in the deed as part of 
the consideration, was probably a hand mill. 

In the grant of Clayfall, " all mines of metals, waifs, 
estrays, wild unmarked horses, mares, colts, neat cattle & 
hogs of all sorts are excepted, and a yearly rent of 10s. ster- 
ling was to be paid by Young and his heirs at ye Rock of 
Essenewee alias Kannegrenda at ye falls of Back creek (now 
Principio creek) in ye manor aforesaid, on 1st day of Octo- 
ber yearly & every year forever." Then came the proviso, 
that " Jacob Young & all his heirs and assigns living upon 
Clayfall shall send from time to time forever to ye mill or 
mills of me ye said George Talbot my heirs & assigns upon 
or near adjacent to ye said manor to be there ground all ye 
malt & bread, corn that shall be spent by the families in- 
habiting or resident upon any part of Clayfall aforesaid, ex- 
cept such times as they shall not be in good running condi- 
tion." Young also covenants not to erect any mill upon 
Clayfall, and Talbot reserves the right to demolish any mill 
that Young might erect there. And Young agrees to attend 
court whan required and to do such "suit & service to and 
at ye said court as is costomary & usual on manors in Eng- 

This instrument of writing is of great length and 
covers six pages of the book in which it is recorded, and 
concludes witli a proviso which indicates, as do several 
other things mentioned in it, that the parties had but little 
faith in each other's honesty, for the whole thing was to be 
void if Young dug up and carried away the two hundred 
young apple trees. It is very hard to conceive how any- 


thing else conld have been incorporated in this deed, or how 
a stronger or Ijetter one could liave been made, but Talbot 
covenants to make Young another one, such as his counsel^ 
learned in the law, miglit suggest, but he was not to becom- 
pelled to go more than twenty miles from the manor to exe- 
cute it. This curious document is dated June 10th, 1687, 
and is signed by George Talbot and witnessed hy Henry 
Brent, James Lynch and Thomas Grunwin. The rock of 
Essenewee or Kannegrenda, there is no doubt, was at or 
near where the iron works of George P. Whitaker are now 
located, and no doubt that is where Talbot's house or castle 
then stood. 

After laborious and patient investigation it has been ascer- 
tained that Talbot returned to Ireland and took part in the 
struggle between James the Second and the Prince of 

After the downfall of the house of Stewart he joined the 
Irish Brigade, in which he was commissioned as an officer, 
and with it entered the service of the King of France, 
where he was afterwards killed. 

Castle Rooney for many 3'ears has been in ruins. There 
is some reason to believe that a relative of George Talbot 
owned land and resided for a time at Perry Point,* below 
Perryville; for in 1710 James Talbot, of Castle Rooney, in 
the kingdom of Ireland, sold a tract of land which is de- 
scribed as being upon that point. 

* So called from having been ownetl by Captain Richard Perry, of 
Loudon, in the early part of the last icntury. 


New >[uuster — Its metes and bounds — The Alexanders— Society — Cecil 
IVIanor — Charles Carroll — Fair Hill — The Scotch-Irish — Christiana Pres- 
byterian Church— Rock Church — The English Revolution — Its effect on 
the Colony of ^Maryland — Xottingham — The Nottiughara Lots — Original 
grantees— Reasons why the grant was made — The first Friends' meeting- 
house — The Little Brick or Nottingham Friends' meeting-house — Pop- 
pemetto — "West Nottingham Presbyterian Church — Treaty with the 
Conestoga Indians— Thomas Chalkley visits them — Account of some of 
thfe first settlers of Nottingham — The Welsh tract — Its boundaries — The 
Baptist church on Iron Hill — The Pencader Presbyterian Church — Rev. 
David Evans — Rev. Samuel Davies — Iron Hill. 

The certificate of surve}' of the New ]\Iunster tract, which 
aiiay be found in tlie old colonial records at Annapolis, is as 
follows: "Surveyed for Edwin O'Dwire and fifteen other 
Irishmen by virtue of a warrant from his Lordship, dated 
7th of August, 1GS3. Laid out for him and them a certain 
ti-act of land, called New Munster, l3'ing and being in Cecil 
County, on the main fresh of Elk River, on both sides of the 
said fresh, beginning at a marked poplar on a high bank 
over the west side of the said main fresh, and about a pistole 
sJioft to the mouth of a rivcleit, called the Shure, and run- 
ning west, . . . containing and now laid out for six thou- 
sand acres more or less, to be held of the manor of Coecill, 
which is hereby humbly certified to your Lordship, tliis 29th 
day of August, 1G83, by George Talbot, 

" Surveyor-General." 

The poi)lar tree mentioned in the aforesaid certificate 
stood upon the west bank of Big Elk Creek, a short distance 
-above wliere the stream originally called the Shure, but now 
called Fulling Mill Run, empties into that stream. The 
Sliure was no doubt called bv that name l.)eoause it was 


not easily affected by drouth. It is a pretty little stream 
tliat rises near Fair Hill, and flows in a southeast direction 
thorugh a section of country most of which, until quite 
recently, was thickly covered with forest trees, which pre- 
vented the evaporation of the water from the earth, so that 
tiie springs that fed it flowed nearly as strongly in the sum- 
mer months as in any other season. It still sustains its 
ancient reputation as a Shure and reliable stream, and once 
supplied enough water to turn two mills that stood upon its 
banks. Thepoplartreethatmarkedtheplacecf the beginning 
of the survey has long since disappeared, but the place where 
it stood is marked by a rough, undressed stone, with the 
letters W. S. on its south, the letter B. on its east and the 
letters N. M., and underneath tliem the letters N. I. on the 
north side, rudely chiseled on comparatively smooth places 
on its otherwise rough surface. What these initials mean 
we are unable to say. Their meaning, as well as the history 
of those who [)laced them there, is lost. But the water of 
the babbling stream still dances down its rocky channel, as 
if it was impatient to join the larger and quieter stream 
that flows so placidly at the base of the rugged declivity, 
midway up which this stone was planted in the long ago. 
There can be no doubt that the stone is near the place where 
the poplar stood, because the configuration of the country is 
is such that the course of the streams must necessarily be 
nearly the same now as they were two hundred years ago. 

Without attempting to give the accurate courses and dis- 
tances of the boundary lines of New Munster, it is sufHcient 
to state that the southern line, which started from the poplar 
tree, ran about a mile west until it reached the southwest 
corner of the tract, and then ran northwardly for about five 
miles until it reached the northwest corner, which was 
about a mile north of Mason and Dixon's line, where the 
northern line commenced and ran in an easterly,. 
and crossed the Elk a short distance above Mackey's (now 
Tweed's) mill, which is the first mill on that stream in 


Pennsylvania above the State line. The northeast corner 
was nearly two miles east of Big Elk and a little south of a 
direct line joining the aforesaid mill and the village of 
Strickersville, in Pennsjdvania. The east line ran south 
from the last-named corner until it reached the southeast 
corner of the tract, which was about a mile east of the place 
of beginning, from which the southern line ran west to the 
poplar tree that marked the beginning of the survey. The 
tract was about five miles long and two miles wide, and 
consequently contained about ten square miles. The Big 
Elk divided it into two nearly equal parts. Within the 
limits of the tract are some of the best water-powers in the 
county, no less than five of them being on the Big Elk. 

Edwin O'Dwire, to whom the patent for New Munster 
was granted, sold it to one Daniel Toas, of Chester River, in 
Maryland, when, we have no means of ascertaining, for the 
deed is not on record, who died and left a son (John Toas), 
who inherited it as his heir and devisee. This John Toas, 
it would seem, was not a very thrifty nor a very well-to-do 
man, for he induced one " Robert Roberts, of Queen Anne's 
County (glover), to become bound for ye sd. Toas for ye 
sum of c£200 and upwards, which the said Robert Roberts 
was obliged to pay and did pay, the said Jolm Toas ab- 
sconding himself from justice, for which there did an act of 
Assembly pass and was confirmed, thereby empowering the 
said Robert Roberts, by virtue of the same, to make good 
and valuable sale and absolute title of inheritance in fee 
simple of, to, and in four thousand five hundred acres of the 
New Munster tract." By virtue of this act of Assembly the 
said Robert Roberts sold to Daniel Pearce, of Kent County, 
407 acres of the said tract for 6,000 pounds of tobacco, the 
deed for which is dated the 4th of September, 1713. This 
407 acres was located in the southwest corner of New Mun- 
ster, and contained the site of the mill near the mouth of 
the Shure, now owned by Howard Scott. Roberts also sold 
to Thomas Stephenson, of Bucks County, Pa., nearly three 


thousand acres of the same tract, a large part of which was 
cast of the Big Elk, for the sum of £300 current money of 
Maryland. The deed from Roberts to Stephenson is dated 
April 1st, 1714. 

On the 18th of May following, Stephenson sold the tract 
on the east side of the Big Elk, containing upwards of 1100 
acres, to Mathias Wallace, James Alexander, farmer, Arthur 
Alexander, farmer, David Alexander, weaver, and Joseph 
Alexander, tanner. The deed recites the fact that the tract 
of land then conveyed to Wallace, and the Alexanders "had 
for some years last past been improved and possessed by 
them, and had been by them divided among themselves, 
each man according to his holden, and that he, the said 
Stephenson, being minded to sell the said tract of land, 
thought it most equitable, honest and right, that they, the 
said possessors thereof, should have the first offer to buy or 
purchase each man his holden or division of ye same." 
There is no doubt, judging from the facts recited in the deed 
from Stephenson to Wallace and the Alexanders that they 
were part of the " 15 other Irishmen^^ mentioned in the cer- 
tificate of survey, and that they located upon New Munster 
many years prior to the time at wliich they obtained the 
deed to their farms. The first deed from Stevenson to the 
Alexanders contained a covenant that the grantor, Stephen- 
son, would make them another and better one if they de- 
manded it any time during the next seven years ensuing 
after the date of the first deed. In accordance with this 
covenant, Stevenson, by eight deeds, each of which is dated 
August loth, 1718, reconveyed his interest in nine hundred 
and three acres of the New Munster tract to Joseph, James, 
David, Arthur, Elijah and Mary Alexander. This woman, 
Mary, was the widow of James Alexander, deceased, wdio 
probably was the son of one of the other Alexanders before 
mentioned. By two other deeds of the same date he also 
conveyed certain parls of the .^aid tract to John Gillespie 
and Mathias Wallace, Jr. The land conveyed to the colony 


of Alexanders embraced the northeast part of the New Muii- 
ster tract and extended i'roni a short distance north of Cow- 
antoAvn to the extreme northern boundary of New Munster, 
wliich, as before stated, was about a mile north of the State 
line, as it was located by Mason and Dixon fifty years after- 
wards. It was bounded on the west by the Big Elk and 
the west branch of Christiana iiowecl through it for about a 
mile, near the northeast corner of that part of it that is now 
in Maryland. 

In 1701 James Carroll took up a surve}^ of 2,104 acres of 
land west of New Munster, and in 1713 convej'ed his interest 
in it to Charles Carroll. The tract was called " Society," 
and the deeds given shortly afterwards for certain parts of 
it, recite the fact that the survey, which was unfinished 
before, was completed in the latter year by Henry HoUings- 
worth, who was then deputy-surveyor. Morgan Patten, 
John Bristow, Joseph Steel, and Iloger Lawson were among 
the first purchasers, and there is every reason to believe 
they were the first settlers upon this tract of land, which 
then, 1718 and '19, no doubt was covered by the prime- 
val forest. " Society," like New Munster, was to be held of 
the manor of Cecil. This manor was just west of Little Elk, 
and extended from near the head of Elk River some miles 
northward. It was probably several miles wide, and like 
some of the other manors is believed never to have been 
surveyed or bounded. The southeast corner of " Society" 
was about a mile north of the southwest corner of New 
Munster, and the western boundary of the latter formed the 
easter)! boundary of the former. The tract i)robably ex- 
tended as far north as New Munster did. The deed from 
Carroll to Lawson warranted to defend his title '' against all 
persons claiming title, or pretended title, under ye govern- 
ment of Pennsylvania or ye territories thereunto belong- 
ing." This was because the long and bitter controversy 
between the Penns and Baltimore about the boundaries of 
their respective provin("os \va- (hen rn^inp,'. 


The Charles Carroll who owned Society was judge and 
register of the land office, and also agent and receiver of 
rents for Lord Baltimore. A part of this tract remained in 
})Ossession of the Carroll famil}^ till 1805. In that year 
Charles Carroll, of Carrollton, sold 184 acres of it to Alex- 
ander Jackson for £183. 

Fair Plill, which originally extended to the east side of 
Little Elk Creek, was taken up about the same time that 
Society was settled. New Castle at this time was a town of 
considerable size and much importance; then and for many 
years afterwards, it was probable tliat more Irish emigrants 
landed there than any other port on the eastern seaboard 
of the colonies. These people found their way to New Ire- 
land and the southern parts of Chester and Lancaster 

The Alexanders, and probably most of the other original 
settlers on New Munster and the parts of Pennsylvania and 
Delaware contiguous to it, were Scotch-Irish ; and as this 
class of settlers acted a conspicuous part in the early as well 
as in the subsequent history of the county, a short account 
of them may be interesting and profitable. 

During the reign of Elizabeth, the people of Ulster, a 
province in the north of Ireland, rebelled against the gov- 
erment of England; and, as was always the case with the 
people of tliat country, they were subjugated and subjected 
to a vigorous and severe regime. Though they Avere obliged 
to submit to the English government, they did so with 
reluctance, and Avere ever ready for revolt. Though the 
fire of their patriotism was apparently extinguished, it was 
not wliolly quenched, and soon after the accession of James 
I. another conspiracy was entered into between the Earl of 
Tyrone and the Earl of Tyrconnel against the English gov- 
erment. It was soon suppi-essed, and the two earls were 
forced to fiy. Their estates, containing about 500,000 
acres, were confiscated. A second insurrection soon after- 
wards gave occasion for another large forfeiture, and nearly 


six entire counties in the province of Ulster were confiscated. 
This large territory of confiscated land was nearly depopu- 
lated by the efforts of the English in reducing its inhabit- 
ants to obedience. It soon became a favorite project of the 
English sovereign to repeople this depopulated territory 
with a Protestant population, hoping they would be more 
peaceable, and consequently less likely to rebel. Many in- 
ducements were held out to the people of England and Scot- 
land to settle in this vacant territory in Ireland. The 
principal emigration, however, was from Scotland. Its coast 
is near the coast of Ireland, and the emigrants had only a 
short distance to travel to reach their new homes. The 
Scotch emigrants brought with them their habits of industry, 
and their strong Calvinistic faith and rigid adherence to 
the Presbyterian religion. This was the first Protestant 
population that settled in Ireland. The first Irish Presby- 
terian church was established by the Scotch-Irish in 1613. 
But owing to the unstable character of the House of Stewart, 
these emigrants were destined soon to undergo a fiercer and 
more cruel persecution than the Catholics whom they had 
succeeded. The persecution of the Scotch Presbyterians 
Avhich soon afterwards took place, in which Claverhouse 
and his dragoons won for themselves an eternal infamy, 
drove many of the persecuted Scotch to take refuge in the 
secure retreats of Ulster. 

This is the origin of the Scotch-Irish, a race that has been 
noted in the history of the United States for their love of 
religious and civil liberty ; a race to whose exertions, sacri- 
fices and valor we are much indebted for the successful issue 
of the Revolutionary war and the establishment of our 
present system of government. Their forefathers had been 
taught in the school of adversity and many of them had 
sealed their faith with their blood. When the long course 
of oppression and cruelty practiced by the arbitrary govern- 
ment of Great Britain upon the people of the colonies had 
culminated in the war of the Revolution, these Scotch-Irish 


Presbyterians, whose forefathers had long before proved the 
truth of the adage tliat " the blood of the martyrs is the 
t^eed of the church," so in like manner did their sons attest 
their faith in the justice of the cause that they almost uni- 
versally espoused, and hesitated not to shed their blood in 
maintaining it with the sword upon many a sanguinary 
field. Emulating in civil affairs the example their fore- 
fathers had set them in ecclesiastical matters, many of them 
became martyrs in the cause of liberty. 

This race did not intermarry with tiie native Celtic popu- 
lation, and to this day, after the of two centuries and 
ii half, is as distinct as when the pioneer settlers first immi- 
grated to Ireland. They were called Scotch-Irish simply 
because they were the descendants of Scots who had taken 
up their residence in the north of Ireland. The wretched 
}»olicy of the House of Stewart, which had an unlimited 
<.'apacit3'^ for tyranny and oppression, soon drove these peo- 
}>le to seek an asylum in the wilderness of America. Here 
the ancestors of many of the members of the Presbyterian 
churches in the northern part of Cecil County settled in the 
early days of the history of our county. They brought with 
them their habits of industry, self-denial, frugality and 
•economy that are yet retained and practiced by their de- 

The Alexanders and the other Scotch-Irish settlers upon 
New Munster and the surrounding country were the 
founders of the old Presbyterian churches at " Head of 
C^hristiana " and " The Rock." 

It is a singular fact that the first meeting-houses in which 
these congregations worshiped were outside of the boun- 
<laries of Maryland : the former being on the triangular 
j)art of Pennsylvania that extends south of Mason and 
Dixon's line, and only about two Imndrcd yards east of the 
<luenorth line which, for all ])raclical i)urposcs, is considered 
iia forming the boundary bet\\'oen Maryhuid and Delaware. 
The latter was located in tlic "old stone graveyard" in 


Lewisville, Cliester Count}', and is about the same distance- 
north of Mason and Dixon's line. Wliether tliis was the 
result of accident or design is not known, but inasmuch as 
Maryland was a Catholic colony, and the interests of the 
first settlers in New Munster were identified with those of 
the people at Newcastle, it was probably the result of the 
latter. The Presbyterian church at the head of Christiana 
was organized some time previous to 1708, by a few persons 
who had previously worshiped in New Castle. The first 
house of worship, which stood in the graveyard north of 
the present house, was probably built about the time of the 
organization of the church. 

The first pastor of this church was Rev. George Gillespie. 
He was born in Scotland, in 1683, and was a son of the Rev. 
George Gillespie, a prominent member of the Westminster 
Assembly of divines. Among the names of the first elders 
of this church, which were equally divided among the three 
States, are those of David Alexander and Andrew Wallace, 
of Cecil County. David Alexander was no doubt one of 
the original settlers of New Munster, and there is little 
doubt that Andrew Wallace was a relative of Mathias Wal- 
lace, another of the original settlers upon the same tract. 
His grave is marked by a headstone, which shows that he 
died on ye third of March, 1751, aged 79 years. Many of 
the graves of the Alexanders are marked b}' headstones in 
a good state of preservation, which show that they generally 
lived to a good old age. 

The Rock Church was founded in 1720, by members of 
the Head of Christiana living in the northern part of New 
Munster, and in Societ}^ who wished a church nearer to 
their homes. For a short time this congregation was sup- 
plied by Rev. George Gillespie and other ministers of New 
Castle Presbytery, until in 1724 the congregation secured 
the services of their first pastor. Rev. Joseph Houston. He, 
like most of the early Presbyterian ministers, was a native 
of Ireland. The original name of the congregation was the 


Church Upon Elk River. Theophilus and his brother, Amos 
Alexander, both elders of the Rock Church, are buried at 
Head of Christiana. They lived in the northeastern part of 
New Munsterand were much nearer the churches at Lewis- 
ville and Sharp's graveyard, which is a short distance north 
of Fair Hill and near the site of the second church build- 
ing, than they were to the old church at Head of Chris- 
tiana, where they at first worshiped. 

It is not within the scope of this work to give an extended 
account of the Revolution in England that resulted in 
placing William and May on the throne of that kingdom but 
inasmuch as it had a great effect upon the history of Mary- 
land, and particularly on the history of Cecil County, it has 
been deemed important, in order to properly understand 
the latter, to call the reader's attention to it. 

The liberality of the charter of Maryland had excited the 
cupidity of James H., who contemplated instituting pro- 
ceedings to wrest it from Lord Baltimore, and who, had he 
continued to wield the sceptre of England, would most likely 
have found means to have wrested the rights and franchises 
which it conferred upon Lord Baltimore from him, and 
appropriate them to liis own use. But it was not so ordered 
by Providence, and the Proprietary of Maryland escaped 
this ignominous treatment from the tyrant James, only 
to be made to endure it from his successor. He was in Eng- 
land when William and Mary were proclaimed, and at once 
gave in his adherence to them and sent orders to Mr. 
Joseph, who had succeeded George Talbot as President of 
the Council and chief Deputy Governor, to proclaim the 
new sovereigns in Maryland ; but unfortunately the messen- 
ger died on the way and the council hesitated to act on 
their own responsibility till the new sovereigns had been 
proclaimed in most if not all the other colonies. 

The Protestants of Maryland thereupon inaugurated a 
revolution on their own account, and in April, 1G89, formed 
" an association in arms for the defence of the Protestant 


religion, and for asserting the rights of King William and 
Queen Mary to the province of Maryland and all the English 
dominions." John Coode was placed at the head of this 
association. But little more was done till the following 
July, when the revolutionists marched upon the city of St. 
Mary's, which was then held by the council which remained 
loyal to the Lord Proprietary. The revolutionists were the 
stonger part}', and the others evacuated the city witliout 
firing a gun. Whereupon Coode issued a declaration of the 
reasons which had actuated liim and his party to usurp the 
government. In this declaration they speak of the t3'ranny 
and injustice of Lord Baltimore, and refer to the obstacles 
thrown in the way of the collection of the king's tax and the 
murder of Rousby " by one that was an Irish papist and our 
chief governor," etc., at great length. 

The authorities of Calvert County alone made some op- 
position to the revolutionists ; hut they soon surrendered 
without bloodshed, and the others became masters of the 
province. The}^ celebrated their triumph by sending an ad- 
dress to their Majesties in England, in which they reiterate 
the charges against Lord Baltimore in a more covert w^ay 
than in the declaration, and seek to justify, or at least to 
palliate, the course they had pursued. The revolutionists, 
feeling secure, issued w^its in their Majesties' names for an 
election of delegates to a convention to be held at St. Mary's 
in August, to which the people of Calvert County objected, 
and issued a declaration of their objections to choosing del- 
egates. They also met with opposition in other parts of the 
province; notwithstanding which the convention met, and 
on the 4th of September drew up an address to their Majes- 
ties, which is remarkable only for the cunning method in 
which they seek to justify their own revolutionary proceed- 
ings by the laudatory way in which they speak of their 
Majesties' achievements of the same kind. This address was 
accompanied by others from Kent, Somerset, Talbot, St. 
Mary's, Charles, Calvert, Cecil, and Baltimore counties, some 


of wliich were nnmeronsly signed, and a few of whicli speak 
well of Lord Baltimore and his illustrious fatlier. The citi- 
zens of Cecil County sent a petition whicli was signed by 
nineteen of tlie inhaljitants, of none of whom anything 
is known at this time, except George Oldtield, Casparus 
Hermcn, AVilliam Nowell, and York Yorkson. George 
Oldfield has already been referred to; he was an attorney, 
and a few years later refused to take the oath of allegiance 
and supremacy, from wh'ch it is inferred that he was a 
Catholic and still adhered to the House of Stewart. He re- 
moved to Pennsylvania, as it was then called, where he 
probably still owned land, he being one of the landholders 
in St. Augustine's Manor as early as 1682, in which year 
William Penn addressed him and some others upon the sub- 
ject of the dispute between himself and Lord Baltimore. Cas- 
parus Hermen was at that time lord of Bohemia Manor, 
having succeeded his brother Ephraim George, and in ac- 
cordance with the provision of his father's will had assumed 
the name of Augustine. 

William Nowell was a lawyer. He refused to take the 
oath of allegiance and supremacy, for whicli the courts 
stopped him from practicing : but probably readmitted him 
for the minutes of the court show, as before stated, that he 
promised to remove the cause of disability. York Yorkson, 
there is reason to believe, came to this county from the 
Swedish settlements on the Delaware. He was probably a 
Swede or Finn. Some years after this time he leased a few 
acres of land on the north side of Bohemia River just east 
of the ferry. He is designated in the lease as innholder, and 
was probably the first person who kept an inn at Bohemia, 
feriy. The addresses of the Protestants of England were 
not without effect upon King William, and he thought 
seriously of dej)riving I^ord Baltimore of liis charter. Legal 
})roceedings were instituted for that ]»urpose; but the facts 
uj)on which liis advisers relied were not susceptible of 
proof, and Lor<l IJaltiinorc was allowed to retain tliediarter 


upon consenting to allow the province to be governed by 
Protestant governors, appointed by the king. This con- 
tinued to be the case till 1715, when his son Benedict 
Leonard Calvert embraced the Protestant religion, and the 
rights and franchises conferred by the charter were restored 
to him. 

During the interval from 1G89 to 1715 the members of 
the House of Baltimore were under a cloud, so to speak, 
and in no condition to defend the province from the en- 
croachments which the proprietor of Pennsylvania made 
upon it. This brief reference to the English Revolution it 
is hoped will enable the reader to better understand the 
reason why the Nottingham lots and the Welsh Tract, 
large portions of which are in Maryland, were granted by 
William Penn and his agents, and why no efforts were made 
to repel their encroachments. 

Nottingham was the outgrowth of tlie settlements on the 
Delaware around New Castle, which, at the time of the 
settlement of the former place, was second only to New 
York in commerce and population. The pioneer settlers of 
Nottii gham were two brothers, James and William Brown, 
who, on pack-horses, boldly started out from New Castle in 
the summer or fall of 1701 into the wilderness to make for 
themselves a home. They were said to have been in- 
fluenced in their opinion of the fertility of the soil by the 
great size of the forest trees with which it was covered. 
They stopped near a large spring, which is yet to be seen 
on the north side of the road leadino,- from tlie Brick Meeting- 
liouse to the Kising Sun, and a short distance east of the 
road whicli forms the boundar}'' between the Sixth and 
Ninth election districts. It is on the farm now owned by 
William Cameron. Near this spring was a favorite camping- 
ground of the Indians. Their trail from the great valle}'^ of 
Chester County to the head of the bay, whither they were 
accustomed to resort for fish and also to trade at the post 
on Palmer's Island, led directly past it. Here tlie brothers 



Brown unloaded their weary horses and went to work fell- 
ing the forest trees and clearing the land for the purpose of 
making room for dwelling-houses iind engaging in agricul- 
tural pursuits. The small amount of provisions brought 
with them were soon exhausted, and they were obliged to 
return to New Castle for a fresh supply. Other Friends 
accompanied them on their return to Nottingham, and by 
the next spring they had accommodations for several fami- 
lies. The first house, erected by William Brown, is said to 
have been built on the site now occupied by the house of 
William Cameron. This is the traditional story of the first 
settlement in Nottingham that has been handed down from 
'generation to generation of their descendants, some of whom 
yet occupy part of the land upon which their forefathers 

It is very probable that the brothers Brown preceded the 
other settlers a short time, and that the others were ac- 
quainted with them and admired the fertility of their land 
and the beauty of the location, and were for these reasons 
induced to ask for the privilege of taking up the Notting- 
ham lots. This name was applied to Nottingham Township 
after the Revolutionary war by the Legislature of ]\hiryland, 
in an act for the relief of the owners of the land, which, 
though granted by Penn, was found to be in Maryland 
^hen the dispute between him and Baltimore was adjusted 
in 1768. It was called Nottingham Township by the au- 
thorities of Pennsylvania, and was divided into thirty-seven 
parts ; hence the name, " Nottingham lots." 

In compliance with the provisions of this act of Mary- 
land, which was passed in 1788, the then proprietors of 
Nottingham, in order to show the validity of their title, 
procured copies of the minute of their application to the 
commissioners of property of Pennsylvania, and also their 
warrant for tlie survey of Nottingham, which they caused 
to be recorded among the land records of Cecil County. 


The minutes of the commissioners, like all the writings of 
the Friends, is laconic and concise. It is as follows : 

"At a session of the Commissioners at Philadelphia, 14th 
of the 11th mo., 1701. Present — Edward Shippen, Griffith 
Owen, Thomas Stoiy, James Logan, Sec. Cornelius Empson, 
for himself and several others, to the number of twenty fam- 
ilies, chiefly of the county of Chester, propose to make a 
Settlmt. on a tract of land about half-way between Delaware 
and Susquehannough, or near the latter, being about twenty 
miles distant from New Castle, on Otleraroe river, in case 
they may have a grant of twenty thousand acres in said 
place, at a bushel of wheat per 100 (acres), or five pounds pur- 
chase, to be after at a shilling sterling per annum, which 
being duly considered and the advantages that might arise 
thereby, by rendering the adjacent lands more valuable and 
encouraging ye settlement of Susquehannough river, 'tis 
proposed that they shall have 15 or 20,000 acres at £8 
pounds per 100 acres, or at 2 bushels of wheat rent per an- 
num, the first year for their encouragement to be free of rent, 
or one year credit to pay the purchase money. He agrees 
to the price of purchase or to a bushel and a half per an- 
num. But it is referred to thee in further consideration." 

The application of Empson, as set forth in the preceding 
minute of the commissioners who were appointed by Penn 
and authorized to have charge of his land and to look after 
his interests in the province, met with the favorable consid- 
eration of the proprietary, or the commissioners concluded 
to act on their own responsibility, for on "ye 7th of ye 1st 
mo., 1701," they issued the warrant of survey to Henry Hol- 
lingsworth, at that time a citizen of Pennsylvania. This 
warrant contains the names of the original settlers for which 
the survey was made. They are as follows : Henry Reynolds, 
Cornelius Empson, John Empson, John Richardson, James 
Brown, William Brown, Henry Bates, Edward Beson, Jas. 
Cooper, (of Darby), Randal Janney, Andrew Job, John 


Churchman,EbenezerEmpson,Jo]ni Guest, of Philadelphia.* 
These were to have one thousand acres eacli. Joel liayley, 
Robert Dutton, Samuel Littler, and Messer Brown were to 
have five hundred acres each. The whole township was to 
be divided into eighteen several divisions of one thousand 
acres each, three of which the proprietor reserved for his 
own proper use. The choice of the several divisions was to 
be disposed of by lot. The warrant directed the surveyor to 
begin at the northern barrens, between the main l)ranch of 
North East and Otteraroe Creek, and further specified that 
the southern boundar}-^ Avas to be an east and west line pa- 
rallel with the southern line of the province, and that the 
£8 were to be paid within one year after the date thereof. 
It also provided for the payment of an annual quit rent of 
one shilling sterling for every one hundred acres, or, in 
case of failure to pay the first sum, they were to pay two 
bushels of good winter wheat for every one hundred acres, 
to be delivered at some iiangable ivater or landing place on the 
Delaware River. Following the record of the certificate of 
survey is a plat of the township, accompanied by a certifi- 
cate certifying that it is compiled from data in the office of 
the surveyor-general of Pennsylvania. Tlie plat shows the 
tract to have extended two and a half miles east of the com- 
mon on part of which the I>rick Meeting-house now stands, 
from which it ran due west nearly nine miles. West of the 
common, for a distance of three miles, it was three and a 
quarter miles wide; for three miles further west it was three 
miles wide, while from the southwest corner there extended 

* Cornelius Empson, John Riehaiclson, lleniy Reynolds, Ebenezer 
Empson, and John Guest, each of whom are mentioned in the warrant of 
survey, and all of whom were among the original grantees, never resided 
in Nottingham. The reader will notice a slight discrepancy between the 
names in the warrant and those on the i)lat. The original record has been 
followed in each case. The Reynolds and Janney families of this county are 
the descendants of the above mentioned Henry Reynolds and Randal 

A Draught of the Township of Nottingham 
according to tlie sui'vey made tiiereof in tho 
3d month, A. D. 1702. Copied from tlie original 
on page "w, Book No. Ifi, one of the land record 
books of Cecil County. 

Edward Beson. 

Henry Reynolds. 

John Richardson. 


Eb. Empson. 

Wm. Brown. 

Cor. Empson. 


Jas. Cooper. 

Jas. Brown. 

Wm. Brown. 

Robt. Button. 
Saml Littler. 


Robt. Button. 
Saml Littler. 

Andrew Job. 

Wm. Brown. 

Randal Janney. 

Andrew Job. 






Henry Rej'nolds. 

John Richardson. 


Cor. Empson. 


Eb. Empson. 

Joel Bayley, 

James Cooper. 


James Brown. 

Randal Janney. 

John Churchman. 

John Bates. 



a parallelogram a mile a quarter long and a half mile wide, 
which included what is now known as Vinegar Hill. The 
whole township contained thirty lots, the most of which 
were a mile and a half long and half a mile wide, which 
shows that the instruction in the warrant, authorizing the 
surveyor to lay out the tract into eighteen several divisions 
of one thousand acres each, had been disregarded. The 
names of Robert Dutton and Samuel Littler appear upon 
each of the lots immediately east and west of the meeting- 
house, while the names of John Churchman and Rr.ndal 
Janney are found upon the lots immediately north and 
northwest of it. Andrew Job's name appears on the lot at 
the southeast corner of the tract, which was a short distance 
southeast of the Blue Ball tavern ; and those of Edward Be- 
son and Henry Reynolds upon the two most westerly lots, 
as will be seen by reference to the map. The lots are sepa- 
rated by what seems to be intended to represent a road, but 
which, b}^ the scale accompanying the plat is an eighth of 
a mile wide. The lots, as before stated, were to contain 
a thousand acres each ; including the road, they did actualy 
contain, as shown by the plat, about five hundred acres. It 
was intimated in the warrant that the four persons that were 
to have five hundred acres each were to divide a thousand 
acres between them; this accounts for the township being 
divided into thirty-seven instead of eighteen lots, as directed 
in the warrant. The plat also shows that several of the per- 
sons who were to have a thousand acres each took up two 
of these five hundred aci'e lots, and that in some cases they 
were several miles apart. 

The reader will recollect that .Talbot's grant of Susque- 
hanna Manor, which was made twenty years before by Lord 
Baltimore, included the whole of Nottingham and extended 
some miles north of it into Pennsylvania. Talbot was 
charged with the maintenance and extension of the au- 
thority of Baltimore as far north and east as circumstances 
warranted him in believing it was possible to extend it. 


Although -his manor extended many miles above the mouth 
of the Octoraro, he probably had little hope of maintaining 
liis title to all of it, and probably extended it northward 
simply to acquire a claim and to hold it in behalf of Lord 
Baltimore. He saw with what tenacity the settlers along 
the Delaware maintained possession of the land there, 
though it was covered by Baltimore's patent, and he re- 
solved to profit by their example. Talbot's line, from the 
mouth of Octoraro to the mouth of Naaman's Creek, is the 
line referred to by the commissioners of Penn in their war- 
rant of survey as the soutliern line of the province. 

The religious and political difficulties that prevailed in 
England in the reign of James the Second, as before inti- 
mated, had a disastrous effect upon the prosperity of Lord 
Baltimore. His misfortunes were increased by the efforts 
his kindness prompted him to make in behalf of his kinsman 
Talbot, in order to shield him from the consequences of the 
murder of the unfortunate Rousby. He was a Catholic, 
and the Puritanical spirit that raged in the time of Crom- 
well was not yet extinct. William of Orange and Anne 
owed too much to the Protestants of England to be disposed 
to look with much favor upon the claims of Baltimore, 
created as they were by a prince of an exiled famih^ and a 
member of the church which they despised. Talbot, the 
courageous and irrepressible Talbot, whose brilliant career 
in Cecil County atones for its shortness, had long since dis- 
appeared, and the proprietor of Maryland, shorn of every- 
thing but the nominal possession of his right in the soil of 
liis splendid domain, languished in neglect and obscurity. 
These were the reasons why the princely domain of Susque- 
hanna ^Linor was cut in twain by the commissioners of 
Penn. Had George Talbot been alive and at the head of 
his rangers, the quiet Quakers would never have thought 
of asking the commissioners of the courtl}' Penn for the 
Nottingham grant, nor is it probable he would have granted 
their request. It was a masterly stroke of policy on the 


part of Penn to cut Susquehanna Manor in twain, and plant 
a settlement of his followers in the midst of it. This was 
the surest way of thwarting the efforts of Lord Baltimore 
and his agents to extend his jurisdiction to the 40° of north 
latitude should that experiment be tried in the future. 
This view of the case is strengthened b}'^ a tradition among 
the Friends that the original settlers of Nottingham had at 
first intended to settle in the rich valleys of Pequea or Con- 
estoga, but were influenced by the earnest solicitation of 
Penn to settle in Nottingham in order to strengthen his 
claim, and that in the spring of 1701 he rode over the 
ground in company with the leaders of the party to view 
the " lay of the land." During this visit he is said to have 
marked with his own hand a spot he selected, from which 
the water descended in all directions, as the site of the 
\ present brick meeting-house, wliieli was built upon part of 
the forty acres he donated to them for that purpose, and 
which is yet in iheir possession. 

When Mason and Dixon's line was located, it cut ui)wards 
of 1,300 acres off those lots that extended farthest north, and 
in 1787 their owners presented a petition to the government 
of Pennsylvania, stating that owing to the unsettled condi- 
tion of the boundary between that State and Maryland, the 
original grantees had not complied Avith the terms of sale, 
and praying that those jtarts of the lots in Pennsylvania 
might be surveyed iind their titles be confirmed. Their 
request was granted and a warrant was issued to George 
Clmrchman, who the same year surveyed them. 

The Friends that settled upon Nottin ;ham were frugal 
and industrious, and soon the forest disappeared beneath 
their sturdy strokes, and grass and the waving grain suc- 
ceeded it. The brothers Brown, like their father, were min- 
isters of the gos[)ei, and in 1704 a meeting was organized at 
the house of James, which was the origin of the (Quaker 
congregation that now worships in the Brick Meeting-house. 
The first meeting-house was erected in 1700 or 1710. It 


was built of hewn chestnut and yellow poplar logs, which 
were very durable; some of them are to be found at the 
present time in an old building on the place where Susannah 
Reisler now lives. Authorities differ about the time of the 
erection of the brick house; some of them place it in 1724, 
others in 1735. There is also a difference of opinion as to 
whether tiie brick used in its construction were imported 
from England or made in the neighborhood. Elisha Howls, 
who died some forty years ago, at the age of eighty, said his 
father did the carpenter work of the building in 1750, after 
the first fire when the addition was built. From informa- 
tion obtained from him some of the old residents are of 
opinion that the bricks were made near the house ; others 
think they were imported from England. It is a curious 
but well authenticated fact that the first building was roofed 
with slate obtained somewhere along the Octoraro Creek, 
but where, no person now living knows. In 1751 the wood- 
work of this house was burned, and in the following year a 
stone addition of equal size with the original structure was 
erected — thus its cai)acity was doubled. In 1810 the wood- 
work was again burned, and in the following year it was 
replaced. Strange to say, though half of the walls of this 
old house are stone, it still bears its original name of " the 
Brick Meeting-house," and though the bricks have stood the 
test of two fires in addition to their original burning, and 
though the frosts and snows of one hundred and fifty-four 
Avinters have spent their fur}' upon them, they appear to be 
none the Avorse and look as though they might last for 
many centuries longer. 

The meeting-house called the Little Brick, standing on 
the north side of the P. & B. Central Eailroad and about 
one )nile and a quarter southwest of Hising Sun, was built 
on a lot embracing five acres and a few perches, granted on 
the 11th day of first month, 1727, by James King and 
William Harris, "To the people of God, called Quakers, 
members of the munthlv meetino; of Xottiiiirhani and New 


(warden," and the money paid therefor was declared to be 
the money of that people. This lot was a part of Penn's 
lot No. 20"1 

The present brick building was erected in 1811. The 
frame building previously occupied was removed to the 
eastern side of the Rising Sun, and was there used by Ben- 
jamin Reynolds for a carpenter shop and afterwards for a 

In 1730 the inontlily meeting of Nottingham and 'New 
Garden, mentioned above, was divided into two, viz., Not- 
tingham, held at the Brick Meeting-house; East Notting- 
liam, and New Garden, held at New Garden, Chester County, 
Pennsylvania, and at the same time a preparative meeting 
Avas established at Little Brick. In 1732 Edward Cliurchman 
was buried in the burying-ground at tliat place, showing that it 
was then occupied for that purpose. He died of smallpox, 
at the mill of Henr}^ Re3''nolds, on Stone Run. 

It is probable that upon the erection of this last meeting- 
house, the names of East and West Nottingham were first 
applied to the respective parts of the original Nottingham 
Township. In 1729 many of the inhabitants of Susque- 
hanna Hundred petitioned the court for a road to be laid 
out " from the church road by the Indian town, called Pop- 
pcmetto, until it joins unto the road leading unto the 
(Quaker meeting-house at the west end of Nottingliam." 
They give as a reason why tlicy wanted tlie road, that the 
country was settling so fast that the old roa<l was about to 
be closed up. The church road referred to in the petition 
was a road leading from some point near the mouth of the 
Octoraro to the Episcopal church at the head of North 
East, or to the chapel connected with it, that stood a short 
distance east of Port Deposit. Nothing is known at 
this time about the location or history of the Indian town. 

The people who were settling the country so fast as to ex- 
cite the ai)prehension of the inhabitants of Susquehanna 
Hundred tliat their road would be closed, were the Scotch- 


Irish Presbyterians who settled contiguous to Nottingham 
and who were the founders of the Nottingham Presbyterian 
church. The road they speak of was the one they traveled 
from the upper ferry (now Port Deposit) to Philadelphia,, 
and was a continuation of the old Philadelphia and Not- 
tingham road which ran from the former place to Darby, 
thence to Chester, thence past Concord meeting-house to 
Kennett and New London X roads and reached Nottingham 
at the Brick Meeting-house. Many of these Scotch-Irish 
settled on the romantic hills among which the beautiful 
Octoraro rushes so impetuously to meet and mingle with the 
more stately Susquehanna. Others of them settled imme- 
diately south of the western part of Nottingham. In the 
course of time, and as opportunity offered, many of them 
became residents of the original Nottingham grant. The 
Ewings, Moores, Evanses, Pattons, Maxwells and many others 
whose descendants are now members of the West Nottingham 
Presbyterian church, settled on or near the west part of Not- 
tingham about this time. As early as 1724 they had organ- 
ized a church, and it is probable, judging from the fact that 
in 1720 their meeting-house is called the old meeting-house,, 
they were numerous enough to have organized a church 
and erected a house of worship several years prior to the 
year 1720. It is a matter of doubt M^here the first house of 
worship stood. Even tradition, with its contradictory 
stories, is silent upon this subject. The name of the con- 
gregation, as it first appears on the records of the Presbytery, 
is the Mouth of Octoraro. Afterwards it was called Lower 
Octoraro. In 1730 it received the name of Nottingham, by 
which it has been known ever since, notwithstanding there 
Avas an effort made in 1803 to change the name to Ephesus, 
and in 1844 to change it to Kirkwood, both of which efforts 
failed. The history of this church and the distinguished 
divines that liave been connected with it, as well as the his- 
tory of the Nottingliam academy, will be given more at 
length in a subsequent chapter. 


The Quaker settlement of Nottingham was frequently 
visited by itinerant Friends when they were journeying 
from place to place to proclaim the gospel. 

It is worthy of remark that at this time the Indians still 
lived in Lancaster County, and that a few traders were 
stationed at or near the mouth of the Conestoga. These 
Indians were the remnant of the Susquehannocks that had 
taken refuge there with theSenecas and.Shawnees, from the 
encroachments of the settlers along the head of the bay. 
In 1705 they were visited by the dignitaries from Penn's 
plantations along the Delaware, who made a treaty with 
them. The same year Thomas Chalkley visited Notting- 
ham and as he expresses it, " had a concern upon his mind 
to visit the Indians living near Susquehanna, at Conestoga. 
He laid it before the elders of Nottingham meeting, with 
■vvhich they expressed their amity and promoted my visiting 
them." Accordingly, having secured the services of an in- 
terpreter he, accompanied by about a dozen of the citizens, 
set out through the forest to visit the Indians, The party 
traveled on horseback and carried their provisions with them. 
They spread their food upon the grass and dined under the 
shade of the trees in the primeval forest refreshing them- 
selves and horses with water from the river, upon whose 
banks they had stopped to enjoy the midday meal. The 
Indians received them kindly, and some of them gave evi- 
<lence that the preaching of this humljle (Quaker, whose zeal 
was only equaled by his meekness, had touched their hearts 
and prepared them for the reception of the divine grace and 
light, an abundant measure of wliicli ai)})ears to have been 
vouchsafed to him. There were two tribes of these Indians* 
kSenecas and Shawansec. One of the tribes was governed 
by an empress, so Chalkley calls her, whose advice the 
Indians sought before they consented to hold the meeting. 
She appears to have been a woman of age and experience, 
and had had a remarkable dream a short time before the 


visit of the Quakers, which seems to have left a deep im- 
pression upon her mind. Though the Friends sanctioned 
the preaching of women, tliey were surprised to find this 
tribe under the government of a woman, and inquired whv 
it was so. The Indians replied that some women were wiser 
than some men." 

Inasmuch as many of the descendants of the first settlers 
in Nottingham are yet living in this county, and this ac- 
count of it would otherwise be incomplete, we append a few 
brief sketches of some of the most prominent of them. 

Benjamin Chandlee, the emigrant who planted the family 
name at Nottingham, was the son of William Chandlee, of 
Kilmore, in the county of Kildare, Ireland, probably born 
about 1685. The next notice we find of him is on the 25th 
of the 3d month, 3710. On that day he was married at 
Friends' meeting, in Philadelphia, to Sarah, daughter of 
Able Cottey, "watch maker of Philadelphia." It appears 
that Benjamin at the time was engaged with Able Cottey in 
business, probably as an apprentice or journeyman. 

In 1706 Able Cottey had purchased one of the Notting- 
ham lots from Randal Janney, some four hundred acres. 
This lot Able conveyed to his son-in-law upon his marriage 
to his daughter. This fortunate event induced Benjamin to 
remove to the property soon after his marriage. He estab- 
lished his trade in a small way, doing also iron work for the 

It seems that Able Cottey had also became possessed of a 
small farm adjoining the Brick Meeting-house lot. This 
prope'rty his widow, Mary Cottey, left by will (" being aged 
and infirm ") to her daughter, Sarah Chandlee, dated 6th 
mo. 18th, 1712, and proven and registered at Chester, 3d 
month 3d, 1714. She also mentions grandsons Able Cottey 
and Cottey Chandlee, and leaves £10 to John Cotte}'', "if he 
comes into these parts again." Benjamin ( 'handlce, the first, 
seems to have been a man who, had opportunities offered, 
would have risen to distinction in his profession. As it was, 


located in a new country where the indispensable necessities 
of life claim the most prompt attention, and the demand 
for the exercise of his skill limited to the most simple pro- 
ducts of domestic use, he could do little more than act as a 
pioneer for succeeding artisans. In 1741 he removed with 
his younger children to Wilmington, Delaware, where he 
became the ancestor of the respectable citizens of the name 
in that vicinity. 

Benjamin Chandlee, founder of the celebrated firm of 
Ohandlee & Sons, of Nottingham, manufacturers of clocks, 
surveyors' compasses, and mathematical instruments of all 
kinds, was the son of Benjamin Chandlee, the emigrant, born 
a,t Nottingham about 1728, and resided on his father's farm 
till it was sold on his removal, to Joseph Trimble, in 1741, 
when he took up his residence on the lot left by Mary Cottey 
to his mother, adjoining the meeting-house land. Here he 
lived, and died 9th month, 18th, 1794,. in the 69th 
year of his age. In 1749 he " proceeded in mar- 
riage with Mary Fallwell, daughter of Goldsmith Ed- 
ward Fallwell, of Wilmington, according to the good order 
established among Friends." Mary survived him, and after 
n life spent in the fullillment of Christian duty, died 10th 
month 6th, 1806, in the 78th year of her age, both being 
interred in East Nottingham Friends' graveyard. The em- 
inence attained by Benjamin Chandlee in the manufacture 
of scientific, mathematical, and chemical instruments, was 
probably not surpassed during his time by any other firm 
in America. After his decease the business was continued 
with credit and success by his sons, Isaac and Ellis, who 
inherited their father's taste and zeal, applying their inge- 
nuity to the production of most of the then known instru- 
ments used in the various measurements of time, the prop- 
erties of the magnet, electric currents, engraving, etc. 

Isaac Chandlee was a member of the Society of Friends, 
taking part in its deliberations and laboring quietly in the 


moral and religious duties assigned him. He lived unmar- 
ried, but having secured the services of Susanna Falhvell, 
his mother's sister, as liousekeeper, his domestic comforts 
were such as to occasion few regrets on that score. This 
excellent lady survived him, and died in the 2d month, 1816. 
Isaac departed this life, much regretted b}' his neighbors, 
the lOtli of the 12th month, 1813, aged 62 years. 

Ellis discontinued the business after the loss of his bro- 
ther. He had lived to see it rise, flourish and expire, and 
to note the departure of many of his generation. He died 
iibout the year 1820, leaving a family. 

Cottey Chandlee, son of Benjamin, the emigrant, born at 
Nottingham about 1713, and died there in 1807, aged about 
1)4 years, was a quiet, unobtrusive Quaker, and lived 

Joseph England was an approved minister in the Friends' 
Society ; son of " John England and Loue his wife ;" born 
in 1680 at Burton, on the river Trent, in Staffordshire. In 
1710 he married Margaret, daughter of Samuel and Joanna 
Orbel, born at Deal in Kent, in 1685. They settled first 
at Deal, but removed to Burton, whence, in 1752, they 
came to America, bringing their children, John, Samuel and 
Joanna, with them; Joseph and Lydia were born after their 
arrival. Joseph and Margaret departed this life, the latter 
in 1741 and the former iii 1748. The fine tract of land on 
North East Creek that they called "Springfield" is still oc- 
cupied in part by their descendants, and by Joseph Hamilton, 
whose residejhce is on the site of the original homestead. 

Among the early Friends who settled at Nottingham was 
Jehu Kay. He purchased a tract of land called "Hind- 
man's Legacy," which corners at Colora. The residence of 
the la^t.e John Tosh is upon it; also the depot and railroad 
built pigs at Colora. The Friends have a tradition that 
this F^ay was a descendant of the first male child born of 
Engliidi parents on the site of Philadelphia after it was laid 
out for J a city. In consequence, Penn presented him with a 



square in tlie new town. His appreciation of this present 
was f:iich that when he arrived at manliood lie exchanged 
it for a horse, saddle and hridle. 

The Browns, before spoken of, were noted as well for their 
zeal as njinisters as for their enterprise and industry. The 
mill on North East Creek, know^i as Hurford's mill, was 
built by them ; and one of the sons of James Brown, who 
married and lived near Principio iron works, had an inter- 
est in them as early as 1718, in which year he died. In 
1751 six of the Brown family, four men and two women, 
were ministers of Nottingham monthly meeting. A sub- 
stantial stone house built Ijy Messer Browai is now (1881) 
standing about a mile southwest of the Brick Meeting- 
house, and is occu})ied by the descendants of John Church- 
man, one of whom intermarried with a descendant of Messer 

Andrew Job established the lirst tavern in Nottingham on 
lot number 35, about 1710, in a small brick house which is 
believed to be yet standing a few^ rods north of the house 
formerly called the Blue Ball inn, of which it was doubtless 
the forerunner. The Blue Ball tavern being at the junction 
of the Lancaster County and Nottingham roads, which were 
the great thoroughlares between those places and New Cas- 
tle a century ago, was well patronized, and for a long time 
^vas one of the most celebrated hotels in the county. The 
Henry Reynolds who settled in Nottingham, is the rei)uted 
founder of the village of Rising Sun, the original name of 
which was Sumner Hill, by opening a public house near the 
X Roads in the village, if tradition is to be relied u})on, 
John White, Avho purchased lot number 29 from Robert 
Dutton about 1717, established at that time the X. Ke3'S 
tavern, near the Brick Meeting-house, on the spot wlv;\re his 
grandson, Abner AVhitc, many years after erected the JC. esent 
brick edifice. 

Although but a part of Welsh Tract is in Cecil Coiinty, it 
seems proper to give a short sketch of its early history^ 


because of its close proximity to our county and intimate 
connection with and influence upon it. It was granted to a 
colony of ^^'elsh Baptists in 1701. Talbot had disappeared 
some fifteen years before that time, and Penn was no doubt 
quite as anxious to interpose a barrier on the east of New 
Ireland by granting the Welsh their tract as he was to cut 
Susc|uehanna Manor in two by his grant of Nottingham to 
the Friends, which he did about three months afterwards. 
The three agents; who, for themselves and the company for 
which they acted, obtained the grant of the Welsh Tract 
from William Penn were at that time residents of Radnor 
Township, then in Chester County, Pennsylvania., where for a 
short time most of tlie original Welsh settlers on the Welsh 
Tract lived. The agreement between Penn and the agents of 
the Welsh stated tliat they were to have "thirty thousand 
acres, if there be so mucli vacant in the place hereafter ex- 
pressed. That is to say, behind the town of New Castle 
westward, extending northward and southward ; beginning 
to the westward, seven miles from the said town of New 
Castle, and extending upward and downward, as there shall 
be found room by regular, straight lines, as near as may be." 
The purchasers were to pa}^ £12 10s. for every hundred 
acres, and were to pay for 7,000 acres at the expiration of 
the two years next after the purchase, and for the remainder 
of the tract at the end of the three following years; and if 
they failed to make the payments at tlie time specified, they 
were to pay one English pound for every one hundred 
acres as a yearly rent till such time as the other payments 
were made. They were also to pay one Englisli silver 
shilling for every hundred acres as a yearly rent forever. 
The northeast corner of thq Welsh Tract is a few hundred 
yards northeast of the depot of the Philadelphia, Wilmington 
and Baltimore Railroad at Newark, Delaware, from which 
the north line extended 1,446 perches, or about four and a 
half miles, west to the northwest corner; from which the 
western line ran due south upwards of a mile, and tlien by 
a number of angles continued south, gradually bearing east, 


to some distance south of the Chesapeake and Delaware 
Canal. The southern and eastern boundaries were quite as 
irregular as the western, the only straight line being the 
northern one. The northwest corner of the tract was not 
very far from the Big Elk Creek,-and there is some evidence 
in the land records of New Castle County of that period 
that the land west of the upper part of the tract, and be- 
tween it and Big Elk Creek, was granted by Penn's agents, 
and for a time was considered as being part of New Castle 
County. The northwest corner of the tract is mentioned in 
the report of a commission which marked and bounded the 
lands of Samuel Wilson, who was the proprietor of the cele- 
brated place called Wild Cat Swamp in 1784, but owing to 
the division of the lands then marked and bounded, and 
the length of time since it was done, it is not easy to ascer- 
tain the location of the said corner at this time. A\'ild Cat 
Swamp has been known in modern times by the name of 
"Cat Swamp." It is located a short distance west of where 
the road from Elkton to Newark crosses Persimmon Run. 
Some of the residents of that locality had rather an unenvi- 
able reputation in former times, and at least two murders 
were committed on or near it. Owing to the bad reputation 
of the place it w^as hard to locate, and in time the name was 
applied to a large section of countr}' extending some miles 
in every direction from the original AV^ild Cat Swamj). 
This section of country now contains some of the best farms 
and the most industrious, enterprising and moral people in 
the county. 

Certainly one-eighth, possibly one-fourth, of the original 
Welsh Tract is now in Cecil County, a part of it being west 
of the boundary line located by Mason and Dixon more 
than half a century after it was granted by Penn to the 
Welsh. The object of Penn in granting this tract to the 
Welsh was the same he had in view when he granted Not- 
tingham to the Friends, viz., to extend his domain as near 
the navigable water of the Chesapeake Bay as he possibly 
could, and at the same time to circumscrilie the limits of 


Maryland as defined in its charter, or rather to counteract 
and destroy any riglit that Lord Baltimore might liave 
acquired hy virtue of the erection and occupation of the 
fort before spoken of, wliich Talbot had erected on the 
Christiana Creek. 

The Welsh found a few settlers on their tract when they 
took possession of it. These persons claimed under titles 
from Lord Baltimore, and the Welsh had some trouble in 
dispossessing them. One of them had planted a peach or- 
chard upon Iron Hill, and, as w^as very natural, he was loth 
to leave his home. The Welsh threatened to put some of 
these people in New Castle jail, and owing to causes hereto- 
fore mentioned. Lord Baltimore was unable to aid them in 
maintaining their rights, and the Welsh appear to have had 
an easy victory. 

Why the Welsh located where they did has long been a 
mystery, for much of the land is too swampy now to be of 
any use for any purpose, and it must have been much worse 
a hundred and ten years ago. But probably the land in 
Welsh tract was better than the land in Wales, and very 
likely some inducements were offered the Welsh of which 
we are ignorant. 

Prominent among the original settlers upon the Welsh 
Tract W'Cre the founders of the old Baptist Church uj^on Iron 
Hill, which was founded one hundred and seventy-seven 
years ago by residents of Pembroke and Carmarthenshire, 
South Wales. 

The original entry in the church record is as follows: "In 
the year 1701 some of us who were members of the churches 
of Jesus Christ in the counties of Pembroke and Carmar- 
thenshire, South W^ales, in Great Britain, professing believers 
baptism, laying on of hands, election, and final perseverance 
in grace, were moved and encouraged to come to these parts, 
viz., Pennsylvania, and after obtaining leave of the church, 
it seemed good to the Lord and to us, that we should be 
formed into church order, as we were a sufficient number 
and as one of us, Tliomas (iriffith, was a minister;" wliich 


Avas accomplished, and they brou<j:]it letters commendatory 
with tliem, so that if they met with any others of like faith, 
they might be received by them as brethren in Christ. 

Among the names of this pioneer band of Baptists are 
those of Thomas Griflith, Enoch Morgan, ]\Iary Johns, Mar- 
garet Matthias, and James David. In June, 1701, this little 
band of Christians sailed from Milford Haven in the ship 
James and Mary, and landed in Philadelphia the September 
following. After their arrival the old church record states 
the}"^ lived much scattered for about a year, but like good 
Christians they were not forgetful of the apostolic injunc- 
tion, but kept up their weekly and monthly meetings. 
During this time their number was increased by the arrival 
of twenty-tAvo other members, among whom are the names 
of Reese and Catharine Ryddarcks, Peter Chamberline, and 
Thomas Jones, all of whom, except the first, have left de- 
scendants who yet reside within the bounds of this ancient 

Reese Ryddarcks lies buried in the old church-yard be- 
longing to the church on Iron Hill. Tradition saith he was 
an officer and served in Cromwell's army during the trouble- 
some times that preceded the trial and execution of Charles 
I. A modest and unassuming tombstone marks the last 
resting-place of the hero of many battles, who sleeps his 
last sleep on the northern slope of the Iron Hill, near Avhich 
the murmuring waters of the Christiana have sung his re- 
quiem for uTOre than a century and three quarters. He 
seems to have been a man of distinction, for his tombstone 
has on it a Latin inscription, the only Latin one in the 
graveyard. It is as follows: 





AN. DOM. 1707 



of which the following is a translation: ''Reese Ryddarcks, 
born at Hanwenog, in the county of Cardigan, and was 
buried in the year A. D. 1707, being 87 j^ears of age." 

This church was the third Baptist church founded in 
America. The present meeting-house was built in 1747, 
and is yet in a good state of preservation. It is said that 
the floor and ceiling joists of this building were taken from 
the first house, Avhich was a log structure and stood near 
the site of the present house. The bricks used in the con- 
struction of this old house were imported from England, 
and transported from New Castle, where they were landed, 
in panniers upon mules. The difficulty of obtaining bricks 
probably caused the adoption of the peculiar style of archi- 
tecture that j)re vailed at this time in this country. The 
gables of this and some other old churches stop short of the 
height of the apex of the roof, a small part of which is 
pitched so as to throw the water falling upon it towards the 
end instead of the side of the building. This peculiarity 
gives the buildings a curious and unique appearance. Many 
of the original settlers on the southern part of Welsh Tract 
were Presbyterians, whose religious opinions and doctrine 
differed but little, except in the ordinance of baptism, from 
that of their countrymen who settled on the northern part 
of it. These Presbyterians were the founders of the Penca- 
der Presbyterian Church at Glasgow, which in organization 
is probably nearly as old as the Baptist church at Iron Hill. 

David Evans and William Davis, two of the' persons who 
acted as agents in procuring the grant of the Welsh Tract 
from Penn, are believed to have been Presbyterians. At 
what time they erected their tirst house of worship is not 
known. The Welsh did not remain long at Radnor, where 
they first stopped, but some of them soon afterwards located 
at Trediifrein, in the great valley of Chester County, about 
the same time that others of them settled upon the Welsh 

The Ri'V. David Evans was the first pastor of the Pen- 


cader Presbyterian Church. He was a native of "Wales, and 
a son of the David Evans before referred to. He com- 
menced preaching without license or authority, but was 
j)romptly stopped by the Presbytery of Philadelphia, in 
whose jurisdiction the Pencader Church then was, which 
ordered him to cease preaching for one year and devote 
himself to study under the direction of one of the ministers 
of that body. He obeyed their order and went to Yale Col- 
lege, where he was graduated in 1713. He was licensed the 
next year, and had charge of the united congregations of 
Pencader and Trediffrein until 1720. It seems strange, now 
when churches are so near together, that two churches so 
far apart should be in the charge of the same pastor. But 
the pioneers of Presbyterianism were men that delighted in 
missionary labor, and wore prepared to make any sacrifice 
or undergo any hardship in order to preach the gospel to 
those who then resided in the wilderness. It is said of some 
of them that they spent one-fourth of their time in work of 
this kind. They were eminentl}'- devoted and pious men^ 
who, with a zeal and energy not unlike his who heralded 
the coming of our Saviour in the wilderness of Judea^ 
were ever ready to spend tlieir strength in their Master's 
service. To have ofiered them a vacation would have been 
to have offered them an insult. They fully recognized the 
fact that the warfare in which they were engaged would ad- 
mit of no truce and would only end when their Captain 
called them to go up higher ; hence it was not strange that 
this Welsh preacher, who probably was the only Presby- 
terian preacher in the colonies that spoke the Welsh lan- 
guage, should have charge of two churches fifty miles apart^ 
and that he endured the hardships and labor incident to the 
faithful perlbrmance of his duty. David Evans was a man 
of much learning and al)ility, though eccentric and high- 
spirited. He was the first stated clerk of the Presbytery of 
New Castle, and was pastor of the l*encaderand Trcdifl'rein 
churches for about six vcars. His successor was the Rev. 


Thomas Evans, who was a native of Wales and a relative 
of the first pastor. His pastorate extended over a period of 
about twenty years, until his death, which occurred in 1742. 
He was an excellent scholar and had an academy at Pen- 
cader. Near the close of his pastorate the Pencader Church 
was rent in twain by the controversy that grew out of the 
preaching of Whitefield. This division in the church led 
to the organization of the Presbyterian church at the Head 
of Elk, now Elkton. The gospel was preached in the Welsh 
language to the Pencader congregation till 1770. The same 
language is said to have been used for nearly a quarter of 
a century later in the Baptist church. 

This brief sketch of Welsh Tract would be incomplete 
without a short reference to Rev. Samuel Davies, who was 
born there on November 3d, 1723. He received his classical 
education under the tuition of Rev. Able Morgan, a Welsh 
Baptist minister, who had received his education from Rev. 
Thomas Evans, at the academy at Pencader. He was of 
Welsh extraction, became President of Princeton College, 
and was one of the most learned and eloquent divines of the 
times in which he lived. He was the pioneer who planted 
Presbyterianism in Virginia, and was sent, at the request 
of the Synod of New York, to Europe to solicit contributions 
in aid of Princeton College. He was a true patriot, and like 
all the early Presbyterian divines, he was always found on 
the side of civil and religious liberty. 

Pencader, which name is now applied to one of the Hun- 
dreds in New Castle County, is a Welsh name, and is said 
to mean "the highest seat." If that is the meaning of the 
word, it was probably applied to the Hundred because Iron 
Hill, which is so high as to have been called by the early 
Sweedish settlers "agreed and liigli mountain" is in the north- 
ern part of it. 

Iron Hill is so called from the large quantities of iron ore 
which it contains; and it is not improbable that the first 
settlers were induced to locate on the Welsh Tract that thr-v 


might be near this deposit of useful metal. They had a 
furnace and forge in operation on the Cliristiana Creek, near 
the mine, about 1725. Abundant evidence is yet extant to 
show that their method of mining differed from that now 
in vogue, in this, that they sunk a shaft till they struck a 
vein of the ore, and then followed it for long distances, many 
feet under the earth's surface. 

A few years ago the miners employed in the ore pit on 
Iron Hill, came upon one of the galleries made by the 
Welsh miners, and discovered a rude shovel and pick and 
a small tallow candle, the wick of which was made of 
flaxen yarn. The candle, though probably a century old, 
was in a good state of preservation, but the shovel and pick 
were so bad)}' rusted that the former could be readily picked 
to pieces with the thumb and finger. 


ChaiactcisticsoCthe early settlers — Aup^nstine llermen succeeded by his 
son Casparus — Account of Casparus Heinieu — Farms on Bohemia Manor 
— Death of Casparus ITermeii — Succeeded by his son Ephraim Augustine 
— Sketch of Ephriani Augustine llermen — His wives and children^John 
Lawson marries Mary llermen — Peter Bouchell marries Catharine Her- 
men — I'eter Lawson — Catharine (Hermen) Bouchell — Ifer death — Joseph 
Ensor — (Quarrel about the possession of Bohemia Manor — Joseph Ensor, 
Jr. — Division of Bohemia Manor — Death of Peter Lawson. 

It is woi'thy of note that, although several of the centres 
of civilization in Cecil County were settled two centuries 
ago, the manners, customs and religion of the original set- 
tlers have been transmitted from generation to generation 
of their descendants ; and although not as distinctly marked 
now as they were at first, still they are 3'et easily distin- 
guished and readily noticed by the close observer. 

Augustine llermen and George Talbot differed in many 
respects from each other, but they were not more different 
than those who now live upon their respective manors. The 
Bohemian and the Hollander; the Irish Catholic; the En- 
glish Episcopalian; the Scotch-Irish Presbyterian; and the 
meek and unassuming (Quaker, have each left the well-de- 
fined impression of their nationality and religion upon that 
part of the county where they settled. With few exceptions, 
wherever a church was planted by the early settlers, one of 
the same denomination yet exists. The old Catholic Church 
in Sassafras Neck, which is called Bohemia, though it is 
some miles soutli of Bohemia River, the Episcopal churches 
of St. Ste})hcn and St. Mary Ann, and the Nottingham 
and Rock Presbyterian churches, are notable examples 
in proof of the truth of thi-; assertion. The early extinction 


of the Labadists is an exception ; but they were more mer- 
cenary than religious, and their community, like most sys- 
tems of religion which have been founded upon a false basis, 
having had nothing but the cupidity of its devotees to hold 
it together, soon disintegrated and iell to pieces. It is also 
worthy of note that many of the leading families of the 
county at the present time can trace their connection back 
to the leading families ot two hundred years ago. This is 
especially the case with the descendants of Ilermen, many 
of whom have occupied positions of honor and responsi- 

It would be neither interesting nor profitable to give the 
exact date of the smaller grants of land in the county. It 
suffices to state that with the exception of a few tracts along 
the Sassafras River and the Elk Neck, which were taken up 
about the time that Augustine Hermen settled upon Bohe- 
mia Manor, the other portions of the county were not exten- 
sively settled until after the beginning of the seventeenth 
century. Probably nearly all of the land in the county had 
been patented previous to 1750, tliough much of it still re- 
mained uncultivated. 

The reader's attention is now directed to the conclusion 
of the history of Bohemia Manor. The time of the death 
of Augustine Hermen, as before stated, is unknown, but it 
probably occurred in 168G. His oldest son, Ephraim George, 
survived him only a short time, when the vast estate which 
his father had been at such pains to acquire passed into the 
possession of liis second son Casparus, Avho, in accordance 
with the will of his father, assumed the name of Augustine. 
He took possession of the Manor house on the 3d day of 
June, 1G90, but did not long enjoy the lienor of being Lord 
of r>ohemia Ahmor. A law enacted in 1G97 by the colonial 
legislature, empowering his widow Catharine to dispose of 
some of his real estate, shows that he died about that time. 
It is probable that there was some contention about the 
occupation of the Manor house, for there may be seen among 


the papers in the Hermen portfolio in possession of the 
Historical Society of Maryland, a sheet of paper with this 
certificate upon it : 

" Possession of the Manor house of Bohemia Manor de- 
livered by Daniel O'Howiy, the tenant in possession, to 
Casparus Hermen, the lawful and undoubted heir of Augus- 
tine Hermen, lately deceased, before us, this third day of 
June, 1690. 

" William Dare, 
" Edward Jones, 
" John Thompson.'V 

Immediately after this is the following entry on the same 
sheet : 

"Quiet possession of the Manor house of Bohemia Manor 
accepted and received, this 3rd day of June, 1690. 

" Casparus Augustine Hermen. 

"In presence of us — Wm. Dare, Edward Jones, John 
Thompson, clerk to the Commissioners of Cecil county." 

The two first-named gentlemen were no doubt justices of 
the quorum, wiio with the clerk had been authorized to 
invest the new lord of the manor with the rights and fran- 
chises belonging to him. He represented this county in the 
legislature in 1694, and in the same year entered into aeon- 
tract with the General Assembly for the erection of the parisli 
church, school-house and State-house at Annapolis ; the 
seat of government having been removed from St. Mary's to 
that place a short time before. He was tlirice married ; 
first to Susannah Huyberts, secondly in New York, August 
23d, 1682, to Anna Reyniers, and thirdly in Cecil County, 
August 31st, 1696, to Catharine Williams. He left three 
daughters, Susanna, Augustina,and Catharine, and one son, 


Ephraim Augustine, to whom the manor descended by the 
terms of the deed of enfeoffment gi\-en to Ephraim George 
by his father shortly before his death, and whicli has been 
referred to before ; and also by virtue of his grandfather's 
will, which entailed the Manor upon his descendants. 

The land records of the county warrant us in believing 
that, at the time of Casparus' death, the Manor was but 
very sparsely settled, for up to 1733 seventy-five plantations 
had been sold or leased by the Hermens, most of which 
were disposed of by Ephraim Augustine, the grandson of 
the founder of the ]\Ianor. A few of these plantations were 
in Elk Neck and elsewhere, for Casparus was not gxcmj)t 
from the mania for the acquisition of land that almost 
always attacked the leading men of that time, and had ac- 
quired a thousand acres — part of St. John's Manor, which 
was located in the above named place, and another large 
tract between the Conowingo and Octoraro creeks, in the 
Eighth district. This tract was called the " Levies." It con- 
tained upwards of a thousand acres and included the farm 
of William Preston, which for that reason he calls "Her- 
mendale." The legal papers of this period contain many 
allusions to hawking and luinting, fishing and fowling, 
wild cattle, etc. And the considerations in many of them 
refer to the customs of manors in England. These leases 
were made for three lives or during tlie lives of three per- 
sons then living, and tlie tenants were to demean them- 
selves according to the manners and customs of tenants of 
manors in old England. 

In 1715 one of these farms on the ]\Ianor was leased for 
£1 15s. current money of Maryland, or value thereof in 
good, sound, bright tobacco, winter wlieat, barley or Indian 
corn, at the current merchant price in Maryland. Tlie rent 
was generally made payable at the Manor house in the 
month of November. In many cases a good fat capon or 
two dung-hill fowls were exacted of the tenant as part of 
the annual rent. One of tlie most curious and suggestive 


considerations mentioned in these leases, is that in the lease 
for the tract on which Port Hermen stands. It was executed 
in 1713, and the consideration was one ear of Indian corn, 
payable annually, if demanded in tlie month of November, 
and the further consideration that the lessee was to "keep 
two hunting hounds, that were to be part of the cry of 
hounds that the lord of the manor then kept." This was a 
low rent for 160 acres of land, but probably the tenant was 
expected to devote some of his time to the entertainment of 
his lordship, and it might have cost him more in time and 
trouble than at first sight is apparent. 

Casparus Hermen died in 17^7, and, as before stated, was 
succeeded by his son Ephraim Augustine, who was a minor 
at the time of his father's death, and who arrived at matu- 
rity about the year 1713. He seems to have been a man of 
business, and represented the county in the legislature in 
1715,'l716,1728 and 1731. He died in 1735. His personal 
property was appraised at £875, and consisted of a large 
amount of household goods and eighteen negro slaves. His 
manor plantation, consisting of 350 acres of land, is repre- 
sented as being in a ver}" bad condition. The house and 
out-buildings were in a dilapidated condition, the fences 
were down, and judging from the return of the appraisers,, 
wdiicli is recorded among the land records of the county, it 
must have presented a forlorn and doleful appearance. 
The land was divided into four fields, and there was on it 
an orchard of about 450 old apple trees. The rental value 
placed upon it was only £10, Maryland currency, after the 
quit rent was paid. The disparity between the value of 
the personal and real estate is very notable, and it is more 
than likely that the proprietor of the Manor had neglected 
his estate while attending to the public business, and sacri- 
ficed his individual interest to the public good. The miser- 
able condition of his plantation was probably owing to the 
existence of slavery and tlie baneful effect which invariably 
followed its introduction. He was twice married and left 


174 Ili.-IOKV (.r (KCIL COUNTY. 

two daugliters, AFary and Catharine, by liis first wife. The 
name of his first wife, and also the family name of his 
second wife, are unknown. The given name of his second 
wife was Araminta. Tlie records of the county show that 
she was married at least four times ; first to Hermen, 
secondly to Joseph Young, thirdly to William Alexander, 
and fourthly to Cleorge Catto. She is said to have been very 
aristocratic and haughty. She lived to a good old age and 
was buried in the lot a short distance southeast of the 
dwelling-house, near Elkton, now occupied by Daniel Brat- 
ton. By his second wife he had one son, who survived his 
father, but died before reaching maturity. 

A paper in the possession of the Maryland Historical 
Society, but which has no date upon it, shows that E. A. 
Hermen sought to obtain the king's dissent to tlie act of the 
legislature of the colony confirming his grandfather's will. 
This will, to which reference has been made before, was 
properly proved and recorded, but some malicious person 
tore out the leaves of the book u{)on which it was written. 
A copy of the will being afterwards produced, it was legal- 
ized by an act of the colonial legislature and admitted to 
record. Ephraim's object probably was to acquire a fee 
simple title to the Manor, as he did to Little Bohemia, as 
iMiddle Neck was then called, in 1724, by an act of the 
legislature passed at his solicitation, and which broke the 
cjitail of that part of his grandfather's estate. There is 
reason to think that his motive was a mercenary one, but it 
}»robably would have saved his family much trouble had he 
succeeded in accomplishing his purpose, as the history of 
the disputed succession to the Manor will show. Mary, or 
Mary Augustine Hermen, as she is .sometimes called, because 
she assumed the Christian name of her great-grandfather, 
was of very weak mind; indeed, if tradition is true, she was 
almost, if not altogether, an idiot. Now it so happened tliat 
a cunning and designing lawyer, one John Law.son, made 
the acquaintance of this idiotic girl and fell in love, not 

HISTOKY OF (:E(,'IL (orXTY. 175 

with ]ier, but with her fortune, and resolved to marr}^ ht-r 
that he might obtain it. In order to accompHsh his pur- 
pose he sought every opportunity to be thrown in contact 
witli the young hidy, and was in the habit of taking her 
carriage-riding with him for long distances. Nor was this 
all, for upon these occasions, in order to secure the success 
of his well-laid scheme, he taught her to repeat, much like 
a parrot would have done, the proper answers to such ques- 
tions as he believed a jury would ask her when empaneled 
to ascertain whether or not she was compos mentis. It is 
highly probable, indeed it is almost certain, that during 
this time she was under the care of her stepmother, Mrs. 
Alexander, who probably was not cognizant of Lawson's 
nefarious scheme to entrap her, and who, if she was, may 
have been gratified with the prospect of being relieved of 
the responsibility of taking care of her. Owing to the 
strenuous and persistent efforts of the designing Lawson, 
the 3'oung lady was so well instructed when the proper time 
arrived, which was probably when she reached maturity 
and was about to take possession of her share of the Manor, 
that she answered the questions propounded by the jury so 
intelligently that they pronounced her to be of sound mind, 
and she was legally invested with one-half of the rents and 
profits of the Manor. Lawson soon afterward sought another 
opportunity to take her out carriage-riding. During this 
ride he and the heiress were married, and the deep-laid 
scheme that put him in possession of one-half of the princely 
domain that Augustine Mermen obtained in order to per- 
petuate his name was successfully accomplished. This hap- 
pened some time previous to the year 1751, for the records 
of the countv show that in that vear Peter Augustine 
Bouchell, who was of an ancient family that came to the 
Manor while the Labadists were in v the heyday of their 
power and prosperity, and who had married (latharine 
Hermen, the sister of the simple-minded woman, and John 
Augustine Lawson, jointly leased several i)lantations on the 


These two persons, the reader will observe, both assumed 
the name of " Augustine," in accordance with the will of 
their wives' great-grandfather. Young Hermen, the half- 
brother of these ladies, being dead, they Avere, or were sup- 
posed to be, the sole and rightful heirs of the Manor, which 
then was divided into upwards of fifty plantations, most of 
which had been leased by former proprietors for long terms 
of years, for what now would be considered very low rents. 
These rents were generally made payable at the Manor 
house, semi-annually, at Christmas and Whitsuntide. All, 
or a large number of them, were payable in grain or tobacco, 
and frequently a pair of good fat capons or dung-hill fowls 
were added as part of the rent, so that the table of the lord 
of the Manor might be well supplied with poultry. 

The widow of Ephraim A. Hermen (then ]\Irs. Catto) was 
living at this time and was in the enjoyment of her share 
of the income derived from the Manor. During the life of 
Catharine, her husband, Peter Bouchell, (as appears from a 
bill filed in the. court of chancery, by Joseph Ensor, in 1760, 
a copy of which is in possession of the ^Maryland Historical 
Society), received the rents from the lessees of the IManor 
plantations, and kei)t the accounts incident to the business 
transactions between himself and the other heirs, whose 
agent he seems to have been, and the tenants. 

John Lawson and Peter l^ouchcll and their wives Avere in 
the enjoyment of the Manor as joint tenants for several 
years, and no doubt had a fine time; but the designing 
Lawson Avas at length brought face to face with an enemy, 
in combating wiiom his legal knowledge and cunning 
availed him nothing. He seems to have done the best he 
could to secure the property he so meanly acquired to his 
brother Peter Lawson. This Peter Lawson had received a 
power of attorney from his brother John and wife in 1751, 
which empowered him to transact all business appertaining 
to their share of the ISIanor, and it is probable that he con- 
tinued to be their attorney until the time of his brother's 


death. John Lawson's will is dated September od, 1755. 
It "was admitted to probate on the 13th of the following- 
October. He devised all his property, real and personal, to 
his brother Peter, and the records of the Orphan's Court show 
show that his wife gave notice on the day his will was proved, 
that she w'ould not abide by it, and that she demanded 
her third of the property, agreeable with the act of Assembly, 
from ■which it is inferred that her husband had presumed 
to dispose of her share of the Manor in his will. On the 4th 
of December, 1755, this simple-minded Mary Lawson leased 
her share of the Manor to the aforesaid Peter Lawson* " for 
21 years, or during the lives of Judith Bassett and Michael 
and Richard Bassett, her sons." This is the first reference 
in the records of the county to Richard Bassett, who became 
a distiijguished lawj'er, and was a member of the conven- 
tion that framed the Constitution of the United States ; after- 
wards a member of Congress and Governor of the State of 
Delaware. He was also a warm friend of Francis Asbury, 
and a leading and influential member of the Methodist 

On the day following the date of this lease, the widow of 
John Lawson gave her brother-in-law, Peter Lawson, a spe- 
cial power of attorney to act for her in all business matters 
pertaining to the management of her share of the Manor. 
Li this instrument slie convenanted not to interfere with 
him in the management of her estate; from which it seems 
plain that she had unlimited confidence in him, or that she 
was certainly tlie simple-minded mortal that tradition states 
her to have been. At all events, Peter Lawson seems to have 
been as securely invested with one undivided half of the 

* Peter Lawson was never marri^; about fifty years previous to 1787 
he went to live with tlie Eassetts, who were his relatives and who kept 
a tavern at Bohemia Ferry, unci continued to reside with them for many 
years, until tlie time of IVIrs. Bassetfs death. For some reason Mr. Bas- 
sett deserted his wife, and Lawson seems to have acted as clerk in the 
tavern. See Cecil Co., Land Records, book 17, page 273. 



Manor as cireuiiistances iifiniitled Ijiiij to be. He is de- 
scribed as "inn-holder" in tlie lease from Mary Lawson, 
which indicates that lie had succeeded tlie Bassetts as pro- 
prietor of the tavern at Bohemia Ferry, which still continued 
to be a place of much importance. A short time after this, 
in 1760, Peter Bayard, who was probably inspector of tobac- 
co, refused to repair the inspection house at the ferry, that 
place being one of the places designated for the insjiection 
of that staple, which was then cultivated to a considerable 
extent upon the Manor and in that part of the county south 
of the Bohemia River. 

Catharine Hermen, the reader will recollect, married Peter 
Bouchell. She died about the year 1752, leaving two daugh- 
ters, Mary and Ann. Mary married Joseph Ensorin 1757 ; 
and Ann, being quite young, was raised by her grand- 
mother, Mary Holland. This is so stated in a bill filed in 
chancery to compel Joseph Ensor (who had been appointed 
her guardian in 1757) to pay her her share of the rents. This 
Mary Holland must have been the mother of Peter Bou- 
chell, who had married a gentleman by the name of Hol- 

Joseph Ensor was a member of the Ensor family who set- 
tled jn Baltimore County very early in the history of the col- 
ony. At this time he was called Joseph Ensor, merchant, of 
Baltimore County. The family at one time owned a large tract 
of land just east of Jones' Falls, upon which part of the city 
of Baltimore has been built. Joseph Ensor is believed to 
have resided in North Elk Parish in 1760, for the birth of 
his eldest son, Augustine Hermen Ensor, may yet be seen 
upon the register of that parish, and was recorded in that 
year. In 1700 " he and his wife and Ann Bouchell, an in- 
fant by the said Joseph Ensor, her next friend," instituted a 
suit in chancery against Peter J.rawson and Mary Lawson, 
alleging that they and John Lawson. for a long time had 
collected the rents of the Manor, as had also Peter lk)uchell, 
and that Peter r.ouclirll had kei)t a book of memorandums 


of the rents received from the said Manor and leased lands, 
and "which rents amounted to the sum of £1,000 or some 
other laro-e sum of money, besides a very great number of 
dung-hill fowls received as rent on the said leases," and that 
the said ]\Iarv Lawson had actually felled, cut down, and 
carried away, of!" and from the Manor plantation sundry 
and great quantities of wood and timber, insomuch that 
there is not left on that plantation any quantity of timber 
to support the same, nor fire-wood sufficient therefor for any 
number of years, etc.; praying that they might be compelled 
to make discovery of the book kept by Bouchell and of the 
rents since received, and be enjoined to desist from the 
waste of the timber, etc.; to which the defendant replied at 
the April term of court, 1701, that on the death of Epliraim, 
their half brother, Catharine and Mary had possession of 
the said Manor, claiming and taking the same in right and 
quality of joint tenants in tail in remainder, according to 
express words and stipulations of Augustine Hermen's will; 
that the two sisters continued to hold the Manor till the 
death of Catharine, when her husband Peter Bouchell, took 
his wife's part as tenant by courtesy, and continued to re- 
ceive one half the rent during his life, and that no parti- 
tion of the Manor had ever been made; that the joint ten- 
ancy continued to exist till the time of the death of Catlia- 
rine, and that Mary was entitled to hold by right of sur- 
vivorship, and that they were not obliged to make any dis- 
covery, etc. In other words, that Mary Lawson was the 
heir of her sister, Catharine Bouchell's part of the Manor. 
As for the rents, arrearages and profits, the dung-hill 
fowls, etc., and the book of memorandums, they, the said 
defendants, demurred thereto, alleging that, inasmuch as 
the plaintiffs had no title to the Manor they were not re- 
sponsible lor those things, and furthermore that the plain- 
tiffs liad instituted three several suits at common law for 
the recovery of the rents, etc. The demurrer was not sus- 
tained, and the cause remained in court till the September 
term, 1703. when it was stricken ofFtlie docket. 


Tn 1762 Ensor and wife suffered a recovery of all the 
Manor, the effect of which was to break the entail and give 
them a fee-simple title to the half of the Manor claimed by 
Mrs. Ensor under the will of her great-great-grandfather. 
Mrs. Lawson, who was no doubt instigated by her brother- 
in-law, Peter Lawson, some time afterwards, probably ill 
1765, resorted to the same legal proceeding, with a like re- 
sult as to lier share of the Manor. It is worthy of remark 
that Samuel Paca, one of the signers of the Declaration of In- 
dependence, once resorted to this legal fiction or process in 
order to effect a recovery, and by that means became in- 
vested with a fee-simple in that part of the Manor known 
as Town Point. Mary Lawson had resorted to the same 
proceeding in 1760, but Ensor resisted her in the provin- 
cial court, where the proceedings were had, and the 
court, after a full hearing of the witnesses on both sides, 
was unanimously of the opinion that she was not capa- 
ble of "suffering a recovery, by reason of her insanity 
, of mind." However, in 1766 she gave Michael and Richard^ 
Bassett a deed for a thousand acres of land each for the 
small consideration of " five shillings, and on account of the 
love and natural affection she bore toward the said Michael 
and Richard Bassett, the sons of her loving cousin, Judith 
Bassett." This fact indicates that Judith Bassett was a descen- 
dant of Judith Hermen, the second daughter of the founder 
of the Manor. On the 9th of December, 1766, she executed 
a deed in favor of Peter Lawson for her undivided half of 
the Manor, excepting the 2,000^ acres which she ha<l con- 
veyed to her cousins the Bassetts. The consideration named 
in tliis deed is five shillings and an annuity of £100 Maryland 
currency. One of the witnesses to this deed was George Catto, 
her stepmother's husband. This deed effectually accom- 
plished what John Lawson's will had failed to do, and per- 
fected that which the Lawsons had vainly tried for many 
years to accomplish, namely, the acquisition of Mary Law- 
son's share of Bohemia Manor. 


The before-mentioned recoveries were made without any 
reference to the deed of enfeoffment given to Ephraim George 
Hermen, by the founder of the Manor, on the 9th of August, 
1684 ; indeed it is stated in a legal opinion by Thomas 
Johnson, Jr., a distinguished lawyer of that day, which may 
be seen among the Hermen papers now in the possession of 
the Historical Society, that the said deed was not known to 
be in existence when the aforesaid transactions took place. 
The discovery of this deed put a new phase upon the mat- 
ter; and Ensor, following the advice of Daniel Delaney, 
another eminent counselor, who was of the opinion that the 
descendants of Casparus Hermen's daughters were legally 
entitled to the Manor by virtue of the provision of this deed 
of enfeoffment, set to work to hunt them up and purchase 
their rights. 

This view of the case makes it necessary to refer to the 
daughters of Casparus Plermen, who the reader will recol- 
lect was tlie grandfather of Ann Bouchell and Mary Law- 
son. This gentleman, as before stated, left three daughters, 
Susanna, Augustina and Catharine. The first named mar- 
ried James Creagear, the second Roger Larramore, the third 
Abel A^an Burkelow. Each of them was dead at this time, 
but two of them had left heirs. The heirs of Susanna Gra- 
venrod* lived in New Castle, tijose of Catharine Van Burke- 
low in Virginia. But Joseph Ensor seems to have been a 
man of determination and he sought them out, and in 
order to make his claim to the Manor doubly sure, he pur- 
chased any right they had or were supposed to have in it. 
It is curious to observe the old English custom that still 
prevailed when these purchases were consummated. A 
large number of these heirs constituted Samuel Beedle, 
(Biddle) their attorney, to invest Ensor with possession of 

* The jreuealogy of the Graveurods has nut been ascertained, but they 
were evidently the descendants of one of the daughters of Casparus Htr- 


the Manor. And it is shown by papers in the possession of 
the Maryland Historical Society, that " Samuel Beedle 
attorney for Catharine Gravenrod, having taken possession 
and livery of all Bohemia Manor, or of some part thereof 
in the name of the whole, for Catharine Gravenrod, did 
deliver the same to Josej)h Ensor, on the 27th day of Feb- 
ruary, 1767." 

The Van Burkelows have been mentioned before, and it 
may be interesting to our readers to know that they were 
the descendants of Herman Van Burkelow, who lived with 
the Labadists in 1683, at which time he was twenty-one years of 
age. He was probably one of the original colony. The name 
has been applied to a small stream on the Manor now called 
Burkalow Creek. After Ensor purchased the rights of the 
heirs of Casparus Hermen, he, as was very natural, wished 
to get possession of all his lands. To this end he con.sulted 
his attorne}^ Daniel Delancy, and made the following state- 
ment : " Col. Peter Bayard and Dr. Bouchell were guardians 
to my wife and Ann Boucliell, her sister. After their father's 
decease, thty kept the Manor plantation one year, and then 
divided it with Mrs. Lawson and jNlrs. Catto, who had lier 
dower in it." " Catto rented his wife's part to Lawson and 
kept it till Mrs. Catto's death, and now refuses to give up 
the half of her part to me, and has, ever since he had her 
part, stopped up the road to the Manor house. I want to 
know how I shall get possession of that part that falls to us 
at Mrs. Catto's death and get the road opened," etc. 

This was in 1766, and it seems to indicate that Mrs. 
Catto was dead at the time. Delaney recommended a re- 
sort to legal proceedings, in the prosecution of which Ensor 
was probably successful. In 1768 Joseph Ensor seems, after 
long continued litigation and much expense, to have been 
in the undisturbed possession of one undivided half of the 
Manor, for in that year he mortgaged it and some other 
land in Baltimore County, a part of which was called by the 
curious name of "Seed Ticks Plenty," to Charles Carroll, of 


Carrollton, for the sum of £3,191. In 1774 he became 
afflicted with the mania that often prevailed in the early 
history of the county of building a town at Court House 
Point. But the land was heavily mortgaged, and no person 
would invest in town lots so encumbered. Ensor accord- 
ingly induced Carroll to release twenty-five acres at the 
aforesaid point for this purpose, and gave him his bond con- 
ditioned for the execution of a mortgage on the ground 
rents of the town lots, which were to be leased for ninety- 
nine years, renewable forever for a yearl}^ rent of not less 
than forty shillings per acre. 

This brings us to the troublesome time of the Revolution, 
when the people of this country were no doubt thinking 
more about defending the towns they already had than they 
were of building others, and Ensor met with no better suc- 
cess than his predecessors. Joseph Ensor and wife were the 
parents of at least three children, the oldest of whom bore the 
Christian name of Augustine Hermen,and was accidentally 
killed, while celebrating his twenty-first birthday, by being 
thrown from his horse while fox hunting, on Januar}' 28th, 
1781. His other son, whose name was Joseph, was an idiot, 
with probably still less sense than his grand-aunt, Mary 
Hermen. He is said, by old residents of the Manor, whose 
parents were well acquainted with him, to have been very 
fond of dogs, and to have always been accompanied b}' 
several of them. He had a habit peculiar to many simple- 
minded persons of wandering about in an almost nude con- 
dition, without any definite object in view, and frequently 
slept in fodder houses, which were rude structures much in 
vogue in those days, built of poles and covered with corn 
fodder. Frequently in the mornings, after spending a 
night in one of these houses, he would awake, and finding 
the dogs had left him, in search of food, he would call them 
in stentorian tones and a curious nasal twang that could be 
heard for a long distance. Simple though he was, he knew 
that he was lord of the Manor, or at least the heir of one- 


fourth of it, and it is said he woukl often draw a circle 
round him on the ground with his cane, and defy any per- 
son' who disputed his riglit to the title to cross it. Joseph 
Ensor's other child, Mary, married Colonel Edward Oldham, 
who was an oflicer of great bravery and much distinction, 
and who served in the Continental army under General 
Greene, in the campaign in the Carolinas. 

The time of Ensor's death is uncertain, but it occurred 
about the close of the Revolutionary war. He lived on the 
Manor for some years previous to his death, and was prob- 
ably buried there. Peter Lawson is believed to have oc- 
cupied the Manor house near Bohemia Ferry, as before 
stated, at the time of his death. In 1791 he sold one un- 
divided third part of his share of the Manor to Richard 
Bassett and Dr. Joshua ^Clayton for £2,300. He had 
previously sold to Bassett a ])lantation on the Manor, con- 
taining 450 acres, for the small sum of twenty shillings. A slip 
of be seen among the Hermen papers, in possession 
of the Maryland Historical Society, contains several mem- 
orandums, among which it is stated that he was at that 
time " deranged in his understandings," which is not 
strange, considering that the greater part of his life seems 
to have been spent in litigation. 

Richard Bassett, the reader will recollect, had received a 
gift of one thousand acres of the Ahiiior iVom Mary Law- 
son, which in addition to the portions purchased from 
Lawson, probably was equivalent in extent to the share of 
Mary Lawson. 

About the close of the Revolutionary war Charles Car- 
roll instituted legal proceedings to foreclose his mortgage 
upon Joseph Ensor's share of the Manor. But the Manor 
had never been divided, and Ensor, who was then dead, had 
during his lifetime continually resisted a [»artition of it. 
Part of it being in Delaware, it is easy to comprehend the 
difficulty of foreclosing a mortgage under such circumstances, 
but the legal talent of that day was equal to the emergency, 
and according! V, in 1780, the legislature of ^Laryland j^assed 


ail act empowering the Court of Chancery to appoint two 
commissioners to act in conjunction witli two others to be 
appointed by the Court of Chancery of Delaware (the legis- 
lature of which State passed a like act in 1790) to divide 
the Manor between Peter Lawson, Charles Carroll, Joseph 
Ensor, Esq., liis guardian, and Edward Oldham, and Mary, 
his wife, whose approbation and consent to this method of 
settling the dispute liad been obtained. Stephen Hyland 
and Tobias Rudolph were appointed by tlie court of Mary- 
land and Isaac Grantham and Robert Armstrong by the 
court of Delaware. These gentlemen caused the Manor to 
be accurately surveyed, and found that it contained about 
20,000 acres. They divided it into four parts, two of which 
they assigned to Peter Lawson. One-fourth part they gave 
to Charles Carroll, and the other to Joseph Elisor and Ed- 
ward and Mary Oldham, to be held by them in severalty, 
except the share of tlie Oldhams. These proceedings were 
ratified and confirmed by the courts of the respective States, 
and the litigation that had lasted for more than half a cen- 
tury was ended, as was also the legal existence of Boliemia 
]\Ianor, that had continned for a period of one hundred and 
twenty-eight years. Charles Carroll sold his share in 1793, 
for £9,827 lO-s., to Joshua Clayton, Richard Bassett and Ed- 
ward Oldham, who were then in possession. It contained 
3,931 acres, ahd was bounded on the north by Back Creek 
and embraced a portion or all of that part of the Manor that 
was in Delaware. 

James A. Bayard afterwards married tlie only daughter 
of Richard Bassett, and in tliis way came into possession of 
that part of the Manor tliat liis descendants still own. 

Peter Lawson's will was proved in 1792. lie claimed one- 
half of the Manor and devised the bulk of his estate to Rich- 
ard Bassett, who was the executor of his will, and directed 
that he should "support and maintain Mrs. Mary A. Lawson 
with everything that is necessary during her natural life, or 
pay her or the person who may take and provide for her as 
above, the sum of £100 annuallv in gold or silver." 


The Van Bibbers — Tlioy settle on Bohemia Manor — Their mill — John 
Jawert marries C'asparus Ilermcn's widow — Keejjs Elk Ferry — "Wild 
stock — Rangers — Collection of tlic King's revenue — AVild animals — 
Trade with England — Bill of lading — Slave trade — The Jesuit mission 
at Bohemia — The Cross Paths — James Heath, the founder of Warwick — 
Bohemia a port of entry — Ancient cross — Father Mansell — Peter Atwood 
and other Jesuits — The Jesuit school — Eftbrts to suppress the Jesuit 
mission — Labors of the Jesuit Fathers. 

Pkominent among the early settlers of Polieniia Manor 
were two brothers, Isaac and ]\hittliias A'an Bibber. Their 
father, Jacob Isaacs Van Bibber, was a Hollander, and Avas 
one of the first settlors of Germantown. His sons, the two 
brothers before mentioned, were natives of Holland, and 
were naturalized in Marjdand in 1702. Previous to coming 
to Maryland they had been engaged in merchandizing at 
Philadel])hia. In 1702 Mathias Van I^ibber bought i)art of 
John Moll, Jr.'s land, which the reader will recollect was the 
easternmost of the four necks which comprised the Labadie 
Tract. Two years afterwards he bought another portion of 
the same tract, and in 1708 his brother Isaac bought 130 
acres of it, which he and his wife Fronica sold to Matthias, 
in 1711, for ,£'150, which, it is stated in the deed, had been 
expended in the erection of a mill then occupied by the said 
Isaac. This mill w^as located upon a branch of tlie Bohemia, 
called IMill Creek, on the site of what was formerly known 
as Sluyter's mill, every vestige of which has long since dis- 
appeared, even the land once covered by the dam now being 
cultivated. This is the first mill mentioned in the history 
of that part of the county. It was built a short time before 
the date of the deed. 


Matthias Van Bibber appears to have been fond of the 
acquisition of land, for in 1714 he purchased St. Augustine 
]\Ianor of Ephraim Augustine Hermen for £300. This Manor 
was directly east of Bohemia Manor and was separated from it 
by an old cart-road, which was known then and for many years 
afterwards as the " Old Choptank Road." It was originally 
an Indian path that led from the Choptank River along 
the dividing ridge between the two bays, probably far up 
into Pennsylvania, but was laid out and cleared from the 
head of St. George's Creek to the Chester River, twelve feet 
wide, for a cart-road, in 1682, by Casparus Hermen and 
Hugh McGregory, who were appointed for the purpose by 
the court. The road had been used so little that it was 
then overgrown with young timber and its location was 
doubtful, consequently the boundaries of the Manor were 
unknown. Xan Bibber claimed that the road from the 
head of Elk to the head of Bohemia, which ran near the 
head of Back Creek, was the boundary between the two 
Manors. Whereupon Hermen obtained a commission from 
the court to ascertain the eastern boundary of Bohemia 
Manor, and in this way to settle the, dispute. The commis- 
sioners, who were John Dowdall, Captain Benjamin Pearce, 
Francis Mauldin and William Dare, met in September, 1721, 
and after taking the testimony of several witnesses, fixed 
the location of the Choptank Road, and thus ended the dis- 
pute. The alienation fee claimed by the Proprietary of 
Maryland was paid when the sale of St. Augustine Manor 
was consummated, showing that it was then claimed as part 
of Maryland. Matthias Van Bibber also became the proprie- 
tor of \'an Bibber's Forest, which was patented to him in 1720. 
This was a large tract of land in the Third district, near 
Mechanics' Valley, containing 850 acres. In addition to 
this he owned another tract, which is described in his will 
as his plantation at the head of Elk. It was located a short 
distance southeast of the mansion of Hon. J, A. J. Creswell. 
Matthias Van Bibber was for a long time chief justice of the 


<.'Oiinty and occupied tliat responsible position when the 
court-house was built at Court House Point. 

Isaac Y'du Bibber's will was proved in 1723. He left 
three sons, Jacob, Peter and Isaac, and three daughters, 
Hester, Cliristiana and Veronica. Matthias Van Bibber's 
will was proved in 1739. He left four sons, Jacob, Adam, 
Matthias and Henry, and four daughters, Sarah, Rebecca, 
Christiana and Hester. He bequeathed his land at Head of 
Elk to his son Jacob ; his dwelling plantation, which was 
part of the Labadie Tract, to his son Adam ; Clifton, in 
Middle Neck, he devised to his sons Matthias and Henry, 
and his part of St. Augustine Manor to his daughters, Sarah 
and Rebecca. 

Henry Van Bibber, brother of Isaac and Matthias, came 
to Cecil County about 1720. Plis will, which was written in 
Utrecht, is to be found among the records of the Orphans' 
Court, and being a literal translation from the original Dutch 
is probably the most curious document in the archives of 
the county. 

These members of the Van Bibber family were contem- 
poraries of the grandson of Augustine Hermen, and proba- 
bly occupied a more conspicuous place in this part of th.e 
history of the county than any other family then residing 
in it. The descendants of these Van Bibbers intermarried 
with the Petersons and acted a consj)ieuous part in the his- 
tory of St. Augustine Manor. They continued to hold some 
of the land there as late as 1840, when Henry Van Bibber, 
of Virginia, sold it to Robert Cochran, father of J. P. Coch- 
ran, late governor of Delaware, who yet owns it. 

Dr.W. C.Van Bibber, of Baltimore, and iiis brother, Thomas 
E. Van Bibber, the distinguished author of the "Flight into 
Egypt," are descendants of the Van Bibbers of Bohemia 
Manor, many members of which were noted for their pat- 
riotism in the Revolutionary war. Tlieir grandfather, Isaac 
Van Bibber, was commercial agent of the colonial govern- 
ment in the West Indies at that time, lie was a son of one 


of the three Van Bibbers who have been referred to as 
being among the early settlers on the Manor. 

John Jawert, who was surveyor of the county in 1707^ 
married the widow of Casparus Hermen. He is believed to 
have lived at Germantown before he came to Bohemia 
Manor. He was one of the justices of the quorum, that is to 
say, he was one of the number of justices specially commis- 
sioned to hold courts, which at that early day appear to 
have been somewhat like the ancient English courts leet. 
These justices were frequently called commissioners. In 
1714 Jawert and his wife relinquished their right to the 
Manor brick house, which they occupied in common at that 
time with Ephraim Augustine Hermen, the son of Casparus, 
in consideration of which he was to build them a house 
"five and tliirty feet long and 20 feet wide, with two chim- 
neys and two windows." The houso was to be plastered, 
and in addition to it they were to have the use of one hun- 
dred and fifty acres of land. The Manor brick house re- 
ferred to is the old brick house which was built by the foun- 
der of the Manor, on the bank of the Bohemia River, and 
which, with its contents, including many valuable paintings, 
were afterwards destroyed by fire. 

Jawert's will was proved in 1726. No real estate is men- 
tioned in it, and he is believed to have left no children. He 
was keeper of Elk Ferry, between Elk Neck and Court House 
Point, in 1720, and was accused of leaving it to the manage- 
ment of negro slaves, who neglected it. The citizens of the 
county, after much trouble, had him removed, and Herman 
Kinkoy, who kept a tavern and had a }»hintation on tlie Elk 
Neck side of the river, was appointed in his place In 1713, 
Jawert purchased a large tract of land from his stepson 
Herman, called Town Point Neck or "Jawert's Delight," for 
£'33. This land was adjoining the tract upon which Port 
Herman now stands. 

At this time the stock of the early settlers was allowed to 
run wild in the forests, and after the lapse of years became 

11)0 111-T()J;Y UK CECIL COUNTY. 

very ])lentiful. The county was very sparsely settled and 
but little of it was under cultivation, and much of it bein^ 
covered with the orioinal growth of timber, which afforded 
shelter for these animals, they increased very fast. It was 
customary for the owners of this stock to mark it in some way, 
commt»nly by making a number of slits, notches or holes in 
one or both the animals' ears. This cusiom was recognized by 
an act of the legislature, which provided for the registration of 
these marks among the records of the county. Some pages 
of the record books are yet extant in which are to be found the 
names of the marks used b}' our forefathers. A swallow tail, 
which appears to have been made by shaping the end of 
the ear like the forked tail of that bird, was one of the 
favorite marks. The under-keel which was made by cut- 
ting a long oval strip from the ear, was another; a number 
of notches, slits or holes, and every conceivable combination 
of under-keels and swallow tails are among the number of 
recorded marks. As early as 1687 George Talbot, it will be 
remembered, speaks of the wild horses and neat cattle upon 
Susquehanna Manor, and in 1705 the Quaker })reacher, 
John Churchman, speaks of the trouble he experienced from 
wild horses enticing away the colt which accompanied the 
mare upon which he rode while upon an errand for his 
father. Many of these cattle and horses were unmarked 
and ran wild in the forests, and owing to the fact that some 
of the land was yet in the possession of the lord proprietary, 
he claimed them as his own. 

In 1715 an act was passed by the legislature in reference 
to these animals, which provided for the appointment of an 
officer in each county where they })revailed, whose duty it 
was to ca})ture this wild stock. He was called the ranger, 
and was appointed by the governor and council u})on the 
recommendation of the justices of the quorum in the county 
where he resided. His compensation was one-half of the 
stock he captured. John Ryland is the first person men- 
tioned in the records of the countv as ransrer. In 1722 he 


petitioned the court to be disciiarged from the office; but 
the court not having appointed him, rejected tlie petition. 
In 1724 Thomas Johnson presented a petition to the court, 
stating that he was a person of "good name, fame and re- 
pute," and prayed the court to recommend him for ranger 
of the county, which they did. 

A fragment of book two of the original h^nd records of the 
county, containing forty-seven leaves, is yet extant, in which 
is to be found the copy of a power of attnrney from "Peter 
Coode, commander of his majesties' advice boat, the Mes- 
senf/( r, attending the province of Maryland," to Jolni Fowke, 
then belonging to the said advice boat, authorizing him to 
"collect from all persons in Maryland or any of the terri- 
tories thereunto belonging, be ye same in any manner of ye 
production of the growth of ye said province, as tobacco, 
Indian corn, peas, beans, and all manner of -cattle whatso- 
ever for and in my name but to his own proper use." This 
document was given in 1701, and bears upon its face evi- 
dence that the collector of the king's revenue was farming 
out the emoluments of his office. A detached leaf of anotlier 
book contains an account of the receipts of taxes for part of 
the year 1696. Among the items in it are the following: 

"Received of Mr. James Couts, for importing seven hun- 
dred and fifty-two gallons of rum, £28 lis. 6c/. 

"Received of John Smith, for 124 gallons of rum, £4 los. 

" Received of Capt. Deane Cook, for exporting of 30 cubbs, 
30 bears, 100 deer skins, 100 racoon, 30 fox and cat, and 10 
fishers, £1, 18s. dd. 

"Received of Matthias Clements, for import of two negro 
boys and one woman, £3. 

" Received of Col. Wm. Pearce, for import of two negro 
men, £2. 

" Received of Capt. Wm. Surting. for export of 12 racoon, 
14 fox, 2 otter, and 2 muskrat skins, 2s. 3^r/." 

The tax levied upon the skins exported from the province 
was for the support of free schools, the act for the establish- 
ment of whirh was ])asseil in 1005. 


The foregoing is only a small part of the account, but it 
serves to sliow tlie character of the exports and imports of 
the county at that time. The great staples of importation 
were rum and negroes; the staple articles of export Avere 
skins of animals, which were still abundant, and tobacco. 
Wliat kind of a " varmint" the fisher was has not been as- 
certained. His hide, however, appears to have been valuable, 
else it would not have been exported. As late as 1724 Ben- 
jamin Allen prays the court for an allowance due him for 
one wolf's head and thirty-eight squirrels' heads which had 
been omitted in the levy for that 3'ear. The same year Cor- 
nelius McCormack prays to be allowed for eighty-six squir- 
rels' heads and a large number of crows' heads. These ani- 
mals were so numerous and destructive for a long period, 
that the legislators of the colony set a price upon tlieir heads 
for the purpose of keeping them in subordination. This 
served a good purpose, for money was scarce and squirrels 
and crows were plenty, and the taxpayers were allowed to 
pay their taxes in squirrels and crows' heads, which was a 
great advantage to them, as well as to the commonwealth. 
In 1680 Avolves seem to have been very plenty in the adjoin- 
ing county of New Castle, for the court ordered "fifty wolf 
pits or houses to be made," and enjoined the constables to 
see that they were well baited and tended. 

From 1700 to 1720 Bohemia Manor and the country as 
far south of it as the Sassafras River, far exceeded the other 
portions of the county in wealth and importance. Tobacco, 
the great staple of the colony, was extensively cultivated 
there, and yielded a large return to the planters. The land, 
but little of which had been cultivated long enough to become 
impoverished, was Avell adapted to the production of wheat, 
some of which was raised, though probably not in very large 
quantities. The tobacco was packed in hogsheads for ship- 
ment to England, and the inspectors were obliged to see that 
each hogshead contained a specified amount. If a hogshead 
fell short they were enjoined to "prise" it — that is, to pack 


or press it by means of a " prise " or lever — till it would con- 
tain the maximum quantity. From this custom the in- 
spection houses came to be called prise houses. The name 
is yet applied to a few old buildings on the Sassafras River. 

The planters in the southern part of the ct)unty at this 
time shipped their tobacco directly to England, and were 
supplied with slaves (many of whom they owned) by slave 
traders, who carried cargoes of tobacco from the Chester and 
Sassafras rivers and the upper part of the Chesapeake Bay 
to London and Liverpool, and then visited the coast of 
Guinea and procured cargoes of slaves, which they disposed 
of to the planters when they returned for another cargo of 

The old record books of the county, a few of which are yet 
extant, contain many allusions to the commercial transac- 
tions of this period. Bills of lading, notices of freight, and 
bills of exchange, for some reason, were recorded, and are 
to be found in the old books, sandwiched between indentures 
of servants and deeds for land. 

The planters in tlie southern part of the county not only 
shipped their tobacco from the wharves of the county, but 
they also shipped some of it from the South River, which 
name was still applied to the Delaware, as the following bill 
of lading will show, which is inserted in this connection to 
indicate tlie changes that time has wrought in instruments 
of this kind : 


" Shipped in good order & well conditioned by Mr. 
George Huddleston on his proper accompt & Resque in & 
upon ye good ship A^esilla, whereof is master under God for 
this present voyage James Bradly ct now riding at anchor 
in South river, and by God's Grace bound for London, to 
say 3 Hhds of Md. Tobacco, being marked & numbered as 
in ye margin & are to be delvrd in ye like good order and 
well conditioned at ye afd. port of London, danger of ye sea 



only excepted. Mr. Micajah Perry & Co. Merchts in Lon- 
don or the assigns, lie or they paying freight for ye said 
goods after ye rate of £15 per ton, & Maryland duties, with 
primage &, average accustomed. In witness whereof the 
master or purser of ye said ship hath aftirmed to two Bills 
of Lading all of this tenor and date ye one of which two 
bills being accomplished ye other to stand void & so God 
send ye good ship to her destined port in safety. Dated 
in Md. Nov. 20th,1705. 

" Quantity recorded but quality unknown. Marked (C. 
H. Nos. 1, 2, 3.) 

"James Bradly." 

At this time and for years afterwards a law was in force 
obliging the masters of all vessels carrying goods from 
Maryland to ports in England to publish their freight ; that 
is, to give notice of the rate they charged per ton, and to 
record it in the records of the county. This law existed, or 
at least this custom was observed, as late as 1744, for in 
that year Captain Henry Elves published his freight £9 
sterling per ton. His ship was in Sassafras River, which 
indicates that the direct trade with England existed at that 
time. The following notice of freight is from among several 
others of like tenor. It shows that the direct slave trade 
between the Sassafras River and coast of Guinea existed at 
the time it was written : 

"For London Directly, July ye 8th, 1705. This is to 
give notice to all gentlemen, merchants & others, that ye 
Dorsett, barkcntine, John Hayei Commander, mounted 
with Tenn guns, navigated with Twenty men, Burmudas 
bilt, prime Saylor, Lately arrived from giny, now Riding att 
Worton Creek, will be Reddi to take in goods by ye 12th of 
this Instant for Sixteen pounds per Tunn, and will depart 
in sixteen days If convoy is gon without Compinni. 

"John Hayes." 


England and France were at war at this time, and the 
owners of merchant vessels were in the habit of arming 
them in order that their crews might be able to defend 
themselves against the attacks of the French cruisers. 
Sometimes a fleet of merchant ships would be accompanied 
by an armed vessel for their protection, but the Dorsett no 
doubt was engaged in the slave trade, and had brought a 
cargo of slaves to this county and disposed of them to the 
planters near where she then rode at anchor. 

The archives of the Order of the Society of Jesus, now in 
possession of the faculty of Loyola College, in Baltimore, 
show that the Jesuit mission near the head of Bohemia 
River, was founded by the Rev. Thomas Mansell, 
and that he lived there in 1704. Two years afterwards, 
July 10th, 1706, he obtained a patent for a tract of land 
containing 458 acres. This land had never been patented 
and was granted to him upon the usual terms, under the 
name of Saint Xaverus. It is worthy of note that the 
records of the Society call him Mr. Mansell only, and do 
not mention his Christian name or title. No doubt this 
omission was caused by a desire to conceal the character of 
the enterprise in which he was engaged, owing to the oppo- 
sition and persecution that the Jesuits then met with, not 
only in Maryland but in the mother country also. 

James III. (so called by the House of Stewart), the 
son of James II., there is reason to believe, was recog- 
nized by the Jesuits at this time as the rightful sovereign of 
England. Certain it is, that a rebellion was inaugurated in 
J^eland a few years after this time (in 1715) for the purpose 
of placing him upon the British throne. 

The effects of this rebellion were felt to a certain extent 
in the colony of Maryland, and the property in Maryland of 
the Irish subjects of the British crown, who participated in 
it was confiscated, and the sheriff of Cecil County was en- 
joined to seize it for the use of the crown. So it was no 
wonder that Father Mansell made no reference to the fact 
that he was a member of the Societv of Jesus. 


Part of the said tract of St. Xaverus had been formerly 
surveyed by virtue of the power contained in a warrant 
granted for Mary Ann O'Daniel' and Margaret, her sister, 
March 18th, 1680, by the name of Morris O'Daniel's Rest, 
containing; three hundred acres, as by the original survey 

This survey was never recorded, nor any grant issued 
thereon to the said sisters. Of the two sisters Margaret died 
first, and the whole right to the said land was vested in 
Mary Ann, who dying, bequeathed the same to Messrs. 
Thomas Mansell and AVilliam Douglass, which said William 
having made over all his right and title thereunto to said 
Thomas Mansell, he, the said Thomas, petitioned for and 
obtained a special warrant to resurvey the said tract and 
take up the same as vacant land, together with what sur- 
plus or vacant land was thereunto contiguous; which was 
done accordingly, and patent granted, as before stated. 

The Jesuit mission o£ Bohemia is a few miles southeast of 
the junction of the Great and Little Bohemia rivei's, and is 
probably about half a mile west from the State of Delaware 
and about the same distance from the village of Warwick. 
At the time, and for a long time subsequent to the founda- 
tion of the mission, the Head of Bohemia was one of the 
most important places in the colony. Bohemia Landing, 
which was at or near the junction of the two branches of 
that river, was only a few miles from the navigable waters 
of Appoquinimink Creek, and owing to the short distance 
between these points, nearly all the trade between the 
people living along the shores of the two bays was carried 
on by this route. There were probably at the time several 
landing places upon eacli of the brandies of the Bohemia 
River, and probably quite as many upon the Delaware 
and its tributaries. 

The streams at that time were navigable for much greater 
distances than they are at present, and there is reason to 
believe that there was once a landing upon one of the tribu- 


taries of the Little Bohemia, not ver}' far from where the 
mission chapel now stands. The roads between the differ- 
ent landings, on the tributaries of the Chesapeake and Del- 
aware bays, were known by the expressive name of "cross 
paths" and many references are made to them in the land 
records of Cecil County a century ago, but it is impossible 
at this time to describe their exact location. The feasibility 
of connecting the waters of the Chesapeake and Delaware 
bays by a canal between the Bohemia and Appoquinimink, 
had been apparent to Augustine Hermen a quarter of a 
century before the mission was founded. No doubt most if 
not all the merchandize passing between the settlers on the 
west side of Delaware River and tliose living near the 
shores of Chesapeake Bay was transported along the "cross 
paths," at the time that Thomas Mansell founded the mis- 
sion. A few years afterwards, namely, 1715, it was enacted 
by the colonial legislature, that "all Importersof Rum, Spirits, 
"Wine, and Brandy" (which seem to have been the principal, 
if not the only, articles of traffic) " from Pennsylvania and 
the territories thereunto belonging by land, should pay a 
duty of 9 pence per gallon, and should bring the said li- 
quors into this province to the place commonly called Bohe- 
mia Landing, and to no other place or landing, till the 
duties thereof be paid, under pain of forfeiture to the King's 
majesty."* The duty Avas afterwards fixed at three pence per 
gallon, and continued to be collected for many years at 
Bohemia Landing. The northern part of Cecil County being 
at this time a wilderness, with only a few settlers scattered 
here and there along the Elk River and other streams, it is 
easy to see the prospective advantages that induced Mansell 
to locate where he did. 

Father Mansell appears to have remained in charge of the 
mission till 1721, for in that year the records of the Society 

* See Bacon's Laws of ^larjiand, Session 1715, chapter 36. 


show that lie purchased of Mr. James Heath* a parcel of 
land hounding upon St. Xaverus and containing three hun- 
dred and thirty-five acres. This purchase comprised the 
whole of a tract called St. Inigo, w^hich had been taken up 
and patented by James Heath, under the name of St. Igna- 
tius, in 1711. How or why the name had been changed 
does not appear. The aforesaid additional purchase of 335 
acres embraced a part of Worsell Manor, which had been 
taken up and patented by one Colonel Saver (when, we have 
no means of ascertaining) and also a part of a tract called 
Woodbridge, which was originally taken up by David Mac- 
Kenzie, by him sold to Darby Nowland, and by his son 
Dennis sold to James Heath, (that is to say) his part thereof, 
containing 75 acres, adjoining St. Inigo, and by Mr. Heath 
sold, as above stated, to Mr. Mansell. Some of the names 
of these tracts of land, as well as the names of the persons who 
owned them, indicate the nationality as well as the religion of 
the proprietors, and warrant the conclusion that the first Jesuit 
Father that settled at Bohemia was induced to do so from 

*Janies Heath was the father of John Paul Heath, the founder of 
Warwick, lie was a member of the old Catholic family of that name, 
and the owner of " Heath's Range," and other large tracts of land near 
AVarwick. His grave is about two miles from Warwick, in Aiipoquini- 
niink Hundred, New Castle County, and is covered by a stone slab con- 
taining the following inscription : "Here lyes the body of James Heath, 
who was born att Warwick, on the 27th day of July, 1658, and died the 
loth day of November, 1731, in the seventy-fourth year of His age." 
The Warwick mentioned in his epitaph is no doubt the name of his native 
town in England. 

His son, John Paul Heath, probably died in 1746. His will was 
proved in that year, and shows that Warwick had been laid out by him 
some time before. He refers to a brew-house and tavern which were in 
the town. He was a large landowner, and was engaged in merchandis- 
ing at Warwick ; and at the time of his death owned one-half of a vessel, 
engaged in trading between the Sassafras River and the AVest Indies. 
Daniel Delaney and Charles Carroll were two of the executors of his will. 
He was a 'zealous Catholic, and directed that his sons, James and Daniel, 
should be educated at St. Omers, and that his children should be brought 
up in the " Roman Catholic religion." 


the fact that it was a settlement of Irish Catholics who were 
no doubt zealous members of that church. The Jesuits at 
this time, and for many years previous had a mission in St. 
Mary's County, on the Western Shore, and as the mission at 
Bohemia was the first one established on the Eastern Shore, 
there can be little doubt that Father Mansell came there 
from the former place. It is highly probable that he 
brought with him the ancient cross, which has been at Bo- 
hemia ever since. This cross is about five feet high and is 
said to have been brought to St. Mary's by the first settlers 
who came there from England. It is made of wrought iron 
and certainly looks ancient enough to have been brought 
over by the Pilgrims who came in the Ark and Dove. It 
has been at Bohemia from time immemorial, and save this 
tradition, nothing more is known of its history. 

Little if anything is known of the history of Rev. 
Thomas Mansell. The rules, or, at least the customs of the 
Society prohibited the erection of any uionuments over the 
graves of its members and if he died and was buried at 
Bohemia, this custom precluded the erection of anything to 
distinguish the place of his sepulcher./'^A few of the early 
fathers that labored there, were buried in the garden, but not 
even a grassy mound has been raised over their moldering 
remains, and their last resting-place would no doubt long 
since have been forgotten, had not some pious person en- 
closed it, many years ago, with an edging of boxwood that 
has now attained the height of five or six feet. Father 
Thomas Hudson lived at the mission in 1713. AVhether he 
liad charge of it during the temporary absence of Father 
Mansell or sojourned with him for a time doth not appear. 
The records of the Society only show that he was at Bohe- 
mia in that year. He seems to have been succeeded by 
Father Peter At wood, for the records of the Society show 
tliatinlTSl he (Atwood) was involved in a dispute with 
Joseph George, who was then the proprietor of Middle Neck, 
which he had purchased from Ephraim Augustine Hermen, 
the grandson of the founder of Bohemia Manor. 


After Joseph George purchased Middle Neck he ohtained 
an order from the provincial court to have it surveyed. This 
survey took in all of St. Xaverus and part of several other 
tracts adjacent to it, and George had already ejected one 
Reynolds from the land hy him claimed, it heing included 
inside the limits of the new survey, when Atvvood and 
George compromised the matter by the former paying him 
" 35 pounds for a deed of release to all the right or claim he 
might have to any or all the lands I hold between the two 
branches of the St. Augustine's creek." This quotation is taken 
from an old memorandum book in the possession of the 
Society and was kindly copied for the author by Father 
Lancaster, the Proctor of the Society in Maryland. This 
dispute grew out of the fact that Augustine Hermen had 
taken up a tract of land including the site of what was 
afterwards called " The Priests' Mill," the site of which may 
yet be seen in the meadow in front of the chapel. In all 
the broad domain of Augustine Hermen there were very 
few locations where it was practical to obtain sufficient fall 
for the purpose of erecting water-mills. So he very wisely 
took up this tract for the purpose of erecting a water-mill 
thereon, as he states in his first will, though there is no reason 
to believe he ever obtained a patent foi- it. 

In 1732 Peter Atwood, who is then said to be of St. Mary's 
County, purchased another ti'act of land called " Askmore," 
from Vachel Denton. This tract was supposed to contain 
550 acres, and had been granted to John Browning and 
Henry Denton in 1()88. Denton claimed it by right of sur- 
vivorship, and from him it descended to his son Vachel 
Denton, who, as before stated, sold it to Atwood. The Jesuit 
Fathers now had ({uite an extensive tract of land, comprising 
nearly thirteen hundred and fifty acres. 

Father Thomas Pulton was at Bohemia in 1742, He 
probably remained there most of the time till 1748. Rev. 
John Kingdom was also there in 1748. From a few de- 
tached entries in the old memorandum book before men- 


tioned, there is reason to believe the school, which was kept 
at the mission for some years, was started in 1745 or 1746. 
John Carroll, a distinguished member of the Society, after- 
wards Archbishop of Baltimore, and founder of Geoi'getown 
College, attended this school in 1745-6, and also in 1748. 
There is some reason to believe that his cousin, Charles Car- 
roll, of Carrollton, the last surviving signer of the Declaration 
of Independence, was a pupil there at the same time; but 
the records now in the possession of the Society contain no 
proof of it. This school was the only one in the colon}- 
under the control of the Jesuits or any other order of the 
Calholic Church, consequently it was patronized by many 
of the leading Catholic families in the colon}', who sent their 
sons there to receive the rudiments of.their education, after 
which they were sent to St. Omers, in French Flanders, to 
finish it. This was the case with John and Charles Carroll, 
both of whom afterwards took such a prominent part in the 
history of the State. 

It is impossible, owing to the loss of a portion of the records 
of the mission, lo ascertain how long the school continued to 
exist. Though it is considered to have been the germ from 
which Georgetown College grew, it seems probable that it 
was discontinued before the college was organized. Every 
vestige of the school-house has long since disappeared, but* 
it is well known that it stood in the lawn, a few feet south 
of the manse, and that the bricks of which its walls were 
composed were used in the walls of the dwelling-house, 
which was built about 1825. The chapel, which is in a 
good state of preservation, was partly finished in 1795. 
Tradition says that Rev. Ambrose Marechal, third Arch- 
bishop of Baltimore, then resident at Bohemia, during his 
hours of recreation turned the banisters used in inclosing 
tlie sanctuary in the chapel. 

It is probable that the school was in a flourishing condi- 
tion in 1754; so mucli so, in<lcod, as to have excited the 
cupidity of the members of the Established Churcli. Rev. 


Hugh Jones, who was a zealous churchman, was then rector 
of St. Stephen's Parish, and his correspondence as early as 
1739 shows that he was bitterly hostile to the Jesuit Fathers. 
The records of the colonial legislature for the year 1754 
show that a bill passed the lower house in that year creat- 
ing a commission to inquire into the affairs of the Jesuits in 
the colony, and also to ascertain by what tenure they held 
their land. Nicholas Hyland, a zealous churchman and 
resident of North Elk Parish, and six other delegates, were 
designated as members of the commission. They were also 
enjoined to tender the oaths of " allegiance, abhorrence and 
abjuration " to the members of the Society. The bill did. 
not pass the upper house. A bill was introduced in the 
lower house at the session of 1755 intended to prevent the 
" importation of German and French papists and Popish 
priests and Jesuits and Irish papists via Pennsylvania or 
the government of New Castle, Kent and Sussex, on the 
Delaware." The bill did not become a law. 

There is reason to believe that the Protestants of Sassafras 
Neck, Middle Neck and Bohemia Manor petitioned the 
legislature at tlie session of 175G, praying that stringent 
measures might be taken against the Jesuits. At all events 
the lower house at this session was about to pass a very 
stringent bill prohibiting the importation of Irish Papists 
via Delaware, under a penalty of X'20 each, and denouncing 
any Jesuit^ or Popish priest as a traitor who tampered with 
any of his Majesty's subjects in the colony; but the bill did 
not pass, the governor having prorogued the legislature 
shortly after it was introduced. 

These measures may now seem harsh and unjust, but it 
must not be forgotten that at tlie time of which we write 
the excitement produced by the French and Indian war 
was at its height, and the Jesuits of Maryland, probably 
very unjustly, were accused of being in league with the 
French and of inciting the Indians to massacre the Protes- 


The few meagre records of the mission for the period be- 
tween 1756 and 1764 contain little of interest to the general 
reader. They show, however, that Rev. Joseph Greaton 
died there in 1749. He was probably succeeded b}' Rev. 
John Lewis, M'ho is known to have been there in 1753. 

Rev. John Lewis was probably succeeded by Rev. Joseph 
Mosley, who came there in 1760, and probably remained 
continuously till 1787. Rev. Mathias Manners was also 
there in 1771, and died and was buried there in 1775. 
During the long period that Mr. Mosley was in charge of 
the mission he traveled all over the eastern and southern 
part of the Western Shore, and baptized about six hundred 
persons, many of M'hom were negro slaves. His journal 
contains some entries which warrant the opinion that some 
of the old Quaker families of the Eastern Shore embraced 
the Catholic religion, as he speaks of baptizing Thomas 
Browning, who was probably a descendant of John Brow- 
ning, whom Augustine Hermen accused of trying to fraud- 
ulently obtain part of Middle Neck after he (Hermen) had 
obtained a patent for it.* The Hollands, one of whom was 
accused by Hermen of aiding Browning in his design on 
Middle Neck, seem also to have embraced Catholicism, for 
the successor of Mosley speaks of baptizing one of them. 
During the period between the years 1766 and 1787 the 
journal kept by Rev. Mr. Mosley shows that the accessions 
to the Catholic churches to which he ministered .numbered 
one hundred and eighty-five. During this period he per- 
formed the marriage ceremony for members of the S3veral 
congregations in his charge one hundred and seventy times 
and officiated at about one hundred and seventy-five 
funerals. In 1764 he organized a church at St. Joseph's, in 
Talbot County, and probably with a view of founding 
another mission similar to the one at Bohemia, purchased 
about three hundred and fifty acres of land in that county. 

* See page ICl, ante. 


The next year lie placed eight negroes, which he brought 
from Prince George's County at a cost of iilO, on the farm. 
These negroes are supposed to have been in charge of an 

Mr. Mosley's journal contains many curious entries illus- 
trative of the manners and customs of society at the time 
they were made. Among them are the following: "4th 
November, 1770, 1 married Jerry, a negro of ours, to Jenney, 
a negro belonging to Mr. Charles Blake, but afterwards 
bought by us. Test, — many negroes, both ours and others, 
iit St. Joseph '.s, Talbot. 23d July, 1777, I married Davy, a 
negro of ours, to Hannah, a negro of John Lockerman, by 
his consent; many negroes ofhis and our family being present. 
September, 1795, married at home a wench of John Council 
(Senior) named Hannah, to a fellow of Tullies Neck, by 

There are many entries in Mr. Mosley's journal of mar- 
riages of negroes by note, which meant that the sable 
couples had notes from their owners requesting or author- 
izing him to perform the marriage ceremony. 


First Friends' meetiug-house — First Episcopal minister— North and 
South Sassafras pai'ishes — First vestrymen — Population — Curious lot of 
church property — First Episcopal Church — Chapel of Ease in Elk Xeck 
— Shrewsbury parish — Rev. Hugh Jones^ — Chapel on Bohemia 3Ianor — 
Sketch of Rev. Hugh Jones — North Elk parish— First vestrymen — 
Richard Dobson — John Hannn — Rev. Walter Ross — Chapel near Battle 
Swamp — Rev. William Wye — St. Mary Ann's Church, North East — Taring 
the Church — Death of Rev. Mr. Wye— Rev. John Bradford — Rev. John 
Hamilton — Clayfall. 

Augustine Hermen, and probably many of his cotempo- 
raries who settled on Bohemia Manor, were members of the 
Reformed Dutch Church. George Talbot, George Oldfield, 
and many of the first settlers along the Elk and Susque- 
hanna rivers were Catholics ; and the Labadists, as we have 
seen, had a faith peculiar to themselves. These various sects 
lived in harmony and peace together, under the mild gov- 
ernment of the province as administered by the first pro- 
prietor and his successors. Even the then persecuted aiid 
despised Quakers found an asylum in the province, and were 
permitted to enjoy their peculiar belief in peace and quiet- 
ness. They are believed to have been the first denomination 
that erected a house of worship in the county. As early as 
1698 George "Warner and seven other Quakers prayed the 
court that their meeting-hou.^e at the head of a branch of 
Still Pond Creek might be registered according to tlie act of 
Parliament, and promised " ever to pra}' for the eternal hap- 
piness of the court.'' This is the first reference to a meeting- 
house that has been found in the records of the county. 

The first clergyman of the Church of England, of whom 
there is any account in the history of the early settlements 


in our county, is the Rev. John Yeo. He came from Mary- 
land to New Castle in 1G77, and exhibited his credentials as 
a licensed minister of the Church of England, and was well 
received by the court."*' In 1676 he had written a letter to 
the Archbishop of Canterbury, from Pautuxent, Maryland, 
in which he gives a sad account of the religious condition of 
the province. At this time there were only three ministers 
of the Established Church of England in the province of 
Maryland. Mr. Yeo seems to have exercised the duties of 
his calling at New Castle for a year or two, for in 1679 he 
presented a petition to the court, in which he prayed to be 
remunerated for preaching the gospel and for baptizing 
children, marrying people, and burying tfie dead. The 
court refused his request, and nothing more is heard of him 
till 1681, when he was tried at New Castle " for mutinous 
expressions against the Duke of York, the town, tlie court," 
etc., for which he was tried before a jury and acquitted. 
He had, no doubt, been attracted to Bohemia Manor by the 
prosperous condition of the people residing thereon, and by 
its close proximity to New Castle, near which he afterwards 
settled, which was at that early day a town of much im- 
portance. He was the first clergyman of the Established 
Church that visited Cecil County. 

In 1692 the legislature of the province, which was 
thoroughly Protestant, passed "an act for the Service of 
Almighty God and the establishment of the Protestant 
religion in the Province." This act was passed previous to 
the 9th of June, 1692, and on the 22d of the November fol- 
lowing the commissioners of this county, who were Captain 
Charles James, Colonel Casparus Hermen, Mr. Humphrey 
Tilton, Mr. William Ward, Mr. Henry Rigg, Mr. John 
James and Mr. William Elms, with some of the principal 
freeholders of the county, in pursuance and compliance with 
the act of Assembly, laid out and divided the county into 

* See Hazard's Annals of Pennsylvania, page 448. 


two districts or parishes, that is to say, one parish for Wor- 
ton and South Sassafrax Hundred and the other for North 
Sassafrax, Bohemia and Elk Hundreds. These parishes 
were called North and South Sassafrax. The Rev. Lawrence 
Vanderbush was then officiating in North Sassafras, and 
had probably been there for some time, for it is a matter of 
record that he administered a baptism on the 2d of July 
previous, and during the 3^ear he baptized eighteen others. 
But little more is know^n of his history, only that he died in 
3696, at which time he was also in charge of South Sassa- 
fras parish. 

About this time Peter Sluyter seemed to think that the 
scepter he wielded as " Grand Mogul" of the Labadists was 
about to depart from his hand, and so he petitioned the 
governor for license or authority to perform the rite of mar- 
riage. No doubt he feared that the organization of these 
parishes and the settlement of other ministers near him 
would lessen his authorit}^ which was already beginning to 
wane, and deprive him of influence over his followers. 
His petition was granted with the proviso that he was on?y 
to marry people of his own denomination. 

The first vestrymen of North Sassafras parish were Cas- 
parus Hermen, William Ward, John Thompson, Edward 
Jones, Henry Rigg and Matthias Vanderhuyden. The tax- 
ables in 1693 w'ere 321, w'hich was the number of persons 
then assessed within the present limits of the county, and are 
supposed to have been equal to one-fourth of all tlie inhabi- 
tants in the county, which, by this estimate then contained 
a population of 1284. Ata meeti ng of the vestry, the next year, 
it was ordered that the 12,440 pounds of tobacco collected that 
year should be disposed of as follows : To the minister, 
8000 pounds; to the sheriff" for receiving it, 620 pounds; to 
Thomas Pearce, clerk, 800 pounds ; the residue, 3018 
pounds, to be lodged in the hands of Edward Jones for the 
defraying of some necessary charges in fitting and repairing 
the present meeting-house "which we have procured for the 
present till God shall enable us to build a churcli." 


In 1094 the Bisliop of Loiulon sent over some books by 
Governor Nicholson for distribution in the colony, and the 
records of this parish contained a list of things which Cas- 
])arus Ilernien then had, a part or all of which are supposed 
to have been the distributive share assigned to this parish. 
The list was as follows : Two Bibles, two books called the 
Duties of Man, two books of Common Prayer, two books of 
Church Catechism, two books of Christian religion; also, two 
books of martial discipline, two books of the articles of war ; 
one dark lantern, one prospective glass and one pocket com- 
pass. The five last-mentioned articles in the list were 
curious articles to be mixed up with the former; but the 
warlike Susqueh an nocks still infested the northwestern part 
of the county and the dark lantern and spy-glass were no 
doubt intended to be used in repelling their attacks. 

The next minister mentioned in the records of the parish 
was the Rev. James Crawford, of whose history but little is 
known, only that he stopped for six weeks with Edward 
Lari-amore and that the vestry allowed Larramore 400 
pounds of tobacco for boarding him. In 1712 he was in- 
cumbent of South Sassafras Parish, where he died in 1713. 

In 1694 the number of taxables in the parish was 337, 
and the amount of tobacco raised for ecclesiastical purposes 
was 13,480 pounds. 

Previous to this time the congregation Avorshiped in an old 
meeting house, the location and history of which is entirely 
lost; but in 1G96 the vestry concluded that it Avas absolutely 
necessary to purchase some land in a more convenient loca- 
tion and build a church thereon. They accordingly pur- 
chased 100 acres of William Ward for 5,000 })Ounds of to- 
bacco and agreed with Casparus Ilermen to build a church 
of brick or stone 25x35 feet, the walls of which were to be 
two feet thick at the foundation and eighteen inches above; 
walls to be twelve feet high ; to have four windows, a fold- 
ing door, six foct wide, etc., for 18,000 pounds of tobacco. 
Still there was no minister in the parish. l)ut in 1097 the 


vestry ordered that Robert Cook be allowed 800 pounds of 
tobacco for the accommodation and funeral charges of one 
Mr. William Davis, a certain minister of the gospel, who, 
having newly come to tender hisservices to them, was taken 
sick and died. 

In 1G97 the taxables had increased to 346. A year had 
now passed away and still the church was not built, and the 
vestry questioned Casparus Hermen why he had not ful- 
filled his contract, to wliich he replied : First, that the 
building of the State-house took longer than he expected; 
secondly, that he was prevented b}^ unseasonable weather 
and losing a sloop load of material; and thirdly, being a 
delegate to the General Assembly he had to attend to public 
concerns, by order of his Excellency the Governor. This 
year the vestry purchased two hundred acres of land as a 
glebe, for 7,000 pounds of tobacco, so that it now had three 
hundred acres of glebe land. 

This year the Rev. Richard Sewell, who had been sent 
to Maryland by the Right Rev. Henry Compton, Lord 
Bishop of London, was appointed or presented to the two 
parishes of North and South Sassafras by Thomas Nichol- 
son, governor of the province. The last General Assembly 
had provided for paying the expenses of clergymen coming 
o-ver to the province, and the treasurer of the Eastern Shore 
was ordered to pay Mr. Sewell £20 for that purpose. 

Li 1698 the taxables numbered 329, yielding 13,160 
pounds of tobacco. At the March session of the General 
Assembly Mr. Sewell had preached before it, and it was cus- 
tomary for the General Assembly to make an appropriation 
to pay for such service, but on this occasion the lower house 
refused to do this, and when asked by the other house the 
cause of this refusal, they replied that Mr. Sewell did not 
give that satisfaction to the country that was expected of 
him. The other house, and his Excellency, the Governor, 
thought they were as good judges of the merits of the case as 
the lower house, and said that he ought to be paid. 



There had been some talk of building a chapel of Ease a 
year or two before this time (1098), and the vestry this year 
agreed for the building of one by the Elk River, to be of 
wood, twenty feet square and ten feet in heiglit, to have two 
windows, a pulpit and reading-desk, large door, etc., and 
were to pay for the building of it 2,600 pounds of tobacco. 
They purchased an acre of land on which to build it from 
Peter Clawson, for 400 pounds of tobacco. There is no doubt 
that this chapel, if it was ever built, was upon St. John's 
Manor, in Elk Neck, for the records of the county show that 
the next year Peter Clawson sold a hundred acres of land 
which is described as being part of St. John's Manor, on the 
west side of Elk River. The land is described as lying upon 
Church Creek, which no doubt was so called because the 
chapel was near to it. If the land that was bought upon 
which to build the chapel had been on the other side of the 
Elk River, the vestry must necessarily have bought it from 
Casparus Hermen, for no other person owned any land there. 
In 1098 Hermen having died without building the church, 
the vestry agreed with Matthias Hendrickson and James 
Smithson for the building of a church (about the same size 
of the one Hermen was to have built) for 18,000 pounds of 
tobacco. In 1699 the taxables of the parish amounted to 352. 

In 1701 the inhabitants of North Elk and Bohemia Hun- 
dreds presented a petition to the upper house of Assembly, 
complaining that Mr. Sewell had neglected them, and the 
matter was referred to Col. John Thompson, but there is no 
record of his report. The parish at this time was quite large, 
embracing the territory included by the present boundaries 
of the county. The reverend gentleman had married the 
preceding year, so it is no wonder that he failed to visit the 
northern part of the county, which George Talbot twenty 
years before had called " that desert and frontier corner of 
the province," and which was probably but little imjjroved 
at the time of which we write. In 1703 the chui'ch floor, 
gallery, etc., were agreed to be made for £20 sterling and 


5,000 pounds of tobacco, being equal to about $225. In 1704 
it was ordered that eight gallons of rum be paid for, it hav- 
ing been used for drams in the morning while the workmen 
were building the church. The people of that day used 
rum, and for many years afterwards it was customary to 
allow in the levy for a gallon or two of rum and some sugar 
to sweeten it upon the occasion of a pauper's funeral, the 
expense of which was borne by the county. 

On March Stli of this year Matthias Van Bibber was made 
a vestryman. The church was not dedicated until 1705. It 
was called St. Stephen's, which name it still bears, and 
which has also long been applied to the parish, the legal 
name of which is North Sassafras. In 1706 North Elk Par- 
ish was constituted. It embraced all that part of the county 
north of the Elk River, and lessened to that extent the size 
of North Sassafras Parish. 

Shrewsbury, or South Sassafras Parish, which now is in 
Kent County, was erected, as before stated, in 1692. The 
names of the vestrymen in 1695 were William Pearce, 
William Harris, Edward Blay, William Elms, Edward 
Skiddimor, and George Shirton. The records of Cecil 
County show that this vestry obtained a deed from Charles 
James, in 1700, for 181 acres of land, for which they had 
paid 7,000 pounds of tobacco to Charles James, the father of 
the grantor, then deceased. This land is described as being 
near a valley at the head of a branch of Churn Creek. 

In 1702 one Richard Lugg was indicted for disturbing 
public worship at Shrewsbury Parish Church, and found 
guilty and fined one hundred pounds of tobacco. In 1695 
the taxables in Shrewsbury were 350, thirteen more than 
were assessed in all the other parts of the county. The total 
population of the county at this time was 2,852, that is, on 
the theory that the taxables were equal to one-fourth of the 
people. During the few years that this parish was under 
the jurisdiction of this count}', it was under the care of the 
rectors of North Sassafras, excejit for a short time in 1702, 


when the Rev. Stephen Boardley, the rector of St. Paul's 
Parish, adjoining it on the south, served it one-third of his 

In 1714 the taxables in North Sassafras, which how em- 
braced the country between the Elk and Sassafras rivers, 
had increased to 520; and in 1721 they numbered 726. In 
1723 Dr. Sewell resigned the charge of North Sassafras, 
having had charge of it more than twenty-six years. In 172-4 
the parish was vacant, and Thomas Pai-sley was appointed 
reader by the vestry, and was to put up the greens in the 
church at the usual time. He was to have 2,000 pounds of 
tobacco for liis compensation. 

In 1723 the governor of the province inquired of the com- 
missioners of the county how many parishes there were in 
it and the number of taxables in them, and they replied 
that there were two parishes, and that St. Stephen's (North 
Sassafras) was thirty miles long and sixteen miles in breadth, 
and contained 1,011 taxables ; that North Elk was about 
twenty miles long and was about the same width, and con- 
tained 569 taxables; and that St. Stephen's Parish had a 
glebe of 310 acres. 

In 1724 the Rev. John Urmston was inducted into the 
parish. He was an intemperate man, and the records of 
the parish show that, upon one occasion, he was " so over- 
taken with liquor in the church that he could not read the 
service, so that the people went out." So they complained 
of his bad conduct, and some of the neighboring rectors and 
other officials of the adjoining parishes tried him on a libel 
exhibited against him by the church wardens for many 
wicked and immoral actions, which were proved before the 
said commission. The crimes for which he was deposed 
were so glaring that the reverend gentlemen did not think 
fit to appeal from the decision of the commission that tried 
him, but being instigated by the Papists, as was alleged by 
the presiding officer, he sought legal advice, and was about 
to bring suit for the recovery oi" his salary and also to pros- 


eciite the president of the commission that tried and deposed 
him for acting without a commission from his Majesty, the 
king, when lie, in a drunken fit, as was supposed, fell into 
the fire and was burned to death. A sad but fitting end for 
one who had disgraced the holy office, and had probabl}'^ as- 
sumed its duties in order to prostitute it to his own aggrand- 
izement. The vestry considered the parish vacant and 
petitioned the governor to appoint another rector, and in 
response he sent them the Rev. Hugh Jones, who took 
charge of the parisli in 1731. He was a graduate of the 
University of Oxford, and came to Maryland in 1696. He 
was then in the twenty-sixth year of his age. He had been 
engaged in the ministry in Calvert County, Maryland, and 
also in Virginia. He was a zealous churchman and was 
much annoyed by the Roman Catholics, Presbyterians, Jesuits 
and Quakers who were residents of the parish. In 1733, 
an act having been passed by the General Assembly for the 
purpose of raising the requisite funds, the vestry agreed 
"f^'ith John Babenhime and James Bayard for the building 
<.f a new church at or near the place where the old church 
stood for 75,000 pounds of tobacco. The vestr}' also bought 
from Benjamin Sluyter two acres of land on the Manor upon 
which to build a chapel, and agreed with him for the build- 
ing of one 30x50 feet, with a semi-circular chancel with a 
radius of ten feet. This was the old St. Augustine Church 
which was standing at St. Augustine when the Hessians, 
under Knyphausen, visited the Manor in 1777. It is worthy 
of remark that when the building of the church was con- 
templated four of the vestrymen voted for it to be built at 
Newtown, which probably was the name then given to Cecil- 
town, at the mouth of Scotchman's Creek, which had been 
laid out in 1730. 

The following extract from a letter from Hugh Jones to 
the secretary of the Society for the propagation of the Gospel, 
shows the character and zeal of the man in an admirable 
manner, and for that reason =is inserted here: 


" St. Stephen's Parish, ^ 

in Cecil county, Md., V 

July 3dth, 1739. j 

" May it Please Your Reverence: — To excuse the presumption 
of me and m}' vestry in making application to you for the 
donation of a library to this parish; for though this place 
belongs not to any of your missions, yet it may have as just 
a claim to partake of your pious favors as any, being the 
chief mark at which the virulent darts of the Pennsylvania 
deists, Quakers, Presbyterians, &c., are aimed, we being al- 
most surrounded by them and liaving continual trade and 
intercourse with them. You are no stranger to the cunning 
and diligence of these people in perverting their neighbors, 
especially the licentious and the ignorant. So that I need 
only to mention that I am obliged to be continually on my 
guard to defend my weak but large flocks against their 
attacks in one quarter or other, in which, with God's help, I 
have hitherto well succeeded. But this being a poj)ulous 
and very growing j^lace, 'tis feared that, without the aid of a 
competent number of books to be lent out on all occasions, 
their insinuating wiles will seduce many in a small time. 
Since the Jesuits in my parish with them they favored and 
settled in Philadelphia seem to combine our ruin by propa- 
gation of schism, popery and apostacy in tliis neighborhood, 
to prevent the danger of which impending, tempest 'tis hoped 
you will be so good as to contribute yonr extensive charit- 
able benevolence, by a set of such books of practical and 
polemical divinity and church history as you shall judge 
most suitable for the purpose, but especially the best answer 
to Barclay's apology, the independent Whig, and all the 
other favorite books of the Quakers, Deists, Presbyterians, 
Anabaptists and Papists, with books of piety and devotion 
and vindication of the doctrines and discipline of our Es- 
tablished Church against all sorts of adversaries." 

In this letter Mr. Jones speaks of his ministrations at 
Api)oquinimy, and states that many of the people there 
were his auditors when he was officiating in his other church. 

The petition book for the year 1731, which is yet extant 
among the records of the county, contains a j^etition from 
Hugh Jones to the court, which is also characteristic of the 


man, and shows the state of society at that time. " The 
j)etition of Hugh Jones, clerk, liumbly sheweth that, Where- 
as, the road now running by your petitioner's door was for- 
merly moved that way, before the minister's house was 
built, for the convenience of the marsh plantation (the 
marsh plantation was probably the free school land on the 
Bohemia, east of Scotchman's Creek), which very much in- 
commodes the settlement at the glebe by rendering the habi- 
tation of the incumbent public, which ought to be private 
and retired, and turns the pasture into common, and ex- 
poses your petitioner and his family to the troublesome com- 
pany and insults of many drunken, swearing fellows, and 
makes us unsafe in our beds, and gives opportunity for 
thievish negroes and ordinary people, who continually pass 
that way, to corrupt and hinder our servants, and to pilfer 
anything that is left out at night — nay even to break open 
doors that are locked, as I have already found by experience." 
Therefore he prayed that the road might be moved to its for- 
mer track, at some distance from the house, which was 

In 1743 the taxables in this parish had increased to 1,443. 
The next year the northern part of the parish, including all 
of it between Elk River and Little Bohemia, was erected 
into a new parish, under the name of St. Augustine. In 1755 
there was much fear of a Popish plot, as before intimated, 
and the manuscript history of Mr. Allen contains a letter 
from David Wetherspoon* to Major John Veazey, then com- 
manding otHcer of the county, calling his attention to the 
French and Irish Papists, and begging him to bestir him- 
self in behalf of the rights and liberties of the people and 
the interests of the Protestant religion. Mr. Jones this 
year preached a sermon called a protest against Popery, 
which was published in the Maryland Gazette at Annapolis. 

* David Wetherspoon was a native of Londonderry County, Ireland. He 
was probably the founder of Middletown, and died April 7th, 1763, 
aged lifty-eight years. His grave may be seen at ]\Iiddletown. 


Mr. Jones was a firm friend of Lord Baltimore, and was 
accused by William Penn's lawyers of inducing him to re- 
fuse to carry out the agreement for the settlement of tlie 
boundary, for tlie reason, as they alleged, that he feared it 
would lessen the extent of his parish. Under his rector- 
ship the parish reached the highest degree of prosperity 
that it ever attained as an Episcopal parish. 

In 1757 Mr. Jones bought 480 acres of hmd in Middle 
Neck from Matthias and Henry A\an Bibber, for which he 
]iaid £882, from which it is plain that he had found time to 
acquire some of this world's goods. The record of his deed 
shows that it was written upon stamped paper the duty 
upon which had been paid. He died September 8th, 1700, 
at the great age of ninety years. His will is recorded in this 
county. lie left his beloved godson, Edward Pryce Wilmer, 
his lot in Charlestown, one silver half pint can, one silver 
soup spoon, and four hunting pictures then hanging in his 
l)arlor. The residue of his estate he left to his nephew, 
Kev. William Barroll. His remains are interred at St. 
Stephen's, and a marl)le slab erected to his men:iory by his 
nephew, William Barroll, marks the site of his grave. 

Mr. Jones had resigned the rectorship of St. Stephen's be- 
fore his death ; at least it is stated m his will that his 
nephew, William Barroll, was then rector of that parish. 
AVilliam Barroll was a nativ6 of Wales, or of Hereford, on 
its borders. He was ordained by the Bishop of London for 
Maryland, March 4th, 1700, and came to Maryland short!}'- 
afterwards. This year the small-pox i)revailed in the vicinity 
of the church to such an extent that the vestry feared to 
meet on Easter Monday to transact the usual business of 
filling vacancies, choosing church wardens, etc. This dis- 
ease appears to have been very prevalent about this time, 
and the records of the county show that in many cases al- 
lowances were made to people who had nursed poor per- 
sons Avho were afflicted with it. The rector and vestrymen 
of North Sassafras therefore })etitioned the General Assembly 


to confirm the action they took at a subsequent meeting. 
Owing to the increase of population in the county the 
Oeneral Assembly at the session of 1706 passed an act 
•erecting the parish of North Elk, which embraced all that 
part of the county north of the Elk and east of Susquehanna 
River. Though tlie legal name of this parish is North Elk, 
it has been called St. Mary Ann's Parish since the erection 
of the church at North East, which is called by that name. 
The early history of this parish is involved in obscurity, 
from the fact that all the records previous to 1743 were 
many years ago destroyed by fire. It is stated, however, in 
Dr. Ethan Allen's manuscript history of this parish that 
some time during the first nine years after it was erected 
the vestry sent a petition to the Bishop of London, under 
wdiose care the Established Church in Maryland had been 
placed, praying for the services of a minister and a donation 
•of books for the use of the parish. They state in the peti- 
tion that they had erected a church and that the revenue of 
the parish was about £40 per annum ; that the population 
was a mixed one, and all sorts of religion prevailed among 
the people. The petition Avas signed by Nicholas Hyland, 
Joseph Young, Samuel ^"ans, Samson, George, Francis 
ISIauldin and John Curer. It was probably in response to 
this ])ctition that (^ueen Anne presented the vestry with a 
large Bible, which is used in the church at this time (1881). 
The good bishop w^as unable to compl}^ with their request, 
and it was not till 1722 that they obtained the regular 
service of a minister. In this year the vestry presented a 
petition to the court praying for a levy of tobacco "to finish 
the church and repair sundry things relating to it." This 
petition was signed on behalf of the vestry by William 
Howell, who was the first clerk of this parish that is alluded 
to in the records of the county. In 1724 the vestry, by 
Richard Dobson, who was register of the parish, petitioned 
the court for a levy of five pounds of tobacco per ])oll to 
enable them to finish an addition to the parish church. 


Tliere being no rector for a number of years after the 
organization of the parish, there was no legal method of 
obtaining the much-sought-for tobacco, only to levy it for 
the repair of the church ; and year after year the same old 
petition appears upon the records, and the same old story 
of needed repairs is rehearsed, and never rehearsed in vain, 
for the tobacco was always granted. 

The churchmen of that time seem to have been very 
zealous, for we find a petition of John Hamm to the court 
in 1721 stating that he had stood godfather to a child whose 
father had since died, and the child was then kept among 
Roman Catholics, "contrary to the Intention of his Baptism;" 
he therefore prayed that he might be removed to where he 
might be brought up in the " Church of England religion." 
The court ordered the child's mother to bring it into court, 
but the record tells nothing more of the case. 

The Rev. Walter Ross appears to have been the first 
Episcopal minister that regularly labored in this parish. 
He was a missionary of the Society for the Propagation of 
the Gospel,* and had been at New Castle some time pre- 
vious to the year 1722, when he commenced his labors here, 
still continuing his work at New Castle. The Rev. Walter 
Hackett was inducted into this parish in 1733, though Mr. 
Ross still continued to serve it. It is probable that this 
anomalous condition was caused by the cftbrts of the pro- 
prietors of the respective provinces to extend their juris- 

The controversy between the heirs of Penn and the pro- 
prietary of Maryland was raging at this time, and no doubt 
Lord Baltimore thought it both wise and politic to give the 
parishioners of North Elk a rector. At this time Rev. Hugh 
Jones was in charge of North Sassafras Parish, and Mr. 
Hackett was probabh- quite as strong a partisan as he. It 

* This Society was organized in London, and was under the control of 

the bishop of that city. 


was probably owing to the efforts of Mr. Ross that the 
chapel near Port Deposit was erected. Thischapel was east of 
that town and not far from Battle Swamp. It was built upon 
part of nine acres of land (which was no doubt a gift of the 
lord proprietary), near a fine spring of water, which was 
known as the Indian Spring. Every vestige of this chapel 
has long since disappeared, but the land is still in the pos- 
session of the vestry of the parish, and is now overgrown 
with briars and bushes. A very few ancient tombstones 
mark the site of the graveyard. One of them bears the 
date of 1742, which indicates that the chapel had not then 
fallen into the neglect that has since overtaken it. It is 
worthy of remark that Mr. Hackett stated in his first report 
to the Society " that his baptisms were numerous, one of 
which was an Indian and four others colored persons." 

Mr. Hackett, who died in 1735, was succeeded by the Rev. 
William Wye, who took charge of the parish in 1736, and 
under whose administration the venerable old church now 
standing was built. The parish now seems to have -been in 
a prosperous condition and contained 928 taxables. 

The reader must remember that the eastern and northern 
boundaries of the county were still in dispute, and that Not- 
tingham was claimed by Penn and the inhabitants of that 
township, and those of Welsh Tract were not included in the 
above number. 

In 1742 an act was passed authorizing a levy of £800 to 
be made to enable the vestry to erect a church and vestry- 
house, and in 1743 they eiltered into articles of agreement 
with Henry Baker for that purpose. The names of the 
vestrymen were Captain Nicholas Hyland, Captain Zebulon 
Hollingsworth, Henry Baker, Edward Johnson, Thomas 
Ricketts, and John Currer. 

The church stands on or near the site of the first one and 
is a well-constructed brick building, of the same style as the 
old Baptist church on Iron Hill, which was built four 
years afterwards. Very probably the brick used in its con- 
struction Avero lirouirlit from EiiL'-laiid. 


The following inscription is distinctly legible on the cor- 
ner-stone of the church: 

Rd WYE: HB: XH: DEI: ZH: TR : IC: 1743. 

This inscription, as the reader will see, begins with the 
name of the rector. The initials, except the letters DEI, 
are those of the vestrymen of 1742. 

There is reason to believe that Henry Baker employed 
•Samuel Gilpin to do the carpenter work of the church and 
vestry-house ; for the vestry-book shows that in 1751 Gilpin 
was ordered to have the vestry-house tinished as soon as 

The church seems not to have been quite finished in that 
year, for Baker was ordered to deliver to the sexton a dozen 
bolts for the church windows. 

In 1752 one Dominie Fanning was allowed to keep school 
in the vestry-house, Robert Cunimings becoming surety that 
he would not injure it. 

It was customary for many years after this church was 
built to tar it, that is, to apply tar to that portion of the 
wood-work and roof that was exposed to the weather. This 
custom WPS in vogue in 17G3. In that year .John Neal con- 
tracted with the vestry to make a ladder thirty feet long, 
and to tar the church and vestry-house. 

In 1743 the vestry agreed to purchase a tract of land con- 
taining two hundred and fifty acres from Robert Cummings, 
then in possession of it, for £250'. He to have the use of the 
Pot House and wood for the same for two j'ears. This land 
■was intended for a glebe; it was near the church. 

It is supposed that the old church that stood in the grave- 
yard, in the Ninth district, on the road from Kirk's Mills to 
Bay View, was built about this time. Tradition indicates 
tliat it was built by the Episcopalians, but its history is still 
more obscure than that of the old cha[)el near Battle Swamp. 
Mr. Wye died November lOtli, 1741, and was buried, it is 


said, at the Wye Chapel, in Queen Anne's County. TheWye 
River was most likely so called because his family resided 
near it. His funeral sermon was preached by the Rev^ 
Hugh Jones, then rector of North Sassafras Parish, who 
charged his estate two pounds and ten shillings for doing it. 
The following petition will speak for itself: 

"The petition of the vestry, church-wardens and parish- 
ioners of St. Mary Ann's Parish, in Cecil County, most hum- 
bly sheweth. That whereas the Rev. Wm. Wye departed this- 
life about tltirty-s-ix hours past, which makes a vacancy for a 
minister in said parish of which your petitioners are inhabi- 
tants, who humbly pray your excellency would please to- 
allow us the liberty of choosing or making tryal of a minis- 
ter to supply his place, that may be most agreeable to our 
inclination, before your excellency suffers one to come in, 
as on the death of j\Ir. George Hacket, formerly minister of 
the said parish, such a petition was referred to the Hon. 
Samuel Ogle, Esq., then governor of this province, who 
thought proper to grant it, we hope your excellency will 
show us the same indulgence and your petitioners as in duty 
bound shall ever pray, &c. The foregoing petition was sent 
to Thomas Bladen, Esq., His Excellency, Governor and 
Commander-in-chief in and over the province of Maryland." 

On the 4th of December following, the Rev. John Brad- 
ford appeared before the vestry and read his induction for 
this parish, dated the 20th of November, from which it is 
plain that notwithstanding the very humble petition which 
had been sent to the governor with such unseemly haste, 
he had appointed the reverend gentleman only four days 
after the death of his predecessor. At this meeting two of 
the residents of Charlestown were summoned to appear 
before the vestry to answer the charge of unlawfully cohab- 
iting together. At a subsequent meeting of the vestry on 
the 7th of the following January, "the said Elizabeth ap- 
peared and declared that she and the aforesaid John will 
part and live assunder between this and next vestry day," 


which promise, thougli exceedingly vague and indefinite, 
seems to have been satisfactor}- to tlie vestry, for no further 
reference is made to the case. The records in the old vol- 
ume from which these extracts are taken contain many 
references to cases of this kind, and disclose a remarkable 
degree of laxity in the morals of the people. Not only the 
lower classes of society, but in some cases those high in au- 
thority, were charged with this or similar offences. Gen- 
erally the culprits made the amende honorable, and produced 
certificates of marriage given by clergymen of other denomi- 
nations who resided out of the parish. Mr. Bradford died 
in 1746. His successor was the Rev. John Hamilton, who 
had charge of the parish from 1746 to 1773. Nothing re- 
markable occurred during his rectorship; but it maybe 
mentioned as a matter of interest, that in 1754 the taxables 
had increased to 1,030, and the return for 1755 shows an 
increase of 97 during that year. For the ensuing five years 
the taxables in this parish varied, and in 1762 only 
amounted to 1113. It is worthy of note that during Mr. 
Hamilton's incumbency the church was robbed of the 
communion service, and that a destructive fire occurred in 
Boston, to the sufferers from which, at the request of the 
governor, the charitably disposed persons in the county con- 
tributed £79, of which the people of this parish contributed 
£ol. It was also during tlie rectorship of Mr. Hamilton 
(1748) that the vestry purchased one hundred acres of land 
(part of "Clayfall") from John Curer, for £180, for a glebe. 
They continued to hold this land till 1784, when they sold 
it to Jeremiah Baker for £605. 


William Dare — Bulls' Jlountaiii— " Fi-iendsliip '" — Old Simon — Trans- 
town — Ye Swedestown — John Hans Stillman — Smith's mill at Head of 
Elk — The Jacobs family — Heni-y HoUingsworth — Quarrel about New- 
Munster road — Bridges over the head of Elk River — Road from head of 
Elk to New Castle— Sketch of HoUingsworth family— North East— First 
iron works — Roads leading to North East — Principio Iron Company — 
Samuel Gilpin settles at Gilpin's Rocks — William Black's account of 
North East — Immigration — Character of immigrants — Susquehanna ferry 
— Road from ferry to Philadelphia. 

William Dare, who the reader will recollect was one of 
the cotemporaries of George Talbot, was one of those who 
very early in the history of the count}' took np land at the 
head of Elk River. As early as 1681 he became the propri- 
etor of a tract called the Grange, which extended for some 
distance in a southeast direction from that part of the Big 
Elk called the Half Moon, and contained about one hun- 
dred and fifty acres. He was also the proprietor of seven 
hundred acres in Elk Neck, called Rich Mountain, which 
he sold in 1702 to Francis Mauldin, the founder of the 
Mauldin family of this county. This land was adjoining 
the land of Thomas Bull. There can be no doubt that these 
tracts of land were afterwards called by their owners' names, 
and thus originated the names of Bull's and Mauldin's 
Mountain. Shortly after this time (1681) most of the land 
on the east and south side of the Big Elk between the 
Grange and Frenchtown was taken up and patented, as was 
also much of the land in Elk Neck and along the east side 
of the Susqueharma River for some distance north of the 
mouth of tlie Octoraro Creek. But many of the original 
grants, probaljly owing to the inability of the grantees to 


comply with the condition under wliich they were made, 
reverted to the lord proprietar}'^, and their bounds and the 
date of the patent were lost. 

The land upon which Elkton was built is part of the tract 
of fourteen hundred acres which was patented to Nicholas 
Painter in 1G81, under the name of Friendship. The south- 
east corner of the tract is marked by a stone which may be 
seen close by the roadside, between Mitchell's mill race and 
the Far Creek] it extended down the Big Elk to a point some 
distance below the bridge at the causewa}', and north for the 
distance of a mile or more. This tract came into the posses- 
sion of Philip Lynes, as did the large tract of Belleconnell, 
which, as before stated, was patented to George Talbot two 
years later. Philip Lynes devised these tracts to his wife 
Anne Lynes, his cousin Mary Contee, and his friend William 
liladen, by his last will dated 1709, and they by a deed ex- 
ecuted in 1711 conveyed it to John Smith, the son and heir 
of William Smith, to satisfy a claim which his father had 
against Philip Lynes for money loaned hini by said William 
Smith in his lifetime. This deed is for three parcels of 
land, comprising about one thousand acres, parts of Friend- 
ship and Belleconnell. Reference is made in it to the " man's 
tenement, known and called by ye name of old Simon." 
This Simon was surnamed Johnson. He owned a tract of 
land that extended from what is now known as the " Hollow '^ 
(but was formerly called " Simon's Gut ") as far down the 
river as the bridge at the causeway, and far enough north 
to include fifty acres of land. " Old Simon " is evidently 
the man whose name has been given to Simon's Tussock, 
which is a massive tussock situated on the north side of the 
river a short distance from where Ben's Gut empties into 
the river. " Ye tenement " in which he lived probably 
stood on or near the east end of the depot lot. The records 
of the court show that old Simon lived to be eighty years of 
age, and that this plantation was in the possession of his 
son Simon in 1742. 


Friendship and Belleconnell are described in the deed 
from Lynes and others to Smith as "lying at j^e Swedes- 
town ;" but inasmuch as those tracts contained three thous- 
and four hundred acres, it is hard to fix the location of the 
town. In 1697 two Swedish missionaries on their w'ay to 
the settlements on the Delaware, sailed up the Chesapeake 
Bay and Elk River and landed at a village which they said 
had been founded by their countrymen. It was called Trans- 
town, and was probably located at Elk Landing. In 1G98, 
a certain John Hans Stillman loaned the Rev. Ericus Biork, 
one of the missionaries before referred to, £100 of silver 
money for the use of the congregation in building the old 
Swedes church yet standing in Wilmington. Eight years 
afterwards he released Biork from the payment of the 
bond, and is described as John Elans Stillman, merchant of 
Elk River in Cecil County. "^^ He is known to have owned 
land on Big Elk Creek just above Elk Landing, from which it 
seems almost certain that Transtown was at or very near 
the junction of the Big and Little Elk. Mr. Ferris, in 
his History of the Original Settlements on the Delaware, 
locates Transtown on the site of Frenchtown, which has been 
done on the map accompanying this volume. Stillman was 
naturalized in 1695. In 1697 and probably for many years 
afterwards he was engaged in trading with the Indians at 
tlie mouth of the Susquehanna River. He is no doubt the 
person referred to in the colonial records of a subsequent 
period as Captain Hans, and appears to have had much in- 
fluence with the Indians. 

John Smith was the son of William Smith, who is suj)- 
posed to have been the person who erected the first mill at 
the Head of Elk. This mill is known to have been there 
as early as 1700, and tlie next year one William Anderson 
petitioned the court for leave to retail strong liquors at the 

* For an account of Transtown and Stillman, see Fcrris'.s History of 
the Original Sellloniients on the Delaware, pages 150 and 177. 



Head of Elk, "he being a poor man and much incumbered 
with people passing and repassing to the said mill along the 
Queen's road," which then ran from the lower ferry at 
Perryville via North East and crossed the Big Elk Creek at 
or near where the bridge now stands at Mitchell's mill, and 
ran down the peninsula east of the heads of Back Creek, 
Bohemia and Sassafras rivers. 

Three months after John Smith received the deed for the one 
thousand acres before referred to, he and his wife and father- 
in-law sold the mill and eight acres, on part of which it 
stood, to Thomas Jacobs, bolter, who is described as being 
of Middletown, Chester County, Pa. This land is that south 
of Main street and west of the road by the mill. Jacobs 
also bouglit another tract containing twenty-one acres on 
the west side of the creek and running a considerable dis- 
tance up the stream above the breast of the dam. It was 
stipulated in the deed that Jacobs was to have tlie right to 
cut as much timber as would be required to build a dwell- 
ing-house and also to rebuild the said mill and no more 
upon the other land of Smith free of charge. It is worthy 
of remark, as showing the condition of the country and the 
customs of the people, that "the fishings, fishing places and 
fowling ways" are specified as being convej'ed to Jacobs. 
This mill continued in possession of the Jacobs family till 
1784, at which time it was in a very bad condition, and 
Thomas Jacobs, the grandson of the person who purchased 
it from Smith, entered into a copartnership with Zebulon 
and Levi Hollingsworth for the purpose of carrying on the 
milling business. It was at this time that the old mill now 
standing was built b}' the Messrs. Hollingsworth, who built 
the mill and furnished it with a pair of French burr mill- 
stones and put £700 into the business. The third story of 
the mill, which is frame, was subsequently added to it. 

This man John Smith did business in a curious manner. 
His deed to Jacobs shows that he had previously bargained 
to sell the mill to Allen Robinet, for he mentions an agree- 


ment between that person and himself in the deed, and 
Jacobs covenants to indemnify him for any breach of the 
said agreement. Reese Hinton lived at that time on the 
Grange. In 1711 Smith sold seventy acres north of the 
Grange and adjoining the land of Jacobs to Hinton, and the 
next year he sold ten acres of marsh (which is the marsh 
west of the gas works) to Henry Hollingsworth, who, in 
1711, had bought fifty acres of land from William Slaby, of 
New Castle, for £28. This last tract is described in the deed 
as being south of and adjoining the land of Simon Johnson. 

Hollingsworth also purchased some acres of marsh which 
was between Hollingsworth's Point and the mouth of Mill 
Creek. It is described as being near Glover's Hill, which is 
the hill near the west end of the causeway, across Little Elk, 
just above Elk Landing. In 1713 Smith, who had been 
absent from the county for some years, returned and took 
up one hundred and seventy-one acres of land, called Elk 
Plains, near the head of Elk River, on the south side of a 
path leading from head of Elk River to the town of New 

In 1720 the inhabitants of New Munster and one Lewis 
Jones had a quarrel about a road from New Munster to the 
head of Elk. This road seems to have run some distance 
east of where the road is now located, and the quarrel ap- 
pears to have been long and bitter. The petitions presented 
to the court in reference to it are interesting and curious. 
Jones owned a large cjuantity of land extending from Gil- 
pin's bridge north of Elkton, to some distance north of Belle- 
hill. The quarrel seems to have been caused by the desire 
of the people of New Munster to obtain a better fording of 
Big Elk Creek. 

In 1721 many of the inhabitants of the upper part of the 
county presented a petition to the court, in which they state 
that " Whereas, the great and main King's road, leading 
through his lordship's province of Maryland, passing over 
the dangerous & swelling falls of the two heads of Elk River, 


whereby many good people both inliabitants of tliis county 
& strangers are not only stopt & often disappointed in their 
journeys to their loss & damage, but likewise often in dan- 
ger and perill of their lives, wherefore they pray that the 
court would order o-ood it sufficient horse &, fool bridges to 
be built over the said two falls of the two heads of Elk River 
at the public charge of the said county ;" which petition was 
granted, and John Thomas was given the contract for build- 
ing the bridges which he constructed some time during that 
or the following year, for he presented a petition to the court 
at its session just a year afterwards, in which he states that 
" not well considering the value of building the said bridges 
at the time of agreeing for the building of the same, he finds 
a great deal more work than he expected, & humbly prays 
that the court would order two discreet persons to view the 
said bridges & make report of the same to the worshipful 
court of the value of building them," with which report he 
promised to be contented. The court, after " maturely con- 
sidering" the petition, ordered that he be paid 7,000 pounds 
of tobacco, in accordance with his agreement. These were 
the first bridges built at the expense of the county that are 
referred to in the records of the court. 

It is a singular coincidence that forty-two years after this 
time George Catto, Tobias Rudolph and Joseph Gilpin, who 
were appointed by the court to rebuild the bridge over the 
Great Elk at the same place got into a similar difficulty. The 
court levied the sum of £125 for the building of this bridge^ 
and the commissioners state in their petition that they had 
thought it most advantageous to the public to have the 
greater part of it built of stone, and had contracted for the 
building of it for £250, and pray for an additional allowance 
of £125. 

In 1723 some of the influential citizens of the county peti- 
tioned .for a road " from the head of Elk to New Castle and 
Christine Bridge," and state in their petition that "the road 
to those places not having been laid out by order of court 


was so stopped up and turned that carts were forced to go 
l)y the New Munster Road (which then ran near where 
Newark now stands), and that strange travelers often went 
by Frenchtown instead of the head of Elk River, the Welsh 
having cleared and marked a road as far as their sujDposed 
bounds." The petition, which was signed by Stephen 
Onion, Richard Dobson, and eighteen other citizens of the 
county, was granted, and William Bristow, overseer of 
Bohemia Hundred, and Thomas Jacobs, the proprietor of 
the mill, were ordered to make the road. 

The Henry Hollingsworth'^ who bought the land from 
John Smith came to Pennsylvania, as did also his brothers 
-r-Valentine and Thomas, in the ship Welcome, with William 
Penn, in 16S2. Their father, ^"alentine Hollingsworth, 
married the daughter of Henry Cornish, who was one of 
the sheriffs of London (London then had two sheriffs with 
co-equal power) in the troublesome times of James II., and 
wlio was executed in IGSo for alleged complicity with Mon- 
mouth in his efforts to usurp the royal authority. Cornish 
was believed to have been entirely innocent of the charges 
against him, and although he was executed with all the 
barbarity of the times. Parliament, a few years afterwards, 
in the reign of William and Mary, reversed the act of 
attainder, and did all in its power to atone for the wrong that 
it had brought upon an innocent family. A^alentine Hol- 
lingsworth represented New Castle County in the legislature 
of Pennsylvania for several years. He was the cotemporary 
of George Talbot. 

Henry, Avho was named after his maternal grandfather, 
was a man of much distinction, and assisted Thomas 
Holmes in laying out the city of Philadelphia, being at that 
time about eighteen years of age. After the death of Cor- 
nish his son-in-law, Valentine Plollingsworth, removed to 
Ireland, where his son Henry made the acquaintance of 
Lydia Atkinson, whom he married in 1688, having in that 
year returned to Ireland for lliut jturpose. He represented 


New Castle County in the Assembly in 1695, and was also 
sheriff of Chester County the same year ; was deputy mas- 
ter of the rolls in 1700, and coroner of the last-named 
county in 1706. He removed to Elkton about 1712, in 
which year he was appointed surveyor of Cecil County. 
He was the founder of the Hollings worth family in this 
county, and the grandfather of Colonel Henry Hollings- 
worth, who was so intimately identified with the cause of 
the colonies during their struggle for independence. He 
died in Elkton in 1721. 'i Valentine Hollingsworth was a 
Quaker, and his son Henry is believed to have been brought 
up in that faith, but afterwards joined the Episcopal church. 
His life gave evidence that he never forgot the pacific prin- 
ciples of the faith in which he had been educated, for he 
would not suffer the life of any animal to be sacrificed for 
food, and lived for some years wholly upon a vegetable 
diet. Once, when returning from a fair at New Castle, he 
saw a rattlesnake coiled up by a log not far from his house^ 
but passed on without killing it. Next day a peddler was 
found near the same spot stiff and dead from the bite of a 
snake. This gave Henry great pain, and he afterwards 
thought it right to kill snakes. 

The Hollingsworth family were noted for their enterprise 
and industry and many of them were largely engaged in 
the manufacture of flour, they being the owners of a number 
of mills on both branches of the Elk. Zebulon Hollings- 
worth, the father of Henry, of Revolutionary fame, was pre- 
siding justice of the court of this count}'', and one of the 
commissioners appointed to lay out Charlestown, in 1742. 
He was a prominent member of St. Mary Ann's church, at 
North East, and was one of the vestrymen in 1743, when 
the present church was built. He died in 1763, aged 67 
years, and is buried in the old graveyard, on the bank of 
the Elk, southwest of the Episcopal church in Elkton, and 
near the house in Avhicli he lived, a part of which is yet 
standing. He was the great-grandfather of Mrs. Dr. Mack- 


all, Mrs. Dr. Jamar, Mv. John Partridge and his sisters, 
and Mrs. Pinkne}' Whj'te, the wife of ex-Governor Whyte, 
of Baltimore. His son Jacob kept a hotel in the house now 
occupied by Col. George R. Howard, when the British were 
here in 1777. And very early in life his son Henry built 
the venerable old mansion now occupied by the Partridge 
family, and in which he resided at the time of the Revolution- 
ary war. It is worthy of remark in this connection that 
the British carried away the theodolite which Henry Hol- 
lingsworth used for surveying when they left here previous 
to the battle of Brandywine. The earliest landholder in 
the immediate vicinity of North East of whom any infor- 
mation has been obtained from the records of the county, 
was a millwright, named Robert Jones, who had twenty 
acres of land condemned for a mill site at the junction of the 
east and main branches of North East Creek in 1711. This 
was probably the site of the Shannon mill, but may have 
been further down the stream, where the other iron works 
are located. 

The next mill at North East of which we find any record, 
was owned by Robert Dutton, who is believed to have been 
the person referred to in the chapter upon Nottingham. 
Some time previous to 1716 he had a mill on or near the 
site of the iron works, which he sold, together with fii'ty 
acres of land upon part of which it stood, to Richard Ben- 
nett, of Queen Anne's County, in that year, for £100 silver 
money. This mill was near the " bottom of the main falls 
of North East," and there seems to have been a forge or fur- 
nace upon it, for iron works are among the many things 
mentioned as being conveyed by the deed. It is very likely 
that Dutton had the land upon which this mill was built 
condemned by a writ of ad quod damnum, as the legal pro- 
cess was called, for the early legislators of the colony were 
so sensible of the use of mills that they very soon passed an 
act i^roviding for the condemnation and valuation of land 
for the use of those who .were disposed to build them. This 


process was much the same as that now in usefor o1)taining 
private property for public use. The party obtaining- the 
site for a mill in this manner luiJ the use of it for the term 
of eighty years at a given annual rent. jMany of the mills 
in the county, in its early days, were built upon land obtained 
in this way. 

Among the petitions presented to the court in 1719 was 
one from some of the citizens of Susquehanna Hundred, in 
which they state that they had "settled in a remote part of 
this county and were destitute of convenient roads both to 
church and court and also for rolling tobacco to any con- 
venient landing;" they tlierefore prayed for a road to be 
laid out from the head of North East River to the plantation 
of Roger Kirk.* The petition was signed by Robert Dutton, 
the proprietor of the mill, and about twenty others. 

In 1721 John Cousine, an orphan, thirteen years of age, 
was bound to John Pennington, of North East. Mr. Pen- 
nington was a cordwaincr (which was the name given to 
shoemakers at that time), and he obligated himself to teach 
the orphan " to read, write and cast accounts and to get his 
catechism by ]ieart,and to teach him the cordwainer's trade, 
and to give him, at the expiration of his time of service, a 
set of shoemakers' tools, two new suits of clothes and a 
young breeding mare." 

In 1723 many of the inhaljitants of Milford Hundred, 
which then embraced tiie northeastern part of the county, 
petitioned the court for a road from the New Munster Road, 
at David Alexander's, across the main fresh of Elk River at 
Stephen Hollingsworth's mill, (which was the mill on Big- 
Elk, west of Cowantown) to the church at North East. A 
few months afterwards they presented another petition, 

* Royor Kirk w;i.s the founder of the Kiik family, which is one of the 
most numerous in tliis county. His phuitation was on the great Xoith 
East, in Nottingham, and included the site of the mill on that stream, 
next above the road leading from the Brick Meeting-house to the Rising 


stating that this "road was difficult, dangerous and trouble- 
some to maintain by reason of crossing the east branch of 
North East twice, and that it was only intended for a bridle 
path, and that a cart road was much needed and might l)e 
made by a much nearer route," &c. This petition was granted 
and Stephen Hollingsworth was ordeied to see the road 
laid out, so that it would not damnify any of the inhabitants 
of said Hundred. 

In 1724 Daniel Davis presented a petition to the court, 
stating that he had settled on the main road, near the iron 
works at North East, and was often oppressed with strangers 
and travelers, and humbly prayed for a license to keep a 
public house of entertainment, which was granted. 

These few references in the records of the county to North 
East show that it was a place of some importance as early as 
1720, and most likely it was of much greater importance 
then than it was half a century afterwards. Charlestown 
was not then built; perhaps it was nat even thought of, and 
the iron works which, as we have seen, were located here as 
■early as 1716, added much to the importance of the place. 

In 1722 Stephen Onion & Co. leased from Ebenezer Cook, 
(the agent of the lord proprietary) two tracts of land, called 
Vulcan's Rest and Vulcan's Trial. The former tract joined 
Dutton's mill-dam on the south, and probably extended 
down the river some distance below the present limits of 
the town. The annual rent for this tract, which contained 
one hundred and fifty acres, was 15s. Gd, sterling and two 
fat capons. The rent for Vulcan's Trial, which was still 
further down the river, was 4.s. and two capons. The lease for 
this tract, which contained thirty-seven acres, contained a 
covenant obliging the company (which at that time con- 
sisted of Stepiien Onion and Thomas and William Russell) 
to plant an orchard of forty a[»plo trees. Two days after 
this, on the 31st of May, 1722, they leased a tract of two 
hundred acres in Susquehanna Manor, called " Diffidence." 
It was on the north side of the main branch of the North 


East. On this tract they were to plant an orcliard of two 
hundred apple trees. The annual rent was 20s. and two 
capons. This seems to indicate that the proprietors of the 
North East iron works were not a part of the Principio 
Company at this time, though Onion is mentioned as one of 
the latter company in the purchase of a mill on Back Creek 
(now Principio Creek) the same year, and Joshua Gee, 
Joseph Farmer, William Russell, and John Puston are 
mentioned as the other members of the Principio Company. 
The large tract of GeofFarison, which was no doubt so called 
in honor of Mr. Gee, was purchased in 1722 by Onion & Co., 
it having been patented in 1721. The probability is that 
Onion was a member of each company, and that they were 
afterwards united. I'he Principio Company was one of tlie 
first com])anies organized in the county for the manufacture 
of iron. The father and brother of General Washington 
had an interest in this company, which some of the family 
retained till after the close of the Pevolutionar}'^ war. At 
what time the Washingtons first became connected with the 
company is uncertain, but it was probably after the settle- 
ment of Samuel Gilpin at Gilpin's Rocks, which was in 
1733. The Gilpin and Washington families had inter- 
married in England and were intimate at this time, which 
may serve to explain why the Washingtons became inter- 
ested in an enterprise of this kind in Cecil County. For a 
long time after the erection of these works they were sup- 
plied with iron ore obtained in the neighborhood. 

The forges used at that time, and till a comparatively 
recent period, were very rude affairs. The blast was made 
by means of a curious circular bellows, which was operated 
by means of a water-wheel, very little machinery or gearing 
being used. So rude were these forges that there was a 
water-wheel for each bellows and hammer, consequently one 
forge building often contained several water-wheels. 

In 1744 William Black, who was secretary of the commis- 
sioners appointed by the Governor of Virginia to unite with 
hose of Pennsylvania and Maryland in treating with the 


Six Nations of Indians at Lancaster, visited this place in 
company with the commissioners of Virginia and Maryland. 
While on their way to Philadelphia to join the commission- 
ers of that province, he says : " We sailed up the bay and 
landed at Turkey Point, and I never saw a country so over- 
grown with w^oods. About sundown w^e came to anchor 
before North East town, which is composed of two ordi- 
naries, a grist mill, baker house & two or three dwellings. 
Notwithstanding we were lying before a town, the commis- 
sioners and all the rest of the company chose to be on board, 
as the place by its appearance did not promise the best of 
entertainment. The next morning we went on shore and 
breakfasted at the public house, where I drank the best cask 
cider for the season that ever I did in America." After 
visiting the Principio Company's iron works, which were 
then in charge of Mr. Baxter, which he says were thought 
to be as complete works of the kind as any on the continent, 
they started on horseback towards Philadelphia, and were 
met at the State line by the high sheriff, coroner, and under- 
sheriff of New Castle County, with their white wands, who 
accompanied them to Chester, where they were met by the 
officials of Chester County. He does not mention Elkton, 
but speaks of dining at Ogletown, and says he drank some 
more good cider there. 

So great was the desire of many persons in England and 
Ireland to emigrate to Maryland, that in the early days of 
the colony many of them entered into contracts with people 
in England, who owned plantations in Maryland, to serve 
them as servants or laborers in the new country for a term 
of years, in consideration of their transportation and main- 
tenance. Many of the early settlers who afterwards became 
distinguished in the history of the State, reached the colony 
in its early days in this manner. Some time later in the his- 
tory of the colony, the captains of vessels engaged in the 
trans[)ortation of passengers, would effect arrangements to 
transport them to America, for which service they would 
bind themselves to serve any person who would pay the 


captain the price of their passage, until sucli time as the 
debt was liquidated. This custom prevailed until the time 
of the Revolutionary Mar. The emigrants imported in this 
way were called " Redemptioncrs." For some time before 
this system of emigration was discontinued, it was customary 
for the captains of tlie })assenger vessels to dispose of large 
lots of the Redemptioncrs to a class of persons called "Soul- 
drivers," who marched them through the country and dis- 
posed of them to the farmers. As late as 1795 this practice 
prevailed in Chester County, and it no doubt prevailed in 
Cecil quite as long. An amusing story is recorded in the 
history of Chester County of a shrewd Irishman, who, by a 
little good management, contrived to be the last of the gang. 
His master, the Soul-driver, and he stopped all night at a 
tavern, and the next morning lie arose early and sold his 
master to the landlord, ])Ocketed the money and made his 
•escape, telling the landlord that though clever in other 
respects, he was rather saucy and a little given to lying. 
That he had been presumptuous enough at times to endeavor 
to pass for master, and that he might possibly represent 
himself as such to him ! Like most persons held in bond- 
age, either voluntary or enforced, these servaiits, in many 
cases, gave their masters much trouble. 

The minutes and records of the court tliat are yet extant 
show that much of its time was spent in hearing and set- 
tling disputes between masters and servants. The servants 
Avould run off and give their masters trouble in other ways; 
and the records of the court show that many of tliem were 
not as virtuous as they should have been, and tliat the 
morals of the people of the county were by no means well- 
developed. Matthias Van Bibber, who was at one time chief 
justice of the county, complained to the court in 1724 of his 
servant Garrett Bonn ; that he was unruly; tliat he set him 
at defiance, and would do nothing but what he pleased. It 
aj)peared that Bonn came to the colony in 1722 without 
being indentured, and the cause of the quarrel appeare<l to 
be in regard to the time ho should serve. The court sent 


the constable, Daniel Huckle, after Bonn, and ordered that 
he should serve his master five years from the time the ship 
which brought him over landed in A^irginia, and that the 
sherift' take him to the whipping-post and give him twent}^- 
tive lashes well laid on upon the bare back. In 1729 Nathan 
Phillips p]'esented an account and petition to the court 
about his servant George Williams, who had ran away and 
was absent four times. His master had found him at Welsh 
Tract once, twice at New Castle, and once at Chester. He 
had absented himself twenty-nine days from his master's 
service and put him to an expense of £3 8s. Sd. The court 
ordered Williams to serve six months additional to re- 
imburse his master. These servants were bought and sold 
somewhat after the manner of slaves, as shown by the peti- 
tion of Ephraim Thompson, presented to the court as late 
as 1784. Ephraim had purchased one Timothy Rouck, a 
' four years servant." Timothy proved to be a bad invest- 
ment, and he shipped him on board of a sloop, the property 
of Thomas Wirt, to be sent to Alrginia and sold. Upon the 
return of the sloop he learned that he had not been sold, 
and he waited upon the skipper Isaac Vanlaman for the 
indentures of the said servant; when it appeared that some 
time during the voyage to Virginia, Rouck had stolen the 
indentures, and the skipper, for want of them, was unable 
to dispose of him. Mr. Thompson prays the court to take 
the premises into consideration and grant him such relief 
as it thought right. 

As early as 1695 there was a public ferry across the Sus- 
quehanna at or near Watson's Island. The great thorough- 
fare between the north and south then as now crossed the 
Susquehanna River at that place. 

In 1715 the legislature of the colony took the matter of 
absconding debtors and runaway servants into consider- 
ation, and enacted a law obliging all persons who intended 
to leave the province to give three months' notice of their 
intention to do so by affixing a notice to that effect upon 
the door of the court-house in the countv where thev lived 


after wliicli, if no persons objected, tliey were to be furnislied 
with passes. Tlie act recites the fact that " Whereas several 
ill- minded people, inhabiting and residing at the head of 
the bay, have commonly set persons over the head of the 
bay and ISusquehanna River, being either felons, debtors or 
runaway servants from the more remote parts of this prov- 
ince, for some small advantage they have in buying or get- 
ting such money, goods or apparel, as such persons so 
absenting or flying from justice aforesaid have with them 
generally money, goods or apparel, by them feloniously 
purloined from their masters and other owners," therefore it 
is enacted "that no person shall be allowed to transport any 
one not having a pass over the said Susquehanna River or 
head of the bay north of the Sassafras River unless they 
have a certificate from two of the justices of the county 
where they formerly resided certifying that they were free- 
men." This is the first enactment in reference to the under- 
ground railroad that was made in the legislation of the 
colonies. The servants referred to were generally white 
servants, and it was not till many years after this, when 
slavery was abolished in the Northern States, that the 
slaves of Maryland and the Southern States availed them- 
selves of its use. 

It is probable that the ferry at the mouth of the Sus- 
quehanna was the onh'^ one on that stream at this time. A 
few years afterwards Thomas Cresap was proprietor of a 
ferry near where Port Deposit now stands ; this for a long 
time afterwards, in contradistinction to the one at the 
mouth of the river, was called the Upper Ferry. In 1727 
Richard Touchstone was proprietor of Mount Ararat; he 
states in a petition, presented to the court in that year, that 
he was then seventy years of age and had served the coun- 
try forty-three years. He no doubt is the man whose wife, 
tradition says, supplied George Talbot with food when he 
took refuge in the cave, which was at the base of Mount 
Ararat. He certainly was in the county at the time that 
Talbot was in the cave, and the tradition is not improbable. 


In 1731 the inhabitants of Susquehanna upper ferry 
petitioned for a road from the ferry toward Philadelphia. 
They say the ferry was much used b}^ the lower inhabitants 
of this province, and there was nothing but small paths by 
which to reach it. They, therefore, prayed for this road to 
" extend towards Philadelphia as far as the jurisdiction of 
this court doth extend." The inhabitants of the county 
about this period became much interested in the subject of 
roads, and many of the most important ones in the county 
were laid out. This was especially the case with the people 
along the Susquehanna. 

The same year some of the uppermost inhabitants of 
Cecil County on Susquehanna River presented a petition, 
which sheweth "that a ferry is kept at a place called the 
Upper Ferry and merchants' mill near by, at a place called 
Rock Run, which place being the nearest navigable water 
that any vessel of any considerable burden can come up to, 
to which place they were obliged to roll their tobacco, in 
order to be shipped off;" they therefore prayed for a road 
from Peach Bottom to the said Rock Run mill, and from 
there to the said ferry place. The petition was granted and 
Randall Death was appointed overseer of the road. Many 
of these people resided several miles north of where Mason 
and Dixon's line was afterwards located. Wagons and 
other wheeled conveyances were scarce in the early days of 
the colony ; indeed, ox carts, which were quite common a 
few years ago, were very rare and scarce at the time of the 
Revolutionary war. For want of a better method the early 
settlers were in the habit of rigging their hogsheads in such 
a manner that they could hitch a horse to them and roll 
them to the landings on the navigable streams, from which 
they WTre transported to Europe. Many references are 
made to this custom in the petitions for roads which were 
presented about this time. In many cases they are called 
rolling roads. This method of transportation prevailed to 
some extent in North Carolina and Virginia until quite 


Hundreds — Hotels — Charles Runisey — Trials by jury — The Justices' 
court — l^ules of the fourt — Removal of county seat from Jamestowi> 
to Court-house Point — Court-house and jail — Town at Court-house Point — 
Elk ferry traditions — Quarrel among the justices of the court — The 

Cecil County was at first divided into five liiindreds ; of 
these, South Sassafras, as its name implies, and Worten Creek 
were south of the Sassafras River. North Sassafras Hun- 
dred included that jDartof the county between tlie Sassafras 
and Bohemia rivers. Bohemia Hundred included the ter- 
ritory between the Elk and Bohemia rivers, while tliat part 
of the county north of the Elk River was called Elk Hun- 
dred. In the course of time, when most of the land in the 
county was taken up and the po})ulation liad increased, it 
became necessary to divide these hundreds for the conven- 
ience of the inhabitants, for each hundred had its constable, 
who in addition to the business now done by officers of that 
name, had to make an annual return of the taxables in his- 
hundred and to collect the tax. The constable also ha,d ta 
look after the negro slaves, and suppress any riotous or 
tumultuous assemblages of them that came under his 
notice. There is reason to believe that each constable re- 
ceived an annual allowance of tobacco in consideration of 
the services of this kind he might be called upon to per- 
form, for there are several certificates to be found among 
the papers appertaining to tlie levy of 17G3 and other 
years, certifying that certain gentlemen who lield the 
office, "to the certain knowledge of the writers, had gone 
out of nights several times to negro quarters and otlier 
places, in order to iiinder and suppress tlieir tumultuous 


meetings." Tlie constables were appointed by the justices' 
court, and were commissioned b}' the county clerk for one 
year. The justices' court (or the court of many duties, as 
it might have been properly called) also appointed one or 
more overseers of roads in each hundred, whose duty it was, 
under an act of Assembly heretofore mentioned, to "make 
the heads of rivers, creeks, branches and swamps passable 
for horse and foot." The overseers were commissioned for 
one year; and their commissions, like those of the con- 
stables, contained a clause requiring the holder to return it 
to the justices at the next annual meeting, and stating that 
if they failed to do so, they would suffer the penalty of 
being continued in office another year. To the credit of 
most of the constables and overseers, their commissions 
show that they returned them with the names of some of 
their neighbors indorsed on them, with a recommendation 
that they be appointed as their successors. It has been aptly 
remarked by a modern statesman, when speaking of a cer- 
tain class of officials, that none of them resigned and very 
few of them died, and probably nothing so well illustrates 
the difference between the officers of the present day and 
those of a century ago than the curious clause that we have 
just mentioned as being in their warrants. That which was 
a penalty then would now be considered by most office- 
holders as a fee simple deed or patent, and probably not one 
of ten thousand commissions like those issued a century 
ago would now be returned. No record of the bounds of 
the other hundreds in the county, or the time of their 
erection, lias been found and probably none was ever kept, 
except in the minute books of the commissioners' court, 
very few of which are now to be found, and these are so 
dimmed by age that the writing in them is not legible. But 
it has been ascertained from papers in the county commis- 
sioners' office, that in 1770 the county was divided into 
thirteen hundreds, as follows : North Sassafras, West Sas- 
safras, Bohemia Middle Neck, Bohemia Manor, Back Creek, 



North Milford, South Milford, North Susquehanna. South 
Susquehanna, Elk, Cliarlestown and Oetoraro. 

The keeping of ordinaries, or liotels, as they are now 
called, was a business that seems to liave possessed nuich 
attraction for many of the people of the county in the last 
century, and many of the most respectable families were en- 
gaged in it. The reasons given by many of them are curi- 
ous and laughable. In 1710 Charles Rumsey* presented a 
petition to the court, "shewing that he was a liver at the 
head of Bohemia River and that he had a wife and several 
small children to maintain, which to him were very charge- 
able, and continual passengers coming to his house, travel- 
lers from this province for Pennsylvania and from Pennsyl- 
vania to tliis province, and to whom he in modesty gives 
entertainment and lodgings, victuals, &c., without pay, 
which in time may amount to considerable sums of money," 
therefore he prayed to be licensed to keep an ordinary. 
Howell James lived, a few years later, at Back Creek mill, 
and stated in his petition that "he was much oppressed by 
travellers and others, he being located on the road from 
Head of Elk to Bohemia Ferry." He, therefore, applied for 
license to keep an ordinary. The court in those days, and 
for a long time afterwards, not onl}'- licensed ordinary-keep- 
ers, but the law obliged them to require the persons so 
licensed to give bonds that they would keep well regulated 
houses. The law also obliged the court to fix annually the 
price of meals, lodging and liquors, a list of which was to be 
exposed to view in the public part of the licensed premises. 
The rates for liquor fixed by the court in 1717 are as follows: 
"Rum, per gallon, 10 shillings, or 120 lbs. of tobacco; punch, 
per gill, with three parts rum, 4 shillings, or 48 lbs. of to- 
bacco ; flipe, per gill, with three parts rum, 4 shillings, or 48 
lbs. of tobacco ; cider, per gallon, 1 shilling, or 12 lbs. of to- 
bacco; quince drink, per gallon, 1 shilling, or 12 lbs. of 
tobacco; beer, per gallon, 1.5. 4c?., or 10 lbs. of tobacco." 

* See sketch of Rumsey family in last chapter. 


It was also the duty of the -justices' court to appoint a 
proper person for ferryman at each of the i:)uhlic ferries in 
the county and to fix the rates to be charged for the passen- 
gers and stock and vehicles of all kinds. In addition to 
these regular rates, the county gave the keepers of the ferry 
a subsidy of tobacco, probably because the amount of busi- 
ness was not sufficiently large to properly remunerate the 

Parties who thought themselves aggrieved by the decisions 
of the justices' court had the right of appeal to the provincial 
court, which was held at the capital of the colon}'. One 
Thomas Hitchcock, who was convicted of stealing a horse 
from Owen Hughes in 1700, and was sentenced to pay him 
fourfold and stand two hours in the pillory, appealed to the 
higher court, which affirmed the judgment. The following 
order may be found among the minutes of the court for the 
year 1689 : " Ordered b}' the court that all accounts arising 
upon issue be henceforward in this court tried by a jury, 
and that the attornies of this court are enjoined to take 
notice thereof." This is the first reference to trial by jury 
that has been found in the records of the court. It is prob- 
able that prior to that time all causes were tried before the 
court. A feM'' of the old minutes of the court are yet extant, 
and contain much information in reference to the doings of 
the gentlemen who composed the courts. In 1688 two of 
the justices refused to sit with the others unless they would 
send for Matthew Pope, to answer the charge that James 
Wroth, who was one of the justices, had prepared against 
him. This the justices refused to do, and for want of a 
quorum the court was forced to adjourn. 

The Wroths are one of the oldest ftimilies in the county. 
They came to Maryland somewhere between 1059-00. They 
were a distinguished family in England, John Wroth being 
high sheriff of London in 1351, and lord mayor of that city 
in 1301. Sir Thomas Wrotlj, another one of the same 
family, was "groome of the stole " to Edward VL Elizabeth 


Wroth was a woman of martial spirit and attended her 
husband in King William's campaign. She died in 1718. 
The Cecil branch of the family intermarried with the 
Walmsleys, Penningtons, Rotlnvclls and Morgans of Sas- 
safras Neck. 

In 1720 the General Assembly passed an act empowering 
the county courts to make such rules and regulations for 
the government of the officers of the court and those having 
business to transact before it as they should think requisite, 
and under such sums as they should think fit, not exceeding 
one hundred pounds of tobacco. By virtue of the authority 
contained in this act the court, on the 7th day of September, 
1701, promulgated the following " Rules of Court, made to be 
observed by all suitors and others that shall have any business 
at court : " 

"Firstly. When the justices meet togetlier at the court- 
house to hold a court one of them shall order the crier to 
stand at the court-house door and make three '0 yeses,' and 
say all manner of persons that have an}' business this day 
at His Majesty's court draw near & give your attendance, 
for the court is now going to sit ; God save the King, &c. 

"Secondly. That the Sheriff and Clarke meet the court 
day in the morning, or sooner, before the sitting of the 
Court, and the Clark make out his Dockett, that the court 
may not be delayed, on the penalty of 100 lbs. of Tobacco 
for every default therein adjudged by the court.* 

"Fourthly. That all declarations be filed with the Clark of 
the Court within twenty days after the return of the writ, 
and that all pleas be filed with the Clark within fifteen 
days after the days as aforesaid, and all Demurrers, Replica- 
tions, Rejoinders & all other answers and issues made up to 
come to trial, the morning before the trial at farthest, except 
otherwise ordered by the court, on the penalty of 100 lbs. of 

* Thirdly does not appear in the original. 


"FiftJily. All actions to come to trial the second Court of 
(after) the return of the writ except the laws direct other- 
wise and the Court order. 

"Sixthly. That the Clarke call the actions in course, as 
they are on the Docket entered, except the Court order it 
other ivays, on the penalty of ] 00 lbs. of Tobacco. 

" Seventhly. That the plaintiff's Attorney standing up and 
Direct himself to the court & then to the jury if any, and 
open his client's case, after the Clark's reading the Declara- 
tion & other papers in course relating to it, & pleading to 
it, and when done he to sitt down and then the Defendent's 
Attorney to stand up and answer him as aforesaid & not to 
speak both together, in a confused manner or undecently, nor 
to interrupt one another in their pleadings, in the penalty 
of 100 lbs. of Tobacco, to be adjudged by the court then 

" Eighthly. That no man do presume to speak in court to 
another man's business, except leave of the Court first had, 
on the penalty of 100 lbs. of Tobacco adjudged by the court. 

" Ninthly. That no man presume to come into court with 
their hats on when the court is sitting, except any of the 
Gentlemen of his Majesty's Honerable Councell, on the pen- 
alty of one shilling, his hat being taken off by the crier or 
under-sheriff and the said fine to be paid before the delivery 
of the hat, except the court order to the contrary. 

" Teathly. That no one presume to smoke Tobacco in the 
Court House while the Court is sitting, without leave of the 
Court, on the penalty of one shilling to the crier for taking 
away his pipe from him, the penalty to be paid before he 
departs the court. 

" Eleventhly. That no man presume to use 111 Words or 
Indecent Language, or misbehaving words or discourse, in 
court sitting, on the penalty of 100 lbs. of Tobacco, and to be 
bound to the good behavior at the discretion of the court. 

" Ticelfthly. These rules to be hanged -up & affixed at the 
Court House as the law directs for the public view of all 


persons — according to the law, and not to be taken down 
by any person without order of the court first had, on the 
penalty of 100 lbs of Tobacco. 

" William Wivel, Clerk." 

In a petition presented to the court in 1721, it is stated that 
these rules were transcribed and probably somewhat modi- 
fied in that year. William Rumsey states in his petition 
" that whereas he had by their worships' orders transcribed 
certain rules of court, and had further by their orders at- 
tended at court this five days, on expense & charges in order 
to have the same rules settled and agreed on, which now are 
concluded on, and only remain again to be fairly tran- 
scribed in order to be affixed at the court house door, which 
your petitioner is ready to do, tlierefore desires your wor- 
ships to allow him the sum of six hundred pounds of tobacco 
for his trouble aforesaid, which petition being read and 
heard and duly considered, ordered it was by the court that 
the same be presented & and he be allowed 300 lbs. of 
tobacco." It may be inferred from this that the court did 
not act hastily and that those employed to serve the public, 
then as now, expected to be liberally paid. 

The most remarkable part of these rules is the statement 
in the heading of them, that they were "made to be ob- 
served ! "' For what other purpose they should have been 
made is beyond comprehension. The reference to the gentle- 
men of his Majesty's Council shows tlie deference and re- 
spect that was accorded to royalty. At this time the gov- 
ernor and council were commissioned in tlie name of her 
Majesty Queen Anne, and represented the royal authority; 
hence the exception in their favor. 

The critical reader will observe the negative proof con- 
tained in them of the existence of a turbulent spirit, and 
the practice of much bad conduct, wliich they were intended 
to curb and reform. 

On account of the organization of Kent County, which 
inchuled tluit juut of Cecil lyii)g between the Sassafras and 


Chester rivers, which was effected in 1706, it became neces- 
sary for the convenience of the inhabitants having business 
before the court to remove the seat of justice to a more cen- 
tral location. In order to accomplish this, at the August 
term of court, in 1717, Col, Ephraim Augustine Hermen was 
" allowed 300 pounds of tobacco for and in consideration of 
two acres of land lying and being on Long Point (now 
Court House Point), on Elk River, upon Bohemia Manor, for 
ye building of a court-house in said county." 

Shortly afterwards, in the same year, he was ordered to 
lay out a road from Bohemia Ferry to the site of the new 
court-house, and to clear all convenient roads leading to the 
same. M. Van Bibber and John Jawert were appointed to 
see the road laid out. Of the size or character of this court- 
house but little is known, for the records of the county con- 
taining the contract cannot be found. There are many 
reasons, however, for believing that it was built of brick 
and floored with mortar. Tradition saith that it was torn 
down, and the brick of which its walls were constructed used 
in building the court-house in Elkton. The author, after 
much inquiry, has been unable to find any person who ever 
saw it. E. A. Hermen obtained the contract for building it, 
for which he was allowed 35,000 pounds of tobacco. The 
order for this allowance was passed at the November court, 
1717. He was allowed 3,000 pounds more after the house 
was finished " for his extraordinary expenses defrayed about 
building it." 

The court met in the new building for the first time on 
the 8th day of March, 1719. At this court it was ordered 
that "a clause be put into the warrant of the overseer of 
North Elk Hundred for clearing the path that leads out of 
Turkey Point main road to the directest and best way that 
goes to Elk River Ferry." Abel Van Burkaloo was allowed 
300 pounds of tobacco for bringing tlie records and stocks 
from the old court-house on Sassafras River. He was then 
sheriff, and was probably the son of the Van Burkaloo 
whose name is now applied to a creek on Bohemia Manor. 


The following order in reference to the jail at Court House 
Point is extant: "Ordered, that Col. E. A. Hermen be 
allowed 1,000 lbs. tobacco for building a 15-feet prison and 
ten feet wide at ye court-house, on Elk River, with hewed 
logs, and a substantial pillory and stocks near ye same. It 
is further agreed between ye said county and ye said Her- 
men, that if ye said Hermen should make it fully appear, 
by a just account, that he should be at more charge in ye 
building and finishing of ye said works than what he is out 
more than is already allowed him, he be allowed ye next 
year at ye laying the then levy — the said prison to be floored 
with good substantial hewed logs, lofted with ye same at 
least seven feet high between flore and flore." Old people 
who were familiar with the buildings on Court House Point 
in their childhood, state that the jail was standing there fifty 
or seventy-five years ago, and that it was about twenty feet 
square, one story high, and very strongly built of yellow 
pine logs. 

The same year M. Van Bibber, Col. John Ward and John 
Jawert, were appointed by the court to sell the old court- 
house at Jamestown, on Sassafras River, wliich they did by 
public auction, on the 0th day of February, 1719, to Col. 
John Ward, for 5,700 pounds of tobacco, lie being the highest 
and best bidder. There was some land belonging to the 
county sold at the same time, the quantity and location of 
which are not stated, nor is there any deed on record con- 
veying the same to Ward. 

Court House Point would now be considered a bad loca- 
tion for the seat of justice ; but the reader must not forget 
that when it was selected for that purpose many of the res- 
idents of the county were in the habit of going to court by 
water. The first settlers located along the navigable streams, 
and when they wished to go to court, they got aboard their 
shallop or smack, hoisted sail, and if the wind was favorable 
soon reached their destination. There were lew roads and still 
fewer vehicles in the county at this time, and the custom of 


^oing to court by water had been common while it was held 
on the Sassafras, and the people Avere loth to abandon it. 
Considering the customs which prevailed and the geography 
of the county, Court House Point was admirably adapted 
for the purpose for which it was chosen, and was the best 
selection that could have been made. New Munster and 
the country along the Susquehanna and North East was 
rap.idh^ being settled at this time, and no doubt the wishes 
and convenience of the people living in those parts of the 
county were consulted and respected. 

In 1721 John JaAvert was authorized by the court to lay 
out the court-house land at his discretion in lots, and 
" agree with those persons who were inclinable to build on 
the same for such lots as they shall take up not exceeding 
100. lbs. of tobacco for each lot beside surveyor's fees." 
Shortly alter this time Aaron Latham purchased two of 
these lots, upon one of which he erected a small wooden 
house. Subsequently he wished to exchange them for 
another lot near the river, upon which he proposed to erect 
a larger house. The reason he gave for wishing to be nearer 
the river was tliat he was afraid of a conflagration that 
might consume his house. The house, whicli now stands 
upon this point, is very old and was no doubt considered a 
fine specimen of architecture when it was built. The cor- 
nice is very elaborate and probably is entirely different from 
any other now extant in this county. The house is said to 
have been occupied by the sheriff of the county during the 
time that the court met there, and its appearance and arch- 
itecture indicate that such may have been the fact. 

After the removal of the court to Court House Point the 
ferry across the Elk River became one of the most import- 
ant ones in the county. A brick house was erected on the 
north side of the river, which was used for a tavern for 
maTiy years. Every trace of it has long since disappeared, 
but a part of the wall of the ferry house still remains. It is 
close by the river and })artially covered by the vinos of 


several trumpet flowers which cling to the ruined old walls 
as if anxious to conceal the ravages which time has made 
upon them. 

There are many traditions concerning the execution of 
criminals at Court House Point ; how they were drawn and 
quartered, as was the custom at that time, and how their 
ghastly remains were exposed to public view, different 
parts being placed upon different sides of the river. There 
is also a legend current among the old citizens of Elk Neck, 
which may properly be called the legend of the " Bloody 
Holly Bush," which originated from a murder committed 
on the ferry farm while it was occupied by Hans Ru- 
dolph, the proprietor of the ferry. Rudolph had a 
negro slave who, for some reason, was confined in the jail at 
the Point, and who made his escape and swam across the 
river and procured a gun and hid himself beside a log about 
a mile from the old ferry-house. His master, while hunt- 
ing for him, approached his place of concealment and he 
shot him, his blood bespattering the green leaves of a holly 
bush near which he stood. The leaves of a holly bush still 
growing there are flecked with crimson spots, as is alleged, 
from some supernatural cause. There is no doubt of the 
truth of the red spots being on the leaves of the holly bush, 
but they are caused by some peculiarity of the soil in which 
it grows. 

The legal machinery of the county seems to have been in 
a very bad condition for several years subsequent to 1719. 
At this time Matthias Van Bibber was presiding justice of 
the court, and his nephew, James Van Bibber, was sheriff of 
the county. For some reason tliey seem not to have been 
on good terms with each other, for in 1720 James presented 
a petition to the court alleging that he had bought a large 
tract of land from his uncle, who had caused the trees that 
marked the boundary lines of it to be cut down, and he 
prayed the court for a commission to re-establish the 


This was certainly bad conduct, and a very bad example 
to have been shown by the highest officer of the court; but 
shortly afterwards his nephew, the sheriff, was accused of a 
still worse crime, in a petition signed by fifty-three of the 
freeholders of the county, in which they allege that he " did 
exact levy and unlawfully take from the inhabitants of the 
county the sum of 8,601 lbs. of tobacco," for which he was 
indicted, but under color of friendship, relationship or 
otherwise, the said indictment was stifled and the culprit was 
not punished. They therefore prayed the court to bring the 
said Van Bibber before it and take measures to restore the 
said tobacco to those from whom it had been wrongfully 
taken. The petition was favorably received and James came 
into court and promised to refund the money to the county, 
whereupon the court ordered the same to be inserted in the 
levy for the current year. 

On the 14th of June, 1720, John Jawert and Col. John 
Ward met at the court-house, but there not being a quorum 
})resent, they ordered that Gavin Hutchinson, one of the 
under-sheriffs, "go to the house of Matthias Vanderhuyden 
and desire him to give his attendance." The sheriff returned 
and stated that Vanderhuyden would not come. They then 
sent Hugh Watson for Francis Mauldin, who returned and 
reported that Mr. Mauldin was away from home. James 
Wood, one of the constables of the court, was then sent for 
Matthias Van Bibber, who was presiding justice of the court. 
Wood returned and said Van Bibber " wanted sooner notice 
in the day," besides he was indisposed and could not come. 
8o the two justices, after waiting until 12 o'clock at night, 
departed to their homes, first causing this mournfully curi- 
ous record to be made : "That the said court with all actions, 
pleas & causes depending in the same was miscontinued X* 
dropt, and the court fallen." 

The trouble, whatever it may have been, seems to have 
continued until ]723, for on the 12th of April of that year 
Matthias Van Bibber, presiding justice, and Benjamin Pearce 


and William Alexander, complained to the council at An- 
napolis "that they had been insulted and vilified in the exe- 
cution of their office by one John Ward, and others, his as- 
sociates, both by words in open court ai>d libels dispersed 
all over the county ; in so much as the county by their 
means is in danger of running into riots and unlawful 
tumults." They therefore asked the opinion of the council 
as to how they should act in the matter. The council re- 
ferred the subject to the attorney-general and desired him to 
investigate it, and if necessary prosecute the offenders. 

The lawyers of that period were probably as ignorant of 
the law and as unskillful in the practice of it as the courts 
were in the dispensation of justice. In 1717 the court 
passed an order in reference to John Sloan, who was one of 
the attorneys, in which it is stated that he had misbehaved 
himself in his office, "and finding him altogether unskilled 
in the law they discarded the said John Sloan from ever 
practicing in this court anymore." 

The reasons given by some of the applicants for admis- 
sion to the bar are quaint and curious. One of them states 
in his petition to the court that he had procui^e^ several law 
books and spent much time during the last year in studying 
them. Another aspirant for admission to the bar bases his 
claim upon the importunities of his friends,who had besought 
him to take charge of their cases. And Abel Van Burkaloo, 
who was ex-sheriff at the time, bases his claim upon his in- 
ability to secure the services of a competent attorney to at- 
tend to the business he liad before the court, and thought if 
he was admitted he might transact his own business and in 
time be employed by others. The court admitted him, with 
the understanding that he would qualify himself. 


Efforts to establish towns — Ceciltowii, at mouth of Scotchman's Creek 
— Fredericktown — Georgetown — The Acadians or French Neutrals — Ac- 
count of thera — They are sent to Louisiana and Canada— Reasons for 
building Charlestown — Its location — Public wharf and warehouse — Its 
expoi'ts — Fairs — Introduction of tea and coffee — History of (charlestown 
— Population by census of 1880. 

Though tlie early settlers along the James and Delaware 
rivers turned their attention to the erection of towns, and 
Jamestown and Newcastle early sprung into existence as the 
result of their efforts, the other early colonists appear to 
have been wholly absorbed in the culture of tobacco, and 
had no time to devote to the erection of towns. Excejjt in 
the single case of St. Maries, there appears to have been no 
effort made, previous to the year 1683, to erect a town in the 
province. The necessity of having some protection against 
the Indians led the colonists at St. Maries to erect a town, or 
at least to place their dwelling-houses in close proximity to 
each other ; but as the other colonists became better acquaint- 
ed with the Indians, they had less cause to apprehend dan- 
ger from them, and do not appear to have thought of build- 
ing towns. But in 1683 the legislature appears to have 
become aware of the fact that there were no towns in the 
province, and they set themselves to work with much energy 
to supply a want the existence of which seems suddenly to 
have obtruded itself upon their attention. But their zeal 
defeated the object they had in view, and they made so many 
imaginary towns that not one of the number attained any 
magnitude or distinction as a town or city. Indeed, but few 
people, at present residing in the immediate neighborhood 
of some of the sites of these imaginary towns, ever heard of 


their existence, though it is quite probable that each and 
every one of them were used for a time as a port of entry, 
the erection of which ports was probably the great object the 
legislators had in view when the law was passed that called 
them into existence. The act of 16S2 provided for the erec- 
tion of tliirty-tliree towns or ports of entry in the province. 
At that time there were ten counties in the province, and the 
act provided for the erection of at least two towns or ports in 
each county, though some of the counties had as many as 
five of these imaginary towns erected within their limits. 
The places named in Cecil County were as follows: "At 
Captain John's Creek, William Price's plantation in Elk 
River; in Sassafras River; at William Frisby's plantation in 
Worten Creek; and by two supplementary acts passed in 
1684 and 1686, at the plantation of John West, in Sassafras 
River, and in Elk River, at a place called Ceciltown, at the 
mouth of Bohemia River." 

Commissioners in each county were named in the act to 
carry out the many curious provisions it contained, but 
their names do not appear in the abstract given in the 
ancient laws of that day. One hundred acres of land were 
to be purchased by the commissioners at each of the loca- 
tions mentioned in the act, provided the owner was legally 
able and willing to dispose of it. In case he was legally 
incapacitated or unwilling to do so the commissioners were 
empowered to summons a jury and have the land con- 
demned and valued. The commissioners were to cause 
these tracts "to be surveyed and staked out and divided 
into convenient streets, lanes and alleys, with open places to 
be left for erecting church, chapel, market-house or other 
public buildings, and the remaining part of the said one 
hundred acres to divide into one hundred equal lots, the 
owner of the land to have his first choice for one lot; no 
person to purchase more than one lot during four months 
after the 25th of March, 1684, and the lots to be«purchased 
by inhabitants of the county only. But if not taken up by 


them within the said four months, then to be free to any 
person whatsoever to take up the same, paying the owner 
proportionately." Although the commissioners appointed by 
the act were enjoined to purchase the land from the owners, 
such does not seem to have been the practice of the times 
nor the meaning of the legislators ; on the contrary, those 
who wished town lots were to pay the owner of the land for 
them, and they were to be holden of the lord proprietary 
and his heirs forever, under the yearly rent of one penny 
current money for each respective lot. Each person who 
became proprietor of a lot was to erect a "twenty foot 
square house on it before the last day of August, 1685;" 
and in case he did iiot erect the house he forfeited his right 
to the lot, and any other person might enter the same in 
the clerk's book upon the payment of eighty pounds of 
tobacco, which was the clerk's fee in cases of that kind. 

The act provided " that the owner of any store-house 
within such towns, his said store-house not being full, and 
having no occasion thereof for his own proper tobacco, 
shall, on request, suffer the owner of any tobacco brought 
there in hogsheads to put in and secure it as if it were his 
own in such store-house, the owner of the tobacco paying 
the owner of the store-house ten pounds of tobacco per 
hogshead, which the store-house keeper shall secure for 
twelve months or less, casualties by fire only excepted." 

The legislators were fearful that they had taken pains 
to erect too many towns, and in order to neutralize or 
remedy the bad effect which they apprehended might fol- 
low, they close the act with a proviso as follows : " Lest the 
great number of towns may in time become burdensome to 
the public by increasing the number of burgesses, no town 
shall hereafter be capable of sending a citizen or citizens to 
any Assemby till such time as the said town shall be actually 
inhabited by so mai>y families as shall be suffidientl}' able 
to defray* the expenses of such delegate without being 
chargeable to tlieir respective county by reason thereof; but 


the said charges to be defraj^ed by the respective inhabit- 
ants of the towns sending such delegates." The act 
provided "that from and after the 8th of August, 1085, the' 
towns, ports and places tlierein mentioned shall be the 
ports and places where all ships and vessels trading into 
this province shall unload and put on shore, and sell, bar- 
ter, and traffic away all goods, etc., imported into this 
province, and all tobacco, goods, etc., of the growth, produc- 
tion, or manufacture of this province intended to be .sold 
here or exported, shall be for that intent brought to the said 
ports and places." Planters were, however, allowed to pur- 
chase provisions for themselves and workmen at their own 
plantations, and the citizens of the towns were allowed to- 
traffic in goods in their respective towns if they purchased 
them from vessels arriving there. These towns, notwith- 
standing the pains taken to bring them into existence, did not 
flourish. The legislators a])pear to have had a mania for 
making and unmaking towns about this period in the his- 
tory of the province, for in the year 1684 they made twelve 
more towns. The same act contained many other curious 
enactments to remedy supposed or imaginary defects and 
omissions in the original act. In 1G86 they made thirteen 
more, and enacted that four of those that were then in exist- 
ence should cease to be towns or be untowncd, as they express 
it. Those places that were untowned were no doubt badly 
located and probably were unsuitable for the purpose for 
which they were designed, and probably the legislators of 
that day thought if they thinned them out, those that 
were left would flourish with more vigor. It appears to 
have been a favorite project of the early settlers of Cecil 
County to Ibund a town to be called Ceciltown. 

The following extract from Ihe land records of the county 
of that date will show the method they pursued in those 
days, when'they wished to try the experiment of building a 
town : 

" At a session of Assembly began and held at Annapolis, on 
Thursday, the 21st day of May, 1730, among other laws, was 


enacted, viz. : An act for the laying out of land and erect- 
ing a town at a place called Broxen's Point,* in Cecil County. 

" August Gth, 1730. At a meeting of the commissioners 
empowered by the said act for laying out a town on Broxen's 
Point, in Cecil County, and on the south side of Bohemia 
River, were present. Col. Eph. Aug. Hermen, Col. Benjamin 
Pearce, Mr. Thos. Colvill, Mr. Stephen Knight, Mr. Nicholas 
Ridgely, Mr. Joshua George, Mr. Alphonso Cosden, Com- 

" And the Commissioners do order that the Clerk of the 
said county set up notes at the said Broxen's Point, John 
Segars, at the Church of this Parish and at Col. Benja- 
min Pearce's Mill, signifying to all persons whom it may 
relate to, that the said Commissioners will proceed according 
to the direction of an act of assembly for laying out the said 
town. Notes set up according to said direction. Then the 
said Commissioners adjourn until the 7th of September, 
1730, at w^iich time they met again and the Sheriff of said 
county being present makes return of a warrant directed to 
him to summon a jury." 

The warrant recites the fact that the commissioners were 
unable to agree upon the price of the land, and that agree- 
able to the jDrovision of the act in that case a jury was to be 
summoned for the purpose of valuing the land. A majority 
of the commissioners were of the number of those who after- 
wards took up lots in the town, but whether this had any- 
thing to do with their inability to agree upon the price of 
the land does not appear; at this age of the world it 
would probably have much to do with the matter. 

The sheriff's name was John Baldwin, and the warrant 
for the summoning of the jury is dated the 24th of August. 
From this it would seem that they had a meeting upon that 

* Broxen's Point was at the junction of Scotcliman's Creek and the 
Bohemia River. Scotchman's Creek was then called Omealy Creek. The 
town was called Ceciltown. 


day, but there is no record made of it. The following were 
the names of the jurors: Nathan Hynson, John Coppen, 
John Veasey, John Price, Philip Barret, Isaac Caulk, John 
Pennington, George Childs, Daniel Benson, John Roberts 
and John Bateman, who were said in the warrant " to be of 
the most substantial freeholders of the county." This jury 
assessed the value of the twenty acres of land at £47 lOs. 
current money of Maryland, which was £2 7s. Gd. per acre. 

The commissioners met again on the IGth and 17th days 
of September and they and William Rumsey, the deputy- 
surveyor of the county, completed the laying out of the 
town. Then follows the surveyor's certificate, which shows 
that the streets were sixty feet wide and that the principal 
one of them was called Baltimore street. 

Following the surveyor's certificate in the ancient book 
is a record of the numbers of the lots and by whom they 
were taken up, from which it appears that seventeen of the 
twenty lots were taken up before the 2Gth day of September, 
which was only a week after the date of the certificate of 
survey; which shows that an enthusiasm then prevaded the 
projectors of the town that does not seem to have lasted 

The record shows that two of tliese lots were retaken in 
1731, five in 1732, and four in 1733. Those who had taken 
them at first had failed to comply with some of the provis- 
ions of the act of Assembly and had forfeited their right to 

The name of John Ryland, Jr., stands at the head of the 
list of names of lotholders, which indicates that he was the 
owner of the land. The names of William and EdM'ard 
Rumsey, Benjamin and 8arah Pearce, John and William 
Knight, Walter Scott, and Rev. Hugh Jones, who at that 
time was rector of St. Stephen's Parish, appear upon the list 
of lotholders. 

In 1733, Edward Rumsey, cari)entcr, who had taken up 
lot No. 20 on the 19th day of September, 1730, sold it to 


Kobert Pennington, inn-holder, for £36, current money of 
Maryland, Avbich was a reasonably good speculation, con- 
sidering that it cost him, three years before, only £2 7s. Gd. 
and the clerk's fees for recording his title to the lot, what- 
ever they may have been. 

It is very likely that a desire to speculate in town lots had 
much to do with this effort to erect Ceciltown. However 
that may have been, the effort was as fruitless as the one to 
establish it at Town Point. The enterprise was probably a 
total failure, and it is not likely that a half-dozen houses 
w'ere erected on the site of the town. Provision is made in 
an act passed in 1763 for the inspection of tobacco at Bo- 
hemia Ferr}"^, and it is not probable that the ferry would 
have been named as the place at which the inspection w^as 
to be made if the town w^as at that time in existence. 

On the 11th of December, 1736, Fredericktown, on the 
Sassafras River, was .laid out. Previous to this time the 
place was called Pennington's Point, or Happy Harbor. 
Though this town still exists, the records relating to 
it are lost; all the information obtained concerning it is 
derived from a plat taken from a copy of the original one 
made by William Rumsey, the surveyor who laid it out 
many years ago, by Edward W. Lockwood. This plat shows 
that it contained about thirty acres, which was divided into 
sixty lots of about three-fifths of an acre each by six streets, 
which with a few small alleys contained six and a half acres. 
The river at Fredericktown runs in a southwest direction, 
and the streets run east and west, and north and south, 
crossing each other at right angles, which causes the town 
to be A^ery irregular and ill-shaped. Ogle street, as did 
Frederick and Orange streets, which were next below it, ex- 
tended north from the river. Baltimore, Prince William, 
and George streets extended west from the river. 

Georgetown, which is opposite Fredericktown, on the other 
side of the Sassafras River, was laid out the same year. 
These towns were of ver}' slow growth. In the early years 


of their existence they seem to liave derived some little ad- 
vantage from travelers who were passing between the 
northern and southern parts of the country. 

In 1759 the Rev. Andrew Barnaby, while traveling from 
Annapolis to Philadelphia, passed through Fredericktown, 
and in a journal which he soon afterwards published, 
speaks of them as follows : " Fredericktown is a small village 
on the western side of the Sassafras River, built for the ac- 
commodation of strangers and travellers; on the eastern side, 
exactly oj^posite to it, is another small village (Georgetown), 
erected for the same purpose." 

Fredericktown was the residence of part of the Acadians 
or French Neutrals who were exiled from Acadia in 1755. 
Inasmuch as some thirty or forty of these unfortunate people 
resided in this county for several years, it is proper that some 
reference should be made to their history. In the ever 
changing fortunes of the several nations that contended with 
each other for the possession of different portions of the 
eastern seaboard of North America, Nova Scotia, originally 
settled by the French, had been transferred or ceded to Eng- 
land by the treaty of Utrecht in 1713, and the inhabitants- 
took the oath of allegiance to the British government, with 
immunity of not bearing arms against their countrymen. 
They were a frugal, industrious and persevering people and, 
consequently, were prosperous and happy. But the French 
and Indian war broke out in 1754, and the Acadians were 
accused of furnishing arms and provisions to the French 
cruisers, in violation of their oaths of allegiance to Great 
Britain. Just previous to the departure of the unfortunate 
General Brad dock upon his ill fated expedition to Fort Du 
Quesne, he and the colonial governors held a consultation 
at Alexandria, Va. The result of the conference was that a 
warlike expedition was sent against the Acadians, and, as is 
always the case when individuals or nations resolve to per- 
petrate an outrage, the commanders of this expedition readily 
found an excuse with which to palliate the infamous deeds 


they had resolved to accomplish. It is worthy of remark 
that the disastrous and overwhelming defeat that Braddock 
shortly afterwards sustained seems like an act of retributive 
justice inflicted b}^ Infinite Wisdom, in punishment of the 
cruelly unjust treatment of the innocent Acadians. The 
British fleet left Boston on the 20th of May, 1755, and on the 
3d of the next month the British army landed upon the 
shores of Nova Scotia. Their advent was as startling to the 
Acadians as a clap of thunder from a clear sky. 

The Acadians made comparatively no resistance at all, 
for the great mass of them were quite as loyal to the British 
government as the army that was sent against them. A 
few of them had been guilty of giving aid and comfort to 
"the French cruisers, who, much against the wishes of the 
Acadians, occasionally visited them, and for this offence the 
whole of them were made to suffer. After their surrender 
their captors offered to condone their offence if they would 
take the oath of allegiance ; but they were Catholics, and 
the oath was so framed that they, as consistent Catholics, 
could not take it. Indeed, the New Englanders, man}"- of 
whom were probably the immediate descendants of the 
Puritans of Cromwell's army, and who composed in great 
part the army of the invaders, very probably were glad of 
the opportunity to do this, in order that they might have a 
pretext for the infliction of wrongs that they would not 
have dared to inflict without it. Yankee shrewdness was 
pretty much the same one hundred and ten years ago as 
now. After the Acadians were conquered, or rather after 
they were disarmed, for they never made any resistance 
that amounted to anything, their conquerors were for a 
little while perplexed to know what to do with them. 
However, English vindictivenesss and Yankee ingenuity 
"were equal to the emergency and it was resolved that they 
•should be carried into exile, and this barbarous and infernal 
resolution was immediately carried into effect. 

It is upon an incident connected witli the banishment of 
the Acadians — tlie burning- of tlie village of Grand Pre, a 


peaceful hamlet on the shore of Acadia, the home of Gabriel 
and his bretrothed — that Longfellow has founded the beau- 
tiful and touching story of " Evangeline." Before recount- 
ing the story of Evangeline's wanderings he speaks of the 
total destruction of the settlement and banishment of the 
Acadians as an 

" Exile -without an end, and without an exainple in stoiy. 

Far asunder, on separate coasts the Acadians landed ; 

Scattered were they, like flakes of snow, when the wind from the- 

Strikes aslant through the fogs that darken the banks of Newfound- 

Friendless, homeless, hopeless, they wandered from city to city, 

From the cold lakes of the North to sultry Southern savannas, — 

From the bleak shores of the sea to the lands where the Father of 

Seizes the hills in his hands and drags them down to the ocean." 

Three thousand of these inoffensive farmers and artisans 
were scattered throughout tlie tlien thirteen colonies of 
Great Britain. To some extent, probably to a very great 
extent, this despotic exercise of power, this transcendent 
consummation of vindictiveness and cruelty, brought its 
own punishment with it. The unfortunate Acadians were 
reduced at once from a state of affluence to a state of beg- 
gary. Families were separated and friends forever parted. 
The climate of their place of exile was different from that of 
their native country, and being beggared, dispirited, and 
many of them heart-broken, they became a burden upon 
the people among whom the}' were forced to reside. ]\Iany 
of these poor people were brought to Maryland, and so 
miserable was their condition as to excite the pity of the 
legislature, which in 1756 passed an act authorizing tho 
justices' courts in tlie counties where they were quartered 
" to take care and provide for such of them as should be 
real objects of charity, and to bind out such of their chil- 
dren as they were unable to support; provided, the king 


did not order their removal to some other colony." The 
constables of the hundreds where they resided were enjoined 
to return to the court an exact list of all of them annually, 
and they were not allowed to travel more than ten miles 
from their residences without a pass from a magistrate. 

The following petition found among some old papers in 
possession of the county commissioners, in connection with 
several other papers, throw some light upon the history of 
those of them who lived in Cecil and Kent counties: "To 
the Worshipful, the Justices of the Peace for Cecil county: 
The humble Petition of the French Neutrals in Frederick- 
town sheweth that. Whereas, your Petitioners have now an 
opportunity of removing to the French Settlements on the 
River Mississippi, at their own expense & charge, which they, 
on account of their large number of small children and long 
captivity here, find themselves entirely unable to pay. They, 
tlierefore. Humbly request your worships to grant such 
timely assistance and Relief as may enable them to execute 
their purpose of removing. And your petitioners shall ever 

"Issabel Brassey, 8 in family; Eneas Auber, alias Huber, 6 
in do.; Eneas Granger, 9 orphans, Joseph Auber. 

''24th of March, 1767:' 

Other papers show that there were other families of the 
French Neutrals then living in Kent County; that one of 
these families consisted of the husband (Joseph Barban), his 
wife and eight children, and that they had originally been 
residents of Cecil County. The Barban family wished to 
migrate to Quebec, in Canada, and like the others, they 
wanted the wherewithal to defray their expenses. 

The petition of the orphan children of John Baptist Gran- 
ger, which was one of the papers before referred to, contained 
a touching narrative of their misfortunes and sufferings. 
This petition showed that other French Neutrals, living at 
Newtown, Kent County (Newtown was the name then ap- 
plied to Chestertown), had received aid from the court of that 


county, and expected to start for Canada in about a month; 
and that they (the Grangers) had been in captivity for twelve 
years, and were desirous to remove to Canada; and that sev- 
eral of them had had the small-pox. They also speak in 
terms of admiration of the government of his Gracious 
Majesty, George III., King of Great Britain, France and Ire- 
land. There is great room to doubt the sincerity of their 
professions of loyalty; but they, no doubt, thought this was 
the readiest way to obtain the relief they needed, and prob- 
ably they were not to blame for the falsit}' of their profes- 
sions, if false they were. They conclude their petition by 
asserting that they are the most necessitous of the French 
people in the county, and beseech the worshipful council for 
the love of God Almighty to hear their petition and promise 
ever to pray for the conservation of the worshipful council. 

But little more is known of these unfortunate people, ex- 
cept that they received the relief they sought and were sent 
to their friends in Lousiana and Canada at the public 

The first settlers in the northeast part of the county, as 
well as those in Nottingham, were in the habit of disposing 
of their surplus produce at Christiana Bridge and New 
Castle, both of which were then places of commercial im- 
portance. Ceciltovvn, on the Bohemia, had been a failure, 
for the land upon the Manor and in Sassafras Neck, though 
naturally the best in the county, had been impoverished by 
the continual cultivation of tobacco, which at the time it 
was laid out was beginning to decline, and there was not 
commerce enough to give the new town vitality. The cultiva- 
tion of tobacco, was now confined to that part of the county 
south of the Elk River and Back Creek, and Bohemia Ferry 
and Fredericktown were the only places provided for its in- 
spection at this time. The Quakers at Nottingham no 
doubt were as industrious and thrifty then as they are now, 
and the IloUingsworths and others were largely inter- 
ested in the milling business on the Elks, and shipped their 
flour to Philadelphia via Christiana Bridge. 


At this time Annapolis was the centre of refinement and 
fashion, the Paris of America. Baltimore had only been 
founded thirteen j^ears, and was in its infancy ; and beside 
this, the Principio Company's forges and furnaces at Prin- 
•cipio and North East were in the full tide of successful opera- 
tion, and the company was shipping the iron it manufac- 
tured to England. No doubt the enterprising citizens of 
the county felt the want of a town, and thought they 
might as well have one of their own. So the}' obtained the 
necessary legislation in 1742 and founded Charlestovv'n. The 
€nterprise was rather more plausible than the erection of 
Oeciltown, but the hopes of those who inaugurated it were 
never realized. But it was owing to no fault of its founders 
that it failed, for they used every exertion to make it a suc- 
cess, and only succumbed to the force of circumstances 
when convinced that it was impossible to divert the trade of 
the northern part of the county from the towns along the 

The act of incorporation of Charlestown was passed in 
the fiill of 1742, and Thomas Colvill, Nicholas Hyland, 
Benjamin Pearce, William Alexander, Henry Baker, Zebulon 
Hollingsworth and John Reed were appointed commissioners 
to carry out its provisions. The town was to be laid out at 
a place called Long Point, on the west side of North East 
Kiver. Twenty-five years before, the county seat had been 
moved from the Sassafras River to " Long Point," on the 
Elk River, and the people of the county had made some 
effort to have a town built there, but the enterprise did not 
succeed. No doubt those who obtained the passage of the 
act for the erection of Charlestown hoped and expected to 
derive much Ijenefit from the town. The reasons for build- 
ing the town are set forth in the preamble to the act as 

"Whereas, The Encouragement of trade & navigation is 
the surest means of promoting tlie happiness & increasing 


the riches of every country, and that such trade is with the 
greatest ease and advantage carried on, wlien the same is 
drawn into & fixed in one or more convenient places; "=¥here- 
by it appears tliat erecting towns, & granting Immunities & 
Privileges for the encouragement of people to inhabit there- 
in, most greatly contributes to so desirable an end, & there 
being as yet no such place settled at or near the Head of 
Chesapeake Bay, although from the great extent of the 
country round, & the want of navigable water above it, the 
same seems altogether necessary." 

These were certainly good and sufficient reasons for build- 
ing a town, and the aforesaid commissioners met on the site 
of Charlestown on the 10th of February, 1742, accompanied 
by John Vesey, who was county surveyor, and William 
Knight, who was at that time county clerk. At this meet- 
ing, Mr. Colvill produced a letter from Benjamin Tasker^ 
the agent of the lord proprietary, in which he expressed the 
opinion that the five hundred acres which they were autho- 
rized to include in the said town were very well worth £250, 
in which opinion the commissioners acquiesced. The com- 
missioners, after a few meetings for consultation, left the 
matter in charge of the surveyor, and adjcurned to meet on 
the 13th of April, 1743, at which time the surveyor had 
completed a plat of the town. This plat has long since dis- 
appeared, but the proceedings of the commissioners, a part 
of which are recorded in the county clerk's office, show that 
they laid out two hundred of the five hundred acres which 
they had condemned for the purpose, into two hundred lots, 
and that the town contained seven streets that ran at right 
angles with the river and were crossed at right angles by 
five other streets. Tasker's lane, which was the name 
given to the most westerly street, was no doubt so called in 
honor of the lord proprietary's agent, Benjamin Tasker, 
while his lordship was trebly honored by the name of Cecil, 
Calvert, and Baltimore being applied to three of the princi- 
pal streets. The fact that one of the streets was called Cones- 


toga is indicative of a desire to cultivate the best of feeling 
with the people of Lancaster County, some of whom after- 
ward became the owners of lots in the new town. The re- 
maining three hundred acres were reserved, agreeably to 
the provisions of the act, for the common use of the citizens 
of the town, for the purpose of furnishing them with fire- 
wood and pasture for their cattle. Some part of this com- 
mon is yet held by the town, but it is doubtful if its posses- 
sion was ever of any material advantage to the citizens. 
Certain parts oi the town were reserved for the purpose of 
erecting a public wharf and warehouse "for the more commo- 
dious carrying on of trade," and for the erection of a market 
house, court-house, and other public buildings. 

The 10th of May, 1743, was the day designated for ballot- 
ing for the town lots, no record of w^hich is now extant, con- 
sequently the names of the original proprietors are unknown. 
But the deeds for lots which were sold a few years after- 
wards show that some persons from Lancaster, Chester, 
Anne Arundel, Kent, and Baltimore counties, and Phila- 
adelphia city, were among the original proprietors. The Rev. 
William Wye, who was rector of North Elk Parish at that 
time, was one of the original proprietors of lots; and it is- 
worthy of remark, as showing the power of the clergy at 
that time, that he waived his right to collect the forty 
pounds per poll of tobacco (which was assessed upon each 
taxable in the parish) from the citizens of Charlestown. His 
object in doing this was to encourage the enterprise by les- 
sening taxation, and to induce immigration. Rev. Hugh 
Jones, who was then rector of North Sassafras Parish, is be- 
lieved to have been one of the original lotholders. He cer- 
tainly owned one of the town lots at the time of his death 
and devised it in his will. 

The new town throve well at first and the lots were all 
taken up during the first year of its existence, and such was 
the popularity of the enterprise and the desire to acquire 
building lots in it, that manv of the original lots were 


divided and subdivided in order to supply the demand. 
The lots commanded a good price. In 1745 one of them, 
■22 by 45 feet, sold for .£22. At the session of the General 
Assembly in 1744 the original act of incorporation, which 
•was as long as Lord Baltimore's charter for the province, 
•was supplemented the first time by an additional one, which 
-empowered the commissioners to take charge of and dis- 
burse £200, which the lotholders had raised by voluntary 
■contributions for the purpose of building a wharf and ware- 

The principal articles of exportation from the new town 
in the first years of its existence seem to have been grain 
of all kinds and flour and flaxseed. Tobacco is not men- 
tioned in the act nor in the records of the town, a few of 
which are 3'et extant. The commissioners were also author- 
ized to appoint a wharfinger and warehouse-keeper and an 
inspector of flour ; and the act specified that after the 
appointment of an inspector no flour was to be shipped 
from North East River from any other place than Charles- 
town. Flour that was not merchantable was branded with 
^ broad arrow, and its shipment was forbidden under a 
penalty of 5s. per barrel. The act contained many provi- 
sions in reference to the exportation of bread, which was no 
•doubt similar to what is now used on ship-board, and is 
known as " hard-tack." The commissioners were also em- 
powered to purchase or have condemned two acres of land 
■at Seneca Point, which is a short distance further down the 
river, for a ship-yard, and to lay out a cart-road from the 
town to that place. 

The supplementary act shows that the inhabitants of the 
town "had already, of their own accord, published a fair, 
which was held at the said town on the 10th of May, 1744, 
whereat great numbers of people did meet ;" therefore the 
■General Assembly autliorized them to hold two fairs there- 
after, to begin on the 23d day of April and the ISth day of 
October annually, ]irovjded the^se days were not Sundays; 


if SO, the fairs were to commence the next day and to con- 
tinue not more than three days. These fairs soon became 
very popular,- and were attended by people from the large 
cities as far east, it is said, as Boston. They continued to 
be held till a time within the memory of persons now livings 
and probably added much to the prosperity of the town ; 
they certainly added much to its notoriety. Tea and coffee 
are said to have been first introduced into this county by 
means of the facilities afforded by these fairs. The mer- 
chants from the cities brought those commodities there and 
disposed of them to the country people, at the same time 
furnishing them with printed directions showing how to 
manufacture the new beverages. It is said that tea was not 
generally liked, and many of the first purchasers gave it 
to their negroes. The Rev. John McCrery, Avho was pastor 
of Head of Christiana Church, it is said carried a supply of 
tea wdth him when he was away from home engaged in 
missionary labor, and upon one occasion gave some of it to 
the ladj' of the house where he was stopping and requested 
her to prepare it for his supper. She boiled it and served 
him the boiled leave3 on a plate, when he quietly remarked 
that he would much rather have had the broth. 

Besides the merchants and milliners from Baltimore, 
Philadelphia and other large cities, who came to Charles- 
town in vessels and bought large cargoes of goods, the fairs- 
were attended by man}' who came from distant parts of 
Chester and Lancaster counties on horseback to seethe sights 
and have a frolic, and sometimes to settle the feuds and 
quarrels that had existed in the neighborhood where they 
lived. Many of the citizens of the town, as well as many of 
those who attended the fair, were natives of the Emerald 
Isle, who thought it incumbent upon them to sustain the 
reputation of an institution that for centuries had been, and 
yet is, exceedingly popular in their native country. The 
state of society and the morals of the people were not as good 
then as they are now, and the archives of the county show 


that, during one of the fairs, the body of a murdered man 
Avas found near where the road crosses a creek east of tlie 
town. He was a peddler and had been at the fair, and liis 
body was found by some ])ersons who stopped to water their 
liorses at the creek. While they were drinking, the water 
became crimsoned by the blood of the murdered man. They 
at once instituted a search for the cause,'and found the mur- 
derer, who had taken refuge in a tree near which his victim 
lay, in the stream. The records of the trial cannot be found, 
but the stream is yet known b}' the name of Peddler's Run. 
Many of those who attended the fair indulged in fiddling 
and dancing, as well as in frolicking and fighting, and rude 
and temporary buildings were put up, which were rented for 
the former purpose, and in which the sturdy Irishman and 
his sweetheart, upon the payment of a small fee, could enjoy 
the pleasure that they had walked barefooted many weary 
miles to obtain. For it was customary for the lemales who 
traveled to the fair on foot to carry their shoes and stockings 
in their hands, and when they arrived at the outskirts of 
the town to wash their feet in a convenient stream, after 
which they put on their shoes and stockings and entered the 

The spring fair was afterwards held some time in May, at 
the close of the fishing season, and the fishermen resorted to 
it to have a general jollihcation, during which many of them 
were in the habit of spending the hard earnings of many 
weary weeks of toil. They were also the resort of the fair 
sex, who frequented them in order to obtain the finery that 
could be purchased nowhere else except in the large cities. 
The fairs were held on the public square of the town, which 
it was customary to rent to the highest bidder for a term of 
years. The proprietor erected drinking booths and stalls 
upon the fair ground, which he rented to those who wished 
to occupy them. These booths were rude structures made 
of bushes, and would be great curiosities now. In 1795 the 
commissioners ordered that the booths should be ten feet 


square, and the stalls for selling goods should be seven feet 
wide and eight feet long, all to be made of good, sufficient 
forks and poles, with plank seats around each side and back 
of the booths, and shelving in the stalls. They were to be 
rented for not more than seven shillings and six pence each 
for each fair. 

The legislators of the province had had so little experience 
in municipal legislation, and the habits of the citizens of the 
new town appear to have been so slovenl}^ that in 1750 they 
added another supplement to the act of incorporation, in 
which they state that, " Whereas, many persons have built, 
and are now building, in said town, and clear no more ground 
than where their houses stand, whereby the rest of their lot 
becomes a thicket, unserviceable for pasturage, also inconve- 
nient and unwholesome to all the inhabitants," etc. There- 
fore, they enacted that the owners or inhabitants of the town 
should grub and clear their respective lots from all under- 
wood grubs and bushes, under a penalty of thirty shillings. 
It was further enacted that any inhabitant permitting his 
chimney to take fire so as to blaze out at the top, or who 
should fail to keep a ladder long enough to reach the top of 
the roof of his house, should be fined ten shillings. Another 
strange enactment, that seems to indicate a want of faith in 
the success of the enterprise, enjoined the commissioners to 
meet upon the site of the town on the 20th of May, annually, 
in order to perpetuate its boundaries. 

The records of Charlestown, which are yet extant, com- 
mence with the year 1755, but they are veiy incomplete, 
and afford but little information. The rates for storage in 
the public warehouse for that year were as follows : for 
every bushel of grain, hd. , for every bushel of salt. Id.; for 
every hogshead of cyder, 9d. ; for ever}" hogshead of flax- 
seed, 2d. ; for every barrel of flaxseed. Id. ; for every 100 
pounds of iron, os. 4d. ; for every ton of hemp, 2s. 6c?. This 
year the wharfinger and storehouse keeper agreed to pay 
£1S currency ibr the privilege, which indicates that the 


business of tlie town must have been quite considerable. 
The rates of wharfage this year were as follows: For every 
sea vesnel of 100 tons and upwards lying at the wharf, per 
day, Gd. ; for every sea vessel of less tonnage, per day M. ; all 
other boats 2d. 

At a meeting of the commissioners in 1757, it was ordered! 
that a number of chests, then in the warehouse (supposed 
to be the property of some officers killed at the defeat of 
(leneral Braddock), be broken open and an inventory of 
their contents be sent to the governor, in order to ascertain 
what disposition should be made of them. Two years after- 
wards the contents of these chests were sold at public sale. 
This is all the records contain about the chests or their 
owners. Whether they were young men in the strength 
and prime of manhood, or of more mature years, is not 
known, for, like a vessel that was built at or near the town 
and sailed out from it some years afterwards upon the broad 
bosom of the ocean, they never returned. What bitter 
tears were shed for the adventurous mariners, and what 
homes made desolate by the absence of the warriors, we 
shall never know, for their names and their sorrows are 
alike forgotten. Save this slight allusion to the soldiers and! 
a tradition about the vessel, nothing more is known of either. 

In 1758 a vacancy occurred in the board of commission- 
ers, which was filled by the election of Rev. John Hamilton,, 
who was at that time rector of North Elk Parish. There is- 
reason to believe that many of the early commissioners of 
the town did not reside in it, though they were probably 
the owners of town lots. This year John Smith was sued 
for rent of the fair ground, which he rented two years be- 
fore. In 17G0 the commissioners contracted with Philip 
Neilson to repair the public wharf. They were to pay him 
10 shillings currency per day, he finding two good workmen 
beside himself and to vichial them (which Hans Pudalph 
engaged to do at Is. per day each), and allow them a half 
pint of rum a day. A return made by the constable this 


year, which is to be found among the papers in possession 
of the county commissioners, shows that there were three 
two-wheeled carriages in Charlestown at this time, one of 
which belonged to Rev. John Hamilton. These old-fash- 
ioned two-wheeled carriages were sometimes called " chairs." 
The whole number of these carriages returned in the county 
in 1757 was thirty-four. Five years afterwards they had 
increased to forty-five. In 1761 the commissioners ordered 
that the rent of each peddler's stall and drinking booth, 
when rented by citizens of the town should not exceed 5s. 
The records of the commissioners show that the keeper of 
the storehouse, during the years from 1749 to 1754, had 
bailed to account for two hundred and fifty hogsheads that 
had been stored in it. In other words, he was a defaulter 
to the extent of £12^. 

The levy list for 1708 shows that the taxables, as returned 
by the constable for that year, numbered eighty-nine, of 
whom twelve were negro slaves. The whole population of 
the town at this time was j^robably about three hundred and 
fifty. In 1771 the taxables numbered one hundred and 
two, of whom seventeen were slaves. In 1774 they num- 
bered ninety -two, of whom eleven were slaves. In each of 
these years, the Rev. John Hamilton is returned as one of 
the taxables and the owner of one of the slaves. 

Charlestown and Baltimore are nearly of the same age, 
and for a long time after the former was laid out they were 
rivals, and continued to be such until about the time of the 
Revolutionary war, when the latter, owing to the trade with 
the western part of the State and the superior facilities for 
foreign commerce, outstripped the former, and it gradually 
sank into obscurity and neglect. Many of the inhabitants 
who had '--rected substantial houses in Charlestown tore them 
down and shipped the material to Baltimore, where it was 
used in the construction of other buildings ; thus the suc- 
cessful rival gained what the unsuccessful one lost, and as 
the one diminished, the other increased in size. 



It seems proper in this connection to notice an error or 
two into wliich Mr. Scharf lias inadvertently fallen in his 
History of Maryland, when writing of Charlestown, "of 
which," he says, "no vestige now remains, unle.«s possibly a 
chimney or two, but of wliich the story is told that about 
1750 a British merchant having some money to invest and 
full of faith in the Maryland province, came over in person 
to select the place to put his money where it would turn over 
most rapidly. lie examined Annapolis, Baltimore, Chester- 
town, Elkridge and Oxford, and after mature deliberation, 
put his money in town lots in Charlestown, as the most 
promising site of all tlie great cities of the future."* Un- 
fortunately for the truth of this scrap of history Charlestown, 
by the census of 1881, contains 235 inhabitants, 48 dwelling- 
houses, a church and school-house, and a number of shops. 

A diligent search among the records of the town, which 
have always been kept in books separate from the other land 
records of the county, reveals no evidence that the English 
merchant, nor any other person, ever held more than two or 
three town lots at one and the same time. 

*8charrs History of Maryland, A'ol. II., page 63. 


Presbyterian Church at Bethel — Visit of Rev. George Whitefield — 
Preaches at Elkton and on Bohemia Manor — Presbyterian Church at Elk- 
ton — Disruption of Xottingham Presbyterian Church — Rev. Samuel Finley 
— Nottingham Academy — The ^ree School on Bohemia River — Rev. John 
Beard — The present church buildings — Xame changed to Ephesus — Rev. 
James Magraw — Revival of Nottingham Academy — The Rock Presbyte- 
rian Church — Disruption — Rev. James Finley — Murder of Hugh Mahaffey 
— Rev. .James Finley goes West — Present church buildings — Rev. John 
Burton — Rev. Francis Hiudman^Lotteries for church purposes — Plan- 
ners, customs and character of the early Presbyterians — The Alexanders, 
and other emigrants to South Carolina. 

The Presbyterian church at the head of Broad Creek, 
near Bethel, there is reason to believe, was founded by the 
Lawsons and Alexanders from Society and New Munster, a 
few of whom had settled in that neighborhood. The meet- 
ing-house stood near the old graveyard, the site of which is 
marked by some old tombstones which stand in the field a 
few yards from the State Line and a short distance east of 
Bethel church, at Mdiat is known as the Pivot Bridge. The 
creek, the name of which was applied to this church, has 
been nearly obliterated by the construction of the Chesa- 
peake and Delaware Canal, the channel of which is identical 
with the channel of the creek. 

This church is notable on account of its failure. Of its 
early history but very little is known, except that in 1723 
Richard Thompson leased an acre of land to Samuel Alex- 
ander and Peter Bouchell for twenty-one years, for the use 
of the Presb3^terian congregation at that place, for an an- 
nual rent of one ear of Indian corn. The first pastor was the 
Rev. Alexander Hutchinson, a Scotch-Irish Presbyterian, 
who was installed in 1723. It appears to have always 


been feeble, for during the most of his pastorate he 
was directed by the Pj-esbytery to supply the Presby- 
terian church on Elk River, as the Rock congregation 
was then called. Peter Bouchell was one of the first 
elders, as was probably Samuel Alexander, and cer- 
tainly also John Brevard. This church seems to have been 
almost, if not quite, extinct in 1740, when Rev. George 
Whitefield visited Bohemia Manor. Most of its members 
probably joined the Forest Church in Delaware, when that 
church was organized in 1750. Whitefield first visited this 
section of country in 1739, as is stated in his journal, a copy 
of Avhich, containing his autograph, may be seen in the 
library of Pennsylvania Historical Society. On the 3d of 
December of that year he preached at Xorth East ; but little 
notice having been given, there were only about 1,500 per- 
sons present. On the 14th of !May, 1740, he addressed a 
large meeting at Nottingham, after which he went south, 
visiting Georgia and the Carolinas, and returned the follow- 
ing autumn and preached at Nottingham again to an 
audience of 8,000 persons. After this he visited Bohemia 
Manor, and on the 24th of November preached at the 
house of Mrs. Bayard to an audience of 2,000 persons. He 
does not mention the Broad Creek church in his journal, 
from which it is inferred that the church liad ceased to 
exist at that time, or was so very feeble that it did not 
exist much longer. 

It was no doubt during this interval, when journeying 
from Nottingham to Bohemia, that Whitefield stopped at 
Elkton, or the Head of Elk, as the place was then called ; 
for the town, if there was one then, was so small that it had 
no name. Tradition says that he preached to a large audi- 
ence at this place, which was assembled under the shade of 
an oak tree that stood a short distance west of Bow street, 
and probably about a hundred yards north from the river. 
While he was preaching here, some of his audience for some 
reason are said to have started away from the crowd he was. 


a-ddressing, and he is said to have cried out, in stentorian 
tones, "The devil's at your heels!" It was owing to the 
preaching of this great evangelist that the first Presbyter- 
ian church was organized in Elkton, for the next year (1741) 
William Alexander and Araminta, his wife, deeded an acre 
of land, the same whereon Whitefield had preached the 
year before, to " Robert Lucas, Zebulon HoUingsworth, 
Thomas Ricketts and Robert Evans, of Cecil County, and 
David Barr, of New Castle County, upon which to build a 
meeting-house convenient f)r people assembling to worship 
God and hear His Word preached, and for the use of such 
ministers of the Protestant persuasion or religion, and par- 
ticularly the Presbyterian ministers, as shall from time to 
time attend there to preach and officiate in the service and 
worship of Almighty God." This deed contained a stipula- 
tion that if the meeting-house ceased to be occupied as a 
place of worship for three consecutive years, the land was 
to revert to the grantor. It was owing to this stipulation, 
and the fact that the Presbvterian congregation at Elkton 
afterward became quite small and feeble, so much so that 
most of the members joined the church at Glasgow, that 
this land reverted to the heirs of the persons who gave it to 
the congregation. 

The preaching of White.field was productive of much good 
to many individuals, inasmuch as many were converted by 
it ; but it certainly did more harm than good to the Pres- 
byterian congregations in this and the adjoining counties, 
many of which were rent in twain by the dissensions that it 
engendered. This was the case with Nottingham and Rock 
churches. But little of interest to the general reader oc- 
curred in the history of the Nottingham church till the 
arrival of Whitefield, at whicli time the meeting-house stood 
on the brow of the hill a sliort distance northwest of the 
village of Rising Sun. After this disruption of tlie church 
(1741), the new side (as those who adliered to the doctrine 
of Whitefield were called) erected another meeting-house in 


tlie meadow across the brook, a short distance west of the 
other one, and in 1744, presented a call to the Rev, Samuel 
Finley,* who, in tliat year, became their pastor. Such was 
the bitterness of feeling engendered by the schism that rent 
this church in twain that each party kept its church orga- 
nization intact till about 1792, when most of those who had 
taken an active part in the controversy having died and 
time having somewhat mellowed the feelings of their de- 
scendants, the two congregations were reunited. Mr. Fin- 
ley M'as a native of the county Armaugh, in Ireland, and 
one of the most distinguislied scholars and divines of the 
eighteenth century. He was pastor of the New Side Not- 
tingham Church for seventeen years and founder of Not- 
tingham Academy, at which some of the most eminent 
physicians, statesmen and divines of the eighteenth century 
received their early education. Mr. Finley remained in 
charge of this church, till 17G1, when he was chosen Presi- 
dent of the College of New Jersey, now called Princeton 
College, and shortly afterwards removed there. 

Among the many distinguished men that received their 
early education at Mr. Finley's Nottingham school, the 
names of Dr. Benjamin Rush, so well known by his connec- 
tion with the University of Pennsylvania, and the Rev. 
John Ewing, who was one of the commissioners that assisted 
in adjusting the boundary lines between Maryland and 
Pennsylvania, and who was born in the Eighth district of 
this county, not far from Porter's Bridge, are the most emi- 

The location of the site of the building in which Mr. 
Finley taught school is involved in obscurity, but there are 
some reasons that indicate that it may have been a short 

* Rev. Samuel Finley was a brother of Rev. James Finley, ■who was. 
pastor of the churclics of the Rock and Head of Elk. C. B. Finley, one 
of the elders of the Elkton Presbyterian church, is a great-grand nephew, 
and Miss Martha Finley, the distinguished authoress, is a gieat-graud 
niece of these (listii)gu'shed men. 


distance southwest of the centre of the village of Rising 
Sun, and near the brook west of which the New Side Church 
was built. It was no doubt a log building, for there were 
few of any other kind at that time. Though the place 
where it stood is forgotten, it matters little, for the reputa- 
tion of the master and many of his pupils is so illustrious 
that it will endure while sound theology, brilliant scientific 
acquirements and pure statesmanship are respected and 
appreciated. This academy was one of the most celebrated 
of its time, and its history is in striking contrast with that 
of the free school of this county, that probably was cotem- 
porary with it, and proves the superiority of the voluntary 
over the involuntary system of education quite as well as 
the success of the Presbyterian church proves its superiority 
over the Established one. 

As early as 1723 the colonial legislature passed an act to 
encourage education and also named a board of visitors in 
each county, who Avere to hold office during life, and who 
were authorized to perpetuate the board by filling vacancies 
as they might occur, b}' death or otherwise, from the "prin- 
cipal and better sort of inhabitants." The board of visitors 
for this county were Colonel John Ward, Major John Dow- 
dall. Colonel Benjamin Pearce, Mr. Stephen Knight, Mr. 
Edward Jackson, Mr. Richard Thompson, and Mr. Tiiomas 
Johnson, Jr. These gentlemen were authorized to purchase 
one hundred acres of land for school purposes, and were 
invested with full power and authority to employ teachers 
and attend to all things that in their judgment were neces- 
sary and proper to successfully inaugurate and carry on the 
enterprise. They accordingly purchased a hundred acres 
of land on the south side of the Bohemia River, in Sassafras 
Neck, which included the point next above the Bohemia 
Bridge, which was long known as Free School Point. It is 
believed that they started a school there; how long it lasted, 
who taught it, and who were taught in it, after diligent 
investigation has not been ascertained. So little attention 


was paid to the land that a comiiiisfsion was appointed by 
the court in 178-i to ascertain and mark its boundaries, 
which at that time had become so obscure that they were 
found with much difficulty. The school visitors at this 
time were Peter Lawson, John D. Thompson, Rev. William 
Thompson, John Ward, Sidney (leorge, and William 
Mathews. Rev. William Thom[)Son was at that time rector 
of St. Stephen's Parish, and Sidney George was a lawyer 
who resided in Middle Neck. John Dockery Thompson 
was one of the justices of the court, and was no doubt a 
descendant of the Thompson who married the daughter of 
Augustine Hermen, from which it would seem that the 
vacancies in the board of visitors had been filled from time 
to time as they occurred by selections from the " })rinci})al 
and better sort of inhabitants." 

After Mr. Finley's removal to Princeton the new church 
rapidly declined' and never had another settled pastor, 
though it existed for many years as a separate church 

In 1745 Rev. James Steel became pastor of the Old Side 
Church. The length of his i)astorate cannot now be ascer- 
tained with certainty, but he probably remained in charge 
of the church till IT'jS, when he emigrated to the Cum- 
berland Valley, which was then the western frontier of 

In 1702 the congregation called the Rev. John Beard. He 
is believed to have been a native of Ireland. His relations 
with the congregation were not harmonious, notwithstand- 
ing which he ministered to them till 1771, when he was 
deposed from the ministry. His will was proved in 1802. 
He resided at " College Green," which he devised to his sons, 
James, Hugh and (}eorge. 

In 178G the two congregations, both of which had for some 
years been depending upon supi)lie.s, united in a call to Rev. 
James Munro, which he acce})ted, and was installed in 
August of that year. His pastorate, like that of his |)rede- 


•cesser, was inharmonious, and in June, 1789, some of his 
congregation preferred charges against him for "irregular, 
imprudent and indecent conduct," and after a trial which 
occupied the presbytery three days, he was found guilty and 
suspended till the next October. Having in the meantime 
expressed much sorrow and })enitence he was restored, and 
subsequently dismissed from the care of the presbytery. 
During this time the congregations maintained their sepa- 
rate organizations: the First, or Old Side, worshiping in the 
church near the road northwest of the village of Rising Sun, 
and the New Side, in the meeting-house which stood in the 
graveyard on the north side of the road west of the creek 
In 1796 the congregations having been reunited resolved 
to build a new meeting-house, but the}' disagreed about its 
location, and it was not until 1800 — presbytery, at their re- 
quest, having in the meantime sent a committee there to 
•endeavor to unite the congregations upon the choice of a 
■site — that the location of the present house, which some 
years ago was enlarged and improved, was begun. The 
work of erecting the new church on account of the poverty 
•of the congregation was an herculean task, and in 1803 they 
obtained an act of the legislature authorizing them to insti- 
tute a lottery for the purpose of obtaining the requisite funds 
to complete it. Samuel Miller, Robert Evans, Thomas Wil- 
liams, David Patton, James Cummings, James Sims, John 
Porter and Jonathan Hartshorn are the names of the com- 
missioners designated in the act for the purpose of putting 
■the lottery in operation. Their bond for $3,000, conditioned 
for the faithful performance of their duties, may be seen 
among the land records of the county. On the 2Gth of Se})- 
tember, 1801, Andrew Ramsay conveyed two acres of land 
to James Evans, Robert Evans, David Edmiston and James 
-Cummings, who were then trustees, and who purchased it 
from him for the use of the church for £15. On the same 
<iay Captain William Johnson also conveyed two acres to 
the same ])ersons. which had liocn purclmsed for the same 


purpose for the same j^rice. Each of these tracts are de- 
scribed as being part of a larger tract called Ephesus, and 
the church is designated in the act authorizing the lottery 
as the Presbyterian Church at Ephesus, though it was 
known upon the records of presbytery at that time as West 

Rev. James Magraw was installed pastor of this church 
April 3d, 1804, and continued to minister to the congregation 
until the time of his death, which occured in 1835. With the 
exception of Rev. Hugh Jones, who ministered so long to 
North Sassafras Parish, Dr. Magraw was probably the most 
influential and successful minister that ever exercised the 
pastoral office in this county. 

The Upper West Nottingham church was organized in 1810, 
out of a part of this congregation that was too far distant to 
attend after the removal of the church from Rising Sun. 
Mr. Magraw became pastor of the new organization, and 
gave it one-third of his time until 1821, when he resigned. In 
1822 he became pastor of the Presbyterian church in Charles- 
town, which had recently been organized mainly through 
his ettbrts and those of Rev. Mr. (Jraham then pastor of the 
Rock church. Mr. Magraw also preached sometimes during 
tlie summer season to the raftsmen at Port Deposit, who at 
that time were probably as much in need of the gospel as 
any other class of people in the world. 

He was a fine looking, athletic man, and had a stentorian 
voice; and is said by those who have heard him, to have 
been an eloquent and powerful preacher. He cared so 
little for the conventionalities of society that if the weather 
was very warm he would take off his coat and preach in his 
shirt-sleeves ; or if the church was not properly warmed, 
as was too often the case in winter time, he would preach with 
his cloak on. He took an active part in the erection of the 
fort at Port Deposit just previous to the burning of Havre 
de Grace; and was at the fort and harangued the soldiers 
when the British were burning and pillaging the village of 


Lapidum. It was during his pastorate, and mainly by his 
exertions, that the Nottingham Academ}^ which had become 
extinct after the departure of Mr. Finley, was revived. 

In 1812 the legislature of the State made an appropriation 
for an academy in each county. Through the agency of 
Dr. Magraw, the people of West Nottingham and vicinity 
had a board of trustees elected and a building, which was- 
intended to be part of a larger edifice, erected, and secured 
the State appropriation of eight hundred dollars. Dr. Ma- 
graw was the first president of the board of trustees. 

Reuben H. Davis was the first principal. He had charge 
of the academy for two or three years, and was succeeded 
by William ]\IcCrimmen. He was principal one year, and 
was succeeded by Mr. Isaac Bird, and he by Samuel Turney,. 
each of whom acted as principal for one year. 

In 1820 Dr. Magraw was chosen principal, and remained 
in charge until the time of his death. Dr. Magraw was suc- 
ceeded by his son, Samuel M. Magraw, who continued in 
charge until 1840. He was followed by Rev. George Bur- 
rows, who had charge of the institution for ten years. 
(Jeorge K. Bechtel, A. M., the present (1881) principal, was- 
elected in 1862. This academy has sustained quite as good 
a reputation as its predeces.sor, which was established by 
Rev. Samuel Finley. At least twenty-four ministers of the 
gospel, and a large number of other distinguished men who 
have added lustre to the bench and the bar, and many others 
who have graced the medical profession, have also received 
a part or all of their education at this institution. 

The Rock congreri^ation, like that at Nottingham, was 
divided by the controversy that arose from Whitefield's 
preaching. The new church was organized in 1741, and 
this led to the erection of the meeting-house at Sharp's grave- 
yard, which is about a mile north of Fair Hill. Very 
little is known of this church, except that it was a frame 
building covered with clapboards. Tradition says that it 
was removed to a farm in the neighborhood, and converted 


into a barn. When the Old and New Sides united, in 17G1, 
they \vorshij)ed in this house for a short time. 

The New Side congregation was without a pastor for ele- 
ven years, when they obtained the services of Rev. James 
Finley, who was a younger brother of the Rev. Samuel Fin- 
lej, and who was installed pastor of this church in 1752. 
Mr. Finley also had charge of the Presbyterian church in 
Elkton for a few years after he became pastor of the Rock 
Church, but in 1700 the pastoral relation was dissolved, 
probably on account of the reunion of the old and new sides 
of the original Rock congregation, which took ])lace the 
following year. During part of the time of the division of 
this church the Rev. James McDowell had charge of the Old 
Side branch, which continued to worship in the old church 
at the stone graveyard* near Lewisville, Pa. During his 

* A tombstone iii this <,Maveyaid contains this inscription : "In memory 
of Ihigh Maliad'ey, who was nuirdeied November IStli, 1747. "' lie lived 
in New Munster, on tiie west side of iJi^^ Elk Creek, about a mile soutli 
of wiiere the road from Fail- llill to Newark crosses that stream, and was 
a blacksmith. Tradition saith that a person wlio lived with him became 
enamored of his wife, and that he and slie entered into a plot to kill him, 
which they executed in this wise : Whde ^Nlahattey and wife were seated 
near the tire, early in the evening, the cowardly murderer, who had been 
momentarily absent from the room, stealthily entered it and struck Ma 
hatfey with an axe. The blow knocked him senseless to the floor, l)ut did 
not kill him. An apprentice boy, who was in bed in the loft of the house, 
heard the noise, and coining down stairs, the guilty ])air compelled him 
to dispatch his master, threatening, if he refused, to (K) it tlieniselves and 
charge him with it and have him lianged. The body was tiien buried in 
the smith shop, where, after the lapse of some week.s, it was found, in 
this way: Some of the friends of the murdered man, who resided at some 
distance, hearing of his disappearance, came to assist his neighl)ois in re- 
moving the my.stery that enshrouded it, »nd hitched one of their horses 
in tile shoi> near where the cori)se of tlie murdered man ""^s buried. The, knowing by instinct that something was buried there, or being im- 
patient of restraint and wishing to get loose, pawed the earth away from 
the corpse, which of course was discovered. No record of the trial is now 
e.xtant, but traditi m says tiiat the guilty man escui)ed. tliat the e<iually 
guilty woman and boy were tried for the murder, and that the boy was 
hanged. Another one of the tombstones in this graveyard contains an 
image of a panther chiseled upon it in ba-.s-relief. Another one contains 
the figure of a man's hand, the thumb and forefinger of which are repre- 
sented as holding, in ord(!r to exhibit to view, the four of diamonds. 
Wliy tlicse curious devices were placed on ttnnbstones is a mystery that 
will probably never be unraveled, for the inscriptions on them shed 
no liglit upon it. 


- _ ___ 

pastorate he taught the classical school which had been, 
founded at New London some years before by the Synod of 
Philadelphia, but which was removed to his residence, about 
a mile southwest of Lewisville, in 1752. This school was 
removed to Newark, Delaware, in 1767, and was chartered 
by the Penns two years afterwards. It was the germ from 
which Delaware College sprang. Mr. Finley's pastoral con- 
nection with this congregation extended over a period of 
thirty years, and so much was he endeared to his congrega- 
tion, that it successfully resisted his efforts to obtain a disso- 
lution of the pastoral relation and his dismissal from the- 
Presbytery of New Castle for some years. He finally ap- 
pealed to the synod, w^hich set aside the action of the pres- 
bytery, and he removed to western Penns3dvania, in 1783. 
Eighteen years before that time he had visited the western 
frontier, accompanied by Philip Tanner, one of the elders of 
his church, who lived in Nottingham, near Mount Rocky. Mr. 
Finley is said to have been the first preacher (except those 
who had been there as chaplains of the army) that preached 
west of the Alleghany Mountains. Some years after this the 
synod of Philadelphia sent him to western Pennsylvania as 
a missionary. While there upon one of these visits, he pur- 
chased a farm in Fayette County, Pa., and in 1772, placed his 
son Ebenezer, then a youth of fourteen years of age, in charge- 
of it. Mr. Finley was twice married. His second wife was 
a daughter of Robert Evans, a sister of Captain John Evans, 
who owned the rolling-mill west of Cowantown. He resided,, 
during part of his pastorate, on the White Hall Farm near 
Andora, or Poplar Hill, as it was formerly called. 

It was during Mr. Finley's pastorate that the present 
church, which a few years ago was remodeled, was erected, 
as is shown by the petition of Robert Macky and George 
Lawson, which they presented to the court in 1760, stating 
that the congregation had purchased a piece of land in 176'2 
from Michael Wallace and David Elder, near where the 
westernmost branch of Elk River crossed the road leading. 


from Nottingham to Christiana Bridge, and had erected a 
meeting-house thereon for public worship, and praying 
that tlie said liouse miglit be registered. This was in 
accordance with the act of Parliament requiring all places 
of public worship to be registered by the civil authorities. 

Tliough the first meeting-house at Louisville had been 
erected previous to 1725, it was not till fifty-one years after- 
wards that they obtained a deed for the land upon whicli it 
stood. This land was donated to the congregation, which 
was then called " Upper Elk Erection," by David Wallace, 
but for some reason it was not deeded to them. Wallace 
dis])osed of his property in 1736, but reserved two acres 
which he had given to the church, and subsequently re- 
moved to Kent County, Delaware, where he died. On the 
21st of May, 1776, Solomon Wallace, his son and heir, " in 
order to make good and confirm the generous and pious in- 
tentions of his father," deeded the land to the trustees of the 
church, wlio were as follows: Philip Tanner, of Chsster 
County ; David Macky, John Lawson and Thomas Maftit of 
Cecil County. 

After Mr. Finley removed to the West, the congregation 
was without a stated pastor for twenty-six years, during 
which they depended upon supplies ; often they had no 
preaching for months at a time. Mr. Finley was succeeded 
by Rev. John Burton. He was a Scuichmanand joined the 
Presbytery of New Castle in 1775, and in the fall of that 
year was called as pastor of the Rock Church, being at 
that time serving it, as stated supply by the appoint- 
ment of presbytery. He remained about a year, when 
he declined the call they had given him, and accepted 
one from the congregation of St. George's, Delaware. Rev. 
Mr. Johns states in his history of this church that he 
had a little farm advertised for sale, and when a cer- 
tain party went to buy it he told them it was a wet, sorry 
soil and they would starve on it. He is said to have been 
so absent-minded as often to drive home from church in 


other peoples conveyances, and that his parishoners had to 
see him safely away from church. 

Mr. Burton was succeeded by Rev. Francis Hindman. 
He was a native of this county and spent his boyhood a 
mile or so southwest of Cecil Paper Mill. He was a cooper 
in early life, but subsequently studied for the ministry, and 
was called by this church and the church at New London 
in 1790. Owing to the fact that he was accused of conduct 
unbecoming a minister of the gospel he was never installed. 
He resided for some time in a large, old-fashioned stone 
house that stood until recenth' about three-fourths of a mile 
northwest of Centre school-house. While there he taught 
a classical school, which he subsequently removed to 
Newark, Delaware, where he continued to teach for many 

Rev. John E. Latta, who is remarkable for being one of 
four brothers all of whom were ministers of the gospel, 
succeeded Mr. Hindman and remained till 1800, when he 
accepted a call from the congregation at New Castle. He 
was never installed as pastor of the Rock Church. 

Mr. Latta was succeeded by the Rev. Samuel Leacock, 
who ministered to the congregation as stated supply from 
1800 to 1804. He was followed by Rev. John Waugh, who 
at that time was principal of Newark Academy, and who 
officiated as stated supply from 1804 to 1806. 

After being without a pastor for twenty-six years the 
congregation, in connection with New London, gave a call 
to Rev. Robert Graham, on the 12th of September, 1808. 
He was to give the Rock congregation one-third of his time. 
He was installed pastor December 13th, 1809. He resided 
at New London and had charge of the united congregations 
until the time of his death, on the oth of November, 1835. 
During his long pastorate he frequently preached at Charles- 
town and was instrumental in starting the first Sunday- 
school at that place. In 1803 the church needed a new 
roof and otlier repairs, and such was the poverty of the con- 
gregation that they obtained an act of the legislature 


authorizing them to raise the money for those purposes by 
means of a lottery. No persons are named in the act to 
carry it into effect, and no bond for the performance of that 
duty can be found among the records of the county. It 
tlierefore seems probable that the scheme was never put 
into operation. 

This method of raising money for church purposes may 
seem highly reprehensible at this time, but it was not con- 
sidered to be so then. As early as 1791 the vestry of North 
Sassafras Parish had resorted to the same method, and for a 
long time subsequently whenever money was needed for any 
purpose of public utility, such as the digging of a public 
well, or the founding of a village library, this method of 
raising money was resorted to. Those who are disposed to 
find fault with our forefathers for indulging in this practice, 
should remember that they acted under the sanction of law, 
and that many professing Christians of the present tijne 
find means to evade it, by resorting to cunningly devised 
schemes which are Cjuite as demoralizing and uncertain as 

The church at the head of Christiana was not divided by 
the schism that resulted from AVhitefield's preaching, but its 
pastor, the Rev. George Gillespie, for a short time favored 
the New Side, for the reason that he thought those who ad- 
hered to it had been treated with too much severity by the 
other side. Mr. Gillespie died in 17G0. He was pastor of 
Head of Christiana church for forty-seven years, and was 
succeeded by Rev. John McCrery, who, in 1769, was installed 
pastor of the united churches of Head of Christiana and 
White Clay creek. Mr. McCreary was a zealous and popu- 
lar preacher, and well worthy to be the successor of Charles 
Tennent, who preceded him as pastor of White Clay Creek 

Having thus briefly glanced at the ecclesiastical history 
of these ancient churches, a few words respecting the man- 
ners and customs of those who worshiped in them will not 
be inappropriate. 


The first Presbyterian meeting-houses were generally- 
built of logs and had no fire-places in them. The churches 
were far apart, and the congregations that worshiped in 
them were scattered over large districts of country ; some of 
these people probably traveled a distance of twelve or fifteen 
miles in order to attend meeting. Many of the original 
members of tlie Head of Christiana Church were members 
of the church at New Castle, and no doubt worshiped there 
before the organization of the former church. It is said that 
some pious young men who lived near Deer Creek, in Har- 
ford County, were in the habit of crossing the Susquehanna 
River in a boat which they used for that purpose and kept 
moored to the river bank, near the mouth of that stream, 
and then walking the remainder of the way in order to 
attend the Nottingham Church. As the first meeting- 
houses had no fire-places in them they must have been cold, 
and being poorly lighted by windows must have necessarily 
been somewhat cheerless and gloomy. But the ancestors of 
many of the people who worshiped in them had been hunted 
like wild beasts by Claverhouse and his dragoons among 
the highlands of Scotland, and many of them were afterward 
judicially murdered by the infamous Jeffries. They had 
worshiped upon their native heaths and in the seclusion of 
their native glens at the silent hour of midnight, with sen- 
tries posted to give notice of the approach of the hired sol- 
diery, who, if they had found them, would, with merciless 
fury, liave shot them down like dogs, or consigned them to 
the keeping of the gibbet or the prison. It meant some- 
thing to be a Christian then, and the stories of these wrongs 
and persecutions were yet fresh in the minds of the founders 
of these old churches. No Avonder the}^ made no provision 
for warming the interior of tlie houses in which tliey wor- 
shiped. The ardor and zeal of their religious convictions 
made it unnecessary, and had this not been the case, they 
were a stern, uncompromising sect that were ever ready to 
endure any hardship or submit to any sacrifice in order to 



enjoy tlie privilege of worshiping God as they pleased. So 
it was only after the erection of the meeting-houses that 
superseded the original ones, that any provision was made 
for the comfort of the congregations in the winter time. 
Then a small house in which the session met, which was 
called the session-house, was usually erected near the 
churches. A rousing fire would be made in it on Sabbath 
morning, and those who wished to do so had an opportunity 
of warming themselves before they entered the meeting- 
house. Foot-stoves were introduced in the latter part of the 
last century. They were simply tin boxes with lids, and 
were filled with live coals from the session-house fire, and 
placed on the floor underneath the feet of the worshipers. 
The pastors of these churches in the early days preached 
twice every Sabbath to the same congregation, there being 
an interval of an hour or so between the morning and after- 
noon services, during which the congregation partook of a 
slight repast, which they generally carried with them to 
church to satisfy their hunger. The members of these 
churches nearly all lived in rude log-cabins, which were 
generally built in a valley near a spring. They were a fru- 
gal, industrious and pious people, different in many respects 
from those who had settled in the southern part of the 
county and in Elk Neck. They raised their own wool and 
flax, from which they manufactured tlieir wearing apparel. 
They planted large apple and peach orchards, from the fruit 
of which they distilled their own liquor. Those of them 
who lived in Nottingham and New Munster disposed of their 
surplus wheat at Christiana Bridge, which was then a place 
of much importance, and contained a population of prob- 
ably about four hundred. Their method of transporting 
their wheat to this place may seem odd to those who live in 
this age of railroads and steamboats. When they wished to 
send their wheat to market they put it into bags or sacks, 
which were large enough to hold two or three bushels each. 
These sacks were placed upon pack-saddles on the backs of 


horses, upon one of which a lad was mounted, who led two 
or three of the animals beside the one on which he rode, and 
thus the curious cavalcade journeyed to the place of its 

Another custom that has long since fallen into disuse was 
much in vogue among these people, namely, the irrigation 
of the meadows along the streams, which were so fertilized 
by this means that they produced a reasonably good crop 
of natural grasses, which were cut for hay, where otherwise 
not a blade would have grown. Timothy and clover were 
not introduced at this time, and it was very desirable to 
have as much natural meadow as possible upon each plan- 
tation ; this no doubt led to the ill-shape of some of the 
early grants of land. The method of irrigating a piece of 
land was to construct a dam across a stream and turn the 
water into an artificial channel, constructed in such a loca- 
tion that by letting the water out of it, through openings a 
short distance apart, the land between the original and arti- 
ficial channels could readily be covered with it. This was 
practiced for many years by the first settlers in the upper 
part of the county wherever there was a stream large enough 
to admit of it. INIany of the races that were constructed for 
this purpose are yet to be seen. Lime was hard to obtain, 
and liming was not resorted to as a means of enriching the 
soil ; indeed, it is probable that its use as a fertilizer was 
unknown to many of the people of that day. Owing to 
what would now be considered a very bad system of farm- 
ing, but which was the best their circumstances allowed 
them to pursue, the soil on their farms became impover- 
ished and many of them emigrated to the fertile valleys of 
the Carolinas and Virginia. 

This was the case with many of the Alexanders and 
others of New Munster, who, about the year 1746, emigrated 
to Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. Those of them 
who first settled there were joined from time to time by 
others of the same family until, it is said, they were at the 


time of the commencement of the Revolutionary war the 
most numerous j)eople of one name in that county. Among 
the otlier famihes that emigrated from this county to North 
Carolina, where many of them and their descendants after- 
wards distinguished themselves by the active part they took 
in the affairs of the Presbyterian Church and the Revolu- 
tionary struggle, were the Polks, Brevards, and very proba- 
bly the Pattons and others, members of whose families were 
active participants in the convention that promulgated the 
Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence, in 1775. Abra- 
ham Alexander was president of that convention, and John 
McKnitt Alexander was its secretary. Doctor Ephraim 
Brevard w^as chairman of the committee which drafted the 
Declaration. He was probably a son of the John Brevard 
who was one of the elders of the Broad Creek Church in this 
county. John McKnitt Alexander was h-orn in Cecil County,, 
and went to North Carolina in 1754, when he was 21 years 
of age. He was a tailor by trade, but became a surveyor,, 
and was one of the leading patriots in his adopted State in 
the trying times of the Revolutionary war, w^hen it was 
overrun by the British Army and many professed patriots 
became traitors. Three others of the Alexander family 
were signers of the Mecklenburg Declaration, as was also 
Col. Thomas Polk, a granduncle of ex-President James K. 
Polk, whose father is believed to have emigrated from this 
county and settled in North Carolina. 

There is some reason to believe that the father of 
ex-President Andrew Jackson was among the number of 
those "vvho emigrated to North Carolina. Tradition says 
that he lived in an old log-house that stood near the head 
of Persimmon Run, just east of Cowantown, in the 
fourth district, and that he went with a large number of 
other emigrants from this county a few years anterior to the 
Revolutionary war. The old house in which he lived, 
owing to the fact that its walls were not perpendicular, was 
called the "Bendy House." The place where it stood was 


long remembered and venerated by the old residents of the 
neighborhood, on account of tradition connecting it with 
the parents of the liero of New Orleans. 

The emigrants from this county were the founders of the 
seven Presbvterian churches that existed in Mecklenburg 
County, in 1755, and so great was the interest taken by the 
Presbytery of New Castle in the spiritual welfare of these 
churches and others in that part of the State, that they fre- 
quently sent their ministers there to preach the gospel to 
them, the other members of the Presbytery supplying the 
pulpits of the missionaries during their absence. Rev. John 
McCrery, during the latter part of his pastorate at Head 
of Christiana, is said to have been absent from his charge, 
in the latter part of his life, engaged in missionary labor of 
this kind one-fourth of his time. Once, when on a visit to 
his old parishioners in North Carolina, he was taken sick 
and remained there nine months. 

It is worthy of mention in this connection as an interest- 
ing historical fact, that Doctor David Ramsay, the author 
of a history of the American Revolution, though not a 
native of this county, at one time practiced medicine at the 
head of Bohemia River, and was one of the large number of 
eminent men who emigrated from Cecil County to South 

A few years after the emigration to North Carolina begun, 
a similar one commenced from this region to the country 
west of the Alleghany mountains. Man}^ of the emigrants 
settled along the Ohio River and its tributaries in south- 
western Pennsylvania and northwestern Virginia. The exist- 
ence of the strong Presbyterian element that has always 
pervaded soicety in that section of country, is readily 
traceable to the early Presbyterian churches, whose history 
is so closely blended with the early history of this county. 
These emigrants and others of the same class from the 
southern parts of Chester, Lancaster, and York counties, 
were the first permanent settlers west of the Alleghan}' moun- 


The emigration from these districts continued for many 
years. During a period of twenty years, which probably 
commenced about the time of Rev. James Finley's first visit 
to the AVest, it is said that as many as thirty-four families, 
members of the Rock congregation, chiefly young married 
persons, emigrated to the valley of the Youghiogheny, and 
settled along that stream and in the valleys along the other 
tributaries of the Ohio River. These families all settled 
within the bounds of the old Redstone Presbytery, and 
twenty-two of the heads of them became ruling elders in 
the churches of which it was composed. These Presbyterians 
made an indelible impression upon society in the region 
where they settled, which is yet plainly discernible there, and 
which while society lasts will remain as a witness of the 
untiring energy and unflagging zeal of those who planted 
the standard of Presbyterianism in the Western wilderness. 

But the emigration from this county to western Pennsyl- 
vania Avas n()t confined to New Munster, and many of the 
inhabitants, generally Presbyterians, emigrated there from 
Nottingham. Among the latter were members of another 
family of Alexanders, whose ancestors settled in Nottingham 
in the early part of the last century, and who is supposed 
to have belonged to the same clan in Scotland to which the 
ancestors of the Alexanders of New Munster belonged. 
Hugh Alexander, a member of this family, married Mar- 
garet Edmisson, and migrated to western Pennsylvania as 
early as 1740. The Edmisson family owned a tract of 
land, containing 980 acres, at the mouth of Stony Run at 
this time. This land included the site of the mill near the 
junction of that stream with the Octoraro Creek. 

These emigrants, having descended from a hardy and 
restless race, transmitted their peculiar characteristics to 
their offspring, who, when civilization encroached upon 
them and was about to circumscribe their accustomed liber- 
ties and subject them somewhat to the conventionalities and 
restraints of refined society, emigrated to Kentuck}', as did 


the same class that had emigrated to Virginia and the Car- 
olinas. In this way Kentucky and Tennessee received the 
influence of Presbyterianism that has made an indelible 
impression upon the character of their citizens. 

During this period of the history of the county, the state 
of society was not very good, and a few of the old records of 
the court that are now extant show that licentiousness and 
drunkenness prevailed to a considerable extent among the 
lower classes, most of whom were indentured servants or 
redemptioners. The records of New Castle Presbytery con- 
tain but very few references to matters of this kind, which, 
inasmuch as the Presbyterians were very austere and also 
rigid disciplinarians, leads us to believe that few breaches 
of decorum were committed by their membership. 

Slavery prevailed to some extent throughout the county, 
but the slaves were not numerous in that part of it north of 
the Elk Piver. Rev. James Finley had a few of them, in 
whose religious welfare he is said to have been much inter- 
ested, always having them present at family worship and 
catechising them with his own children. This was probably 
the case with the members of his and the other Presbyterian 


Border war — Davy Evans dispossesses Adam Short — Petition of" Sam- 
uel Bricc — Arrest of Isaac Taylor and others — Agreement between the 
heirs of William Penu and Lord Baltimore respecting the settlement of 
the boundaries — Proceedings in chancery — Renewal of border war — 
Thomas Cresai) — Order of the King in Council — The temporary boundary 
line — Decree of Chancellor Ilardwich — Diarj' of John Watson — Cape 
Henlopen — The trans-peninsular line — Death of Charles Calvert — 
Another agreement — Location of due north line — Difficulty of the work 
— Mason and Dixon — They huul in Philadelphia — Latitude of that city — 
Account of their labors for the next five years — Ke-location of the north- 
east corner of Maryland. 

After William Penn took possession of liis territories on 
the Delaware several interviews took place between him 
and the lord proprietary of Maryland in reference to the 
adjustment of the boundaries of their respective provinces, 
but inasmuch as they had no particular bearing on the 
history of this county and were as futile as the efforts that 
had jireceded them, it is not important that they should be 
noticed here. 

From about the time of tlie disappearance of George 
Talbot in 1G87, to the time of the' death of William Penn, 
which took place in 1718, the good understanding between 
the two provinces had been maintained by a variety of 
temporary expedients, which were every now and then 
frustrated by some act of border aggression. 

This was notably the case with the people living on the 
borders of tliis county. At this time there were very few 
settlements in Pennsylvania west of the Susquehanna 
River, and the people living in the lower part of the penin- 
sula seem to have ])een more peacefully disposed than 
those on the borders of this countv. 


In 1721 Adam Sliort, who lived upon a tract of land 
■called Green Meadows, which was somewhere on the borders 
of Welsh Tract, complained to the council of Maryland 
that shortly before he had been waited on b}'' Dav}' Evans 
of the Welsh Tract, who was accompanied b}^ eight or ten 
men, and had two horses harnessed to a log sledge, who 
demanded possession of his premises, which he refused to 
give them. Apprehending trouble he went to see a Mary- 
land magistrate, and found when he returned that his 
visitors had been so expeditious in building a log-house 
that they had raised it all round three logs high during his 
-absence. He protested against their action, but they finished 
the house and gave possession to one Rice Jenkins. To 
-avoid trouble Short removed to another plantation which 
he had on Christiana Creek, where he then resided, first 
securely fastening the doors of his dwelling and out-house. 
Returning some time afterwards to the house in which he 
formerly resided he found the dwelling occupied and the 
■out-house used for a tailor shop. 

On the 2d of June, 1722, Samuel Brice presented a 
petition to the court of this county, stating that he "had been 
an inhabitant of this county, on New Connaught Manor, for 
about nine years past, and had always quietly and peaceably 
paid all taxes and dutys to this county, since an inhabitant 
wdthin the jurisdiction of this court. But so it is, may it 
please your worships, that on the 11th of this instant (May) 
Isaac Taylor the surveyor for the county of Chester of the 
Province of Pennsylvania, with others* assisting him came 
and surveyed close to your petitioner's fence, so as to render 
your petitioner's settlement altogether unconvenient for the 
use of your petitioner and greatly to his prejudice,and further 
that your petitioner is very credibly informed that Daniel 
Smith, George Sleyter, James Bond, John Bond, Edward 

*The other persons wcie Elish Gatchell, William Brown, John Church- 
man, Richard Brown, Roger Kirk, and Isaac Taylor's son, as stated in 
the records of the council. 


Long, John Allen, Charles Allen, and several others, are upon 
complying ivith a Pennsylvania survey and title, although they 
have considerable time since complied with and allowed 
themselves inhabitants of this county, all which your peti- 
tioner conceives is not only an agrievance to your petitioner 
but to the public interest of this government, and his Lord- 
ships good rule, and loudly calls for redress." 

This petition was favorably received, and the court 
ordered that a precept be made out and directed to the 
sheriff ordering him to arrest Taylor and the others for 
committing a breach of the peace; whereupon, William 
Howell, the sheriff, called out the posse comitatus and arrested 
Taylor, who, it is stated in Penn's breviat, was imprisoned 
probably in the jail at Court-House Point, but possibly at 
Annapolis. While he was confined in prison, Gatchell 
visited him, whereupon the authorities of Maryland also 
arrested and imprisoned him. 

This outrageous conduct of Evans and Taylor and their 
friends was the more reprehensible from the fact that it was 
in violation of a compact or agreement between the governors 
of the two provinces made in 1718, at a meeting held at the 
house of Colonel Hinson. At this meeting Governor Hart 
of Maryland, alleged that Nottingham was in that province, 
and that the people thereof had often petitioned to be taken 
under the government of Maryland. Governor Keith re- 
plied, that New Munster belonged to Pennsylvania, and the 
people living tliere had asked to be taken under the protec- 
tion of that province. It was thereupon agreed that the 
inhabitants of these tracts, and all others, sliould be left in 
possession of their land, and all other grants should be re- 
spected until the dispute Avas settled. 

The arrest of Taylor and Gatchell coming to the 
knowledge of the Governor of Pennsylvania, he at the 
instance of the council, remonstrated with the authorities of 
Maryland, who referred the matter to Daniel Delaney, then 
attorney-general, who gave an elaborate opinion on the sub- 


ject, in which he took the ground that the offenders were 
amenable to the provincial court for conspiracy to commit 
a riot, they having dispossessed Edward Long, before-men- 
tioned, of his house and taken possession of it and part of 
his wheat field. The council thereupon ordered the court 
of this county to bind them, and all witnesses against them,, 
to appear at the provincial court, where they were subse- 
quently tried and acquitted. 

This energetic action on the part of the authorities of 
Maryland seems to have had a good effect, and to have 
overawed the people on the Pennsylvania border, who re- 
frained from making any more surveys in the disputed 
territory for some years afterwards. 

Although more than half a century had elapsed since Cecil 
County had been invested with a legal existence, its bound- 
aries, owing to the dispute between tlie proprietaries of Mary- 
land and Pennsylvania, were still undetermined. And inas- 
much as the settlement of the boundaries of the county was 
dependent upon the settlement of those of the province of 
which it formed a part, it is important that the reader's 
attention should now be directed to the efforts which at this- 
time were made to adjust the long pending controversy, and 
which resulted many years afterwards in the establishment 
of Mason and Dixons line. Although this line occupied a 
very important position in the politics of the United States- 
for many years, its history is very imperfectly understood, 
except by statesmen and politicians. Should the reader 
belong to that large class of citizens who have not made 
politics tlie object of special consideration, he will be more 
ready than otherwise to pardon this unavoidable digression. 

In 1732 John, Richard, and Thomas Penn, who by the 
will of their father had become joint proprietors of Penn- 
sylvania, entered into a written agreement with Charles 
Calvert, the fifth Lord Baltimore, for the adjustment of the 
boundaries of the two provinces. It was stipulated by the- 
parties to this agreement that the boundnrics phnnld be as- 


follows : First, a circle of twelve miles radius should be de- 
scribed around the town of New Castle. Second, a due east 
and west line was then to be drawn across the peninsula 
from the easternmost part of Cape Henlopen to the Chesa- 
peake Bay, from the middle of which a straight line was to 
be run in a northerly direction so as to form a tangent to 
the circular line. Third, that from the tangent jiointa due, 
north line should be run until a point, fifteen English statute 
miles south of the most southerly part of Philadelphia, should 
be reached. Fourth, that a due east and west line should 
be run from the last-named point as far west as the two 
provinces extended.* It was also stipulated that, if the due 
north line, beginning at the tangent point, should cut a seg- 
ment from the twelve-mile circle, that the said segment 
should belong to New Castle County. It was also agreed 
that each of the contracting parties should appoint within 
two months thereafter, not less than seven commissioners, 
under whose supervision the lines were to be located. Com- 
missioners were accordiugly appointed, who met for the pur- 
pose designated, but owing to the indcfiniteness of the agree- 
ment, the conference soon terminated, and with it ended 
all practical efforts to settle the dispute at that time. Shortly 
after this abortive attempt by the commissioners. Lord 
Jkiltimore applied to King George II. for a confirmation of 
his charter ; but it was too late, and by an order of the king 
in council, in 1735, the Penns Avere directed to institute pro- 
ceedings in chancery for the purpose of testing the validity 
of the agreement, and if it was found valid, of enforcing its 

Previous to this time the partisans of the proprietors of 
the two j)rovinces seem to have made use of the legal ma- 
chinery of the counties along the borders in their efforts to 

* The west line was to begin at the tangent point, if that point was 
found to be fifteen .statute miles south of Phila(loli>liia : otherwise the 
<lue north line was to be continued until a i)oint liltoen miles south of 
Philadelphia was reached. 


further their OAvn interest and that of their superiors. But 
when the matter in dispute was referred to the Court of 
Chancery, they having had httle hope of a speedy settle- 
ment, inaugurated a border warfare in real earnest, which 
prevailed for a few years on the borders of what are now 
Harford and York counties. 

Thomas Cresap, who has been mentioned as the proprietor 
of a ferry from Port Deposit to Lapidum, and who had 
moved further up and settled on the west side of the Sus- 
quehanna River, acted a very conspicuous part in this war- 
fare. Many Germans had settled on the disputed territory 
in what is now York County, under Pennsylvania titles ; 
but in order to avoid the payment of taxes in that province, 
they accepted titles from Maryland and acknowledged the 
authority of Lord Baltimore. But becoming apprehensive 
that adhesion to him might ultimately prejudice their 
interest, they formally renounced their allegiance and sought 
protection from Pennsylvania. This irritated the authorities 
of Maryland, and the sheriff of Baltimore County with three 
hundred men marched to eject them. The sheriff of Lan- 
caster County, with a large posse, came to their assistance, 
and induced the Marylanders to return without molesting 
the Grermans, on a pledge that they would consult together 
and give an answer to Lord Baltimore's requisition to 
acknowledge his authority. 

Shortly after this an association consisting of three hun- 
dred and fifty men, headed by Cresap, was formed for the 
purpose of driving out the Germans and dividing their lands 
among the associators, two hundred acres being promised to 
each of them. 

During one of the many raids that were made at this 
period, an attack was made in the night time upon Cresap's 
house, and he shot and wounded one of the assailants,, 
from the effect of which he died. Sometime after this hap- 
pened the sheriff of Lancaster County, accompanied by 
twenty-four armed men, crossed over the Susquehanna Kiver 


ill the night, with the intention of taking Cresap l\v sur- 
prise and capturing him the next morning. But they were 
discovered, and Cresap, after making a spirited resistance 
and defending himself, until his house which had been set on 
fire by his assailants, was nearly burned down, was captured 
and taken in triumph to Philadelphia, where he taunted 
the crowd that assembled to see the " Maryland Monster," 
by exclaiming half in earnest half in derision, "Why, this 
is the finest city in the province of Maryland." The Gov- 
ernor of Marj'land immediately ordered reprisals to be 
made, and four German settlers were seized and carried to 
Baltimore County. 

During this period of the border war, hostilities prevailed 
to some though not to so great an extent on the eastern 
border of the county, and two persons named Roth well were 
arrested at the instigation of James Heath, some distance 
east of where Warwick now stands. These persons were 
confined for some days in a jail* which stood upon Ward's 
Hill, a short distance southeast of Cecilton, on the farm of 
John W. Davis, Esq., one of AVard's descendants. 

In 1736 the authorities of Maryland presented an address 
to the king in council, in which they gave a comprehensive 
account of the troubles on the border, and prayed him to 
grant them such relief as to his royal wisdom should seem 
meet. This address had a good effect, and on the ISth of 
August, 1737, the king in council issued an order command- 
ing the governors of the two provinces to prevent the re- 
currence of all riotous proceedings in the future, and en- 
joined them to make no more grants of land in the disputed 
territory, nor even permit an}" person to settle thereon, 
until his majesty's i)lcasure should be. further signified. 
This order had the happy effect of ending the border trou- 

* Very little is known of this jail, but it was probably used in connection 
with the slave trade. John Ward, who owned it, was one of the first sett- 
lers in Sassafras 2seck, where he patented a large tract of land as early 
as 1665. 


bles, and in May, 1738, the governors of the two provinces 
entered into an agreement for running a temporary line, 
which his majesty allowed them to carry into effect. This 
line was not to interfere with the actual possession of the 
settlers, but merely to suspend all grants on the disputed 
territory until the final adjustment of the boundaries. This 
line was run in the spring of 1739 by Colonel Levin Gale and 
Samuel Chamberlaine, commissioners on the part of Mary- 
land, and Richard Peters and Lawrence Growden on the 
part of Pennsylvania. It commenced at or near the eastern 
boundary of the county as determined by Messrs. Mason 
and Dixon. East of the Susquehanna River it was about a 
quarter of a mile south of the present state line, and tlie 
same distance north of that line on the west side of that 

The chancery suit, before referred to, was not decided 
until 1750, when the decree was promulgated by Chancellor 
Hardwick, who reserved the power to adjust any difficulties 
that might arise in its execution. In conformity with the 
decree, commissioners were appointed by the respective par- 
ties to the suit, who met at New Castle in November, 1750, 
for the purpose of carrying it into effect. 

The diary of JohnWatson, one of the surveyors a})pointed 
by the commissioners of Pennsylvania to assist in making 
the survey in 1750, is yet extant and in a good state of pre- 
servation in the possession of the Historical Society of Penn- 
sylvania, to which it was presented by the late William D. 
Gilpin, of Philadelphia, who found it among some old 
papers at his paper-mill. This diary shows that the com- 
missioners had a long controversy about the manner in 
which the twelve-mile radius should be measured. The 
commissioners of Maryland contended that it should be 
measured upon the surface of the earth, and those from 
Pennsylvania that it should be made by horizontal measure- 
ment, and not by following the inequalities of the earth's 
surface. The latter method was the one enforced bv the 


court when tlie matter was referred to it. They also had 
trouble in fixing the point from which to begin the meas- 
urement of the radius, and Watson states in his diary that 
he noticed a puncture in the paper on which a map in the 
possession of the Maryland commissioners was made, which 
tliey stated was intended to represent the beginning of the 
radius at Ncav Castle. Its location, he afterwards learned, 
had been determined on in this wise: "The commissioners 
of Maryland had constructed an exact ])lan of the town of 
New Castle upon a piece of paper, and then carefully pared 
away the edges of the draught until no more than the 
draught was left, when, sticking a pin through it, they sus- 
pended it thereby in different places until the}* found a 
place whereby it might be suspended horizontally, which 
point or place they accepted as the centre of gravity," 
which they alleged was the centre of the town, and main- 
tained that that was the right and proper place from which 
to commence the measurement of the radius. The commis- 
sioners of Pennsylvania objected to this curious method of 
determining the centre of the town ; and the court, when 
the matter was referred to it, decided that the radius should 
be measured from the Court House. The commissioners,, 
after spending some time in New Castle, adjourned to meet 
in the April following, having first agreed that the survey- 
ors should meet on the 20th of December, at Cape Henlopen,. 
and proceed to run the line across the peninsula. 

Bythe terms of the agreement of 1732,the trans-peninsular 
line was to begin at Cape Henlopen, and a controversy now 
arose about the true location of that place. This controversy 
originated in the different methods of spelling the name of 
the cape. The early Swedish settlers called the present 
Cape Henlopen, Cape Inloiicn, and ihe exterior or false cape 
at Fenwick's Island, Cape Henlopen or Hlnlopen, the latter 
of Avhich is said to be a Swedish word signifying entering 
in; from which it appears that the aspirate letter H, in the 
Swedish language prefixed to the word Inlopeii altered the 


sense of it from the interior to the exterior cape. The 
matter in dispute was referred to the lord chancellor, who 
decided that the respective parties should abide by the 
agreement which fixed the beginning of the line at the ex- 
terior cape on Fenwick's Island. 

Watson soon after the meeting at New Castle, started for 
Cape Henlopen on horseback. He had occasion to spend a 
night at a hotel in St. George's, and notes in his diary that 
the mill-dam at that place, was the resort of large flocks of 
water fowl. Watson gives an account of the difficulties and 
inconviences the surveyors experienced in the prosecution 
of their work, from which it appears that the}^ were in im- 
minent danger of being drowned by the tide overflowing 
Phenix Island* upon one occasion, when they were stopping 
upon it. The cabin in which they were lodging, upon an- 
other occasion, took fire and they had a narrow escape from 
death, one of them losing his shoes, which were burned to a 
crisp, from which it may be inferred that their loss was a more 
serious affair than it would be at the present time. However, 
after much discussion and wrangling, they commenced the 
survey of the line, which they traced for a few miles, but on 
the 8th of January, 1750, were obliged to quit on account 
of the swamps and low lands being covered with ice, which 
made it impracticable to continue the work. Watson states 
that their horses were continually getting mired in the 
swamps, into which they sank up to the middle of their 
legs, and that it was in his opinion only practicable to com- 
plete the work in the summer months when the swamps 
were drier than at other times. 

The work of locating the trans-peninsular line was re- 
sumed tlie next Spring, under the auspices of Edward Jen- 
nings, Robert Jenkins Henry, George Plater, John Ross, 
William Allen, Richard Peters, and Robert Holt, commis- 
sioners appointed to superintend the work. The names of 

* Now called Fenwick's Island. 


the surveyors employed by them were as follows: John 
Emory, Thomas Jones, William Parsons, William Shank- 
land, and "William Killen. The surveyors commenced work 
near Fenwick's Island, on the 20th of Apri^ 1751, and met 
with nothing unusual until they had completed the thir- 
teenth mile of the line, when they enter in their journal on 
the 8th of May, that the men who were assisting them, 
had struck for higher wages. This caused some delay, but 
the surveyors being unable to procure any other assistance, 
were obliged to make the best terms they could with their 
men, all of whom agreed to continue to serve them. They 
lived in tents, and were often at a loss to find a suitable 
place to locate them, on accolint of the swampy condition of 
the country. They com})leted the line on the loth of June, 
1751, having traced it to the Chesapeake Bay, a distance of 
sixty-nine miles and two hundred and ninety-eight perches 
from the place of beginning on Fenwick's Island. 

The commissioners would probabl}' have completed the 
other portions of the work had their labors not been sud- 
denly brought to an end by the death of Charles Calvert, 
the proprietor of ]\Iaryland, between whom and the heirs of 
Penn the agreement of 1732 had been made. Frederick, 
Lord Baltimore, the heir and successor of Charles, was a 
minor, and his guardians resisted the execution of the 
decree ; but in 1754 the Penns took measures to revive the 
Chancery suit, with a view of carrying out and enforcing 
the original agreement. But probably owing to the pro- 
verbial delay that always prevails in that court, the parties, 
after waiting until 1760, entered into another agreement, 
which, so far as it related to the boundary lines, was a re- 
affirmation of the former one, from which it only differed 
by containing certain stipulations in reference to the grants 
of land already made by the proprietors of the two provinces. 
This agreement provided for the appointment of not less 
than three, nor more than seven commissioners by the 
respective parties who were to carry its provisions into 


effect. These commissioners met at New Castle on the 19th 
of November, 17G0, and on the 10th of the December fol- 
lowing delivered their instructions to the surveyors, Messrs. 
John Frederick, Augustus Briggs, Thomas Garnett, Arthur 
Emory, John AVatson, John Stapler, and William Shank- 
land, who were employed by them to locate and measure 
the radius of the twelve mile circle and a due north line 
from the middle point in the line across the peninsula until 
it reached the outer end of the radius. The commissioners 
seem to have had some doubt of their ability to run all the 
lines, for they only instructed the surveyors to run the two 
.before named. 

The minute book of the surveyors, which contains their 
instructions and an account of each day's work, may be 
seen in the land office at Annapolis. They were directed 
to measure the lines with the greatest accuracy with a two, 
or if more convenient, a four-perch chain, the length 
of which they were frequently to verifj' by a two-foot brass 
sector, furnished them for the purpose; and were frequently 
to verify the direction of the line by the transit of the pole 
star. They were to keep two minute books, in which each 
day's work was to be entered ; and in case of failure to trace 
a true meridian they were to return these books to the gov- 
ernors of the two provinces, who were then to call the com- 
missioners together in order to give the surveyors further 
instructions. They were also to note the most remarkable 
buildings, waters, bridges and roads near the line or through 
which^it might pass. 

The surveyors began to run the due north line from the 
middle point on the 12th of December, 1760, but after 
tracing it a few miles were obliged to quit on account of 
the severity of the weather. They resumed work on the 
5th of May, 1761, and continued the line northward, but 
found by observations made on the 12th of June that the 
line was one minute and sixteen seconds east of the true 
meridian. Thev then returned their minute books to the 


governors, as they had been directed to do, and received 
from the commissioners instructions to go back to the 
ninth mile post and begin again to retrace the line. The 
instructions of the commissioners are both instructive and 
curious, but are too long to be inserted here. 

On the 17th of July, Jonathan Hall was appointed a sur- 
veyor on the part of Maryland and John Lukens and Archi- 
bald McClean on the part of Pennsylvania. One of the two 
last-named was appointed to fill the place of John Watson.who- 
died about this time. The surveyors met with many difficul- 
ties and their minute book is full of entries about the swamps 
and mill-dams that obstructed their operations. However^ 
they completed the due north line on the 24tli of October. 
It terminated near the road leading from Head of Elk to 
New Castle. The commissioners soon afterwards met at 
New Castle and gave them instructions about running the ra- 
dius from that place toward the terminus of the due north line^ 
which they proceeded to locate and measure immediately 
afterwards and finished in the early part of the winter of 
17G1. At this time the connection of Messrs. John Lukens^ 
Archibald McClean, Thomas Garnett, and Jonathan Hall^ 
appears to have terminated with this line and nothing more 
of a practical nature was done toward settling the dispute un- 
til the 15th of November, 1703, at which time Messrs. Charles 
Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, having been employed by the 
commissioners at the instance of the proprietors of the re- 
spective provinces, landed at Philadelphia and immediately 
commenced work. 

Messrs. Mas5n and Dixon were eminent mathematicians 
and astronomers. The former had been sent to India by 
the British Government to observe the transit of Venus^ 
which occurred in 1763, but the vessel in which he sailed 
having been cai)tured by a French cruiser, he was put on 
shore at tlie Cape of Good Hope, at which place he performed 
the work he otherwise would have done in India. These 
men appear to have been eminently qualified for the work 


they were employed to perform, the best evidence of which 
is the accurate manner in which it was done. 

They landed at Philadelphia on November 15th, 1763, 
and at once went to work to ascertain the latitude of the 
southern part of that cit}', in order to determine the location 
of the due east and west line, which was to divide the two 
provinces, and which by the terms of the agreement, was to 
be run at the distance of fifteen English statute mtles south 
of the southern part of that city. They followed the instruc- 
tions which the commissioners had given to their predeces- 
sors, and kept two copies of a daily journal, one of which is 
in the Land Office at Annapolis, the other is in possession 
of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania. The copy be- 
longing to the Historical Society was found some years ago 
in Nova Scotia, and was purchased for the sum of five hun- 
dred dollars. 

These journals were kept upon the ordinary foolscap 
l^aper in use at that time. Each page has a column upon 
the left hand side of it, in which is entered the date of each 
da}^ of the years they were at Avork running the lines. Op- 
posite the date is entered a short account of each day's 
work, which was signed by each of them. The first entries 
in their journal are as follows: "1763, November 15th, 
arrived in Philadelphia; 16th, attended a meeting of the 
commissioners appointed to settle the bounds of Penn- 
sylvania; 17th, wrote to his Excellency Horatio Sharp, Esq., 
Governor of Mar^^land, signifying our arrival at Phila- 

The two astronomers had a building erected in Phila- 
delphia which the}' used as an observatory^ It was no doubt 
a rude and temporary structure, for it cost but little, and 
was completed and in use in nine days after they landed. 
But rude and fragile as it was, it was probably the first 
structure of the kind erected in the United States. In this 
building they set up their sector on the 25th, and their 
transit instrument on the 2Sth, and found that they had * 


received no damage while being transported across the At- 
lantic Ocean. 

The point determined upon as the most southern part of 
Philadelphia was an old house on the north side of South 
street, then called Cedar street. They were engaged in de- 
termining the latitude of this point until the early part of 
January, 1764, and ascertained it to be 39° 56' 29.1" north, 
which varies but little from the latitude of the same place 
as determined by modern astronomers. Having completed 
their work in Philadelphia, they took down the observatory 
and placed it and some of their equipments in three wagons, 
and having packed the telescope and some other fragile 
articles in their beds and placed them on the springs of an 
old fashioned two-wheeled chair, they started westward to 
the forks of Brandywine, for the purpose of ascertaining by 
means of astronomical observations, a point in the same 
parallel of latitude a« the old house on South street. They 
reached their destination in due time, and having rc-erected 
their observatory, proceeded to ascertain the location of the 
required point, which occupied them until the 1st of the en- 
suing March.* They then employed ax-men and proceeded 
to clear a vista,m order to trace and measure the line fifteen 
miles south, which they completed on the 12th of the follow- 
ing April. This line terminated in Mill Creek Hundred, 
near Muddy Run, in what is now New Castle County, Dela- 
ware. After verifying their work and making tlie necessary 
preparations they repaired to New Castle, from which place 
they set out on the 18th of June, 1704, for the middle point 
in the line across the peninsula. They traveled in wagons, 
and were four days in reaching their destination. 

The middle point in the peninsular line, as well as the 
northwest end of the radius having been already located 

* A stone which they placed in this parallel to mark the beginning of 
the fifteen-mile line is now standing in the forks of Brandywine, and is 
known by the peoj le of the neighborhood as the '• Star-gazers* Stone." 


by their predecessors, they at once proceeded to run an ex- 
perimental line, with a view of ultimately locating tlie 
tangent line. This occupied them until the 25th of August, 
when they had produced the line eighty-one miles, whicli 
they supposed reached north of the tangent point. This 
line was afterwards proved to be too far west to strike tlie 
twelve-mile circle, and they at once proceeded to make the 
calculation preparatory to measuring the offsetts and re- 
tracing the line, which they did with such accuracy, that 
Avhen they reached the trans-peninsular line, they were only 
two feet two inches west of the middle point. This was 
their second effort to locate the tangent line, and though it 
was a failure, the two astronomers, without manifesting any 
symptoms of discouragement, at once proceeded to trace an- 
other line. This line ran sixteen feet and nine inches too far 
east of the tangent point, which they reached on the 10th of 
November, 1764. They at once computed the difference 
between the two lines the}' had run, so that when the stones, 
which were to mark the line, were set, they could he 
accurately placed in it. 

The boundary stones in this line were afterward set under 
the supervision of the Rev. John Ewing, one of the com- 
missioners of Pennsylvania, and a relative of the Ewings, 
who were formerly so numerous in the northwestern part of 
this county. These stones, except a few of them on the due 
north and circular line, were set at the distance of one mile 
from each other. Tliey have on them, in accordance with 
the agreement, the letter " M" on the side facing Maryland, 
and the letter " P " on the side facing Pennsylvania, except 
those at the end of every fifth mile, which were marked 
with the arms of the respective proprietors. These stones 
were procured in England, and are of the formation known 
as oolite, which probably has a greater capacity to resist the 
action of the weather than any other stone that it would have 
been practicable to have obtained. Though they have been 
exposed to the action of the elements for more than a cen- 
turv, thev have not been injured in tlie least. 


On the 21st of November, 17G4, the commissioners met at 
Christiana Bridge, and a few days afterwards the surveyors 
discharged their assistants and left off work for the winter 
season. Early in March, 17G5, they repaired to the south 
end of the fifteen mile line, near Muddy Run, and attempted 
to ascertain the direction of the parallel of north latitude 
west from that point, but were prevented by cloudy weather 
from doing so for seven days, when, on the 21st of that 
month, a snow storm began which lasted three days; and 
they note in their journal that at nine o'clock on the morn- 
ing of the 24th of March the snow was three feet deep. 
However, the snow did not remain long, and they com- 
menced on the otli of April to run the due west line that 
still bears their names, and continued it until, at the distance 
of about twelve miles, they crossed the road leading from 
Octoraro to Cliristiana Bridge; they then returned to 
Newark for their instruments, in order to verify the accu- 
racy of their work, and found that they were one hundred and 
twenty-nine feet north of the true parallel. They, however, 
produced the line to the Susquehanna River, and found by 
observation that they were more than five chains north of 
the true parallel. The distance from the northeast corner 
of the county to the east side of the Susquehanna, as deter- 
mined by them, is about twent^'-three and one-quarter 
miles; and the width of the river, M'hicli they obtained by 
triangulation at that time, where the line crossed it, was 
sixty-seven chains, four perches, and sixt3'-eight links. 

The surveyors then proceeded to retrace and correct tlie 
line, and having finished that part of the work went to the 
tangent point, and on June the 1st, 17G5," found a direction 
for running a north line per lime of the pole >K transiting 
the meridian; also proved the same by the passage of four 
other 5fcs, and found it good." They then produced the 
north line until it intersected the west one, and thus deter- 
mined the location of the northeast corner of the State. 
But the boundaries of Cecil Countv were not vet fullv deter- 


mined, for it was stipulated in the agreement, as before 
mentioned, that if the due north line from the tangent 
point should cut a segment off the twelve-mile circle it 
should belong to New Castle County. That line having 
done this it became necessary, by the terms of the agree- 
ment, to locate that part of the arc between the tangent 
point and the northern extremity of the segment. The 
surveyors then proceeded to locate this part of the circular 
line, and found that it intersected the north line at the dis- 
tance of one mile, tliirty-six chains, and five links from the 
tangent point, which is the place where the three States 
join each other. 

The surveyors, on the 18th of June, 1765, in the presence 
of the commissioners of the two provinces, set up and erected 
the stones to perpetuate this part of the boundary. These 
stones were quite different from those used to mark the 
•other lines, being a kind of bastard marble or limestone. 
One of them was placed at the tangent point, where it yet , 
remains. The arms of the Penns are legible on the east 
side of it, but the action of the elements has entirely oblit- 
erated the arms of Lord Baltimore from the other side. 
Four other stones were set in the periphery of the circle, 
and one at the point where the north line intersected it. 
One of the oolite stones was also set in the due west line at 
the northeast corner of the county. This last stone, which 
was lettered differently from the others, was prepared in 
England especiall}' for this place. It had been accidentally 
broken in two and Avas mended by drilling holes in it, and 
inserting iron clamps into them and then filling the holes 
with molten lead. Thus, id.QV the lapse of one hundred and 
thirty-three years after Cecilius Calvert received the charter 
of Maryland and ninety-one years after Cecil County had 
been organized, was the question of its boundaries deter- 
mined. During nearly all this long period the controversy 
between the different proprietors of the two provinces had 
been handed down from uenerntion to generation, and sev- 


eral times liad the otherwise peaceable settlers, owing to the 
ill feeling engendered by this controversy, imbued their 
hands in each other's blood. These troubles had not 
afflicted the settlers to any great extent in any other part of 
the province, and although quarreling and bloodshed are 
always to be deprecated and avoided, they, or the causes 
that produced them, were not in this case devoid of good 

To the efforts of the respective proprietaries to extend 
their jurisdiction and the extraordinary inducements they 
offered to the settlers for this purpose, we are indebted for 
the early settlement of the county, and the sterling qualities 
of its citizens which, in many cases, have been transmitted 
from their ancestors, who were induced to settle here when 
the country was a wilderness. The vistas that the surveyors 
were obliged to have made through the woods for the pur- 
pose of tracing the lines were about eight yards wide and 
, were distinctly visible in tlie growtli of tlie timber until quite 
recently. Tlie surveyors and those in their employ are said 
to have been a jolly set, and to have lingered long at the 
northeast corner of the county, near which may 3'et be found 
some fine springs of cool water, to enjoy the pleasure of 
drinking the apple-jack and peach brandy for which that 
part of the county was famous. Tradition says they had a 
pet bear which they always took with them, and that the 
curiosity and apprehension of the simple country people^ 
who called them " the star gazers," were much excited by 
the habit they had of viewing the heavenly bodies at all 
hours of the night. Many of the country people viewed 
them with holy horror as necromancers or soothsayers whom 
it was not safe to meddle with. 

After finishing the part of the work already described, the 
surveyors commenced operations on the line west of the 
{Susquehanna River, and were employed in producing that 
line westward until the 4th of January, 17G6, wdien they left 
off work for the winter, but resumed work again on the 1st 


of April of the same year, and on the 9th of June had 
reached a distance of about a hundred and sixty-two miles 
from the northeast corner of Maryland, where they learned 
from the Indians, whom the authorities of the two provinces 
had previously been at much trouble to conciliate, that it 
was their pleasure that they should not continue the line 
any further. So the surveyors set up their astronomical in- 
struments and ascertained that the line at this point was 
north of the true parallel, and after making the necessary 
calculation, they began to retrace and correct it and finished 
their work on the boundary lines of the respective provinces 
on the 25th of September, 1766. The commissioners of the 
two provinces held a meeting shortly after this at Christiana. 
Bridge, at which it was determined that the line running 
due west from the northeast corner of Maryland should be 
continued eastward from the point at the south end of the 
fifteen-mile line until it reached the Delaware River. The 
surveyors accordingly located and measured this line, and 
marked its termination at that river, the distance from 
which to the stone at the northeast corner of Cecil County, 
as determined by them, was fourteen miles, twenty chains 
and fifteen links. The line that forms the boundary between 
the States of Maryland and Pennsylvania, and that which 
was continued, as we have described, to the Delaware River, 
is the line known in the history and politics of the United 
States as Mason and Dixons line. 

A few years alter the stone at the northeast corner of the 
county had been set, the Revolutionary war commenced, 
and the lead used in mending it, as stated by old residents 
in that vicinity to the author in his boyhood, was picked 
out and used for making bullets by the patriots of the Con- 
tinental army. This stone stood in a small ravine in a 
meadow, and when the lead was taken away from around 
the clamps, they fell out and the upper part of the stone fell 
off, and in a few years the lower part became covered with 
the eartl), whir-h the rains waslied into tlie ravine. Thus 


the location of the northeast corner of the State of Maryland 
was involved in obscurity, and the theory that tlie three 
States joined each other there, instead of at the northern ex- 
tremity of the segment which was cut off by the due north 
line as before stated, was adopted and generally believed 
by the residents in those parts of the three States contiguous 
to the missing corner-stone. This being the case, in 1849, 
H. G. S. Key, of Maryland, Joshua P. Eyre, of Pennsylvania, 
and George R. Riddle, of Delaware, were appointed by the 
governors of the respective States, in accordance with acts of 
the legislatures of those States, to determine the place of the 
missing corner-stone. These commissioners obtained the 
assistance of lieutenant-colonel, J. D. Graham, of the U. S. 
Topographical engineers, and by his aid soon succeeded in 
finding the site of the missing corner-stone. And, notwith- 
standing the great improvement in scientific and astrono- 
mical instruments that had been made during the eiglitv- 
four years since the missing stone had beeen placed in posi- 
tion, the lower portion of it was found by the commissioners 
when digging the hole in which to set the new stone they 
planted in its stead. These commissioners found a few slight 
inaccuracies in the location of the tangent point and the 
point of intersection of the due north and circular lines, 
which, owing to the want of care on the part of Messrs. 
Mason and Dixon in measuring the angle formed by the 
radius and tangent lines, had caused them to set the tan- 
gent stone 157. G feet too far to the north, and the stone at 
the point of intersection of the three States, 143.7 feet too far 
south, in consequence of which the curved line between 
these two points was incorrect. The commissioners, how- 
ever, concluded that inasmuch as the stones that marked 
the circular jxirt of the boundary between ^Maryland and 
Delaware had never been moved, and both States had ac- 
knowledged them as l)Oundary stones for more than three- 
fourths of a century, to let them remain in the places where 
•thev found them : and lest tlun- i!i time sliould be destroved 


by the action of the elements, they erected a substantial 
granite monument alongside of the original stone at the 
tangent point and replaced the stone at the point of inter- 
section of the three States with a triangular monument of 
the same material and buried the original stone near it. 
They also marked the middle of the arc by erecting a gran- 
ite monument at the perpendicular distance of 118.4 feet 
west from the middle of the chord as determineil by them- 
selves, and erected a substantial granite monument at the 
northeast corner of the State in the j)lace of the missing 
corner-stone. The circular line, as traced by the commis- 
sioners in 1849, would, had it been adopted, have added 
a trifle less than two acres to the area of Cecil County. It 
may not be improjDer to remark that that part of Pennsyl- 
vania lying south of the prolongation of Mason and Dixons 
line eastward toward the Delaware River and between it 
and the point of intersection of the three States has always 
been under the jurisdiction of New Castle County, and the 
inhabitants living upon it have always paid taxes to the 
authorities of Delaware and exercised all the rights of citi- 
zens of that State. 


The Revolutionary War — The (Quakers — Convention of 1774 — Commit- 
tee of Safety — Delegates to convention of 1775 — First military organiza- 
tion in the county — ilenry Dobson — ]Militaiy organizations in the county 
— Ilenry llollingswoith makes musket barrels and bayonets for the army 
— Edward Parker makes linen and woolen goods for the use of the sol- 
diers — Invasion of the county by the British — They land at Court-house 
Point — Sir William Howe's proclamation — Part of British army march 
to Head of Elk — Another part overrun Bohemia ]\Ianor — Account of the 
invasion — Court-house not burned — Doings of the American army — Skir- 
misJiing on Iron Hill — Robert Alexander — Disloyalty of the citizens of 
Newark — Tories trade with the British^The (Quakers refuse to perform 
military duty, aud are court-martialed — Brick Meeting-house used for a 
hospital — Burglary at Head of Elk— Interesting corresiiondence — Lafay- 
ette's expedition to Yorktown passes through Head of Elk — His route 
through Cecil County — Journal of Claude Blanchard — Forteen Stodder, 
the negx-o soldier — Confiscated property — The Elk Forge Company — 
John Roberts hanged for treason — The Princijiio Iron Company — Susque- 
lumna ]\Ianor — Lots in Charlestown — Property of Rev. William Edmisson. 

The people of Cecil County were among the most patriotic 
in the State, and the heroic part they took in the long and 
bloody struggle of the Revolutionary war fully attests their 
bravery. They shunned no danger, and shrank from no 
duty, however unpleasant it may have been, that the 
exigencies of the times imposed upon them. There were a 
few torics* in the county, but they "were very few, and such 
was the alacrity with which the others embraced the cause 
of their country that the tories found it best to seek safety 
by joining the royal army upon the first favorable oppor- 
tunity. The Quakers of Nottingham, refused to perform mili- 
tary duty ; but there were many reasons that impelled them 

* A term of opprobrium applied to those who adhered to the royal cause. 


to do so. Their ancestors had obtained that township from 
William Penn, and had considered themselves as being 
residents of Pennsylvania until the location of Mason and 
Dixons line had demonstrated that the Nottingham lots 
were in the province of Maryland. The colonial legisla- 
ture of Maryland seems to have been so much occupied 
with the consideration of the hostile legislation of the 
British parliament and the other causes that led to the war, 
that it had neglected to take any steps towards conciliating 
these people by providing the means for them to obtain titles 
to their land from the lord proprietary of Maryland. In 
consequence of this neglect, the land owners of Nottingham 
presented the singular anomaly of being citizens of Marv- 
land and holding their farms by virtue of the patents their 
ancestors had obtained three-quarters of a century before, 
from the proprietor of Pennsylvania. Probably the ques- 
tion of allegiance had little to do with their refusal to join 
the army, for most of them were too rigid adherents to the 
pacific principles and tenets of their society to have taken 
any part in the war. 

It is not within the scope of this work to recount the 
history of the various battles in which the gallant soldiers 
from this county participated, nor is it necessary to do so. found in that of the old Maryland 
line, of which it forms a conspicuous part. It suffices to 
say, that they won imperishable fame and have left a record 
of noble achievements, the lustre of which the lapse of a 
century has not dimmed, and that as the circling ages pass 
away is only made brighter by their flight. 

The aggressions of the mother country had aroused the 
spirit of opposition in the breasts of the people of Maryland 
long before the promulgation of the Declaration of Inde- 
pendence, and the freemen of the State met in the counties 
and appointed committees to represent them in a convention 
that met in Annapolis, on the 22d of June, 1774. Cecil 
County was represented in this convention by John Veazey, 


Jr., William "Ward, and Stephen Hyland, all of whom were 
members of families which both prior and subsequent to 
this time took an active part in public affairs. At this time 
very few of the Americans had conceived the idea of armed 
resistance against the enforcement of the obnoxious mea- 
sures the mother country was trying to impose upon them; 
hence this convention did nothing more than pass a series 
of resolutions denouncing the Boston Port Bill, and protest- 
ing against the })assage of certain other obnoxious laws then 
pending before the British Parliament. The next conven- 
tion that the exigencies of the times called forth, the mem- 
bers of which were called Deputies, met in the December 
following, and went much further in their opposition to the 
encroachments of the mother country. This convention 
recommended to the farmers to increase tlie number of 
sheep in the province, and to engage more extensively in 
the cultivation of flax and hemp, and recommended to the 
people of the province to organize themselves into military 
companies and provide themselves with arms and equip- 
ments and to learn how to use them. They also recom- 
mended that the committees of observation in the several 
counties should raise by voluntary subscription or in other 
ways more agreeable to them, the sum of £10,000 for the 
purchase of arms and ammunition. (Jf thi-s sum Cecil County 
was to raise £400. This convention held two other sessions in 
Annapolis in the months of May and July, 1775, but owing to 
th'3 mutilation of the manuscript copy of their proceedings, 
the names of the members from this county cannot be ascer- 
tained. It is probable that the manuscript book was mutilated 
in order to conceal their names, owing to the peril in which 
the members were placed. A diligent search among the 
newspapers i)ublished at that time has added nothing ta 
the scanty stock of information upon this subject. 

The committees that represented the counties in the first 
conventions, also took charge of the alfairs of the colony in 
the respective counties, and looked after the interests of the 


inchoate State, and kept an eye upon those who were in any 
wise opposed to their revolutionary principles. It is stated 
in the American Archives for 1775, that the case of Charles 
Gordon, an attorney, who resided in the lower part of the 
county, was brought before the committee on the 17th of 
May. Gordon was charged with treating the Continental 
Congress with great disrespect, and with maliciously aspers- 
ing it and the provincial convention and the committee of 
the county itself, and at divers times and in sundry ways 
vilifying their proceedings. 

The committee, which was then in session at Elk Ferry, 
had sent William Savin, sheriff of the county, with a sum- 
mons to Gordon, to appear before the committee to answer 
the charges. Savin had served the summons upon him, as 
appears from his affidavit taken before David Smith, at that 
time a justice of the peace, and afterwards for a long time 
register of wills: but Gordon refused to attend, and sent 
word to the committee that if they wished to see him the\' 
could come to his place; that it was large enough to hold 
them, and that they had better not come inside his yard 
gate or there would be lives lost ; all of which message, and 
much more was couched in strong language intermixed with 
profanity. Whereupon the committee resolved that he 
should be under the imputation of being an enemy to this 
country, and as such they would have no dealings or com- 
munications with him or suffer him to transact any business 
with them until he should satisfy them respecting the truth 
of the charges preferred against him. 

The counties were represented in the first convention by 
committees, and each county had one vote only, and all 
questions were determined by a majority of counties. In 
the conventions subsequently called together previous to 
December, 1775, the members were styled deputies. John 
Veazey, Jr., Joseph Gilpin, John D. Thompson"^ Nathaniel 
Ilamsay,and Patrick Ewing,represented the county in the con- 
vention of 1 775. Of this number, Messrs. Veazey, Thompson, 


and Ramsay, were signers of the Declaration of the Free- 
men of Maryland, a document somewhat similar in char- 
acter to the Declaration of Independence. It seems proper 
to state in this connection that Peter Lawson, William Cur- 
rer, and Charles Rumsey, of this county, also signed the 

In the convention that met August 14th, 1776, this county 
was represented by Joseph Gilpin, Patrick Ewing, David 
Smith, and Benjamin Brevard. 

The first military organization in the county at this time 
of which any account has come down to us was an inde- 
pendent company, of which Samuel Evans was commis- 
sioned captain September 28th, 1776. Of this company 
Henry Dobson was first lieutenant, Thomas Rumsey was 
second lieutenant, and William Stewart was ensign. They 
were all commissioned on the same day. There is reason 
to believe that Dobson took a very active part in the organ- 
ization of this company. On the day he received his com- 
mission he seems to have been in Annapolis, for the council 
ordered the treasurer of the Western Shore to pay him £500 
for the use of Charles Rumsey, Henry Hollings worth, and 
Edward Parker, on account of the flying camp. The council 
the same day ordered that Parker furnish sufficient linen 
to supply the company with tents, and that the commissary 
furnish Dobson twelve camp kettles, seventy-six cartouch 
boxes, and also a like number of priming wires and brushes, 
etc., which he probably brought home with him. Henry 
Dobson was captain of this or another company at the time 
of his death, as shown by a part of the pay-roll, now in pos- 
session of his relatives. We learn from this scrap of paper, 
which only contains eight names, that Robert Allan was 
seargent of the company, William Phillips, corporal, Andrew 
Hegarty, fifer, and that John Jackson had been drummer, 
but was reduced to the ranks. From a list of articles 
belonging to Henry Dobson at the time of his death it may 
be inferred that the uniform of his company was very bril- 


liant. A scarlet coat, gold-laced, with epaulets, and four 
black feathers, are mentioned as being part of his effects, as 
were also a testament and prayer-book. 

Henry Dobson was the grandson of Richard Dobson, who 
for many years was register of North Elk Parish, and 
Abigail, the daughter of Henry Hollingsworth, the first of 
that name who settled at the Head of Elk, in 1710. The 
Dobson family owned and lived on the plantation bordering 
on the west side of Little Elk Creek, and on the road leading 
from Elkton to North East. Cecil County produced no 
braver man or better soldier than Henry Dobson. At the 
time he was commissioned he was not yet twenty-two years 
of age. He was the maternal uncle of the late Henry 
Dobson Miller, who was register of wills of this county for 
twenty-eight years. He was wounded at the battle of 
Brandywine and killed at the battle of Eutaw Springs, in 
1781, in the twenty-sixth year of his age. 

On the 6th of January, 1776, the convention balloted for 
officers of the militia with the following result : Bohemia 
Battalion — John Veazey, Jr., colonel ; John D. Thompson, 
lieutenant-colonel ; William Rumsey, first major ; Dr. 
Joshua Clayton, second ; Samuel Young, quarter-master. 
Elk Battalion — Charles Rumsey, colonel ; Henry Hollings- 
worth, lieutenant-colonel ; Edward Parker, first major ; John 
Strawbridge, second ; Thomas Huggins, quarter-master. 
Susquehanna Battalion — George Johnson^ colonel ; Thomas 
Hughs, lieutenant-colonel ; John Hartshorn,* first major ; 
Elihu Hall, second ; John Hambleton, quarter-master. 
There is reason to believe that these battalions were 
intended for home protection and defence, and existed as 
distinct organizations but a short time, when those of whom 
they were composed entered the Continental army. 

At this time Colonel Henry Hollingsworth was in the prime 
of life, and resided in the old brick mansion in Elkton, now 

* See sketch of Hartshoru and Hall taniilies. in Chapter XXVIII. 


occupied by liis grandcliildren, the Partridges. Hs was an 
eminently patriotic man, and judging from the letters he 
received and the important positions he tilled, did more than 
any other citizen of the county for the advancement of the 
interest of the colonists. The Head of Elk being directly 
upon the route between the northern and southern colonies^ 
he was often called upon, in discharge of his duty as com- 
missary, to furnish supplies for the troops when their line of 
march lead through that village, which then was a place of 
so much importance that the Legislature passed an act in 
the spring of 1777, authorizing the governor to j^urchase 
land and contract for the erection of a good, substantial 
stone or brick building to be used for the accommodation of 
new recruits or soldiers passing through it. The governor 
was also requested to solicit the aid of Congress in prosecu- 
ting the work. Probably for the want of means, the build- 
ing was not erected. Mr. Hollingsworth was as enterprising 
as he was patriotic ; and with a view of aiding the cause of 
his country, he made a proposition to the convention to 
manufacture gun-barrels and bayonets for the use of the 
troops. The convention took action upon this proposition 
on the 22d of May, 1770, and resolved that the sum of =£500 
should be advanced to him. " He was to give bond for the 
payment of that sum in good substantial gun barrels, well 
bored and ground, } of an inch in the bore and oi feet in 
the barrel, at twenty shillings per barrel, and good substan- 
tial steel bayonets, at eight shillings per bayonet." These 
barrels were stocked by Mr. William Winters, who had a 
manufactory for that purpose at Chestertown. Mr. Hol- 
lingsworth was the first person that engaged in the manu- 
facture of warlike munitions in this State for the use of its 

The January before this took place, Edward Parker, who 
then resided near the Brick Meeting-house, had memorialized 
the convention in regard to the manufacture of linen and 
woolen goods, and had received a subsidy of £300 to enable 


him to start business. He stated that he had erected a 
house,* provided himself with all manner of implements, 
and had five looms constantly employed in manufacturing. 
In this connection the following letter, copied from the 
original, now in possession of Mr. Hollingsworth's grand- 
children, will be interesting. It was written only eight days 
after the promulgation of the Declaration of Independence, 
and shows the promptness with Avhich the people of that 
time acted : 

" In Council of Safety, 

"12th July, 1776. 
"Sir : — We are in immediate want of about 400 bayonets of 
different sized sockets for the army of the Eastern Shore 
militia, who are to compose part of the flying camp, and 
have sent an order on you to Mr. Wintersf for them, and 
we request you will supply him with that number as soon 
as possible. The greatest exertions' are necessary upon this 
occasion, and we doubt not your warmest efforts to enable 
us to carry into execution the resolves of convention with 
that dispatch the exigency of the times require. 

" For and on behalf of the Council, 
" I am sir, your obedient servant, 
" Charles Carroll, V. P. 
" Col. Henry Hollingsworth." 

The iron used in the construction of these munitions of 
war was purchased in Philadelphia. 

♦This house is believed to be now standing. It is on the south side of the 
road leading from the Brick Meeting-house to Port Deposit, and a short dis- 
tance west of where that road crosses the North East Creek. Mr. Parker 
at one time owned a fulling-mill, which was on or near the site of the 
grist-mill on the other side of the creek, at which no doubt the woolen 
cloth was finished. 

t Mr. AVinters had a shop in Charlestown, and was employed by the 
State to stock the gun-barrels, which were probably made at the gun 
factory on a branch of. Little North East creek, which rises near the 
Brick Meeting house. The factory was in the midst of a dense forest, 
a. short distance north of the road leading from Kirk's mill to Bay View 


The correspondence between Colonel Hollingsworth and; 
the colonial and continental authorities is interesting and 
instructive; and shows the difficulties under which the 
patriotic people of that time labored. Skillful laborers were 
hard to procure, and many of the bayonets made by Colonel 
Hollingsworth were useless, either because they were not 
properly tempered, or because the steel of which they were 
made was worthless. They were easily bent, and conse- 
quently were good for nothing ; so the colonial authorities 
censured him and threw them on his hands, which was a 
source of quite as much annoyance to him as the want of 
the weapons w^as to them. In addition to ordinary 
muskets barrels and bayonets he also manufactured a few 
barrels for larger pieces, which are mentioned in his corres- 
pondence under the name of wall pieces. 

Little is known of the other officers of the battalions 
before-mentioned. Colonel John Veazey descended from an 
old Norman family, one of whom settled on Veazey Neck, 
previous to 1670. As before stated, he represented the 
county in the convention of 1774-5. He was a nephew of 
Captain Edward Veazey, who was killed at the battle of 
Long Island in 1776. Charles and William Rumsey were 
descendants of Charles Rumsey, who lived at the head of 
Bohemia River in 1710. Dr. Joshua Clayton participated 
in the battle of Brandywine, at which time he was aid to 
General Washington, who had it is said, commissioned him 
Colonel and placed him on his staff, in order to make a 
good appearance when receiving the sword of General 
Howe, whom he expected to capture at that place. Colonels 
Clayton was afterwards Governor of Delaware and United 
State Senator from that State. George Johnson is believed 
to have been aid to General Washington during the cam- 
paign in New Jersey in 1777-8. Elihu Hall was of the Hall 
family, one of whom many years before, settled near the 
mouth of the Octoraro. This family for a long time, was 
one of the most numerous and distinguished in the county. 


The campaign of 1776 was disastrous to the Continental 
army, no portion of which had acted with greater bravery 
and distinction than the Maryland line. Washington had 
done what he could to retrieve the fortunes of the Con- 
tinental cause at Princeton and Trenton, and in the Spring 
of 1777, his army occupied northern New Jersey, and hav- 
ing been largely reinforced was so formidable that General 
Howe resolved to accomplish by stratagem what he had 
failed tP do by force, namely, the capture of Philadelphia, 
then the capitol of the infant Republic. To this end he 
embarked his army on board his brother's fleet, intending 
to reach Philadelphia by sailing up the Delaware. But 
learning that this was impracticable on account of the ob- 
structions in that river, he abandoned his original plan and 
entered the Chesapeake Bay. 

On the way up the Chesapeake, the British fleet, consisting 
of three hundred sail of men-of-war, stopped at the mouth of 
the Patapsco river and threatened to destroy Baltimore. 

It is stated in the Maryland Gazette, a newspaper pub- 
lished in Baltimore, that the British fleet left Bodkin Point, 
at the mouth of the Patapsco, on the 24th of August, and 
sailed to the mouth of Elk River and came to, off Turkey 
Point. The writer then proceeds as follows : " It has been 
reported they landed some of their troops, but it proceeded 
from their sending a number of boats to Pursusa (Spesutia) 
Island, lying between Harford and Kent county, on 
which was a large stock of cattle and sheep, some of whicli 
they have taken off." This erroneous account of the landing 
of the British troops at Turkey Point was adopted by Rum- 
say and published in his history of the Revolutionary war, 
and his account has been generally followed by all subse- 
quent American writers. The fact is correctly stated by 
British historians, who say that Howe's army landed some 
distance above the mouth of the Elk River. From Turkey 
Point the British sailed on up the Elk River and landed on 


Elk Xeck, nearly opposite Court-house Point, at which 
place they were encamped on the 27th. The weather at this 
time was very rainy, which may have prevented them from 
landing sooner. 

On the 27th the Bristish (Jeneral issued the following 
proclamation : 

" By His Excellency Sir William Howe, &c, &c. A decla- 
ration to the inhabitants of Pennsylvania, the lower counties 
on Delaware and the counties on the Eastern Shore of 
Maryland : Sir William Howe, regretting the calamities to 
which many of His Majesty's faithful subjects are still ex- 
posed by the continuance of the rebellion ; and no less 
desirous of protecting the innocent than determining to 
pursue with the rigors of war all those whom His Majesty's 
forces in the course of their progress may find in arms 
against the King, doth hereby assure the peaceable inhabi- 
tants of the province of Pennsylvania, the lower counties on 
Delaware and the counties of Maryland on the eastern shore 
of Chesapeake bay that in order to remove any groundless 
apprehensions which may have been raised of their suffer- 
ing by depredations of the army under his command: He 
hath issued the strictest orders to the troops for the preser- 
vation of regularity and good discipline; and has signified 
that the most exemplary punishment shall be inflicted upon 
those who shall dare to plunder their property or molest the 
persons of any of His Majesty's well disposed subjects. 

"Security and protection are likewise extended to all per- 
sons, inhabitants of the province and counties aforesaid, 
who (not guilty of having assumed legislative or judicial au- 
thority) may have acted illegally in subordinate stations and 
conscious of their misconduct been induced to leave their 
dwellings : Provided such persons do forthwith return and 
remain peaceably in their usual places of abode. Consider- 
ing, moreover, that many officers and private men, now 
actually in arms against His Majesty, may be willing to re- 
lin(piish the part they have taken in this rebellion and 
return to their due allegiance. Sir William Howe doth 
therefore promise a free and general })ardon to all such of- 
ficers and private jnen as shall voluntarily come and sur- 
render themselvos to any detachment of his Majesty's forces 


before the day on which it shall be notified, that the said 
indulgence shall be discontinued. 

" Given under ni}^ hand at Head Quarters of the Armj'-jthe 
27th of August, 1777, by His Excellency's command. 

" Robert McKenzie, 

" Secretary." 

In a letter dated at Mr. Russia's, at the head of North East, 
on the 27tli of August, and addressed to Governor Johnson, 
by Benjamin Rumsey, he states that there were about one 
hundred men under arms, of which number about sixty-two 
were at North East and Charlestown. He complains of the 
want of arms, and speaks of two Hessian deserters, who 
had come to North East that morning. 

The two days after the British landed were stormy, which 
probably prevented them from advancing sooner; but on 
the morning of the 27th of August, two brigades of light 
infantry under Howe marched by the old road, traces of 
which may be seen at this time, that led from Elk Ferry to 
the Head of Elk, leaving a large division of the heavier 
troops, under command of Generals Knyphausen and 
Agnew, at Elk Ferry, with instructions to cross the Elk 
River to Bohemia Manor. The British did not confine 
themselves to the road after crossing Little Elk Creek, but 
spread over the fields on each side of it, their pioneers or 
vanguard tearing down the fences and other obstructions to 
make way for the others. It was said to have been a beautiful 
sight to see them as they came in sight on the level slope 
west of the town, their scarlet coats and bright guns and 
bayonets gleaming in the rays of an early August sun. 
After reaching the Head of Elk (now Elkton) the British 
encamped (jn the plain, northwest of the town, where they 
remained for several days. 

While the British were at Elkton they destroyed a large 
quantity of grain that was stored in a <\'arehouse that stood 
in the hollow near where Prices hotel now stand.s. The 
warehouse was a frame building, and stood on the east side 


of a canal or ditch that had been dug for the purpose of 
bringing vessels close to it, to facilitate the loading of grain. 
The British tore the weather-boarding off this warehouse 
and filled the ditch full of grain. The British General ap- 
pears to have left a part of his force here for some time, probably 
a small garrison, to hold the town and keep open his line 
of communication with the fleet in the river. 

The Americans had a small body of troops at Elk Forge, 
which was a place of much importance at that time, and 
had been in operation for about sixteen years. Tliey also 
had a line of posts or stations by way of Kennet Square 
to Philadelphia, and kept up communication by means of 
couriers on horseback, who changed horses at each station. 

While the British held the town they were in the habit of 
sending outforaging parties, and the Americans at the forge 
had their scouts on the alert, in order to be informed of their 
operations. It was while doing duty as a scout that a grand- 
uncleof the author fell in with a squad of these British officers 
near the site of the bridge across Big Elk, north of the town, 
known as Gilpin's bridge. He was on the north side of the 
creek and they were on the opposite bank, near where the 
house now stands. The creek was skirted on each side with 
bushes and trees, and the old gentleman fired at them before 
they saw him, and to use his own words, " One of them set- 
tled down on his horse's neck." The old soldier did not 
think it safe to stay longer at that time, but returned a short 
time after the evacuation of Elkton by the British and found 
a fresh grave in the flat between the bluff' and the creek. 
The grave is in the garden belonging to the house that 
stands near the south end of the bridge. The place was 
pointed out to the author many years ago by his uncle, to 
whom it had been shown b}- the person who fired the shot.* 

* This man's name waft Samuel Jolmston. He served in the army un- 
der Washington, in New .Jersey, and was in the battle of Monmouth. His 
brother, Thomas Johnston, was killed on board of an American privateer, 
near one of the British West India Islands during tlie war of the Revo- 


He had no doubt that the grave was that of the man at whom, 
he fired. There may be those who will be disposed to think 
harshly of this action of an American soldier, but they 
should remember that the provocation of the Americans had 
been great and their suiferings severe ; that they had borne 
them long and patiently when they had a reasonable right 
to have expected better treatment. 

During the time that the British were in Elkton and vici- 
nity they sent a detachment of troops to Elk Forge, who 
committed many depredations there and destroyed much 
of the property that they found. Most of the stock had 
been removed and concealed in anticpation of the raid. The 
people, for a distance of twelve or fifteen miles around 
Elkton, in Delaware, and Pennsylvania, took pains to con- 
ceal their horses and cattle by driving them to secluded 
places in the woods. Many of them had taken the more 
valuable portions of their portable property and fled to 
places of safety, where they remained until the danger was 
past. It was at the time of the raid upon Elk Forge that 
they took James Ramage prisoner and carried him to Phila- 
delphia, where they detained him on board a prison ship for 
some months. His wife went with him, and probably 
owing to her solicitations and exertions, he was released. 
This man Ramage was the maternal grandfather of Mrs. 
Agatha Scott, the wife of David Scott, Esq., of the fourth 
district. He was a Scotchman and had not been long in 

At this time there lived somewhere in the vicinity of 
Chestnut Hill a gentleman and his wife, who had the honor 
of lodging Gen. Washington. This man's name was Seth 
James. He lived to be quite old and taught school in the 
latter part of his life. The general was accompanied by his 
servant and asked the favor of lodging with them. The old 
lady fixed up the best feather bed she had in the best style. 
The servant, however, was of the opinion that something 


might be concealed in the bed and lie subjected it to a min- 
ute inspection, after which he rearranged it and the General 
then retired. They arose early the next morning and de- 

That part of the British army, under Gen. Knyphausen 
and Agnew, probably crossed the Elk River shortly after the 
departure of the light troops under Gen. Howe, for they were 
encamped near Court-house Point on the 31st of August. 
This division was composed of Hessians and Scotch High- 
landers. They appear to have spread over the greater part 
•of Sodom,* and were encamped for a short time near St. 
Augustine Church, the windows of which they destroyed. 

One of the British generals is said to have occupied the 
house on the Wirt farm, near St. Augustine Church, and 
some one drew a picture of soldiers drawn up in military 
order, on one of the wooden partitions of that house. This 
picture is said by those who saw it to have been executed in 
a beautiful and artistic manner. The house is now standing, 
but the picture has been obliterated by the partition being 

There is a tradition that nineteen of the Hessians 
deserted, but were captured and shot at Welsh Point, and 
buried there in one common grave. Some indications of a 
grave of that kind are to be seen at the Point at this time. 
The depression in the earth that is said to be their grave is 
called " The Hessian's Hole." 

A detachment of the British army also crossed the Elk 
River, and landed at Welsh Point. It is probable that it 
was this detachment that afterwards joined that part of the 
army that was commanded by General Howe, at Grays 
Hill. For it is not probable, as stated by several writers of 

* Bodom was bmindoci hy Back (reek on the north, and included all 
the country between that creek and the road leading I'roni Court-house Point 
to Cayotts Corner, and the road leading from the latter place via St. 
Augustine to Back Creek Mill.s. 


that period, that the division under Knyphausen and 
Agnew, that is known to Ijave been at St. Augustine 
church, and to have been encamped near the Summit 
Bridge, on the Chesapeake and Delaware canal, took a retro- 
grade course and came back to Grays Hill. 

It is generally believed that the British burned the court- 
house on Court-house Point, when they were there this 
year, but such was not the case. Nor is there any reason to 
believe that they injured it in the least. At the August 
term of court, 1776, one Joseph Watson (hatter), was pre- 
sented by the grand jury for " entering the court-house of 
Cecil County with force and arms, on Tuesday, the twenty- 
third of- July last, and then and there with force and arms, 
breaking and pulling down the window-sashes, glass, and 
window-shutters of said court-house." The records of the 
court show that some time after the British were at Court- 
house Point, the damages referred to in this presentment 
were repaired. The presentment was found among the 
court papers of that year, but the records of the county 
contain no reference to the trial. 

Watson was a Tory and may have been one of the few in 
this county that joined the British arm3\ The fact that the 
British carried away with them all the public records ex- 
cept a few that had been removed to the Head of Elk for 
safety, probably gave rise to the erroneous story that they 
burned the court-house. Some of the records were found 
in New York and brought back to the county after the close 
of the war. These were transcribed, but many of the origi- 
nal records were never recovered, which accounts for the 
imperfect condition of the land records previous to the 
beginning of tliis century. 

The Americans, as before intimated, had large quantities 
of grain, salt, and other stores at the Head of Elk. and 
owing to the fact that salt was scarce and difficult to obtain, 
they were very anxious to remove it to a place of safety. 
In order to do this, as well as to be in a position to watch 


the movements of the British, Washington left Philadelphia 
on the 24th of August, and on the 25th, encamped on Red 
Clay Creek, with his headquarters at Wilmington. His 
army consisted of about 11,000 men. The Pennsylvania and 
Delaware militia, under Generals Armstrong and Rodney, 
were ordered to press forward to Head of Elk, and secure 
the stores deposited there; but they failed to do so, and 
most of the stores fell into the hands of the enemy. Gen- 
erals Green and Weeden reconnoitered the country between 
Wilmington and Head of Elk, and Washington himself 
rode through heavy rains to the latter place on the 25tli, 
to make a personal reconnoissance. It was upon this occa- 
sion that Washington passed the night in the old brick 
house just west of the Episcopal church, then occupied by 
Jacob Hollingsworth as a hotel. General Howe occupied 
the same room on the night of the 27th of August, and was 
waited upon by the same negro servant that had served 
Washington the night before.* The British seem to have 
proceeded slowly and cautiously. For a time they were 
encamped on the plain north of the town. Afterwards they 
occupied a strong position on the summit of Grays Hill. 
On the third of September their lines extended from 
Glasgow, then called Aikens or Aikentown,t to a point some 
distance northwest of the Baptist church on Iron Hill. On 
that day severe skirmishing took place between them and 
the Maryland and Delaware militia, near Coochs Bridge 
and the Baptist church on Iron Hill. In these skirmishes the 
Americans lost about forty men, the British somewhat less. 
Just after this fight the British burned Coochs mill, and 
indulged in many other acts of wanton destruction of prop- 

* This servant's name was Richard Mills. He lived to be quite old, 
and was so large and powerful that Colonel George R. Howard, who 
knew him well, told the author he had no doubt that his arms above the 
elbow were as large as the thigh of an ordinary man. 

t So called from the fact that a man called Aiken kept a hotel there. 


erty. The shutters on the old Baptist church showed that 
a ball had been fired through one of them and passed 
diagonally across the building and out through another 

There was an old and eccentric surveyor, called by the 
name of Humphries, who was a fifer in the American 
army at the battle of Coochs Bridge. He was accused 
of cowardice, inasmuch as he hid his fife just before the 
fight at the bridge, in order to keep out of danger. This 
man Humphries left a son Edward Humphries, better 
known in the northeast part of the county as " Old Neddy." 
He was well educated, but very eccentric ; rather too fond 
of whisky, and had a habit of muttering and talking to 
himself. A friend of the author once asked him about the 
accusation against his father. " Oh, yes," replied Neddy, 
"" he hid the fife and hid the fifer too." 

The people of Cecil County, as before remarked, were gen- 
erally loyal to the cause of their country. There were, how- 
■ever, a few exceptions; but no person of good standing 
in society, except Robert Alexander, is believed to have 
joined the enemy. He belonged to an aristocratic family 
that formerly owned a large tract of land at Elkton, lying 
between the hollow and the Far Creek, which he inherited 
from William Alexander, the third husband of Ariminta 
Alexander, who afterwards married George Catto, and who 
was one of the most aristocratic ladies that ever lived in the 
county. This man Alexander joined the British fleet when 
it was in Elk River, and went away with it and never returned. 
He left a wife and several children, who then and for many 
years afterwards resided in Elkton. His son, William Alex- 
ander, studied law, and was for some time State's attorney. He 
is spoken of by those who knew him as being both amiable 
and eloquent. Robert Alexander, who lived in the house 
now occupied by Daniel Bratton, is said to have prepared 
a fine entertainment for the British ofticers, and to have 
gone down the river to welcome them to the town, but 


while lie was away upon that errand the Americans came 
to Elkton and the feast fell into their hands.* 

With the exception of the removal of the records of the 
county and the capture of the public stores at the Head of 
Elk, the British did little damage in this county. They 
seem to have taken pains to conciliate those who were op- 
posed to them, and not to have hesitated to plunder their 
friends. Many of the people of the neighboring village of 
Newark and vicinity, as well as some of the people of Ches- 
ter County, were tainted with treason. A writer of the 
period says that the British captured all the records and 
public papers of New Castle County and every shilling of 
the public money, together with the fund belonging to the 
trustees of Newark Academy. In consequence of the re- 
verses sustained by the Americans at the battle of Brandy- 
wine, says a writer of that period, the people of New Castle 
County were dispirited and dispersed, and the less virtuous 
part that remained were daily employed in supplying the 
British troops in Wilmington and at New Castle with all 
kinds of provisions. Thomas ^IcKean, a distinguished citi- 
zen of Pennsylvania, in a letter written to Gen. Washington 
from Newark, Delaware, on the 8th of the following October, 
says the only remedy he can suggest for this lamentable 
state of affairs is to have a regiment of continental troops 
stationed at Newark. At the time this letter was written, 
he had just heard of the battle of Germantown from some 
Quakers who were returning to Nottingham from their 
yearly meeting in Philadelphia. They at first refused to 

* Robert Alexander resided in Baltimore for some time before the Rev- 
olutionary war, and represented Baltimore County in the provincial con- 
vention, from Juno, 1774, to June, 1770, and was cliosen to represent the 
State in tlie Continental Congress, in 177(5, b)it never took his seat in that 
body, for this reason, that, though he opi)osed tlie aggressions of the 
mother couuti-y, he was not in favor of independence. lie acted as agent 
for the Tories from the State of Maryland, who, in 1788, claimed com- 
pensation from the British Government for their confiscated property. 
See Sharf "s History of Maryland, Vol. II., page 297, 


tell him anything of the battle ; but he compelled them to 
?top, and says he was of the opinion that their account was 
derived from the Tories and English in Philadelphia. The 
pacific principles of the Friends prevented them from taking 
an active part in military operations in the field, but most 
of them were loyal to the cause of their country, and did all 
they were able without sacrificing their religious conviction 
to aid its cause. 

The winter after the battle of Brandy wine, the British oc- 
cupied Philadelphia, and it is a well-established fact that 
some of the disaffected and mercenary citizens of the county, 
some of whom were indicted for the offense, were in the 
habit of smuggling provisions to them. Notable among 
these was one Michael Trump, who resided near Colora. 
This man Trump lived to a great age. He trapped several 
wagon loads of wild pigeons, which were very numerous 
that winter, and sold them to the British army in Philadel- 
phia. They were very glad to get them, and paid him for 
them in gold coin. The invasion of the county greatly de- 
moralized the people. The new government was, at this 
time, only an experiment, and its ultimate success was 
doubtful; consequently the ill-disposed and lawless part of 
the citizens took advantage of the weakness of the civil au- 
thorities and did pretty much as they pleased. Thirty per- 
sons were indicted for selling liquor without license, at the 
November term of court, in 1777. At this term of court the 
sheriff was ordered to deliver the prisoners then in his cus- 
tody,charged with being traitors, to Colonel John D. Thomp- 
son,who was requested to send them under guard of his batta- 
lion to the lieutenant of Kent County, with directions to him 
to have them put in the State prison. 

It has already been mentioned that the Friends in Not- 
tingham did not consider themselves as being under the 
jurisdiction of the State of Maryland. For this reason, and 
also because they were opposed to fighting, many of them 
refused to enter the service of the State when called upon to 



do SO. In order that they might be tried and punished for 
this, a court-martial was convened at the Head of Elk, on 
the 7th of December, 1778, at which were present. Colonel 
Stephen Hyland, lieutenant-colonel Elihu Hall (of Elisha), 
and Major Baruch Williams, the latter gentleman being at 
that time clerk of the count}' court. The records of this 
court-martial show that fifty-five persons were convicted of 
refusing to attend at the Head of Elk on the 23d of the 
preceding May, at which time they had been called into 
actual service by Charles Rumsey, the lieutenant of the 
county, at the request of the governor. The court imposed 
fines upon them, ranging from £20 to £35 each, and sentenced 
each of them to two months' imprisonment. Five persons 
were also found guilty of desertion. They were sentenced 
to fine and imprisonment. Baruch Williams was ordered 
to issue writs against the parties, most of whom contested 
the matter in the county court, with what success is not 
known, the records of the court not being extant. 

Though the pacific principles of the Friends forbade them 
to engage in hostilities, they had no objections to taking 
care of the sick and wounded soldiers, and with the view of 
affording them an opportunity of doing so, a detachment of 
General Smallroad's division of the American army took 
possession of the Brick Meeting-house, in April, 1778, and 
converted it into a hospital for the use of the sick and 
wounded soldiers who were disabled in the campaign of 
that year in northern New Jersey. The meeting-house was 
used for a hospital for about three months, the Friends 
meanwhile worshiping in a Friend's barn. The Friends 
treated the soldiers in the hospital with much kindness, and 
furnished them with blankets and other things that con- 
tributed to their comfort, and washed and mended their 
clothes. During the time the meeting-house was used for 
a hospital, many of the inmates died and were buried in 
the graveyard that surrounds it. A well-defined depression 
in the earth's surface is all that marks the rsite of their 


Except the hardships incident to a state of war, which 
were greatly aggravated by the depreciation of the currency, 
which had become of such little value, that, in 1780, the 
price fixed by the county commissioners for a good hot din- 
ner, was six pounds fifteen shillings, there is little of interest 
to record in the history of the county in the interval be- 
tween the years 1777 and 1781. During this period the 
inhabitants were often put to great inconvenience for want 
of salt and sugar, but were able to supply themselves with 
the fabrics used for clothing from their own manufactories, 
the old-fashioned spinning wheels and hand looms that 
were to be found in every thrifty farm-house, and had a 
surplus left to dispose of outside of the county. In July, 
1780, the captain of a small bay craft came to Head of Elk 
and lay in the river for several days till a favorable oppor- 
tunity occurred, one night during a heavy thunder storm, 
when he entered the warehouse of Zebulon Hollingsworth, 
which stood on the wharf in the " Hollow," and stole there- 
from about forty pieces of check, which he took to Baltimore 
and sold, except three pieces which he gave to one of his 
crew, who sold them for five hundred dollars each. This 
person, whose name was Green Jimmet, became dissatisfied 
with his share of the plunder and informed the officers of 
the law, who arrested him and sent a copy of his confession 
to the authorities of this county. Nothing more is known 
of the case, but it serves to show that there were some 
thieves in those days and that checks were very high- 

Colonel Hollingsworth, who took an active part in the 
campaign under Washington, previous to and after the 
battle of Brandywine, thinking he could serve his country 
better by doing so, returned home some time previous to 
March, 1778, and from that time to the close of the war 
acted as general agent for the authorities of Maryland and 
the Continental Congress. He not only purchased supplies 
of all kinds for the use of the army when in the field, but 


was frequently called upon to provide supplies for large de- 
tachments of troops that passed through the county. The 
great thoroughfare between the North and South at that 
time led from Christiana Bridge to Elkton, and when it was 
practicable, this route was followed.- At other times the 
armies were obliged to march, in which case they crossed 
the Susquehanna River, and upon one occasion at least, a 
requisition was made upon him for all the boats he could 
procure, in order to ferry a large detachment over that river 
from Perry ville to Havre de Grace. Such was the exigency 
of the case, and the scarcity of boats, that he was instructed 
to procure boards with which rafts were to be constructed and 
attached to the gunwales of the boats he was able to pro- 
cure, in order that a speedy passage of the river might be 
safely effected. Owing to the scarcity of money, the Legis- 
lature enacted that taxes might be paid in wheat, beef, 
cattle, and other things needed by the army. Colonel 
Hollingsworth had charge of the manufacture of much of 
this wheat, and supervised a large extent of country, in- 
cluding much of the northern part of the Peninsula and 
Harford County. The bran and other ofFal derived from 
the wheat was fed to the beef cattle. Patrick Ewing was 
one of the receivers of public wheat in the county, and 
much of it was ground at his mill, on Conowingo Creek, in 
the northwestern part of the county. The following letters 
illustrate the multiform duties imposed upon the gentleman 
to whom they were addressed : 

" Williamsburg, April 15th, 1779. 

" Sir : — I send fifteen highlanders, prisoners of war, taken 
here three years ago, to your care, requesting you to forward 
them on to Congress, whom I have apprised of it. 

"I am, sir, your most humble servant, 

"P. Henry. 
" Colouel Hollingstvorth." 


" Philadelphia, Nov. 16th, 1779. 
" Mr. Henry Hollingsworth — Sir : — I am much obliged 
by your expedition in sending forward my letter from Mr. 
Smith, of Portsmouth, and by the return of the express I 
transmit herewith sundry dispatches from His Excellency, 
the Chevr. De la Luzerne, and Mons. Holker, Adjutant- 
Oeneral of the Poyal Marine of France, which I beg the 
favor of you to send forward by a fast sailing boat, which, 
if possible, you will hire for the purpose of carrying them 
on board the fleet at Portsmouth, or any other part of the 
bay, wherever the said French fleet may be. I think it 
probable that there may be Virginia or Maryland boats at 
y'our place that will undertake this business for a moderate 
compensation, as they may probably be on the point of re- 
turning. I must pray of you to procure the best boat you 
can for this service on the most reasonable terms in your 
j)Ower, taking care that the skipper is a man of confidence, 
■well attached to the American cause, and whom you are as- 
sured will faithfully deliver the dispatches. I will pay your 
order for the amount of all expenses arising on this occa- 
sion, and as there will be occasion for constant communica- 
tion wdth the fleet whilst they remain in Chesapeake, meas- 
ures will be immediatelv taken for that purpose, in which I 
•conceive your assistance will be necessar3^ Should Mons. 
Holker add any thing to this letter, I beg it may have your 
full attention, and you will much ol)lige, sir 
" Your obed., humble servant, 

"Robert Morris." 

The expedition of General Lafayette, which Washington 
detached from his army, then in the vicinity of New York, 
which was designed to co-operate with a force already there 
.against the traitor, Benedict Arnold, who at that time was 
ravaging the country along the James River and the lower 
part of Chesapeake P>ay, passed througli this county in 1781. 
The troops which composed tliis expedition numbered 1,200. 
They came from Trenton down the Delaware River and up 
the Christiana Creek to Christiana Bridge, from whence they 
marched to the Head of Elk, where they arrived on or about 
the 6th of March. The following letter, which has never 


before been published, was copied from the original, now in 
the possession of the Misses Partridge, of Elkton : 

" Elkton, 7th March, 1781. 

" Sir : — I return the authority of Governor, inclosed in 
yours of this date, I do not think you will be able to col- 
lect the quantity of meat specified in it by to-morrow. You 
may, however, use your utmost endeavors with the civil 
power with which you are vested, to collect as much as pos- 
sible to-da}^, which we shall take with us. The rest you will 
form into a magazine, and wait my orders for its following 
us. I do not suppose, on such an occasion as the present, a 
military guard necessary for enforcing the CJovernor's war- 
rant ; but, should you find that it is, you must have one. 

" I am, sir, your obt. and h'ble serv't., 

" Lafayette. 
" M7\ Henry HoUingsivorth." 

After the expedition arrived at Head of Elk, a little fleet 
was soon gathered together in the Elk River, to relieve him- 
self of the command of which Lafayette sent for Commodore 
Nicholson, of Baltimore, and on the 9th of March the expe- 
dition set sail and reached Annapolis in safety the next 
evening. Lafayette expected to receive aid from the French 
fleet, which liad sailed from the north a sliort time before,. 
and was supposed to be in the lower part of the Chesapeake, 
and which, had all gone well, would have co-operated with 
him in the attempt to capture Arnold. But, unfortunately 
for the success of the enthusiastic young Frenchman, the 
British had dispatched a large squadron to reinforce the 
one already co-operating with Arnold, which overtook the 
French fleet near the mouth of the Chesapeake. A severe 
action took place, and, although the French had the best of 
the fight, they concluded, inasmuch as some of their vessels 
were badly crippled, and the English had succeeded in get- 
ting into the mouth of the Chesapeake during the heavy 
fog, to abandon the enterprise. 


Lafayette had preceded his expedition to Annapolis and 
hastened on down the hay to look after the French fleet, but 
found, much to his surprise, that the fleet had not made its ap- 
pearance. After spending some time near Portsmouth and 
consulting with Baron Steuben, under whose command the 
other forces were, Lafayette learned of the arrival of the 
English fleet and was forced to come to the unwelcome con- 
clusion that his expedition was a failure. He thereupon 
sent orders to the troops which were still at Annapolis to be 
ready to move at a moment's notice. At this juncture, 
Washington, who had been apprised of the state of affairs, 
recalled the expedition, which at this time was blockaded 
in the harbor of Annapolis by two vessels detached from 
the British fleet for that purpose. Lafayette found means 
to rejoin his little fleet at Annapolis and for a while thought 
seriously of returning by land, but that plan was abandoned 
as impracticable on account of the want of horses to trans- 
port the artillery and stores. After much delay, it was re- 
solved to run the blockade, if possible, and return to the 
Head of Elk by water. The following plan was adopted : 
Two sloops of about sixty tons' burden were fitted up with 
two eighteen pounders each in their bows and a traveling 
fcrrge in their holds. At 10 o'clock on the morning of tlie 
0th of April, these vessels, each manned by two hundred 
volunteers, sailed boldly out of Annapolis Eoad's to attack 
the British vessels, which, on their approach, not relishing 
the hot shot of the Americans, left their moorings and 
dropped down the bay, thus opening a passage for the 
American fleet, which followed the two gun-boats, and 
reached the Head of Elk the same night. At that place 
Lafayette found letters from Washington countermanding 
the order of recall and ordering him southward again to 
assist General Greene. 

It is stated in a letter which Lafayette addressed from 
Head of Elk to Governor Thomas Sim Lee, upon the 10th, that 
he intended to march the next day, and that it would be 


necessary to have horses and wagons at Baltimore to relieve 
those which would accompany him from that place. He 
also informed the Governor that two men came on board 
his vessel while coming up the bay, and, mistaking it for a 
British vessel, had offered to show them the country about 
the mouth of the Clunpowder River, and accompanied by a 
small detachment which he had sent for that purpose, had 
gone there. He also informed the Governor that he intended 
to execute them as spies. 

The army under Lafayette left the Head of Elk on the 
morning of the 11th of April, and marched to the Brick 
Meeting-house, which they reached about an hour before 
sunset, and encamped in the meeting-house woods. The 
author is indebted to James Trimble* for the following de- 
scription of the interesting scene, he having derived his 
information from those who witnessed it : " The leading 
divisions were rapidly followed by others until the whole 
woods, then containing about thirty acres, seemed filled 
with horses, wagons and men, but the villagers were sur- 
prised to see so many peo})le settle down so quickly in exact 
order, the men cooking their suppers, and sentinels walking 
around the entire body. None of the inhal^itants were 
molested except to replenish their empty canteens at the 
old-fashioned draw wells in the vicinity. William Kirk, 
then in about his twelfth year, informed me that in com- 
pany with others he went the next morning at the first 
appearance of daylight to see the Frenchmen before they 
left, but found the road already filled with the armj' in 
motion, in compact order." Upon this occasion Lafayette 
spent the night in the old stone house upon the plantation 
of the late Marshall J. Hunt, a short distance northeast of 
the village of Rising Sun, then occupied by Job Haines. 
On taking his leave the next morning, the general pre- 

* For short account of James Trimble see sketch of the Defoe family, 
in Chapter XVIII. 


sented each of Mr. Haines' sons with a piece of money, 
giving his son Lewis a gold coin, his name being the same 
as that of the general's sovereign. 

Some of the army are said to have encamped near Harris- 
ville the same night, which seems quite probable, from the 
fact that Lafayette spent the niglit about midway between 
that place and the Brick Meeting-house, The next day the 
army crossed the Susquehanna in scows at Bald Friar* 
Ferry, and proceeded to Baltimore. The troops under 
General Lafayette were all from Northern States, and 
thougli they had willingly engaged in the expedition down 
the bay, they became dissatisfied when ordered to engage 
in a summer campaign in the South. They were poorly 
clad and without shoes, and showed so much discontent 
that it was predicted when they left Bald Friar Ferry, that 
not one-half of them would reach Baltimore. But by 
hanging one deserter and severely reprimanding some other 
delinquents, Lafayette preserved his little army intact and 
safely reached Baltimore, where the wants of his army were 

In the September following, the American army under 
command of General Washington, passed through the Head 
of Elk, en route to the siege of Yorktown. Claude Blanch- 
ard, who accompanied the French troops, 1,200 of whom 
were in Washington's army, published a journal kept by 
him during his service in the army in this country as com- 
missary, in which he states that the troops embarked at 
Plum Point, where a number of transports from the French 
fleet were waiting to receive them. Blanchard, on his route 
northward, passed through Havre de Grace, in company 
with the army, in August, 1782. He states in his journal 
that the army was nearly two days in crossing the Susque- 
hanna, there being but one ferry-boat at the lower ferry ; 

* This ferry is on the Susciuehanna River, a short distance below Ma.son 
and Dixons line. It is .said to liave been kept at one time by a bald- 
headed man, called Fiy. at wl.irli time it was calkd Bald Fiy's Ferry. 


and remarks that the " Head of Elk is in a very dry soil, 
and one is drowned with dust there. Fever is very prevalent 
there, doubtless caused by the swamps in the vicinity." 

After the capture of Yorktown, a part of the American 
army, under General Lincoln, passed through the Head of 
Elk on their way northward. It is stated, in a requisition 
made upon •Colonel Hollingsworth by Henry Dearbourn, 
then Lieutenant-Colonel and Deputy Quarter-master, after- 
wards Major General in the war of 1812, that he was in 
want of one hundred and fifty beef cattle to drive on with 
the army for its subsistence. He also wanted at least thirty- 
four horse teams, and intimated that if they were not forth- 
coming " he would be under the disagreeable necessity of 
making use of the authority of the army for procuring 
them," which he seemed to regret lest it might distress 
those who had already contributed their full share. He 
adds, in a postscrip, that " 20 wagon-loads of straw will be 
absolutely necessary for the troops in this cold season." 

Shortly after this, in December, 1781, some of the Rhode 
Island troops, who were quartered in the house of one Jane 
Clark, at the Head of Eik,got into a quarrel with a gang of 
watermen, who attacked them in their quarters in the 
night, and being driven away, returned and renewed the 
fight the next morning. Jane Clark kept a hotel, or at 
least sold liquor, and it was in evidence that the watermen 
were drunk, and probably the soldiers were in the same 
condition. The fight was ended by one Forteen Stodder, a 
negro soldier from Rhode Island, shooting James Cunning- 
ham, the leader of the sailors, from the efiect of wliich he 
died shortly afterwards. iStodder was indicted for murder, 
and was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to be 
burnt in the brawn of the left thumb with a hot iron. The 
record of the court shows that the sentence was executed. 
He was probably the last person that was obliged to submit 
to this barbarous and inhuman punishment in this county. 

The Legislature, by the act of 1780, confiscated the prop- 
erty of all disloyal persons, and by subsequent acts sought 


to make it available for the redemption of bills of credit or 
paper money, which it was found necessary to issue to defray 
the expense of carrying on the war. Commissioners were 
appointed to take charge of this property and dispose of it 
for the purpose before-named. The first emission of these 
bills of credit, which were somewhat in the nature of a 
forced loan, and similar in character to modern shinplasters, 
was authorized by the act of May, 1781, and John Dockery 
Thompson, Henry Hollingsworth, Thomas Hughes, Benja- 
min Brevard, and John Leach Knight, were appointed to 
superintend the issuing of the bills in this county. Several 
subsequent issues of paper money were made, and the 
enactments in reference to them contain many allusions to- 
red money and black money, which can only be explained 
and properly understood, in connection with the fact that 
some of these issues of paper money were printed partly with 
red ink, while others were printed wholly with black. A 
large quantity of this confiscated property was in this 
county. Robert Alexander, before-mentioned, who took 
refage on board one of the vessels of the British fleet when 
it was in Elk River in 1777, was the owner of nine hundred 
acres of land, upwards of one hundred acres of which was 
that part of the tract called Friendship, extending from the 
Hollow, in the town of Elkton, eastward to the Big Elk 
Creek. He also owned a part of "Belleconnell," and some 
other land on the Glasgow road. Two-thirds of his land 
was confiscated and sold, as were also one-half his slaves, he 
having twenty-two of them,. The property of the Elk Forge 
Company,* on account of the treason of John Roberts, one 

* This company was organized in 1761 by John Roberts, David Davis, 
Thomas May, and David Thomas, of Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, 
who formed ii partnership for the i)ui iiose of manufacturing bar iron under 
the name of the Elk Forge C'omi)any. For this purpose they agreed tu pur- 
chase a tract of land containing six hundred acres, called '" Humsey's 
Success," from William Rumsey. This land was on the Big Elk. where 
Elk Mills cotton factory now stands. They also agreed to contribute 


of the principal members, was also taken possession of by 
the commissioners, but owing to the fact that the company- 
had not obtained a deed for the land, the State never 
realized anything from it. This property consisted of up- 
wards of thirteen Imndred acres of land, upon which were 
two forges and a " valuable grist-mill," which is the old mill 
at this time standing near Elk Mills cotton factory, on the 
Big Elk, and sixteen negro slaves. This man lioberts re- 
sided before the war in Lower Merion Township, Philadelphia 

He was a member of the Society of Friends,and like some 
of his brethren in Pennsylvania, adhered to the royalists. 
He was accused of persuading people to enlist in tlie royal 
army, and was captured while on his way to the Head of 
Elk to "communicate information to a certain Mr. Galloway 
who had gone over to the enemy." During a part or all of 
the time that the British army occupied the city of Phila- 
delphia, he resided there and showed much kindness to 
many of those who were politically opposed to him. He was 
the father of nine children and of a highly respectable family 
who made every exertion to save him,notwithstanding which 
he was hanged at Philadelphia, November 4th, 1778. 

£300 for the erection of a forge and the prosecution of the bu.siaess. 
David Tliomas did not sign the articles of agreement, but, nevertheless, had 
aai interest in the business, wliich he transferred three years afterward to 
David Davis. For some reason this company ditl not ol)tain a deed for 
their land at the forge until after the llcvohitionary war, when William 
Rumsey, the grandson of the William liumsey before referred to, con- 
veyed it to the heirs of the original puichasers. The original articles of 
agreement arc in the possession of one of the descendants of the imme- 
diate successors of the original company. The document is well written, 
and must have been the work of a person of much learning and great 
.ability. It contains stii)ulations to meet every imaginable contingency 
that might arise in carrying on a large and intricate manufacturing busi- 
ness. This company was very successful in business, and soon acquired 
large tracts of wood-land, and employed a large number of teams in trans- 
porting their charcoal from the forests, where it was burned, to their forge, 
.and in hauling the pig iron they used, from the furnaces where it was 
Tnade in Lnncaster (oiiiity, to tlieir fu.;.;*^ on thvi T-lk Creek. 


The property of the Principio Iron Company, excepting 
the part belonging to Thomas Russell and one of his loyal 
brothers, and one-twelfth part belonging to the heirs of 
Augustine Washington, of Virginia, brother of General 
Washington, was also confiscated. This company owned 
the Principio Furnace and North East Forge, together with 
upwards of seven thousand six hundred acres of land 
in this county much of which is owned at this time 
by George P. Whitaker and the McCullough Iron ComiDany^ 
together wdth forty-two negro slaves. Thomas Russell 
was the only member of the company who resided in this 
county at this time. He being in charge of the iron works 
at the time of the passage of the act of confiscation, asked 
that enough of the negroes, utensils and stock be set apart 
to enable him to carry on the business. His request was 
granted. In 1782 the property was appraised by Archibald 
Job, Thomas May, and Stephen Hyland, who valued it at 
£5,550, 7s., 6d., and the next year the commissioners con- 
veyed it to Thomas Russell, he obligating himself to pay 
the State the difference between that sum and the value 
of his own share of the property, which was to be subse- 
quently ascertained. Clement Holliday and Nathaniel' 
Ramsay, commissioners appointed to take charge and dis- 
pose of confiscated property, laid out that part of the town 
of Elkton east of the Hollow, upon land before described as 
belonging to Robert Alexander, and in October, 1782, sold 
the building lots at public sale. Although the village of the 
Head of Elk had been in existence for many years before 
this time, it was quite small and consisted of only a few 
straggling houses. Henry Hollingsworth became the pur- 
chaser of a considerable quantity of this land adjacent to the 
town. Joseph Gilpin bought that part of Belleconnell con- 
tigious to his mill property. Tobias Rudulph bought the 
land on the Glasgow Road, which at this time is in the pos- 
session of his grandson of the same name. Joseph Gilpin, 
Tobias Rudulph, Plenry Hollingsworth, and Thomas Hug- 


gins purchased the lot upon which the Court-house stands 
for the use of the town, being authorized by the inhabitants, 
who had invested them with power to do so, and also to 
hold the lot in trust for the purpose of erecting on it a mar- 
ket-house or court-house, the town commissioners agreeing 
to build the former within three years after the sale. 

About £G,000 were realized from the sale of Alexander's 
property. Tlie title to much of iSusquehanna Manor, which 
had reverted to the lord proprietary, was now in Henry Har- 
ford, the legal heir and representative of the last Lord Balti- 
more. All that part of this Manor included between the 
Susquehanna River and Principio Creek, and the Notting- 
ham lots and the head of the bay and North East River,was 
surveyed and platted by Samuel Maffit, probably about 
1722, for there is no date upon the plat. From this plat it 
appears that about three-fourths of this part of the Manor 
had been patented. The other part M'as held by virtue of 
unexpired leases, all of which were for long terms, many of 
them for three lives. Basin Run is called Beasons Run or 
Bastard Creek, upon MafRt's plat. The principal part of this 
Manor land was sold to the lessees at low prices, by the in- 
tendant of the revenue, an officer whose duties were much 
like those of the comptroller of the treasury, and whose ap- 
pointment seems to have been called for by the exigencies 
of the times. Some of the land in North East and Elk 
Manors, which were small undefined tracts in Elk Neck, 
bordering on the North East River, was also held by the 
same tenure as the land before-mentioned as being in Sus- 
quehanna Manor and was disposed of in the same way. The 
Nottingham lots, which as before stated, were held by pat- 
ents from William Penn and his successors and also the 
Welsh tract lands, were taken possession of by the intendant 
of the revenue; but their owners were, by subsequent enact- 
ments, allowed, upon showing an equitable title from Penn, 
to hold them under patents from the State of Maryland upon 
payment of £15 per hundred acres. 


The lots in Charlestown, which had been reserved for the 
use of the lord proprietary, and also the lot belonging to the 
heirs of the Rev. AVilliam AVye, were also confiscated, and 
sold in August, 1782. The town commissioners bought the 
former for the use of the town. One hundred and thirteen 
pounds were realized from the property in Charlestown. 
The commissioners also took possession of the plantation of 
the Rev. William Edmisson, who they stated was in Great 
Britain, and who they believed to be a tory. This plan- 
tation contained three hundred acres of land situated near 
the mouth of Stony Run, on the east side of the Octoraro. 
The commissioners left it in charge of William Ewing, who 
alleged that Edmisson was indebted to him about as much 
as the land was worth. This man Edmisson was inducted 
into St. George's Parish, at the old Spesutia Church near 
Havre de Grace, in 1770, and remained there about two 
years when he is believed to have gone to England on ac- 
count of his sj^mpathy with the British government. But 
very little is known of the history of Mr. Edmisson, except 
that he also owned several tracts of land in Harford County, 
one of which was called by a singular name for a clergy- 
man's homestead, namely, " Drunkard's Hall." The Legisla- 
ture, in 1782, passed an act for the relief of his family, con- 
sisting of his wife, two sons and a daughter, who are be- 
lieved to have been loyal to the cause of their country, divi- 
ding among them his land and negroes upon condition that 
they should pay his debt. 


Kemoval of seat of justice to C'liarlestown — Reasons of the removal — 
Interesting correspondence — Charlestown Ferry — Condition of society — 
Stephen Porter kills Thomas Dunn — Escapes from jail, etc. — Is tried at 
Charlestown and convicted of manslaughter — Unsuccessful eflbrts to 
build up Charlestown — Removirt of county seat to Head of Elk — Rev. 
Joseph Condon's address to citizens of Elk — Opposition of the citizens 
of Charlestown to the removal of the county seat — Act of Legislature 
authorizing the erection of public buildings at Elktown — Elkton incor- 
porated — Court meets in Elkton^Members of the Elkton bai- — Trouble 
about roads — The first alnisliouse — Sale of free school farm — Rum- 
sey's steamboat — The Susquehanna Cinal — Rivalry between Havre de 
Grace and the town of Chesapeake — First arks on the Susquehanna 
River — Malignant fever in Elkton. 

The war being over, tlie people of the county begun to 
turn their attention to matters of public importance. The 
first matter of this kind that claimed their attention, was a 
more convenient location for the county seat. In accor- 
dance with the wishes of the people an act was passed at the 
November session, 1781, authorizing Thomas May, John 
Stockton, and David Smith to act as judges of an election to 
be held during the last week in the ensuing February at the 
court-house on Monday and Tuesday, at Head of Elk on 
Wednesday and Thursday, and at Charlestown on Friday 
and Saturday ; these three places being the ones talked of 
as most suitable for the seat of justice. The certificate of 
David Smith is still extant and shows tliat due notice having 
been given, he attended at the court-house on Monday, the 
25th of February, as also did the other two gentlemen, who 
had been induced to decline acting as judges; and after their 
refusal had been made known to him, he appointed John 
Ward Veasey, James Creswell, and Edward Mitchell clerks, 


and proceeded to take the votes of the freemen of the county. 
" At the election held at the court house there were given 
and published forty-three votes for Charlestown, one vote for 
the Head of Elk, and two votes for no removal. At the Head 
of Elk there were given thirty-four votes for Charlestown 
and two votes for the Head of Elk; and at the election 
held at Charlestown there were given four hundred and fifty 
votes for Charlestown." The great want which the people 
of the county experienced for a town somewhere within its 
limits, no doubt influenced them to remove the seat of jus- 
tice to Charlestown, with the hope of building it up and 
adding to its prosperity. More than two hundred years had 
elapsed since the first settlements had been made in the 
county, and many unsuccessful efforts had been made to 
build a town some where within its limits. The projected 
town on Town Point, and Ceciltown on the Bohemia, had 
been total failures, as had also been the effort to build a town 
at Court-house Point. Charlestown, with all its advantages 
for shipping, had found a successful rival in Baltimore, and 
those who lived there never having been able to divert the 
trade of Nottingham from the accustomed channels, through 
which it reached the towns along the Delaware, was in great 
need of something to stimulate its growth. But notwith- 
standing all this, and the apparent unanimity of the peo- 
ple, some of the justices of the court-at first refused to assent 
to the removal of the seat of justice to that place. It is 
highly probable that they were influenced in some wa}'' by 
a desire and belief that the Head of Elk would ultimately 
be selected for the county seat. The justices seem to have 
been equally divided upon the subject of the removal of the 
county seat, for, on the 11th of Marcli following, half of them 
met at the court-house at Court-liouse I'oint and the others 
at Charlestown, and the court seemed to be in a likely way 
to reach the same condition that it had been in many years 
before, when the justices present ordered the clerk to record 
the mournful fact that it was "miscontinued anddrop'd and 



fallen." The following correspondence will explain itself 
and throw some light upon a subject that agitated the peo- 
ple of the county very much when it took place : 

" Gentlemen : — We have, under advisement, met and called 
court at the usual place of holding courts for Cecil county, 
and have adjourned until to-morrow 9 o'clock. "We there- 
fore, as the Court, order and require you to attend at this 
place to-morrow at the time of the said adjournment; and 
that you have your records and other public papers with 
you. Given under our hands this 11th March, 1782. 

" Samuel Glenn, 
" William Mathews, 
" Thomas Savin. 
*'To Patrick Hamilton, Esq., Sheriff; 

"and Baruch Williams, Esq., Clei^k; 
" Officers of Cecil County Court.^' 

To which the other justices, who had met at Charlestowii 
on the same da}^, returned the following answer : 

"Gentlemen: — We have received yours of yesterda}^, by 
which you are pleased ' to order and require us to attend ' 
at the place where courts were formerly held. As civil 
officers, we are ready to obey the orders of Cecil County 
Court ; and in obedience thereto, we attended yesterday at 
Charlestown, where the Court was, we apprehend, legally 
held, Messrs. Kirk, Bond, iSIaxwell, Miller, and Hall being 
present, and the Court in Charlestown stands adjourned to 
this day at 9 o'clock, where and when we propose to attend. 

"We remain, gentlemen, your most 

" obedient and humble servants. 

"Charlestown, March 12th, 1782. 

''Messrs. Samuel Glenn, William 

"Mathews, Thomas Savin." 

The minute book for that term shows that the five gen- 
tlemen referred to in the preceding note met at Charles- 
town, as stated, on the 12th of March, and proceeded with 
the business that was brought before them from day to day 


until the loth, when they adjourned until the 26th. On 
that day the presiding justice, Mr. Bond, produced a certifi- 
cate that he had administered the oath of office to Messrs. 
Nathan Norton and Jeremiah Baker, and they took their 
seats accordingly. John W. A^easey also sat as one of the 
justices on that day, from which it may be inferred that 
he was neutral in the fight. Several brief sessions of the 
court, at which very little business was transacted, were 
held in the interval between the 26th of ISIarch and the 
10th of June, when a new commission of the peace was re- 
ceived, which had the effect of restoring quiet. During the 
first term of the court, held at Charlestown, the justices 
viewed four lots of ground, which were formerly condemned 
for the use of the county to build a court-house and gaol 
thereon, and were of opinion that the same were sufficient 
and would answer every end and purpose specified in the 
act authorizing the removal of the county-seat. The first 
session of the court was held at one of the public houses at 
Charlestown, as had been the custom for some years after 
the organization of the county, before the first court-house 
was built at Jamestown. But at the March term, 1781, the 
court appointed Justices Baker and Norton, the latter of 
whom lived in Charlestown, to provide " this court with a 
house to hold courts in for the future, and to get workmen 
to do what repairs they thought necessary and contract for 
the same." They accordingly, on the 7th of May, 1783, 
leased two rooms from Alexander Hasson, on the second 
floor of his house, for three years, at an annual rent of £20. 
These rooms were in a brick building on Market street, 
which continued to stand until a comparatively recent date, 
when it was destroyed by fire. The court this year author- 
ized Patrick Hamilton to build a small stone jail for the 
use of the county, and there is reason to believe that some 
improvements were made upon the public wharf at the ex- 
pense of the county. 

It is worthy of remark that the commissioners of Charles-* 
town this vear rented the Seneca Point Fishery for £1, and 


passed an ordinance prohibiting hogs, sheep, and geese run- 
ning at large upon the streets, wliich animals, if so found, 
were to be killed for the use of the prisoners in the jaiL 
The Dutch inhabitants were presented with a lot whereon 
to build a school-house or church, provided they built it 
within the n€xt three years. This indicates that they were 
somewhat numerous, but there is no reason to believe the 
house was built. 

During the year 1783, three persons were convicted of 
felony, each of whom was sentenced to receive thirty-nine 
lashes on the bare back, well laid on by the sheriff at the public 
market-house. The next year one James Campbell, alias 
Williams, was convicted of robbery and sentenced to be- 
hanged. During part of the time that Charlestown was the 
seat of justice, a public ferry was maintained between that 
place and Elk Neck, in order to accommodate persons from 
the lower part of the county having business at Charles- 
town. The Elk ferry at Court-house Point and the Bohemia 
ferry being in operation, it was much easier for persons in 
the lower part of the county to reach Charlestown by land 
than it is at this time. The great highway between the 
North and South then, as now, led through this county, and 
the stage coaches, which carried the first mails of the youth- 
ful Republic, then loosely held together by the articles of 
confederation, for some time crossed over this ferry, the 
main road at that time leading from near the landing place 
in Elk Neck through the southern part of the village of 
North East, and thence, a considerable distance south of 
where the road is at present located, until it intersected the 
Elk Neck road near Mill Creek. 

During the five years that Charlestown was the seat of 
justice, and for some years afterwards, society was in a bad 
condition. A spirit of lawlessness and insubordination seems 
to have prevaded it. This was produced by the demoraliza- 
tion incident to the Revolutionary war and the disorganiza- 
tion consequent upon the transition from one form of 


government to another. As illustrative of the history and 
jurisprudence of the county, during this period, the reader's 
attention is directed to a homicide which is notable because 
the perpetrator of it was tried at Charlestown, and also on 
account of several other circumstances connected with it. 

Stephen Porter, a lawyer of some distinction, and the 
father of Margaret Aurelia Porter, a maiden lady that 
many persons of middle age will recollect as a per- 
son of extraordinarily strong intellectual ability, lived 
at Porter's Bridge, on the Octoraro Creek, in 1784, and 
sometime previous to the harvest of that year employed 
one Thomas Dunn, who seems to have been a large 
and powerful man, but a person of bad repute and some- 
what of a bully withal. The depositions of several wit- 
nesses, taken before the jury of inquest, show that Dunn, 
who had left the employ of Porter sometime before, returned 
to the neighborhood, on the 6th of Jul}', ostensibly to 
settle with Porter, who owed him a trifling balance, but 
really it would seem for the purpose and with the intention 
of provoking a quarrel with him. Dunn met one Stephen 
Herd, who lived in Lancaster County, and was an entire 
stranger to him, on the road, near Captain William Ewing's, 
a neighbor of Porter's, and asked him to accompany him to 
Ewing's, for the purpose of acting as an arbitrator in adjust- 
ing the dispute between Porter and himself. The parties 
pledged themselves to abide by the award which was made 
by the arbitrators, but soon after it was disclosed. Dunn flew 
into a passion and began to abuse Porter and malign his wife, 
and finally spit in Porter's face. Those present used their 
best endeavors to quiet the enraged bully, but without avail. 
After enduring Dunn's abuse for some time. Porter, accom- 
panied by Benjamin Brearley, a miller, who occupied a house 
not far from Porter's mill, started to go to their homes. 
Dunn followed them, notwithstanding they besought him 
to desist and take another road. Brearley and Dunn stopped 
at the liouse of tlie former, where Dunn had some clothes 


which Brearley was desirous he should takeaway with him^ 
while Porter continued on to his own dwelling, and pro- 
cured an old bayonet, and hastening back towards Brearley's 
house, encountered Dunn, who stooped down, as the witness 
who saw him testified, to pick up a stone, whereupon Porter 
stabbed him, from the effect of which he almost instantly 

The next day, Samuel Maffit, who was then one of the 
coroners of the county, empanneled a jury of inquest, con- 
sisting of eighteen of the good and lawful men of tlie county, 
who, after hearing the testimony, rendered a verdict that 
the said Porter " then & there feloniously killed & murdered 
the said Dunn," and Porter was straightway incarcerated in 
the little stone jail in Charlestown. By common law the 
property of those convicted of capital offences was forfeited 
to the State. The coroner therefore returned an inventory 
of all and singular the lands and tenements, rights, and 
chatties of Stephen Porter, as appraised by Patrick Ewiug, 
Samuel Scott, John Crawford, and James Egan. The in- 
ventory is as follows : One plantation of two hundred acres 
of land together with one merchant mill, £700 ; one mare, 
one horse and two colts, £20 ; three cows, £9 ; two small 
hogs, £1 5s,; six or eight sheep, £2 5s.; sundries, house- 
hold furniture, £50; total, £782 10s.; whereupon Porter, 
who was a lawyer, conveyed his property to his wife and 
one of his friends, in order, if possible, to secure it for the 
benefit of the former. 

Some time after Porter was imprisoned, some of his 
friends provided themselves Avith a fleet-footed horse and 
visited the jail, taking with tliem a supply of whiskey, with 
which they succeeded in making tlie jailer drunk, and get- 
ting up a sham-fight, kicked Porter, who had been informed 
of the effort they intended to make in his behalf, out of the 
door. Porter lost no time in mounting the horse, and made 
good his escape to the Octoraro hills, and bidding good-bye 
to his friends, proceeded across the Alleghany Mountains to 


Washington County, Pennsylvania, then a frontier settle- 
ment, where he is said to have betrayed himself by the 
knowledge he exhibited of the law, during a discussion he 
engaged in with some others in a public house. 

The papers in the case show that Porter had a hearing 
before two of the justices of the Court of Common Pleas of 
Washington County, Pennsylvania, on the 6th of October, 
he having been arrested on suspicion of having murdered a 
man in Cecil County, and that he confessed the murder and 
narrated the attending circumstances and manner of his 
escape, all of which are briefly set forth in one of the papers. 
This paper is a most extraordinary legal document, and 
seems to have been given to the persons in whose custody 
Porter was, to enable them to conduct him safely on his way 
towards this county ; for on the loth of October, he had 
another hearing before Robert Galbraith, a justice of the 
peace of Bedford County, Pennsylvania, who gave the posse 
in whose custody he was, a somewhat similar, though more 
sensible document, in which the facts of the murder and 
escape are set forth, and they are commanded to deliver tlie 
prisoner to the sheriff of Franklin County, in order that he 
might be safely conveyed to the sheriff of Cecil County, 
which was done in due time, and early in the next Decem- 
ber a commission was issued by the governor to five of the 
justices of the county, authorizing and commanding them 
to hold a special term of court for his trial. It is worthy of 
remark, that this special commission was sent to Joseph 
Gilpin, who was designated as presiding justice, and that he 
notified the others and designated Baruch Williams as a 
suitable person to act as clerk. The court met at Charles- 
town on the 7th of December, 1784, and Timothy Kirk being 
unable to attend, tlie other justices, John Leach Knight, 
Stephen Hyland, and John Dockery Thompson, opened the 
court and proceeded to business. The next day the grand 
jury returned a true bill against Porter for murder, and on 
the following day he was arraigned and the same day con- 
victed of manshiugliter, the verdict of the jury being "not 


guilty of murder, as specified in the indictment, but guilty 
of manslaughter." The court thereupon ordered that the 
prisoner enter security for his appearance on Friday, the 
16th, to hear their judgment, and he was recognized in the 
sum of £500 for his appearance from day to day until the 
court would pass judgment, Patrick Ewing becoming his 
surety in that sum. The tardiness of the court in passing 
judgment probably gave offence to some of the friends of 
Dunn. At all events, George Gather and John Robinson 
were tried and convicted of insulting the court and jury 
sometime during the trial. The nature of the insult is not 
stated, but inasmuch as several witnesses were examined, it 
is probable that it consisted in using disrespectful language 
in reference to the manner of conducting the trial. They 
were each sentenced to pay a trifling fine and the costs, in 
default of the payment of which they were sent to jail. The 
record does not state whether the court met and adjourned 
from day to day until the 16th, but upon that day it ren- 
dered judgment " that the prisoner be discharged, the statute 
not being extended." 

The indictment under which Porter was convicted con- 
tained tAvo counts, one of which was for murder, under the 
common law ; the other one was for manslaughter, under 
the statute of James T., chapter I., section 8 ; which was made 
on account of the frequent quarrels and stabbings with dag- 
gers between the Scotch and English, and which Avas of a 
temporary nature, and was not in force in Maryland at that 
time, it not having been extended thereto, as stated in the 
judgment of tlie court, by tlie action of the State convention 
which, in 1776, had adojtted the common law of England, 
and extended certain parts of the statute law of that country 
to the State of INIaryland. 

During a j)eriod often or twelve years, just after the close 
of the Revolutionary war, three other persons met with vio- 
lent deaths at P6i-icr"s Bridge and in that immediate 


During the time that Charlestown was the seat of justice, 
every effort was made to increase its prosperity and make it 
a city of importance. Seneca Point, which then belonged 
to the town, was rented for a ship-yard, and several small 
vessels were built there by John Cooper, some of whose de- 
scendants yet reside near the town, on a plantation which 
he purchased in 1754. Some of the citizens are said to 
have been engaged in trading at this time to the West In- 
dia Islands ; but the efforts of the people of the county 
to encourage the growth of Charlestown, which had been 
incorporated nearly half a century before, were unavailing, 
and they gave up the undertaking, probably because they 
believed it to be impossible to build a city at that place. Up 
to this time public opinion had always demanded that the 
county seat should be located upon navigable water, but the 
manners and customs of the people had changed very much 
since the first court-house had been erected at Jamestown 
and a greater change had taken place since the county seat 
had been fixed at Court-house Point. When the court- 
house was at the former place, and during most of the time 
it was at the latter, many of those who wished to attend 
court were m the habit of going there in boats. Few settle- 
ments had been made at that time, except those along the 
navigable streams. Now the whole county was settled, and 
public opinion demanded a more central location for the 
seat of justice, one that could be reached without crossing 
ferries, which were expensive to maintain and which it 
seemed impossible to discontinue while they were needed in 
order to afford the people the proper facilities for attending 

Owing to the difficulty of obtaining the means, on ac- 
count of the scarcity of money caused by the depression of 
business during the Revolutionary war, and probably because 
there were man}' persons favorable to the removal of the 
seat of justice to the Head of Elk, no public buildings ex- 
cept the jail had been erected at Charlestown. The Head 


of Elk at this time, was a place of some importance, and 
had considerable trade in flour with Philadelphia. In 1785 
a line of " stage boats," as they were then called, had been 
established between that city and Christiana Bridge. Levi 
Hollingsworth, the son of Zebulon Hollingsworth, and 
brother of Henry and Jacob Hollingsworth, both of whom 
took an active interest in the affairs of the town, was largely 
interested in this enterprise. He had been engaged in the 
flour trade, from Christiana to Philadelphia, when he was 
only eighteen years of age, and had served his country with 
much distinction in the Revolutionary war as captain of 
" The First City Troop" of Philadelphia, in the battles of 
Trenton and Princeton. The Hollingsworth brothers were 
very influential, and there is no doubt that it was mainly 
tlirough their instrumentality that the removal of the seat 
of justice from Charlestown to Elkton, which now began to 
be agitated, was eff'ected. 

The growth and prosperity of the town at the Head of 
Elk is set forth in the following paper which was written by 
the Rev. Joseph Coudon, at that time curate of North Elk 
Parish, and who resided on the plantation near Elkton, 
now owned by Rev. James Mclntire. " A short address to the 
inhabitants of the village and neighborhood of Elk, on the 
subject of erecting a house of worship in said village, to- 
gether with a preamble to a subscription humbly proposed. 

" R has been too long remarked by the numerous travelers 
that pass through our village, as well as regretted by the 
friends of it, that notwithstanding the rapidly growing im- 
portance of the place — the various scenes of industry and 
exertions it is noted for — amidst the many buildings that 
are daily saluting our eyes, and rising and about to rise to 
view — there is no appearance of even an humble building 
dedicated to the worship and service of the supreme ruler of 
the universe, on wliom we depend for all we have or can 
hope to enjoy. In this we do not imitate our pious ances- 
tors of old who no sooner erected a tent to dwell in, but 


they raised an altar also ; and shall I mention the uninlight- 
ened nations who made it their first care to erect a noble 
edifice for the reception and worship of their deties ? 

" Your friends, however, are happy in thinking that the 
neglect hitherto is by no means chargeable to a want of re- 
spect or veneration of the Supreme, nor yet to a want'of pub- 
lic spirit (for liberality of mind and purse is rather thought 
to be characteristic of the place) but that somehow or other 
your attempts in this way have proved abortive as if un- 
til now the period for affecting it had not revolved round. 
Now then ye friends of public religion and public spirit, 'tis 
humbly hoped you will step forth and no longer suffer this 
odium to lie against us, by putting forth a liberal hand 
towards erecting as soon as may be, a decent and respecta- 
ble house of prayer, in some degree expressive of our ven- 
eration of the Deity, and which will reflect a lasting credit 
to the place and the founders thereof, even after this, and 
perhaps a succeeding generation, may have passed away." 

" Know all men by these presents that we, the hereafter 
subscribed, being moved by motioves of Piety and Christian 
Benevolence to erect a house for Public worship in the vil- 
lage of Elk, do hereby bind and oblige ourselves to pay, or 
cause to paid, into the hands of Messrs Joseph Gilpin, To- 
bias Rudulph, Zebulon Hollingsworth, Henry Hollings- 
worth, Daniel Robinson, Jonathan Booth, Thomas Huggins, 
John Barnaby, George Wallace, John Thomas Ricketts, 
Jacob Hollingsworth, Henry Robinson and Empson Bird, 
or their order, the several sums of money (in specie) to our 
names respectively annexed, in the following manner ; that 
is to say, one-third part thereof on the first day of October 
next, one-third thereof when the walls of the proposed 
building are ready for the roof, and the remaining one-third 
thereof when the said building is finished, and on the fol- 
lowing conditions, viz. : Tliat each of us the subscribers, for 
every three pounds by each of us respectively subscribed 
and duly paid, shall at tlie completion of the said building. 


if we require it, be entitled to a vote (upon due notice given) 
in declaring and ascertaining to what society of professing 
Christians it shall principally be appropriated ; as also, in 
appointing a number of wise discrete men, not less than 
three, (of which the minister or officiating person for the 
time being shall always be one) and not more than nine, 
who shall determine every matter or thing that may arise, 
in doubt, or dispute amongst us ; or that may require par- 
ticular regulation, in any of which elections or determina- 
tions a majority of votes and council as usual is to be deci- 
sive and binding ; and said number of trustees or commis- 
sioners, or by whatever name they may hereafter be called, 
shall be annually elected by the friends of said house of 
worship and adherents of the society to which it shall prin- 
cipally belong hereafter, if it should be thought necessary. 
And to the afore-mentioned payments, truly and punctually 
to be made, and done in manner and form aforesaid, accord- 
ing to the true intent and meaning thereof, we do bind our- 
selves respectively and each of us, our respective heirs, 
executors, and administrators. In full testimony whereof 
Ave do severally subscribe our names and sums annexed, 
this 26th February, in the year of our Lord, 1785." This 
paper was signed as follows : " John Gilpin £30, Tobias 
Eudulph £30, Zebn. Hollingsworth £30, H. Hollingsworth 
£30, Jonathan Booth £20, Jacob Hollingsworth £21, Jno. 
Thos. Ricketts £12, Daniel Robinson £9, Tobias Rudulph, 
Jr. £6, George Wallace £6, Levi Hollingsworth £0, Empson 
Bird £10.'' Owing to the unpopularity of most of the 
clergy of the Episcopal church, and the fact that Metho- 
dism prevailed to some extent in the surrounding country, 
which will be fully set forth in a succeeding chapter, 
the enterprise proved to be a failure, and the contemplated 
house of worship was never built. 

The removal of the seat of justice fron:i Charlestown was 
violently o}>posed by its citizens who did all in their 
power to prevent it, and the records of the proceedings of 


the town commissioners, a few of which are yet extant, 
show that Baruch Williams and Joseph Baxter were sent to 
Annapolis (the town commissioners hiring a stage coach 
for the purpose of taking them there), in order that they 
might employ counsel and protest against the removal of 
the seat of justice, and if possible, prevent it. The finances 
of the town must have been in a low state, for the hire of 
the stage, and the counsel fees, which were only £Q in all,, 
were not paid till 1791, But the efforts of the citizens of 
Charlestown were unavailing. A large majority of the 
people having expressed their desire for the removal of the- 
county seat to the Head of Elk, the Legislature at the No- 
vember session, 1786, passed an act authorizing and appoint- 
ing Messrs. Joseph Gilpin, Tobias Rudulph, Sr., Zebulon 
Hollingsworth, Joseph Baxter and Edward Oldham, to act 
as commissioners to erect a court-house and jail at that 
place, on the lot mentioned in a previous chapter as having 
been purchased by certain persons for the use and benefit of 
the inhabitants of Elkton and Cecil County. The act also 
required the justice to levy a tax not exceeding £1,200 for 
the erection of a court-house and jail, and specified that 
one-fourth of the aforesaid sum should be levied annually 
for the four years next ensuing. 

The reader will recollect that one of the conditions upon 
which the public lot was purchased, required the inhabit- 
ants of the town to erect a public market-house on it. This 
condition had been complied with and the market-house 
had been erected. This caused trouble, the lot being two 
small for the proper accommodation, of both buildings. 
But the difficulty was removed by Jacob Hollingsworth, 
who donated another lot in May, 1787, for the use of the town 
and the erection of another market-house. This lot was the 
one at the southwest corner of ^lain and Bridge streets, 
directly opposite the Episcopal church. There seems toliave 
been some doubt about the right of the commissioners to 
remove the market-house, and at the April session, 1787, 


the Legislature passed an act incorporating the town under 
the name of Elkton,* and making provision for the removal 
of the market-house to its new location. It is stated in this 
act that Henry Hollingsworth, in 1787, donated an acre of 
land to the commissioners of the town for the erection there- 
on of a school-house or house of worship for the promotion 
of literature and the Christian religion. This was theoriginof 
Elkton Academy, and part of this land is included in the 
lot on which the academy now stands. The good people of 
the town seemed to have been much perplexed about the 
market, and the act of incorporation contains many curi- 
ous provisions upon that subject. Tuesdays and Saturdays 
were designated as market days, and the sale of all victuals 
and provisions before ten o'clock on those days within 
one mile of the market-house was prohibited under penalty 
of fifteen shillings. The slaughtering of all animals on the 
public lot, and the hitching of horses or other beasts of 
burden inside the market-house were prohibited, under a 
penalty of ten shillings. The clerk of the towji, whose 
salary was not to exceed thirty pounds, current money, was 
to have surpervision over the market, and was to inspect the 
weights and measures used by the market people, and when 
found defective to sell them for the use of the owner. 

The town election was to be held on Easter-Monday, and 
each of the seven town commissioners, who were also to be 
trustees of the " Town School," were to own real estate to 
the value of at least £300. The people of that time seem to 
have had unbounded faith in the efficiency of fairs to pro- 
mote the prosperity of towns, and notwithstanding they had 
failed to benefit Charlestown to any very great extent, pro- 
vision Avas made in the act of incorporation for holding four 
of them annually in Elkton, upon the first Tuesday in 
January, April, October, and December. At the time of the 
passage of this act the constitution of the United States had 

* For a few years §ubse(iueut to this time it had been called Elktovm, 


not been adopted, and the sale of all foreign goods, wares, 
a-nd merchandise was prohibited. 

The commissioners were engaged for several years in 
building the court-house and jail, but they caused the work 
to be well done, as the good state of preservation in which 
the court-house now is, abundantly attests. The workmen 
employed upon the public buildings were hired by the day, 
and in many instances their board was paid by the com- 
missioners, and several gallons of rum, which was purchased 
for their use, is included in their accounts. Much of the 
stone used was purchased by the ton. The nails were also 
made from nail rods purchased for that purpose, by persons 
employed by the commissioners. Some of the hardware 
and paint was purchased at New Castle, which was then a 
place of much more importance than it is at present. The 
commissioners were allowed a commission of four per cent, 
upon the money expended, as compensation for their ser- 
vices. The £1,200 authorized to be levied for the con- 
struction of the public buildings was inadequate for the 
purpose, and in 1789 an additional levy, not exceeding 
£800, was ordered to be made for the purpose of completing 

The court met for the first time at Elkton, on the 11th of 
June, 1787, at the public house of John Barnab}-. It is the 
brick building now standing on the bluff west of Bridge 
street, near the Bridge, The growth of the town seems to 
have been slow for many years after its incorporation, which 
was owing to the fact that most of its influential citizens 
were engaged in the practice of the law, which was not so 
lucrative then as it is at present, consequently few of them 
were able to amass sufficient wealth to erect large resi- 
dences. Most of the old, substantial brick buildings had 
been erected before the Revolution, and it is probable they 

* The fire-proof building, used for the clerk's and register's offices, was 
built in 18P.2. 


were the only buildings of any importance in the place- 
until long after it became the seat of justice. Isaac Weld^ 
an English traveler, passed through the town in 1795, and 
after his return home published a journal, in which may be 
found this description of the place : 

"Twenty-one miles from AVilmington is a dirty, stragling^ 
place called Elkton, consisting of ninety indiflerent habita- 
tions, erected without any regard to uniformity. In this 
neighborhood are some log-houses, answering the following 
description : The sides are composed of rough logs of trees,^ 
placed horizontally upon each other in such a manner that 
the ends of the logs rest alternately in notches on those of 
the adjoining side. The interstices are filled up with clay 
and the roof is formed of boards or small pieces of wood 
called shingles." 

There is reason to believe that the members of the bar 
were at this time a jolly set of fellows, that were disposed 
to have as good a time as circumstances would permit. 
The records of the county contain the following extraordi- 
nary document, which favors this view of the case : 

"For the encouragement and promotion of convivality 
and good fellowship, on this 19th day of September, 1787, 
upon motion, it was unanimously determined that for every 
birth that liath been since the first day of September, in- 
stant, or that shall be hereafter, the parent shall give a 
general punch-drinking within one month from the time 
of said birth. By a most respectable society of the gentle- 
men of Elkton. 

" John Murray, President. 

"Attest, " John Partridge, Sec." 

The removal of the seat of justice from Cliarlestown de- 
stroyed the hopes its citizens had long cherished of making 
it a city of importance, and soon afterwards many of the 
more enterprising of them removed to Baltimore. In 1787 
the old warehouse was sold at public sale to Archibald Job 
for forty pounds, and in 1791 the commissioners passed an 


order allowing the jail, which had somehow fallen into 
their hands, to be used as a school-house and for public 
worship of religious societies. 

In 1790 a law was passed to straighten and amend the 
several roads therein mentioned, and " Richard Snowdon 
Thomas, Thomas Maffit & Jacob HoUingsworth were ap- 
pointed commissioners to lay out and survey, mark and 
bound, a road from Susquehanna lower ferry to the ford at 
the Furnace, from thence to Charlestown, from thence to 
the bridge at the head of North East, and from thence 
through Elkton towards Christiana, to the Delaware 

This caused trouble. The people of Charlestown were 
apprehensive that when the road was straightened, travel 
would be diverted from that town and they no doubt 
thought they had been ill-used when the seat of justice was 
removed to Elkton. For these reasons and because they 
thought the projected improvement was made in the in- 
terest of their successful rival, they opposed the change. The 
controversy about this matter began in 1792, and probably 
entered into the canvass for the election of members of the 
Legislature, for at a special meeting of the commissioners of 
Charlestown, on October 3d, it was ordered that the register, 
Nathan Norton, deliver eight dollars to William Graham to 
pay for a wagon and other necessary expenses for the purpose 
of taking the voters to the election. 

At the session of 1792, William Linton was sent to the 
Legislature and authorized to employ counsel in order to re- 
tain the post route where it then was. The matter seems to 
have been before the Legislature at the next session, for the 
town commissioners sent an express to Major Thomas M. 
Foreman, who was a member of the Legislature in 1792, for 

* Previous to this time the road from Elkton to Christiana Bridge was 
very crooked, and passed around the northern part of Grays Hill and 
near the Baptist cliurch on Iron Ilill. 



a petition that was given to him by Mr. Linton, of Anna- 
polis, the winter before. The expressman returned and re- 
ported that Major Foreman was away from home, but there 
is reason to believe that the commissioners thought he was 
lying and had not been at Foreman's residence. They after- 
ward got a sketch of the petition from Patrick Hamilton, 
who was a man of some note, and had been sheriff of the 
county, but he thought it was very imperfect, notwithstand- 
ing which they appointed Alexander Hasson and Samuel 
Hogg to lay it before Colonel Nathaniel Ramsay, who at that 
time was a member of the Legislature. 

The efforts of the villagers were successful and no further 
reference to the new road is made until 1795, when a peti- 
tion, signed by many of the citizens of South Susquehanna 
Hundred, was presented to the levy court, expressing their 
satisfaction Avith the condition of the old road which was 
then in good repair, and protesting against the construction 
of another one. Isaac Weld, the English traveler before re- 
ferred to, speaks of Charlestown, in 1795, as follows: "A few 
miles distant from Elkton is Charlestown, containing about 
twenty fishermen's houses. The adjoining country is rather 
mountainous and in some parts the traveler proceeds for 
five miles together through an uninterrupted succession 
of woods." 

The roads in this county seem, at this time, to have been 
a fertile source of annoyance and vexation. This was in a 
great measure owing to their crookedness which is shown 
by certain plats of them to be seen among the records in the 
commissioners' oflice. This crookedness was caused by the 
desire of the land owners to have the roads, if possible, 
located on the division lines of their farms, which were often 
very ill-shaped. The subject of straightening the public 
highways was of so much importance that it entered into 
the politics of the county soon after the organization of the 
State government ; and the people, if the traditions that have 
been handed down to the present time are true were divided 


iuto two parties, as in the case of the road near Charles- 
town, one of which advocated, while the other opposed, the 
measure. By the act of 1790 the commissioners therein 
named were directed to straighten the road leading from 
the Head of Elk to Back Creek, thence to the head of Bohe- 
mia, thence to Warwick, and from that place to the Head of 
Sassafras. It was not until 1794 that the justices of the levy 
court were authorized to appoint three freeholders upon the 
petition of two-thirds of the taxables of the hundred, pray- 
ing for the widening and straightening of a crooked road, to 
view the same, and make the improvement prayed for. The 
undulating character of that part of the county north of the 
Elk River rendered the construction and maintainance of 
the roads there more expensive than in the other part of it, 
and the citizens of the southern 23art of the county thought 
themselves aggrieved when compelled to pay an equal share 
of the road-tax, a large part of which was spent upon roads 
they seldom or never used. 

The Legislature sought to remedy this cause of complaint 
by the act of 1794, which required the levy court to assess a 
tax of not more than three shillings in the hundred pounds 
to be applied to the construction and repair of the roads in 
the county, and providing that " one-third of the tax levied 
on the inhabitants on the east and south sides of Elk River 
should be expended on the roads on the east and south 
sides of said river." This tax was found insufficient, and 
in 1795, the levy court was authorized to increase the sum 
levied for the roads, so as not to exceed five shillings in the 
hundred pounds. Inasmuch as nothing is said in this act 
about where the mone}' was to be expended, the provision in 
regard to that matter in the former act is believed to have 
been repealed, though it is not so stated in the law. 

Previous to the revolution there had been no provision 
made by law for the maintenance and support of the poor, 
except such relief as was given to them by the levy court in 
the matter of outpensions. This method of relieving the 


wants of those persons who, from the effects of old age or 
from any otlier cause, were in necessitous circumstances^ 
had been practiced almost from the earliest settlement of 
the county, and the records of the court contain many 
curious petitions for relief and bills rendered for services 
done in behalf of paupers. These bills strikingly illustrate 
the customs that prevailed, and the ignorance of the people 
who made them, of this class is the following specimen : 

" Samuel Brown, deceased, Dr. s. d. 

To making your grave 5 

To making the c'o,/!^^ 15 

To nine quarts rum 13 6 

To 1 sTieate 9 

To 4i lbs. sugar 3 

£2 OS. M. 
" 17 May, 1763. Errors excepted. 

Per Samuel x Philips. 

This is probably the first instance in which a dead man 
was ever charged with making his coffin and digging his 
own grave. The reader will observe that much of the bill 
is for rum, most of which, no doubt, was used at the funeral. 
The use of liquor at funerals at that time, and for many 
years afterwards, was so common that a decent funeral could 
not take place without it; but there is reason to think that 
some of that charged in this bill was used by the under- 
taker wliile making the coffin, it also being customary to 
furnish liquor for the use of those who were employed in 
the service of the public. 

The Legislature, in 1787, passed an act making provision 
for the maintenance of the poor and providing for the erec- 
tion of an alms and work-house for their benefit. Nine 
persons were named as trustees of the institution, who were 
authorized to take possession of the free-school property in 
Sassafras Neck, and with the consent of the county court 


were authorized to sell and convert it into money for the 
purpose specified. The justices were also authorized to levy 
a sum not exceeding £400 for the use and benefit of the 
almshouse. This act, like manj^ others of that period, was 
not well adapted to the purpose intended, and by a supple- 
mentary act passed in 1788, it was enacted that the trustees 
should have power to purchase land not exceeding two hun- 
dred acres. They were also authorized to take possession of 
a bequest to the poor of St. Stephen's parish, and all the 
estates of all persons dying intestate and leaving no legal 
representatives, and apply them to the use and benefits of 
the poor of the county. The bequest referred to in the act 
of 1788, was made by a certain Joseph Phelps to the poor 
of St. Stephen's parish by his will dated November 1st, 
1783. The return of the appraisers of his personal estate 
shows that it consisted of his wearing apparel, a chest, 
prayer-book, pocket-book, brush, about two pounds of to- 
bacco, and a pair of spectacles, valued at £3 lis. 8c^., and 
cash in the chest, consisting of English, French and Spanish 
gold and silver coins, to the amount of £84 13s. 4d., making 
£88^, which was decreased by the deduction of two other 
bequests to £58^. He also had about £53 in continental 
money, which was worthless. But little more is known of 
this charitable man, except that he had no " kin," as is 
stated upon the appraisement list. 

On the 11th of June, 1788, the trustees of the poor met in 
Elkton,and received £48 16s., partly in Spanish milled dol- 
lars, and partly in corn, from James Hughes, whose step- 
father, John Price, had rented the free school farm and had 
the use of the negroes then on it, who seem to have been 
rented with the land the year before. The free school land 
has been described in a preceding chapter. There is 
reason to believe that there was six or eight negroes on the 
farm, but tlie number is not stated in the records. It is 
probable that the negroes had been purchased for the use of 
the master of the free school, and had been employed by him 


in cultivating the farm, but this is only a matter of 

On the 13th of June, 1788, the trustees of the poor pur- 
chased one hundred and eighteen acres of land from Henry 
Hollingsworth, which is described under the name of St. 
John's Town and addition, for £295. This purchase was 
subsequently increased in 1791 by the addition of fifty-seven 
acres, purchased from the same person for £142 10s., all of 
which now constitutes the present Almshouse farm. 

The trustees authorized Colonel Hollingsworth to erect a 
house on the farm purchased from him as soon as practi- 
cable, he agreeing to rent them a house for the use of the 
poor, lately built by him at the Head of Elk, until the new 
house was ready for use. This house is the old log building 
now standing in Little Elk, on the north side of the street, 
west of the Marley road. 

The construction of the new house was delayed by freshets 
in the Little Elk, which prevented the workmen from get- 
ting stone from the bed of the creek and hauling timber 
across it, and was not ready for occupation until June 2d, 
1789, at which time it was formally accepted by the trustees, 
who, on the 3d of the previous March, had chosen George 
Harris and his wife Ann, as overseer and matron of the in- 
stitution, at a salary of £40 a year. 

Li 1791 the trustees sold the free school land to Robert 
Milligan for £1,200. What became of the negroes is not 
stated, but there is reason to believe they were sold to 

By the act for the establishment of Washington College 
in 1782, tlie visitors of the free schools on the Eastern Shore 
were authorized, if they thought proper, to incorporate the 
bonds and estate in their hands with the funds and estate 
of that institution. This measure was strongly opposed by 
the vestry of North Elk parish, who appointed a committee 
to consult with the vestry of St. Augustine's parish, and 
with the visitors of the free schools, and to protest against 


diverting the school property from the use originally 

The number of inmates of the Almshouse at first was 
not large, but in 1802 they had increased to forty, and the 
trustees were obliged to erect an addition of twenty-five feet 
in length to the original house, which cost £250. This year 
a contest took place between several of the physicians of the 
northeastern part of the county, about which of them should 
have the job of attending the paupers. One of them in 
addition to his regular services, offered to keep a statistical 
record of the various diseases of the inmates, etc., for £40 a 
year. Another one in addition to all that, offered the use 
of an electrical machine and attendance once a week in 
order to use it upon the paupers that might need it, and the 
trustees, no doubt thinking the paupers would be benefited 
by the use of electricity, gave the contract to him. 

The successful termination of the Revolutionary war 
seems to have given a great impetus to the inventive powers 
of the people. Among those who distinguished themselves 
in this way w^as James E-umsey, then of Virginia, but a 
member of the Rumsey family which once resided at the 
head of Bohemia River, who was the inventor of a steam 
boat constructed upon a novel plan. He applied to the 
Legislature for a patent for his invention, in 1784. The con- 
stitution of the United States, not then having been adopted, 
and the articles of confederation containing no provision in 
regard to this matter, inventors were obliged to apply for 
patents to the Legislatures of the States. Rumsey 's inven- 
tions is described as a method of propelling vessels by 
means of the reaction of a stream of water forced by the 
agency of steam through a trunk or cylinder parallel to the 
keel, out at the stern. The action of this stream upon the 
water in which the vessel floated, it was believed would 
cause the vessel to move forward. The legislature gave him 
the exclusive right to the use of his invention for ten years. 
He afterwards formed a society in Philadelphia called the 


Kumseian Society, of which Dr. Franklin and Levi Hol- 
lingsworth were members, for the purpose of introducing 
his boat and other inventions to the public, but like most 
geniuses he met with little success. John Fitch claimed 
priority for his steamboat, which led to a contest between 
them, and neither profited by their efforts to introduce 
steamboats. In 1783, the Legislature passed an act entitled, 
" an act for making the river Susquehanna navigable from 
the line of this state to tide water," in which it is stated that 
a comj^any, of which William Augustine Washington, 
Charles Carroll of Carrollton, Thomas Russell, Aquilla Hall, 
John Churchman, and forty others, mostly of Baltimore 
city, had subscribed the sum of £18,500, and had obligated 
themselves to raise the further sum of £1,500 for the purpose 
named in the title of the act. The Legislature considering 
the enterprise a laudable one, incorporated the company 
under the name of " The Proprietors of the Susquehanna 
Canal," and enacted that the}' should meet at Havre de 
Grace in February, 1784, and elect a governor and three 
directors. This was the origin of the old IMaryland Canal 
which was one of tlie first works of tlie kind chartered in 
the United States. It extended from Love Island, near the 
State line, nearly to Port Deposit. " No doubt the Maryland 
Canal Company was formed with a view of securing the 
prospective trade from the upper waters of the Susquehanna 
to Baltimore city, most of which at this time found its way 
to the towns on the Delaware. This view of the case is 
strengthened by the fact that provision was made in the act 
of incorporation for condemning a quantity of land not 
exceeding two hundred acres for the purpose of erecting 
grist-mills and otlicr water-works along the line of the canal 
for the i)urposc of grinding the wheat, the product of which 
it was expected would find a market in Baltimore. By the 
first act the company was authorized to charge a toll of one 
shilling per ton, car[tenter's measure, on all boats and rafts 
that passed through the canal. Tlie act also directed that 


the work Avas to be commenced on or before the first of Oc- 
tober, 1783, at Love Island near the State line and to be 
prosecuted with diligence till tide water was reached, and 
fully completed within seven years. The w'ork seems to 
have been commenced by tlie time specified, for in a supple- 
ment to the act of incorporation passed at the session of 
1784, it is stated that considerable progress had been made. 
This supplemental act exempted the property of the com- 
pany from taxation and legalized a long list of tolls for all 
sorts of merchandise, except dry goods, that might pass 
through the canal, and specified the value at which foreign 
coins were to be estimated, when taken in payment of tolls. 

Probably for the want of means the canal was not finished 
in the time specified, and an extension of one year was 
granted in 1790, by another supplementary act, which au- 
thorized the company to increase the number of shares to 
thirty, and provided that foreigners might become share- 
holders. The work of constructing the canal was of greater 
magnitude than was at first apprehended, but there is reason 
to believe that it was so near completion in 1795, as to indi- 
cate that it would never be very successful. Twelve years 
had elapsed since the work was commenced, and it is proba- 
ble that a change had taken place in public opinion in 
reference to its utility. 

About this time the people living in those counties of 
Pennsylvania that bordered upon the Susquehanna River, 
began to agitate the subject of improving its navigation, and 
at a meeting held at Ilarrisburg, in August, 1795, took that 
matter into consideration. Some of the consequences of this 
meeting are manifest in the action of the Legislature of 
]\Iaryland, at its session in the December following, from 
whicli it is very plain that the citizens of Havre de Grace, 
which had been laid out al^out twenty years before, were 
jealous of tlie advantages that would naturally accrue from 
the canal to those who resided u[)on the Cecil side of tlie 


George Gale, a prominent citizen of this county, had pur- 
chased a hundred and ten acres of land on the east side of 
the river, near Watson's Island, in July, and on the 1st of 
December following, purchased eighty-eight acres adjoining 
it from John Creswell, and proceeded to lay out a town,, 
which he called Chesapeake. This town, which was a short 
distance above Perryville, was incorporated by an act of the 
Legislature on the 24th of December, 1795. On the same day 
an act was passed making an addition to the tow^n of Havre 
de Grace, and authorizing a lottery for the improvement of 
the navigation of the Susquehanna River. This was the 
beginning of a contest between the proprietors of the Sus- 
quehanna Canal and certain persons in Pennsylvania, who 
were jealous of the privileges that had been conferred upon 
the proprietors of the canal, that was settled many years 
afterwards by the organization of the Tide- Water Canal 
Company, which purchased and now own the rights and 
franchises of the other company. Probably the real object 
of those who sought to effect the enlargement of Havre de 
Grace, was the same as that of the founder of the rival town 
on the other side of the river, nameh', a desire to speculate 
in town lots ; and very likely they concealed their real de- 
sign under the plausible pretext of improving the naviga- 
tion of the river. But civil engineering was not as well un- 
derstood then as it is now, and they may have honestly 
thought that $50,000, which was the sum authorized to be 
raised by lottery, was sufiicient for the purpose designated. 
It was specified in the act for the improvement of the river, 
that none of the money raised by the lottery was to be ap- 
plied to opening or improving the Susquehanna Canal, 
which seems to indicate that the Legislature might have lost 
faith in its utility. 

Nothing ever came of the effort to build the town of 
Chesapeake, and it must be added to the long list of abortive 
efforts to build towns where tliev were not needed. 


The next year, 1796, a German named Breider, who 
owned a flour-mill on the Juniata River, near Huntington, 
Pennsylvania, is said to have built an ark and loaded it 
with flour and ran it down the Susquehanna, and thence to 
Baltimore. This is believed to have been the first venture 
of the kind, and Breider having demonstrated the practic- 
ability of navigating the perilous river as well as the profit- 
ableness of the Baltimore market, his example was followed 
the next year by several others. By a supplementary act, 
passed January 20th, 1797, the time for the completion of the 
canal was extended to the 1st of December, 1805, and the 
bed of the Susquehanna River was declared to be " a public 
highway, free for any person or persons whatever to work 
thereon in clearing the obstructions to its navigation," 
which warrants the inference that something was about to 
be done for its improvement at this time by those in charge 
of the lottery. The early history of this canal is involved 
in great obscurity, occasioned b}' the loss of the records of 
the proceedings of the directors previous to 1817. Land 
was condemned for the use of the proprietors, in 1800, at 
which time Robert Gilmer was governor of the canal. The 
work is believed to have been completed in 1805. It was 
too narrow at first to be of much use, and the proprietors 
had it widened, about 1810. During the time of the con- 
struction and enlargement of the canal, many of the laborers 
employed upon it were afflicted with a malignant fever, 
from the effects of which many of them died. 

In 1805, the inhabitants of Elkton also suffered from a 
malignant fever that baffled the skill of the most eminent 
physcians. There is some evidence tending to show that it 
was caused by the miasma from tlie marsh on the north 
side of the river, which at that time was embanked so as to 
exclude the tide. The following extracts from a diary kept 
by the late Dr. Amos A. Evans, who at that time was a 
student of medicine under the late Dr. George E. Mitchell, 
sliow the malignant character of the epidemic. It is stated 


in Morse's Gazzetteer of the Western continent, that Elkton 
five years after this time, contained ninet}' houses, which, at 
five persons to each house, would give a population of four 
hundred and fifty. In 1805, the town probabl}- contained 
less than four hundred inhabitants. 

Under the date of September 26th, 1805, Dr. Evans says : 
" Cloudy morning, wind from S. E. About 60 persons 
now sick in Elkton. Every person afflicted loitli languor and 
lassitude. Want of appetite and dreadful sickness of stomach 
are the general precursors of the reigning epidemic, which 
is attended with tormenting and excruciating pains of the 
extremities. This sudden change of the weather has in a 
number of cases occasioned this epidemic to take on the 
form of dysentary and diarrhoea. The chilh which pre- 
cede are of long continuance, the fever succeeding, very in- 
flammatory, demanding remedies powerful and energetic. 
28th September ; good fires are very necessary and quite 
agreeable, cases of bilious fever still increase. The symptoms 
of this fever are anomolous, the pains in the extremities 
and lumbar regions -are violent, the eyes are painful and 
often much inflamed. October 3d and 4tli ; more than 
SO persons sick in Elkton. October 14th ; sicknesss con- 
tinues to increase in the country. November 4th; several 
cases of bilious and intermittent fevers still continue, 
which are remarkably stubborn this fall. Diseases in 
general, this season have been much more stubborn 
then they have been known for some time, and the 
people of Elkton and its vicinity have been more generally 
afflicted. C'athartics and emetics though given in double 
doses, in some cases produce little or no effect. " 


Octoraro forge — Cecil Manufacturing Company — New Leeds — Chesa- 
peake and Delaware Canal — Benjamin H. Latrobe — The canal feeder — 
RiotatElkton — " Treeket the Loop" — Supplementary Act — "Work re- 
sumed on the canal — John Randel — He sues the canal company — Com- 
pletion and cost of the canal — Difficulty of construction^Port Deposit — 
Philip Thomas — Port Deposit Bridge Company — Bridge burned — Sale of 
Susquehanna canal — The log pond — Susquehanna and Tide Water canal. 

In 1788, John Churchman, the distinguished scientist and 
mathematician of Nottingham, who was the owner of large 
quantities of barren land, which he, no doubt, had purchased 
because he thought it contained valuable deposits of mineral, 
formed a partnership with Samuel Hughes, of Harford 
County, for the purpose of erecting a furnace and such other 
works as the}'" might think necessary for the manufacture 
of iron, upon a tract of land containing 3,000 acres, which 
was two-thirds of all the land owned by Churchman in 
Cecil, Chester, and Lancaster counties, and which seems to 
have been embraced in one tract. The tract to be selected 
by Hughes for the iron works, it was stipulated in the arti- 
cle of agreement, which may be seen among the land records 
of the county, was to embrace the Horse Slioe Bend, in the 
Octoraro Creek, near the junction of the three counties be- 
fore named. Hughes was to furnish the capital for the en- 
terprise, and Churchman was to be resident manager, the 
profits being equally divided between them. Nothing is 
known of the history of this enterprise, but the land records 
of the county show that the forge which was just below the 
Horse Shoe Bend, where the Cecil paper-mill now stands, was 
built sometime previous to 1705, at whiclitime it was in the 


possession of a certain John Jones and Thomas Rogers. It 
was subsequenth' purchased in 1801 by John Fre}' and 
Mathew Irwin, and was known for some time as Frey's Forge. 
The Cecil Manufacturing Company, whose mill for the 
manufacture of linen, woolen, and cotton goods, was on the 
Little Elk Creek, just above Marley, was organized in 1794. 
This company is believed to have been organized by the 
efforts of Colonel Henry Hollingsworth, of Elkton, who was 
at this time, the owner of the site of Marley Mill. This 
gentleman purchased ten acres of land, on both sides of the 
Little Elk, from John Anderson, on the olst of July, 1794, 
for £100. The company, which consisted of the following- 
members, viz. : Colonel Henry Hollingsworth, of Elkton ; 
Levi Hollingsworth and Paschall Hollingsworth, of Phila- 
delphia; Francis Partridge, John Gilpin, Levi Hollings- 
worth, Jr., and James Mackey, of Cecil County ; and Solo- 
man Maxwell and William Cooch, of New Castle County, 
Delaware, are believed to have organized on the 1st of the 
following November, for on that day Colonel Hollingsworth 
executed a deed to the others for eight-tenths of the ten 
acres he had purchased from Anderson, retaining the other 
two-tenths for his own share. The company proceeded to 
build a stone factory, the walls of which were quite thick 
and are now standing, though the wood-work of the build- 
ing was consumed by fire many years ago. The durability 
of the stone-work of this mill seems to have warranted the 
assertion of an historian, who, in speaking of it in 1807, 
said it was the best mill of the kind in the United States. 
Some of the machinery used in this factory was imported 
from Europe. In 1796 the company purchased upwards of 
five hundred acres of land adjoining the site of the mill, in 
order to obtain pasturage for the sheep they intended to 
keep for the purpose of obtaining wool to supply their mill. 
In 1805 the company obtained the services of John Wilson, 
a native of Yorkshire, England, who had learned the art 
of manufacturing broadcloth in his native country, and who 


had one-tenth interest in the business. This company 
manufactured a considerable amount of goods, and it is said 
presented ex-President Jefferson with cloth sufficient to make 
him a suit of clothes, which he wore when being inaugurated 
President of the United States. 

Owing to the custom which then prevailed, of nearly 
•every family manufacturing their cloth by means of the 
old-fashioned spinning-wheels and hand-looms, the com- 
pany did not succeed in finding a remunerative market for 
their goods, and in 1811 Mr. Wilson severed his connection 
with it and purchased the mill property next above, on the 
same stream, where he erected a woolen factory. Mr. Wilson 
was a preacher of the society called Independents, and it 
was through his exertions that the New Leeds church was 
built. He also had the honor of naming that village after 
the manufacturing city of Leeds, in England. Mr, Wilson's 
daughter, Hannah, organized the first Sunday-school in 
this county, probably the first in the State, at New Leeds, 
in 1816. 

The next matter that claims our attention is the project 
of connecting the waters of the Chesapeake and Delaware 
bays by means of a canal. 

As long ago as 1680, when Augustine Hermen was lord 
of Bohemia Manor, the construction of a canal to connect 
the waters of the t\yo bays was contemplated. The earlisst 
settlers along the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays felt the 
want of a better method of transportation than they then had, 
and no doubt the far-seeing and clear-minded Hermen was 
quite as much influenced by the prospective canal and the 
advantages to be derived from •it as he was by the superior 
quality of the soil when he made choice of Bohemia Manor 
and settled upon it. 

In 1769 some of the enterprising citizens of Philadelphia 
induced the American Philosophical Society to order a sur- 
vey to be made with a view of constructing a canal across 
the peninsula, but the Revolutionary war began before any 


active steps were taken towards the construction of the 
work, and it was not chartered by the State of Maryland 
until 1709. It appears from the charter that Maryland was 
the first State to move in the matter, for the charter con- 
tains a proviso that it is to be of no force until a law is 
passed by the State of Delaware authorizing the cutting of 
the canal through that State, and until a law is passed by 
the State of Pennsylvania declaring the river Susquehanna 
to be a highway, etc. The company was authorized to 
raise $500,000, in shares of $200 each, for the construction 
of the canal, and Tobias Rudulph and AVilliam Alexander, 
in Cecil County, in connection with two other persons in 
each of the Eastern Sliore counties of jNIaryland, and other 
persons in Baltimore, Wilmington, and Philadelphia were 
authorized to open the subscription books and inaugurate 
the enterprise. 

About the year 1801 Benjamin H. Latrobe,* Cornelius 
Howard, and John Thompson surveyed various routes 
across the peninsula for the proposed canal, and the direc- 
tors of the company decided to adopt the one between 
Welsh Point, at the junction of Back Creek and Elk River, 
and running in a northeast direction from there to a place 
on Christiana Creek, then called Mendenhall's Landing, 
about four miles west of Wilmington. It Avas the intention 
of the engineers that located the canal in this place to 
supply the water necessary for the purpose of navigating it 

* B. H. Latrobe was of French Huguenot extraction, but born in Eng- 
land. He came to Philadelphia in 1800, and soon afterwards married 
the daujfhter of Isaac llazlehurst, .the law-partner of Robert Morris, the 
financier. While engaged in constructing the feeder, he resided in a 
house which stood north of the Elkton and Christiana Turnpike and east 
of the State line. He was one of the most eminent architects and civil 
engineers of his time, and was employed in supervising the old Capitol 
building at Washington, and also the Exchange, which is now used for 
the Custom House, in Baltimore. He was the father of J. H. B. Latrobe, 
Esq., a distinguished member of the Baltimore bar, and the grandfather 
of F. C. Latrobe, the present mayor of that city. 


from the Big Elk Creek, by means of a feeder constructed 
for the purpose of carrying the water of that creek into a 
vast reservoir,* covering a hundred acres of land, from 
which the water could be taken when needed for the pur- 
pose of locking the various crafts through the canal. About 
a hundred thousand dollars was expended upon the con- 
struction of the feeder, which was intended to carry the 
waters of Big Elk into the proposed reservoir, which was to 
be located about a mile west of Glasgow, in Delaware. The 
work was constructed under the supervision of Benjamin 
H. Latrobe, who was chief engineer. 

The canal company was obliged to purchase the right to 
use the water of Big Elk from the Elk Forge Company, 
whose forge was then located where Elk Mills factory now 
stands, near which the feeder was to start, and also the water 
rights of all the mills between the forge and the mouth of 
the creek. Due bills or promisary notes, similar to bank 
notes, were issued for the purchase of the water rights, and 
work was commenced on the feeder in 1802. Some of the 
plans of the engineers of that time seem quite curious and 
strange when viewed through the light of the experience 
since acquired. The canal company only purchased the 
right from the forge company to use the water of the creek, 
when needed, for the purpose of supplying the canal, the 
forge company reserving the right to use the water of the 
creek during the winter months, when it would be imprac- 
ticable to navigate it. The water of the creek was taken out 
of the head-race of the forge and taken across the channel 
of the creek in an aqueduct constructed for the purpose. It 
would seem to have been a great deal more practicable to 
have taken the water directly from the east side of the dam 
and to have dispensed with the aqueduct, but probably there 

* Owing to a misunderstanding of his instructions, the engraver of the 
map accompanying this book located this reservoir too far south. It 
should have been at the junction of the feeder and the canal, wliicli is 
some distance west of Glasgow, which is called Aikentown on tlie map. 



were reasons that do not now appear, that caused the engi- 
neer to adopt the plan he did. 

The work upon the feeder was done in a superior manner. 
Several of the arches, through which the water of small 
streams was to pass underneath it, are still standing, and 
quite a large one intended for a roadway across it is yet ex- 
tant. It is said that when the late Daniel Lord was con- 
structing the factory which is near the arch, being in want 
of stone, he ordered his workmen to take the arch down, and 
that after many fruitless efforts to do so, they concluded it 
would be easier and cheaper to quarry the stone they wanted. 
This old arch is now standing, and looks strong and durable 
enough to stand at least a century longer. 

For a short time the water of the Big Elk was admitted 
into the feeder, and the stone used in the construction of 
the arches, some distance from the upper end of it, were 
transported to the places where they were used upon scows 
from the quarry near the forge. Many stones were quarried 
and nicely dressed for the arches, which, after the work was 
abandoned, remained near the forge and were used in the 
construction of the railroad bridge across the Big Elk, near 
Elkton, which was recently covered by the embankment, 
after the construction of the new iron bridge in 1876. 

There was much diversity of opinion in regard to the 
proper place for the location of the canal. This was the 
reason that the company after finishing the feeder to the 
site of the proposed reservoir, near Glasgow, were forced to 
discontinue the work, which the}' did, for want of means, 
in 1803. The feeder passed within about two miles of Elk- 
ton, and it is stated in a history of Maryland and Delaware, 
published in Philadelphia in 1807, that barges were then 
used upon it. This is untrue ; though the people of that 
day entertained the opinion that it Avas practicable to use 
the feeder as a canal, and the canal company at that time 
intended to establish slack-water navigation upon the Big 
Elk, north of the forge, by erecting a system of dams and 
locks for that pur}»ose. 


The laborers employed in the construction of the feeder, 
who were principally Irishmen, became involved in a riot 
■while the work was in course of construction. There was a 
race-course at that time in the field near Gilpins Bridge, on 
the southwest side of Big Elk. Many of the Irishmen 
from the feeder were at a horse race on this course, which 
was no uncommon thing, for horse racing was quite com- 
mon in Cecil County at that time, and the races were recog- 
nized by the law of the State. It was customary for those 
who wished to do so, to obtain license to sell liquor at the races, 
and no doubt it was sold at this one, and that the too free 
use of whisky led to the riot, which began in this wise : A 
negro was on the ground, who was proprietor of a gambling 
arrangement, called " Treeket the Loop." It consisted of a 
stake driven into the ground in the centre of a circular ex- 
cavation of probably a foot or eighteen inches in diameter ; 
a cent was placed on the top of the stake by the proprietor, 
and those who wished to participate in the game were fur- 
nished with a club or shillalah and required to stand some 
yards from the stake, and if they could throw the club and 
knock the cent off the stake, so that it would fall outside of 
the pit in which the stake stood, they won the money ; if 
the coin fell inside of the pit, which it probably did in nine 
cases out of ten, the player forfeited a cent to the proprietor 
of the pit. A dispute occurred between the negro who was 
the proprietor of the pit and an Irishman who was playing, 
which came from words to blows, and the negro is said to 
have fractured the skull of one of the Irishmen who soon 
afterwards died. This riot, like all others, was easier started 
than stopped, and from the accounts which have come down 
to us, was quite a serious affair. Many other negroes on the 
race ground became involved in the fight before it was 
over. The Irishmen pursued them to Elkton, and a reign 
of terror was inaugurated which lasted for a considerable 
time, during which several lives were lost. The late Dr. 
Evans, who was then a student of medicine with Dr. 


George E. Mitchell, is said to have been instrumental in 
pacifying the infuriated Irishmen and saving the lives of 
some of the negroes. 

In 1803 work was discontinued upon the feeder, and 
the enterprise was allowed to slumber until 1812. The 
probability of a war with England appears to have been the 
great incentive that impelled the Legislature of Maryland to 
pass a supplementary act to the original charter of the 
canal, for at the session of the General Assembly in the 
winter of 1812-13, the following supplement to the act of in- 
corporation of 1799 was passed : 

"Whereas, During the time of war against the United 
States of America, the completion of tlie work of the Chesa- 
peake & Delaware Canal would be beneficial to the United 
States, by forming the great link of an inland navigation of 
six or seven hundred miles, and thereby establish a per- 
fectly safe, easy and rapid transportation of our armies and 
the munitions of war through the interior of the country, 
and which Avould ever tend to operate as a cement to the 
union between the States : And, whereas, the prosperity and 
the agricultural interest of the State of Maryland, the Com- 
monwealth of Pennsylvania, and the Delaware State, are 
more deeply interested than their sister States in the useful 
work of opening a communication between the Chesapeake 
Bay and river Delaware, by means of the said Chesapeake 
& Delaware Canal ; therefore, in order to enable the presi- 
dent and directors of the said canal to prosecute and finish 
the important work of the said Chesapeake & Delaware 
Canal, Be it enacted by the General Assembly of Maryland, 
That if the United States shall subscribe 750 shares, the 
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 375 shares, the State of 
Delaware 100 shares, in the Chesapeake & Delaware Canal 
Co., in such case the treasurer of the western shore be and 
he is hereby authorized and directed to subscribe in behalf 
of this State 250 shares in said company, and the money 
necessary to be paid in consequence of such subscription 


shall be paid by this State, and the treasurer of the western 
shore, for the time being, shall have the right to vote for 
president and directors of said company, according to such 
number of shares in person or by proxy appointed by him, 
and the said treasurer shall receive upon the said stock the 
proportion of the tolls which shall from time to time be due 
to the State for the shares aforesaid. 

" And be it enacted, that this act shall not take effect, 
unless the Legislature of Pennsylvania shall pass or shall 
have passed a law declaring that in consideration of the act 
of the Legislature of Maryland incorporating said canal 
company, the river Susquehanna from Columbia to the 
Maryland line shall forever hereafter be a highway, and 
that individuals or bodies corporate may at all times remove 
obstructions therein." 

The war that the Legislature apprehended took place, and 
nothing more was done toward the completion of the work 
until about 1822 or 1823, when the project was again revived. 
There appears to have been much diversity of opinion in 
regard to the supply of water to be obtained from the Big 
Elk Creek, and various estimates were made of it. 
In 1804 Mr. Latrobe estimated it as equal to one hundred 
and ninety locks full per day. In 1823 John Randel, Jr., 
civil engineer of Albany, New York, then in the employ of 
the company and under whose superintendence the route 
for the canal had been surveyed, estimated it as equal to 
seventy-nine locks full per day on an average of a whole 
year, but as only equal to thirty locks full per day in the 
months of July, August, September, and October, which 
only allowed the passage of six vessels per day through the 
canal. Mr. Randel was accused of under-estimating the 
quantity of water in the Elk Creek, with a view of having 
the canal located further down the peninsula, where it now 
is, so that he could have an opportunity of obtaining a 
lucrative contract for its construction. The people of Wil- 
mington were apprehensive that if the canal was located so 


as to reach the Delaware River, without using the Christiana 
Creek for that purpose, it would injure the trade of their 
city, and as was very natural, they looked upon the diffi- 
culty of constructing it, very complacently, and the news- 
paper press of that city continually prophesied its ultimate 

Mr. Randel, the engineer, upon whose surveys and esti- 
mates the work was undertaken, recommended the cutting 
of the canal so deep that the supply of water could be ob- 
tained for its use from tlie Delaware River at high tide, by 
means of tide-locks at either end of the canal, so constructed 
as to prevent a current in it, and also to admit the water of 
the Delaware River to enter it at higli tide. This was a 
grand scheme and worthy of the ingenious and scientific 
man that originated it. He contemplated using the Atlantic 
Ocean as the reservoir from which the canal was to be sup- 
plied with water. This plan, had it been adhered to, would 
have saved the expense of the steam-pump which now has 
to be used to su]»ply the canal with water; but probably 
owing to the great cost of excavating so deep a channel it 
was abandoned and the present system of locks adopted in 
its stead. 

It is worthy of remark that the canal company resumed 
work, which had been suspended for twenty-one years, under 
the presidency of the same person who presided over it 
when work was suspended, and that the due bills for a large 
amount of the indebtedness of the compan3',which was con- 
tracted in its early efforts, were paid at their par value. 

The canal company employed Mr. Randel to excavate the 
greater part of the canal and executed articles of agreement 
with him for the construction of the work on the 2()tli day 
of March, 1824. The work was commenced on the 15th of 
April following u}»on the deep cut near where the Summit 
Bridge formerly stood. Randel was allowed until the 1st of 
May, 1828, to finish his contract, but for some reason the 
company took the work out of his hands, and in the fall of 


1825, contractefi with other persons for the completion of 
the unfinished part of it. This action of the company 
caused Randel to sue it for damages, and after years of litiga- 
tion he recovered damages in January, 1834, to the amount 
of more than two hundred and twenty-six thousand dollars. 
The suit between Randel and the canal company, which 
was tried in the Superior Court at New Castle, is one of the 
most notable cases ever tried in the State of Delaware, being 
celebrated as well on account of the amount of money in- 
volved, as on account of the eminent counsel employed 
by the parties concerned in it. John Randel, Jr., by which 
cognomen he was known until the day of his death, was pos- 
sessed of much skill as a civil engineer, though strange and 
eccentric, and full of Utopian schemes and projects. He 
afterwards became the proprietor of " Randalia," which was 
a large tract of land on Bohemia Manor, near the mouth of 
Back Creek. His success in prosecuting his suit against the 
canal company appears to have made him fond of litiga- 
tion, and for many years after he became proprietor of 
" Randalia" he was seldom without a law suit on hand. 
Owing to his success in this suit with the canal company, 
he was placed in possession of a competency, most of which 
he squandered in the prosecution of wild, chimerical 
schemes for self-aggrandizement, which it would have taken 
many hundreds of thousands of dollars to have brought to 
a successful conclusion. He was also the originator of 
elevated railroads, which have recently been erected in some 
of our large cities. At one time, while Mr. Randel was 
proprietor of Randalia, he had a steam saw-mill in opera- 
tion there, and somehow he unfortunately lost a breast-pin 
which he valued very highly. Work was immediately 
stopped at Randalia, and everybody in his employ was set 
to work hunting for the lost breast-pin. The hands at the 
saw-mill were set to work sifting an immense pile of saw 
dust, the accumulation of years, in order to find the lost jewel. 
After much tribulation the long-lost and much-esteemed 


bauble was found in the possession of some person, who 
said he found it along the road some distance from Randa- 
lia, where no doubt its owner had dropped it. The chance 
for a law suit was not to be lost, however, and the conten- 
tious Randel laid his case before the next grand jury with 
the intention of having the person who found the breast-pin 
indicted for theft, but the grand jury very wisely dismissed 
the case. 

Though Randel was the engineer who surveyed the route 
for the canal and made the plans and estimates for its con- 
struction when he became contractor for the performance of 
the work, the company employed Benjamin Wright to act 
as engineer, under whose superintendence the work was 
completed on the 17th of October, 1829. This important 
work is thirteen and five-eighths of a mile long, and was 
made at the cost of $2,250,000. Its construction was a work 
of great difficulty, owing to the peculiarities of the land 
through which the eastern part of it is made. Large sec- 
tions of the embankments along the sides of it are said to 
have sunk as much as a hundred feet below the adjoining 
surface, which caused the bottom of the canal to rise as 
much as forty feet above its natural position. This le5 to 
much trouble and delay in the completion of the work ; nor 
was this the only trouble, for the earth taken out of the 
deep cut, which at the summit is seventy-six and a half feet 
deep, was deposited too near the cliannel of the canal, and 
it is estimated that during tlie construction of the work 
three hundred and seventy-five thousand cubic yards of it 
slid back into the canal and had to be again removed. For 
many years after the completion of the work, these immense 
mountain-like piles of earth had an ugly habit of sliding 
into the canpl, and at one time the company' had many 
acres of them thatched with straw, like an Irish cabin, to 
keep them dry and render them tenacious enough to main- 
tain the j)Osition in which they were originally placed. 
Much stone was required for walling parts of the canal, a 


great deal of which was obtained in the vicinity of Marley 
Mill and Cherry Hill, and which was hauled to the western 
part of the canal in four-horse wagons. This stone was 
purchased by weight and weighed upon immense scales con- 
structed for the purpose. The scales were large enough to 
hold a wagon loaded with stone, and were constructed with 
a wooden beam similar to a steelyard ; the loaded wagon 
was driven upon the platform and weighed, and after being 
unloaded weighed again, the difference in weight showing 
the weight of the load of stone. The Summit or Buck* 
bridge, across the canal at the deep cut, was nearly ninety 
feet above the bottom of the canal and two hundred and 
forty-seven feet long. It was considered a stupendous 
structure fifty years ago, when the Pacific Railroad liad not 
been thought of and our vast system of public improvements 
were in their infancy. People that were school children 
forty years ago will recollect the picture of this bridge that 
was in a popular geography which was much used at that 

The enlargement of the Susquehanna Canal seems to have 
given a great impetus to the growth of the town (now Port 
Deposit) just below its southern terminus, or probably it 
would be more correct to say, that the success of that enter- 
prise led to the building of the town. As early as 1729, 
Thomas Cresap, who took such an active part in the border 
war a few years afterwards, had a ferry there, which is be- 
lieved to have been called Smith's Ferry, probably because 
it was near the uppermost point on the river which was 
reached by the adventurous Captain John Smith, who 
ascended it when engaged in exploring the Chesapeake Bay 
and its tributaries. It was afterwards called Creswell's 
Ferry, because it was owned by Colonel John Creswell, the 
grandfather of the Hon. J. A. J. Creswell, who owned two 

* This bridge was often called the Buck bridge, because there was a 
tavern near it with the sign of a Buck. 


large tracts of land contiguous to it, much of wliich is yet in 
possession of the Creswell family. The town, if there was 
any town there, must have been quite small in 1813 when 
the British visited Lapidum, for they made but little exer- 
tion to enter it, though it was a place of some importance,. 
and the citizeiis and the people of the vicinity had erected a 
fort for its defense, and probably would have given them a 
warm reception. 

Philip Thomas then owned large quantities of land ex- 
tending from near the ferry, which was about midway of 
the town, a considerable distance down the river, embracing 
the tracts called Mount Ararat, and Yorkshire, which was 
immediately below the former and some others. He died 
in 1811, and his property not being susceptible of division^ 
was purchased by his son Philip the next year, he agreeing 
to pay the other heirs tlieir shares of the value placed upon 
it by the commissioners appointed by the court for that pur- 
pose. Mr. Thomas caused the lower lialf of tlie town to be 
laid out into streets and building-lots by Hugh Beard, an 
eminent surveyor of that time, who made a plat of it, which 
may be seen among the land records of the county. This 
plat is dated October 21st, 1812, and purports to be the plat 
of a town at Creswell 's Ferry. But at the session of the 
Legislature held the next winter, the name of the place was 
changed to Port Deposit. This change was made, as stated 
in the preamble to the act, to prevent the inconvenience 
arising from the different names by which the place was 
then called. There is reason to believe that the town had^ 
previous to this time, been also called Rock Run. 

The next year Edward Wilson, of Philadelphia, purchased 
for six thousand dollars the site of the mill at the lower or 
tide locks, of the canal, which included an insignificant 
amount of land and the right to water suflicient to run six 
pairs of mill-stones of six feet diameter, to be driven by 
water-wheels of not less than fifteen feet diameter. The 
quantity of water was to be ascertained by actual experi- 


ment after the mill was erected. This mill subsequently 
came into the possession of James Bosley, of Baltimore, who, 
in 1831, became involved in a quarrel with the proprietors 
of the canal in reference to the Ciuantity of water he used. 
Bosley used more water than was agreeable to the proprie- 
tors of the canal, who advertised in the Baltimore papers 
that they would permit the use of the water of the canal 
only in accordance with the agreement in the deed given to 
Wilson. Bosley set the proprietors of the canal at defiance, 
and one day started the machinerj^ at its utmost speed, in 
consequence of which the mill caught fire and was entirely 
consumed. This ended the quarrel. 

Previous to the construction of the canal, most of the 
lumber and produce which came down the river stopped at 
Lapidum. This was because the water was deeper on that 
side of the river. After the construction of the canal, the 
business was diverted to the other side of the river, and the 
want of some better means of crossing than that afforded by 
a ferry became necessary. This led to the first efforts to 
erect the Susquehanna bridge, and resulted in the formation 
of the first Port Deposit bridge compan}^ which was incor- 
])orated in 1808. Of the incorporators, five were from Bal- 
timore City and County, six from Harford County, and six 
were from Cecil, as follows : James Sewell, Adam AVhann, 
Henry "\V. Physic, William Hollingsworth, Thomas W. 
Veazey, and Thomas Williams. The commissioners were 
authorized to raise $250,000 by subscription, in shares of 
fifty dollars each, for the purpose of building a bridge over 
the Susquehanna'River at the most suitable place in their 
judgment between Havre de Grace and Bald Friar Ferry. 

This effort failed owing to the inability of the commis- 
sioners to obtain the requisite amount of subscriptions to the 
stock, and at the session of 1812, an act was passed author- 
izing and requiring John Creswell, Samuel C. Hall, and 
Lawrence McComb, of Cecil County, and John Stump, John 
Archer, and James Stevenson, of Harford County, who 


were appointed commissioners for the purpose, to fix upon a 
site for a bridge at such point on the Susquehanna River, at 
or near the head of tide water at Kerr's Island, near 
Rock Run, as to tliem should appear most proper. This act 
also designated twenty of the most influential citizens of 
Baltimore, Harford, and Cecil counties, to solicit subscrip- 
tions. The commissioners employed Hugh Beard, alluded 
to in connection with the town at Creswell's Ferry, to la}' 
out a site for the bridge. His certificate of survey is dated 
the 16th of August, 1813. It shows that the bridge, or 
bridges, were to extend from the Harford shore to Wood's 
Island, thence to Kerr's Island, thence to Steel's Island, and 
from there to the Cecil shore. By this route the bridges be- 
tween the Harford shore and Kerr's Island were placed fur- 
ther up the river than the others, and the turnpike connect- 
ing them crossed Kerr's Island at a considerable angle. 
This route required three thousand three hundred feet of 
bridging and two hundred perches of turnpike across the 
islands. This site was not satisfactory, probably for the rea- 
son that the route was longer than was necessary, and by a 
supplementary act passed in 1815, the company was author- 
ized to change it. 

Eight years had elapsed since the first effort to erect the 
bridge had been made and still it had not been commenced. 
This long delay was caused by the scarcity of money and 
-the reluctance of capitalists to invest in an enterprise that 
seemed hazardous and uncertain. Probably they had 
doubts about the practicability of maintaining the bridge, 
after it was erected, on account of the tremendous ice floods 
in the river. But financial ability seems never to have been 
wanting among the citizens of Port Deposit, and they 
tried perhaps the only plan that could have resulted suc- 
cessfully, that Avas, to have the charter amended so as to 
•allow the company to carry on the banking business. This 
change was effected in 1816, and was eminently successful. 
The site selected at this time, which was the one upon 


which the bridge was built, crossed the river, which at that 
place was only twenty feet less than a mile wide, nearly at 
right angles. This route was upwards of a thousand feet 
shorter than the other one. At the same time, about four 
acres of the river bank on the Cecil side, contiguous to the 
abutment, was condemned for the use of the company, for 
the purpose of obtaining stone for the construction of the 
abutments and piers. 

It is worthy of remark, as showing the changes that have 
taken place since that time, that the owners of this land, in 
most cases, received but one cent damages each, Avhich was 
equivalent to about one cent an acre. The bridge Avas in 
course of construction in 1817 and was finished the next 
year. Kerr's Island was then owned by Robert Kerr, whose 
large family of seven daughters and four sons were born 
on it. 

At this time. Dr. John Archer was president and Thomas L. 
Savin, cashier of the company. The company was author- 
ized to discount notes and issue bank bills, and though it is 
probable that the bridge could not have been built without 
a resort to this or some similar means, it is doubtful if it 
finally was not productive of more harm than good, for the 
company ultimately failed, and the stockholders and holders 
of the notes in circulation lost heavily. This bridge was 
built by contract by a Mr. Burr, and was consumed by fire, 
on the 1st of January, 1823. The fire is said to have orig- 
inated from friction caused by an iron shod sleigh, which 
was driven rapidly over it. The bridge was rebuilt in 
1829-30, by a Mr. Wormwag, who was the contractor; it 
remained standing until 1854, when one span of it was 
broken by a drove of cattle which were crossing. It was 
never repaired, and the remainder was carried away by a 
freshet in 1857. 

The Susquehanna Canal never paid the proprietors much 
interest on the capital invested, and they were always in 
debt. In 1817 they owed the Bank of Maryland upwards 


of $30,000, for which a judgment was obtained, to satisfy 
which the canal was sold by Robert C. Lusby, who was then 
sheriff of this county. It was purchased by Samuel Sterritt, 
of Baltimore, who was treasurer of the canal company, for 
$40,000. There being doubts of the validity of this sale, 
Sterritt conveyed the canal back to the compan}' in Febru- 
ary, 1819, in order that it might be resold for the benefit of 
the creditors. An examination of the minute book of the 
company, from 1821 to 1835, which is all that is now ex- 
tant, throws some little light upon the history of the com- 
pany during that time. 

During that period there were saw-mills in operation at 
Conowingo and Octoraro, and the company were quarreling 
a great deal with the proprietors of the mills about the 
quantity of water they used. The managers were also an- 
noyed by persons wlio used the tow-path for a highway, 
and in 1829 they passed a resolution requiring their agents 
to place such obstructions on it as would prevent it from 
being injured by wheeled carriages. This yeai- the com- 
pany opened a quarry, near the east end of the bridge, 
which was the beginning of the trade in granite that has 
added so much to the prosperity of Port Deposit. The 
same year the managers fixed the rates of toll for coal 
barges or arks, which indicates that but few of them had 
come down the river before this time. A motion was made 
this year by one of the managers that a model of the boats 
used for the transportation of heavy goods and merchandise 
on the river Mersey, near Liverpool, be obtained for the 
purpose of ascertaining whether such boats were suitable 
for use on the canal and for the passage to Baltimore. This 
was only about a half a century ago, and it is hard to realize 
that the people of that time were so little acquainted with 
the means and appliances for canal and inland navigation. 
But the reader must not forget that this canal was among 
the first constructed in this country, and that steam naviga- 
tion was then in its infancy. 


In 1832 the company memorialized the Legislature in 
reference to two dams erected across the river, one at Nanti- 
coke and the other at Shamokin. These dams prevented 
the free navigation of the river, and were in violation of 
the compact between Maryland and Pennsylvania, in con- 
sequence of which Maryland had consented to charter the 
Chesapeake and Delaware Canal, and the other company 
asked the Legislature to use such means as would cause the 
dams to be removed. In 1832 the company purchased 
thirty acres of land for a log-pond. Previous to this time 
it had a small pond, but the increased amount of lumber 
that passed through the canal made it necessary to enlarge 
it. In 1835 the canal from Columbia to the State line was 
jDrojected, and the proprietors of the Susquehanna Canal 
seem at first to have been very fayorably impressed with it; 
so much so as to send a considerable sum of money to Har- 
risburg to be used in helping to obtain the charter. 

The Pennsylvania Company was incorporated in 1835, 
and the proprietors of the Susquehanna Canal immediately 
offered to sell out to it, or to continue their canal to tide 
water with locks of a capacity equal to those of the other canal, 
and to charge no more toll per mile than it did, which fully 
explains why they had spent their money to aid the other 
company in obtaining its charter. Shortly after this ar- 
rangement was sought to be effected, it was ascertained that 
the proprietors of the Susquehanna Canal had no legal au- 
thority to sell the franchise conferred upon them by their 
charter. This led to a long and angry newspaper contro- 
versy between the friends of the resj^ective companies. The 
Pennsylvania Company threatened to cross the river above 
the State line and continue their canal to tide water, thus 
effectually destroying the business of the other one. The 
Maryland Company charged the other one with trying to 
depreciate the value of their stock and trying to make the 
impression on the public that instead of being valuable as 
so mucli of the work already completed it was a hindrance 


to the new enterprise. The matter was finally adjusted by 
an act of the Legislature of Maryland, passed in 1836, in 
compliance with which the two companies were subsequently 
consolidated. This was effected by the new company pur- 
chasing a large prejDonderance of the stock and assuming 
all the incumberances and responsibilities of the old one. 
Thus ended a controversy between the people of the two 
States about the navigation of this turbulent river that had 
continued for forty years and at times was as turbulent as 
the river itself. 


County divided into election districts — County commissioners — Loca- 
tion of boundary line between Cecil and Harford — Number of mills in 
Cecil County — ^Elkton wheat market — Manufactories — Charlestown — 
Elkton bauk — Line of packets between Baltimore and Philadelphia via 
Elkton — Frenchtown and New Castle Turnpike Company — Curious pro- 
vision in the charter. 

Previous to the Revolutionary war, the elections for dele- 
gates to the Legislature were held at the county seat, and the 
people voted vive voce. From the close of that war until 1800, 
elections were still held at the seat of justice, and continued 
for three days ; but in that year, Henry Pearce, Colonel 
John Creswell, William Alexander, Jacob Reynolds, and 
Samuel Plogg, who had been designated by the Legislature 
as commissioners, laid off the county into four election dis- 
tricts. The first district included all that part of tHe county 
south of Back Creek and the Elk River ; elections were 
held at Warwick, in the house of Isaac Woodland. The 
second district included all that part of the county north of 
Back Creek, and east of a northerly line running from Elk 
ferry, along certain old roads long since closed, until it struck 
the North East Creek, and continued up the cr^ek to the 
fork thereof, thence up the eastern branch until it forked, 
thence by a northerly course until it reached the State line ; 
elections were held in Elkton in the court-house. The 
third district included tliat part of Elk Neck, west of Elk 
ferry and that part of the county between the western boun- 
dary line of the second district and Principio Creek, and a 
northerly line from near the head of that creek to the State 
line ; elections were held at Charlestown, in the house of 
Samuel Hogg. The fourth district included all that part of the 



county west of the third district ; elections were held at 
Battle Swamp, in the house of Greenbury Rawlings. Jacob 
Reynolds did not sign the return made by the other com- 
missioners, probably for the reason that he did not agree 
with them about the place of holding the election in the 
fourth district, which soon after was changed to the village 
of Rising Sun. These districts remained intact until 1835, 
when Joseph Bryan, Edward Wilson, William Macky, Henrj' 
C. Chamberlaine, Thomas S. Thomas, George Kidd and 
Patrick Ewing were appointed by an act of the Legislature to 
lay off the county into seven districts. This change was 
made in deference to the wishes of the people in regard to 
tlie selection of county commissi(»ners. 

By the act of 1797 five persons were to be appointed by 
the executive, styled " Commissioners of the tax," who were 
to levy the tax and do such other business generally as had 
previously been transacted by the justices' court, when sit- 
ting as a levy court; but in 1827 this law was repealed, and 
it was enacted that five commissioners should be elected by 
the people. One of these commissioners was to be chosen 
from each district by the voters of the district, except the 
second, from which two were to be chosen. This law did 
not work satisfactorily for obvious reasons, and the Legisla- 
ture sought to abridge the power of the second district by 
the act of 1829, which provided that the commissioners 
should be elected by the people of the whole county, but 
made no change in the number, and still required two of 
them to be taken from the second district. 

The commissioners appointed by the act of 1835 met at 
the court-house early in April, 183G, and appointed Thomas 
Richards in place of Patrick Ewing, who refused to serve, 
and on the 21st of June, 1837, completed their work, having 
laid off the county into districts, nearly as they are at pre- 
sent, except that the eighth district was formed out of parts 
of the sixth and seventh by an act of the Legislature in 
1852, and the ninth in the same manner in 185G, out of 


parts of the fourth, fifth, aad sixth districts. It is worthy 
of remark that only four of the commissioners signed the 
report, which indicates that tlie others did not agree with 

In 1829 the Legislature appointed James Steel, Stephen 
Boyd, Washington Hall, Levi H. Evans, and Samuel Irwin, 
commissioners to locate the boundary line between Cecil 
and Harford counties. They finished their work in LS32. 
Their report shows that they began at the State line, at a 
rock called Long Rock, in the middle of the Susquehanna 
River, in which they inserted an iron bolt, marking the 
rock with the initials of the two counties, and continued 
the line southwardly by various islands and rocks in the 
river until they reached a large, flat rock, at the lower part 
of Watson's Island, which they marked with a ring and bolt 
and the letters H and C. 

It is stated in a history of Maryland and Delaware, pub- 
lished in Philadelphia, by Joseph Scott, in 1807, that at tliat 
time there were fifty-three grist and merchant-mills in this 
county, and that Cecil Furnace, on Principio Creek, was in 
successful operation, and cannon, equal to any manufactured 
in the United States, were made there. There were, in ad- 
dition to these, a forge at North East, one on the Octoraro, 
and one on the Big Elk; several rolling and slittingmills* 
on the Elk Creeks, and a nail factory at Marley. There 
were also fifty saw-mills, four fulling-mills, and two oil-mills 
in the county. Elkton was described as " one of the greatest 
wheat markets in America, 250,000 bushels being sold in a 
year." This quantity may now seem too small to have war- 
ranted this assertion, but at this time the fertile fields of tlie 
Western States were an unexplored wilderness, and a great 
deal of the wheat produced in Lancaster County was sold in 
Elkton, and to the millers along the Elk Creeks, who found 
a market for their flour in Philadelphia. Strange as it may 

* Mills for separatiug bars of iron lengthwise by water-power. 


now seem, the assertion was probably quite true. It is stated 
in Scott's History that Elkton contained one hundred and 
twenty dwellings, and that about a thousand castor and 
and wool hats were made there annually. And that Charles- 
town contained forty-five dwellings and two hundred and 
fifty inhabitants, and the two stores there sold annuall}' 
£7,000 worth of goods, and that tliere was a market house 
in Charlestown, in which markets were held twice a week, 
and that six vessels sailed from that town weekly. The 
cabinet making and Windsor chair making were also carried 
on extensively in Charlestown, and the author mentions as 
a notable fact that fifty pairs of boots and two thousand 
pairs of shoes were made there annually. The fact is that 
boots were very little used in this country at that time, only 
a few of the wealthy people being able to afford so expensive 
a luxury. Charlestown at this time Avas the most impor- 
tant town in the county and had reached the height of its 
prosperity. The people of tlie county were generally a free 
and easy set of " hale fellows well met," and were given to 
fun and frolic. On Saturda}' afternoons it was customary 
for the people of many neighborhoods to assemble at the 
country stores and taverns and indulge in playing at ball 
and " long bullets." Long bullets, though a very popular 
game at that time, has long since fallen into disuse, and 
very few persons now living know how it was played. It 
appears, however, to have consisted in throwing cannon- 
balls of several pounds weight, as far as possible, bj^ two sets 
of players, those who scored the greatest distance being the 
winners of the game. The citizens of Charlestown indulged 
in this game to such an extent as to endanger the lives and 
limbs of pedestrians, and in 1802, the town commissioners 
passed the following ordinance : 

" Whereas, the inhabitants of Charlestown have suffered, 
and have been likely to suffer, by playing long bullets on 
the streets of the aforesaid town. In consequence wliereof 
the commissioners of Charlestown have agreed and passed 
into a law, that any person or persons who will be found 


playing long bullets on the streets before mentioned shall 
pay a fine of five dollars with costs of suit if any for every 
such offense." 

The village of Brick Meeting-house, then called Notting- 
ham, contained eleven dwellings and ninety-two inhabitants, 
and the writer before referred to informs his readers that 
clocks and mathematical instruments were made there. He 
also states that the flour trade of Elkton had declined since 
the establishment of banks in Baltimore, and it was no doubt 
with a view of restoring it that the Elkton Bank was chartered. 
This bank was the first in the county, and was chartered in 
1810. The business of the bank was transacted for a time 
in the old brick building two doors east of the^Court-house. 
Twenty-one of the most influential citizens of the county 
were named in the act of incorporation, any five of whom 
were empowered to act as commissioners to put the bank in 
operation. The capital stock was to consist of $300,000 
money of the United States, divided into 6,000 shares of $50 
each, 2,000 shares being reserved to the State. The act of 
incorporation provided that all notes offered for discount 
should be made negotiable at the banking house, and when 
the drawer did not reside in Elkton, the notes were to be 
made payable at the house of some person in the town and 
notice given at said house that the note had become due 
was to be held and considered as binding on the drawer and 
endorsers as if it had been personally served upon each of 
them. This bank continued in operation until 1822, when 
it failed, owing to the fact that the millers for whose con- 
venience it had been chartered, sold their flour on credit to 
certain merchants in Philadelphia, who unfortunately failed 
and the millers, being largely indebted to the bank, were 
unable to meet their engagements. 

In 1806-7 the first line of packets between Baltimore and 
Philadelphia was established by William McDonald and 
Andrew Henderson. It consisted of four slooi)S whicli ran 
to Frenchtown,whence freight was carried by wagons to New 
Castle and thence to Philadelphia by water. Shortly after 


this time another line was started between the two cities via 
Court-house Point and a point on the Delaware near Port 
Penn. The two lines were soon consolidated under the name 
of the Union Line, after which the line via Court-house 
Point was discontinued. 

The large amount of business done by this line and the 
difficulty of transporting passengers and freight across the 
peninsula on the roads then in use, led to the organization 
of the Frenchtown and New Castle Turnpike Company, 
which was chartered in 1809. The act of incorporation con- 
tains many curious provisions, but is too long to be inserted 
here. It required the turnpike to be laid out one hundred 
feet wide, and further required that an artificial road, at 
least twenty feet wide, be constructed and well bedded with 
wood, stone, gravel, clay, or other proper and convenient ma- 
terials, well compacted together a sufficient depth to secure 
a solid foundation for the same. By the terms of the char- 
ter, the turnpike was to be finished in three years,which was 
not done, and in 1813, the Legislature extended the time, 
having in the meantime made the important discovery that 
clay was not a proper and convenient material for bedding 
the road. 

The schedule of tolls, which is lengthy, but moderate, con- 
tains many curious provisions, one of which is as follows : 
"For every cart or wagon, the breadth of the wheels of luhich 
shall be more than seven inches, and not more than ten inches, or 
being of the breadth of seven inches, and shall roll more than ten 
inches, two cents for each horse drawing the same; for every 
cart or wagon, the breadth of the wheels of which shall be 
more than ten inches, and not exceeding twelve inches or being ten 
incites shall roll^ more than fifteen, one cent and a Jialf for 
each horse drawing the same; and for any such carriage 

* This seems to indicate that the fore and hind wlieels were not inten- 
ded to run in tlie same track, but were purposely made to run in dilTercnt 
ones, for the purpose of smoothing and compacting tlic road, which had 
it been made of clay as at first contemplated, it frequently would 
have badly needed. 


the breadth of the wheels of which shall be more than twelve 
indies, one cent for each horse drawing the same." 

Whether wagons were made in those days with wheels, 
the rims of which were of the width of ten and twelve inches, 
has not been ascertained, but the Legislators of the State in 
] 809 seemed to be of the opinion that they might be made, 
and graduated the toll according to the width of the rim of 
the wheels that might be used on the turnpike. 


War of 1812 — British fleet in Chesapeake Bay — Canii) of observation 
on Bull's mountain — General Thomas M. Foreman — Forts llolliujiisworth 
and Defiance — Colonel William (Barrett — Persons employed in buildiiij; 
Fort Deliance — British land on Spesutia Island — Visit Turkey Point — 
Burn Frenchtown — Zeb. Furgusson — British fail to reach Elkton — Inci- 
dents and anecdotes — Burning of Havre de Grace — Poetical extract — 
Pillaging — British burn Principio Furnace — Destruction of Frederick- 
town and Georgetown — Brave defence of Colonel Veazey — List of militia 
under him — Treaty of Ghent — Rejoicing — Accident at Fort Ilollings- 

It is not within the scope of this work to discuss the 
causes that led to tlie war of 1812, for that reason it suffices 
to say tliat the people of this country were divided in their 
opinions respecting the justice of it; and, while the Demo- 
cratic party, then in power, was in favor of the war, the 
Federalists opposed it. Owing to this, party spirit was very 
bitter in Baltimore at that time, and manifested itself in 
riotous and disorderly conduct; but to the credit of the 
people of this county, though probably a majority of them 
belonged to the Federal party, no riotous demonstrations 
occurred within its limits. 

At that time this country had not completed the first 
third of a century of its existence as an indejiendent nation, 
and was but illy prepared to cope successfully with Eng- 
land, which then was probably the strongest nation on 
earth. In December, 1S12, England declared the posts on 
the Chesapeake and Delaware bay under blockade ; and in 
the February following, a large squadron under Admiral 
Cookburn entered the former and commenced }>reying upon 
our commerce, and plundering and pillaging the inhabi- 
tants along its shores. Their primary object was the capture 


of Baltimore City, which was then, as now, the commercial 
emporium of the State. At this time many of the militia 
of the county were in that city, having been summoned 
there to aid in its defense. This left the county in great 
measure unprepared to repel the attacks of the British ; but 
what few militia remained at home did the best they knew. 

Early in the spring of that 3^ear they established a camp 
of observation on the summit of Bulls Mountain, and 
stationed a company of cavalry there to watch the enemy 
and give notice of their approach, by means of a line of mili- 
tary posts, extending from that place to Elkton. They also 
prepared to defend the county seat and the other towns 
along the navigable waters of the county, but owing to 
their want of experience and the scarcity of artillery, their 
efforts were of little avail when the threatened invasion 
took place. 

General Thomas M. Foreman* was in command of this 

* General Thomas Marsh Foreman was a native of Kent Island and a 
grandson of Thomas Marsh, who bequeathed him the plantation called 
"Rose Ilill," in Sassafras Neck, upon which most of his life was spent. 
When the Revolutionary war commenced he was living on this plantation 
in charge of a tutor, and thougli only lifteen years of age, ran oflF and 
joined the American army. His friends being unable to induce him to 
return home, procured for him the position of aid-de-camp to General 
Sterling. During the occupation of Philadelphia by the Biitish he was 
stationed at the Green Tree Tavern to prevent the Tory market people 
from communicating with the enemy, lie was one of the representatives 
of Cecil County in the General Assembly in 1790 and 1800, and served 
under General Armstrong during the bombardment of Fort jMcIIcnry, in 
1813. His remains are interred in the family burying ground at Rose 
Hill, and are covered with a marble slab, on which is the following epi- 
taph : " To the memory of a gallant soldier of the Revolution, Major 
Thomas ]\Iarsli Foreman, eldest son of Ezekiel Augustine Foreman, 
who was born August 20th, 1758. At the age of fifteen he joined the 
army, and at Trenton, Princeton, Monmouth, Brandywine, and Valley 
Forge bravely fought and endured. He died after a short illness, in a 
firm but humble hope of mercy through his Lord and Savior, on the 8th 
of Jan., 1845.'' There is evidently an error in the above epitaph. Gen- 
eral Foreman was probably eighteen years of age when he jeined the 


district, but he seems to liave been engaged elsewhere, and 
not to have directly taken part in thedefenseof this county, 
consequently the local leaders acted as they thought best, 
and without that concentrated effort best calculated to in- 
sure success. Instead of attempting to defend the mouths 
of the rivers, they erected forts at Fredericktown, French- 
town, Charlestown, Elk Landing, and on the Elk River, 
about a mile below the latter place. The fort at Elk Land- 
ing was called " Fort Hollingsworth," in honor of the Hol- 
lingsworths, who q^wned the land on which it stood, and 
whose ancestors had taken such an active part in the Revo- 
lutionary war. It was a small earth-work or redoubt, 
mounted with a few pieces of small cannon, and stood a 
few yards southeast of the old stone house now standing 
near the wharf, and which at that time, and long afterwards, 
was used for a tavern to accommodate the passengers travel- 
ing between Baltimore and Philadelphia. Fort Defiance 
was about a mile further down, on the bluff on the north- 
west side of the river, at what is now called Fowlers Shore. 
It was a work of considerable size, and situated so as to 
command the channel of the river on two sides of it, the 
channel at that time being near the bluff west of the fort. 
Part of the east embankment may be seen at this time. In 
addition to the redoubt on the bluff, a smaller earth-work 
was erected about three hundred yards up the river, on the 
same side, and strong chains were fastened to posts firmly 
fixed on the opposite shores, to which chains extending to 
windlasses in the forts were fastened and submerged in the 
water, so that if the enemy's barges passed tlie lower fort 
the chains could be drawn taut at the top of the water, 
thus making the capture or destruction of the barges almost 

These works are believed to have been planned by Col- 
onel William Garrett, who was in command of the force 
that erected them, as appears from the following list copied 
from the original : 



" Returns of the Officers & Privates atteiiding at Fort De- 
fiance from the 29th* unto the 24th May, 1813. 


John Davidson, Captain, 
Saml. Cowden, Leftent., 
Cap. Davidson's Co., 
John Garrett, Left., 
Joseph Steel, Ensign., 
Saml. Williamson, Cap., 
John Short, Left., 
Saml. Thompson, Sargt. Maj., 
Weston George, Sai-gt. & Gnnr. 
John E. Jones, Seargnt, 
John Scott, (Blacksmith) Scrgt. 
William Mackey, Serg't., 
Jas. Philips, Commisary, 
James Clifton, Gunner, 
Aron Stout, Gunner, 
Saml. Drennen, Artilerist, 

Saml. Work, 
Saml. Lowery, 
Robert Hemphill, 
James Perry, 
Hugh McNcUy, 
Hugh Rogers, 
James Ditoway, 
John Foster, 
Thomas Bayland, 
Zebulin McDonald, 
George McDonald, 
John Maloney, 
John Lowery, 
Thomas Garrett, Sr 
John Hays, 
Thonuis Furguson, 
Nicholas Price, 
Simon Hutton, 
Thomas Davis, 
John Maxfield, 
Michael McNamce, 
William Thornton, 





Jacob Tyson, Jr., 


John Wirt, 



Benjamin Bowen, 



James Scott, 



Christopher McAlister, 



Saml. Shoi't, 



Saml. Smith, 



Abraham Boreland, 



Blaney Edmunson, 



Edward Graves, 



Constant Trivit, 



Geo. Enos, 



John Payne, 



Barney Graves, 



George Holmes, 



Peter Fouuce, 



John Ginn, 



Ephriam Morrison, 



Moses Scott, 



Andrew P. Armstrong, 



Saml. Taylor, 



Saml. Hayes, 



James Worth, 



Charles Conley, 



James McGregor, 



Robert Orr, 



William ^Manlield, 



Thos. Whitesides, 



James Crawford, 



John Ricketts, ^-"^ 



Jacob Pluck, 



Thomas Wilson, 



Elijah Davis, 



Saml. Wilson, 



Archibald Wood, 



Saml. Francis, 



Miles Standish,f 



John Stephens, 


* The 29th of April is probably meant. 

t A lineal descendant of Captain Miles Staudlsh of New England. 



James Iliitcliesoii, 
Thomas >IcI<itire., 
William Dysart, 
James McDonald, 
William Wilson, 
James Walker, 
James Smith, 
David ]\Iackey, 
Tkomas Conn, 
James CumminJ^^s, 
Alexander Alexander, 
Joseph WoUeston, 
Saml. Johnston,* 
Thomas Kussel, 
James Patton, 
William Ken-, 
John Borelin, 
William Lowcry, 
Thomas Wallace, 
Elijah Hill, 
Joseph Alexander, 
Kobert Christy, 
William Osmond, 
Hugh Cay, 
Itobert Watson, 
Thbs. (Jarrett, Jr., 
William Crosson, 
John Scott, (Shoemaker), 
Samuel Shaw, 
Charles Picrson, 
Arthur Morrison, 
James McAuley, 
Joseph Robeson, 
Jonathan Osmond, 
Archibald Dysart, 
Levi Dysart, 
John Dysart, 
Eli Derixou, 




Bailey Boiles, 



Geo. Jameson, 



John Clark, 



William Johnston, 



Campbell Burk, 



Robert McCrey, 



William Shields, 



Edmund Burk, 



Augustine Stoops, 



David Short, 



AVilliam Pennington, 


Gi'orge Foster, 



Thomas liryson. 



Frederick Slagle, 



Joseph Lorrett, 



William Mainley, 



James Currier, 



John Williamson, 



Elijah Janncy, 



Daniel McAulcy, 



Nathan Owens, 



Sampson Lumb, 



Jonathan Short, 



Thomas AVingate, 



Joseph Holt, 



Jesse Foster, 



Nathan Foster, 



James Porter, 



John Simpers, 



John McAuley, 



Andrew Riggs, 



John Johnston. 



Nicholas Hyland. 



James Young. 



Gilbert Smith, 



Ebenezer Alden, (Cook),f 



Isaac Philips, 


* Granduncle of the author referred to on page 330, in connection with 
death of officer at Gilpins Bridge. 

fA lineal descendant of John ^Iden, wiio came over with the Pil- 
grims in the Mayflower. 


Agreeable to the direction of Major Armstrong, I have 
made out as correct a return as I am possessed of, of the 
officers, artilerists, and private's time up to the present day. 

William Garrett, Capt. 

Fort Defiance, May 24, 1813. 

James Sewell, Major 2d Batt. 49 R. M. 71/." 

It is stated in a note appended to this list, that many of 
the men deserted after serving a few days. There is reason, 
however, to believe that this is not strictly true; and that 
those who left the fort were volunteers, as some of them are 
known to have been from Pennsylvania. 

On the 28th of April 1813, a squadron of twelve barges, 
manned with about four hundred volunteers, picked seamen, 
three hundred marines, commanded by Admiral Cockburn, 
landed upon Spesutia Island, where they secured some sup- 
lies of vegetables, poultry, etc., for which they paid the 
owners. On the same day, or the following one, they visited 
Turkey Point, where they endeavored to make friends with 
the people, and offered to pay for some provisions the}' ob- 
tained. The officer in command tried to make up with the 
daughter of the lady who lived in the farm house on the 
Turkt!y Point farm. She was a briglit little girl of ten or 
twelve years of age, and spurned his offers of friendshij) 
with scorn and contempt. The officer remarked to her 
mother that the child knew he was her enemy. 

Proceeding up the Elk River, the British met with no re- 
sistance until they reached Welsli Point, where Major Wil- 
liam Boulden was stationed with a small squad of militia. 
He made a brave but ineffectual effort to intercept their 
advance, but having no artillery, it was useless, and tliey 
went on up the river and reached Frenchtown on the 20th 
of April. The militia in the fort at that place, which was 
a small log structure mounted with three four-]»ounders, 
thinking their number too small to successfully resist the 


enemy, retired to Elkton ; but a few stage drivers and 
otliers, manned tlie guns and made a spirited resistance 
while their amunition lasted, which was not long, when the 
fort was captured, and the town, which consisted of two 
warehouses, a tavern, two or three dwelling-houses, a few 
stables and outhouses, were burned, as were also two vessels 
that were moored in the river, involving a loss of twenty 
or thirty thousand dollars.* 

Having completed the destruction of Frenchtown, the 
British tried to ascend the river to Elkton, but were fired 
upon by the garrison in Fort Defiance, and driven back; 
whereupon they landed at White Hall, then owned and oc- 
cupied by Frisby Henderson, Esq., who they tried to induce 
to show them the road to Elkton, but failing in this, they 
took one of his female slaves with them, and tried to bribe 
her to act as their guide. She took them to Cedar Point, 
opposite Fort HoUingsworth, then in command of Captain 
Henry Bennett, who opened fire upon them and they made 
a hasty retreat, and soon afterwards embarked on their 
barges. Except a few of the British, who are said to have 
been killed at Frenchtown, no others were injured during 
tliis raid. 

The barges used by the British are described by those 
who saw them, as about thirty feet long, with decks extend- 
ing only a short distance from either side, leaving an open- 
ing in the middle which extended nearly from bow to stern, 
so that the oarsmen could stand on the bottom of the boat 
when rowing. The most of them had a small cannon or 
two on board of them, which were called swivel guns. 

* A singularly ill-natured and quarrelsome man, called Zeb. Furgusson, 
is said to have piloted the British from Turkey Point to Frenchtown. He 
certainly was with the British, who he said captured him at Turkey 
Point, but those who knew him best believed he had joined them volun- 
tarily, in order to gratify his hatred towards all mankind. lie was ini- 
l)ris()ni;d for a w hiie, but nothing could be proved against him, and he 
was discharged. 


These guns were mounted in such a manner that they could 
be turned around and fired in any direction. 

Captain Isaac Lort of Elk Neck, at this time, was the 
owner and commander of a schooner called the Annon Ruth, 
and just previous to the entrance of the British into Elk 
River, had returned from Baltimore in his schooner. He 
found a vessel loaded with flour, aground near the mouth of 
Back Creek, the captain of which besought him to load his 
schooner with the flour and take it up the river, he being 
apprehensive that the British would destroy it. Captain 
Lort did so, and on his return, found the British in posses- 
sion of the vessel. In order to save his schooner he ran 
her aground, and w^ould have scuttled and sunk her, but he 
had lost his axe. He took off her sails and carried them to 
a place of safety and repaired to his home. The British on 
their return froTuFrenchtown, burned both the vessel and the 
Annon Ruth. The latter was burned at Cazier's shore, which 
is nearly opposite Welsh Point. The British also captured 
tlie sloop Morning Star of North East, and took her away 
with them. The Morning Star was built at North East a 
f(nv years before, and some years after the war was seen in 
Baltimore. She had been converted into a schooner, and 
then hailed from Halifax, Nova Scotia. 

On their return, after burning Frenchtown, the enemy 
stopped at the fishery of Jacob Hyland on Elk River, and 
carried awav about a hundred barrels of shad and heri-ins" 
that were stored in the fish house. They also went up the 
Bohemia River and plundered the fish houses along its 
banks. • 

Just before the burning of Frenchtown, the citizens of 
Elkton and the surrounding countr}^ were much frightened 
by a false alarm. Somehow the story got in circulation 
that the British had taken Frenchtown and the peo[)le as 
far north as the State of Peimsylvania were very much ex- 
cited and alarmed. The story. originated from the fact that 
the father of Francis A. Ellis, of Elkton, who, at that time, 


lived on Turner's creek, which is the outlet for the country 
lying between Still Pond and Galena, and who had two 
vessels engaged in carrying wheat from there to Elkton, be- 
came anxious to know where his vessels were, and, thinking 
they might be found in Elk River, came up in a large row- 
boat after night to look for them. Some persons at French- 
town heard the noise of the oars in the stillness of the night 
and thinking it was the noise of the British barges raised 
the alarm. An Irishman, who lived at Turkeytown,* 
heard the story which had not lost anything when it 
reached that place, and started; out to give the alarm, or as 
the old lady who told the, author, of the occurrence, said, 
"to alarm the women and children." He came to the 
old lady's house (her husband was absent on military duty) 
and told her " there were fifteen hundred British and In- 
dians at Frenchtown and they spared neither women nor 
children." He appeared to be frightened nearly to death, 
and asked her if she had "the color of whisky about lier 
house." Whisky was considered one of the necessaries of 
life in those days and the old lady gave him some, wliich 
revived his drooping spirits, and he rode away to spread 
the alarm and terrify others. This man was in partnership 
with an Englishman in a woolen factory at Dublin, now 
Strahorn's mill, on Big Elk Creek, near the State line, and in 
order to save the machinery in the factory from destruction, 
tlicy hid it in the laural bank along the creek. They hid 
some of it so well that they did not find it until the war was 
over, when it was rotten and worthless. 

Botl^ prior and subsequent to this time, much wheat was 
hauled from Lancaster and made into flour at the mills in 
the vicinity of Elkton. Owing to this traffic the })eople of 
Lancaster took great interest in the welfare of their friends 
in Elkton, and some time in the spring of 1813 sent two 
companies of soldiers to aid in its defense. Ex-President 

* Now called Cowantown. 


James Buchannan, then a young man, was an officer in one 
of these companies, which for a time were quartered in a 
house that stood in the eastern part of the new cemetery. 

The Directors of the Elkton Bank thought it best, in view 
of the raid, to remove the specie trom the bank to a place 
of safety, and so they ostensibly loaded a wagon with it, 
and put the wagon, which was drawn by six or eight horses, 
in charge of a military escort composed of a number of sol- 
diers, mounted and on foot, and made believe they were 
transporting the specie to Lancaster. This procession made 
quite an excitement in the country through which it passed, 
but was onl}^ a ruse on the part of the ofhcers of the bank, de- 
signed to mislead the British and divert them from the real 
place of concealment. Some time before the wagon and its 
escort went from Elkton to Lancaster, Levi Tyson, a director 
of the bank and the owner of a grist-mill on the Big Elk, 
quietly went down to Elkton one evening with his team 
and two negro men, and brought the specie home with liim 
that night and placed the chest Avhich contained it under 
his bed, where it remained until the danger was over. The 
colored men were told that the chest contained bullets to be 
used if the British made a raid on Mr. Tyson's mill. 

Mr. Tyson often related the story of this removal with 
much satisfaction, and thought it a, good joke. The osten- 
sible removal of the specie to Lancaster was probably made 
with the view of adding to the reputation of the bank b}' 
making the impression upon the minds of the community 
of its sound financial condition and ability to redeem its 
notes, many of which were in circulation. And probably 
the cream of the joke was to be found in the fact that tlie 
creditors of the bank were quite as much fooled as the Britisli 
would have been had they attempted to pillage the bank. 

On the 3d of May, which was three days after the burn- 
ing of Frenchtown, the British, who were about ten miles 
distant, were discovered by the garrison of the fort at Havre 
de Grace, who fired one of the guns of their battery. This 



the British afterwards said they regarded as a challenge. 
They answered it by firing a gun on one of their vessels 
and set sail for the town. Those in charge of the fort (ex- 
cept an Irishman called John O'Neil, who made a brave 
resistance and fired one of the cannons at the enemy until 
he was wounded by the recoil of the gun), made an inglori- 
ous retreat as soon as the enemy landed, and they at once 
commenced to plunder the town and then burned it. Havre 
de Grace was a town of considerable size and some import- 
ance, and its wanton destruction caused great excitement 
and alarm among the inhabitants of this count}^ which is 
set forth in the following extract from " The Lay of the 
Scottish Fiddle, A Tale of Havre de Grace," a curious 
poem purporting to have been written by Walter Scott, but 
which bears evidence of having been written by a student of 
Princeton College, whose name has not been ascertained. 

" The distant peasant hears the sound, 
And starting with elastic bound, 
Hies to tlie mountain's brightening head, 
And sees the liery ruin spread, 
And marks the red and angry glare 
Of water, sky, and earth, and air, 
Seem'd Susquehanna's wave on fire, 
And red with conflagration dire. 
The spreading bays ensanguined flood, 
Seem'd stained with tint of human blood. 
O'er Cecil County, far and wide, 
Each tree, and rock, and stream was spied; 
And distant windows brightly gleam'd, 
As if the setting sun had beam'd, 
The Elkton burgher raised his head 
To see what made the sky so red, 
From Ararat the Falcon* sail'd, 
The owl at lonely distance wail'd." 

" After the deeds of destruction were over," says an eye- 
witness of the burning of Havre de Grace, " and the enemy 

* The writer alludes to George Talbot's falcons, a pair of which, tra- 
dition saith, remained at ^Nlount Ararat many years after he left this 
county. See page 129, ante. 


had rendered himself conspicuous on the rolls of infamy, lie 
proceeded up the river and within one mile of Stafford Mills 
burned a warehouse belonging to Mr. John Stump." This 
warehouse was located where the village of Lapidum now 
stands. While there they contemplated crossing the river 
to Port Deposit. But the citizens of that town had erected 
a small fortification not far from where the Odd Fellow's 
Hall is now^ located, and they were deterred from crossing 
by a prisoner they had caj^tured, who told them there was 
a company of. riflemen in the fort, "each of whom could put 
a bullet in their eye at the distance of a hundred yards." 

On returning to Havre de Grace, the British made a raid 
upon Charlestown, many of the inhabitants of which, antici- 
pating their arrival, had removed to temporary habitations 
in the barrens, near Foys Hill, and taken their goods witli 
them. Owing to this, and to the fact that the rain had 
washed down the earthworks that had been erected in the 
town, the enemy met with no opposition, and committed no 
depredations there. Tliey also visited Principio Furnace, 
which at that time was one of the most important manu- 
factories of cannon in this country, and burned it, and 
spiked the cannon they found there, and burned a mill in 
the neighborhood, and the bridge over the Principio Creek. 
Having completed their work of destruction in the upper 
part of the county, they re- visited Spesutia Island, where 
they had collected a quantity of cattle, sheep, and calves, 
during their first visit; for which tliey paid the owners, and 
took on board their vessels. 

On the 5th of May, their squadron was concentrated off 
the mouth of Sassafras River, and the next day a detacli- 
ment of about five hundred of them in fifteen large barges, 
and three smaller boats, ascended tliat river, and burned 
Fredericktown and Georgetown. 

The ascent of the Sassafras River by the British barges is 
said by those who witnessed it, among whom was the late 
John E. Thomas of Elkton, to have been the most beautiful 
sight they ever saw. 


The soldiers were clad in scarlet uniforms, which added 
much to the beautiful appearance of the squadron. There 
were a large number of barges, which formed a line four 
abreast, and several hundred yards long. A barge con- 
taining the admiral, then passed along one side of the line, 
and crossed ahead of the front tier of boats, and waited until 
the rear came up, thus bringing all the squadron under re- 

Having been informed of the concentration of the fleet 
at the mouth of the river. Colonel T. W. Veasey, who was 
in command of the militia at Fredericktown, had them un- 
der arms by four o'clock on the morning of the 4th of May, 
and shortly after a signal was made by his scouts, four miles 
down the river, that the British were approaching. By six 
o'clock they were in sight of the town. About this time 
they halted and the admiral sent two colored men to the 
fort with a verbal message that if the militia would not fire 
on him he would not burn anything but the storehouses 
and vessels. To this Colonel Veazey paid no attention, and 
the British continuing to advance soon came in rangeof the 
cannon, when the skirmish began by the Americans open- 
ing fire with it, but having only two rounds of cartridge, 
were obliged to desist when they were expended. The bat- 
tle from this point is well described by an anonymous writer 
of that time a part of whose narrative is as follows : 

" The enemy still approaching gave three cheers, which was 
returned by the militia, and directly after, a volley from 
their small arms. The fire was immediately returned by 
the enemy, by a general discharge of grape, cannister, 
slugs, rockets, and musketry, which made such a terrible 
noise that one-half of the men shamefully ran, and could 
not be rallied again. Whether it was from their political 
aversion to the present war, their dislike of shedding blood, 
or actually thro' fear, I cannot determine ; but so it was that 
not more than one-half of the original number remained 
to contend against the whole force of the enemy. This gal- 
lant little band resisted for near half an hour, in spite of the 


incessant fire of the enemy, until they were in danger of 
being surrounded, when they retreated in safety with the 
loss of but one man wounded. The enemy threw several 
rockets in the village, and reduced the whole place to ashes, 
except two or three houses, saved by the entreaties of the 
women. Not satisfied with this destruction, they extended 
their ravages to the neighboring farm-houses, several of 
which were burned quite down." 

The loss of the British in this skirmish was not ascer- 
tained, but was supposed to have amounted to ten or fifteen 
killed and wounded. After the destruction of Frederick- 
town, the enemy went over to Georgetown, nearly all of 
which they destroyed. The conduct of the British soldiers 
eno-a^ed in this raid, both before and after the destruction 
of the villages, was denounced in very severe terms by the 
writer before quoted from, who states "that they so far de- 
scended in petty pilfering as to rob the black ferry-man, 
FRIDAY, of his all and his pig, which lived with him in his 
hut." They even went so far as to take the ear-rings from the 
ears of one of the ladies in Georgetown, and to rob others 
of their clothing. 

Colonel Veazey was much praised for his gallant defense 
of Fredericktown. The names of the militia who remained 
in the fort with him are as follows : 

Samuel Wroth, James Darley, 

D. F. Heath, James Clayton, 

Moses Cannon, R. C. Lusby (seargt.), 

Nicholas Franks, John Henderson (lieut.), 

John W. Etherington, _ James Allen (capt.), 

Joshua AVard, John Duffy, 

Dormer Oaks, Samuel P. Pennington, 

John Etherington, II. E. Coalman (seargt. mate), 

John V. Price, Sauuicl Dixon, 

Elias See, Willliam Roberts, 

John T. Veazey, Francis Rocli, 

David Paget, William MacKey, 

Tylus Robinson, George Stanly, 

P. Biddle, William Ford, 


James Council, Joseph Etherington, 

Joseph GrecnwoocJ, Edward Lister, 

Joshua llovington, Reynolds. 

Josci)h Davis (of Morris), 

Having accomplished the destruction of these villages, the 
enemy returned to their fleet in the Chesapeake, and being 
apprehensive of the arrival of a French fleet, soon afterwards 
made their way to the southern part of the bay. From this 
time until after the battle at North Point, in September, 
1814, the British infested the waters of the bay, and the 
people of this county were continually in dread of another 
raid. Consequently when the news of the conclusion of the 
treaty of peace at Ghent, reached here in February, 1815, it 
was received with great jo}^, and every manifestation of de- 

The court was in session at Elkton when the news 
reached that place, and so great was the jo}^ of the people, 
that it immediately adjourned, and every one that was able 
repaired to Fort Hollingsworth to celebrate the auspicious 
event. The river was frozen over at the time, and those 
who took charge of the guns placed a barrel on the 
ice some distance down the river, and commenced firing 
at it with shot. The late judge, Ezekiel F. Cham- 
bers, then a young man and State's Attorney for this 
county, had charge of one of the guns. After a few shots 
had been fired, some one placed a frozen clod in the muzzle 
of his gun which caused it to explode, by which the judge 
was quite seriously hurt. A little girl is said to have been 
looking out of one of the windows of the old stone house, 
before referred to, who narrowly escaped being struck by 
a piece of the bursted gun, which passed through the win- 
dow alongside of her. This accident terminated the re- 
joicings for that day, but they were renewed a few days 
afterwards, by the patriotic people of the town, who had a 
grand feast, at which they roasted an ox which they had 
decorated and driven through the streets with a board 


placed on his horns, containing the following verse, said to 
have been composed by George Rickett's of Elkton : 

" My horns, my hide, I freely give, 

My tallow and my lights. 

And all that is within me too, 

For free trade and sailors' rights," 


First steamboats on tlie Elk River— Lines of transportation — French- 
town and New Castle Kailroad Company — Construction of Fienchtown 
and New Castle Railroad — First locomotives and cars — Telegraphing — 
The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad — Riot at Charles- 
town — Sale of Frenchtown and New Castle Railroad. 

Inasmuch as the introduction of steamboats upon the 
Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries effected a great revolu- 
tion in the method of transportation of passengers and 
freight, and a corresponding change in the prosperity of the 
people in that part of this county through which passed 
the lines of transit between the cities of the North and 
South, the history of the county would be incomplete 
without some reference to that subject. On the 21st of 
June, 1813, less than two months after the British had 
burned Frenchtown, the first steamboat that had ever 
floated on the Chesapeake Bay, or its tributaries made her 
first trip from Baltimore to that place. This boat was called 
the Chesapeake. She was built in Baltimore, by William 
Flanigan, under the supervision of Edward Trippe, for the 
Union Line which has been mentioned in a previous chapter. 
She is thus described in a paper in possession of the Maryland 
Historical Society. When completed her length was one 
hundred and thirty feet, width twenty feet, and depth of 
hold seven feet. Her wheels ten feet in diameter, and five 
in depth. Her engine was a cross-head, which revolved a 
cogwheel that worked in teeth upon the shaft, which was of 
cast-iron. To the engine a flywheel was connected to enable 
it to pass its centre. The smoke-stack Avas amidships, be- 
hind the engine. Extending about twenty feet, and raised 
two feet above the deck, was the boiler. She had a mast 


forward, with a spar and sail, which was spread whenever 
the wind was fair. She made her first trip from Baltimore 
to Frenchtown and back, one hundred and forty miles, in 
twenty-four hours. The appliances for her navigation were 
simple and crude. A pilot stood at the bow who called out 
the course to a man amidships, and he to the helmsman. 
There were no bells to signal the engine, but the captain 
conveyed his commands by word of mouth or by stamping 
his heels on the woodwork over the engine. The boat had 
been running six months when the engineer accidentally 
found out he could reverse the engine and back her. 

In July, 1815, the steamboat Eagle, came to Baltimore 
from the Delaware, and was secured by a rival line owned 
by Messrs. Briscoe and Partridge, for the run to Elk Landing. 
This line from Baltimore to Philadelphia being via Elkton 
and Wilmington. 

In 1816, two new steamboats, the George Washington and 
Charles Carroll were built by the Union Line. 

These lines continued in operation for some years, except 
when navigation was closed by the ice. Then the passen- 
gers and mail were carried in stages via Perryville and 
Elkton. During this time Elkton and Frenchtown were 
places of much more importance, in a business point of view, 
than they are now, and the farmers in their vicinity derived 
much benefit from the sale of their surplus horses and grain 
to the proprietors of the stage lines and the sale of marketing 
to the hotel keepers for the use of passengers. 

The increase of travel on these lines and the want of better 
facilities for transportation across the peninsula, led to the or- 
ganization of the Frenchtown and New Castle Railroad Com- 
j)any. This railroad was about seventeen miles long, and as 
its name indicates, was located between Frenchtown, on Elk 
River, and New Castle, on the Delaware. It was among the 
first railroads built in this country, and was the very first upon 
which steam power was api)lied to the transportation of pas- 
sengers, though it was built and used for horse-power for 


two years after it was finished. The company was chartered 
by the Legislature of Maryland at the session of 1827-8, 
with a capital stock of $200,000. There seems to have been 
some doubts of the success of the new enterprise, for the 
charter of the railroad company coi.tained a provision in- 
tended to compel the company to keep open a turnpike, 
twenty feet wide, alongside of the railroad. Notwithstanding 
this, the railroad was built a considerable distance south of 
the turnpike, on a more practicable route. The tolls on the 
railroad were not to exceed three cents per ton per mile on 
freight, and the fare for the transportation of passengers was 
not to exceed twenty-five cents per passenger for the whole 
distance, and twelve and a half cents for baggage not ex- 
ceeding one hundred pounds. 

The railroad was not finished until 1831. It was of very 
peculiar construction, and were it now extant, would be a 
great curiosity. The rails were placed about the same dis- 
tance apart as in modern roads, but instead of being laid 
upon wooden sleepers, as the rails of modern roads are, they 
were placed upon blocks of stone ten or twelve inches square. 
These stones had holes drilled in them, in which a wooden 
plug was inserted, and upon them were laid wooden rails 
about six inches square and ten or twelve feet long, which 
were fastened to the stones by means of a piece of flat iron 
shaped like the letter L, which was fastened to the stone by 
means of a spike driven into the wooden plug through a 
liole in one extremity of the iron, and another spike driven 
into a wooden rail through another hole at the other ex- 
tremity. The stones were placed about three feet apart, and 
each stone had two of these iron attachments, one on each 
side of the rail. Bars of flat iron, like tire, were spiked on 
top of the wooden rails, and this, such as it was, completed 
the structure. The great defect in the road was the want of 
something to keep the rails from spreading apart, and it was 
soon discovered that the only way to remedy this was to re- 
sort to the use of ties extending from one rail to the other, 
and to which both rails were fastened, as in modern roads. 


After the introduction of steam-power upon tlie road in 
1833, it had to be rebuilt, the iron rails then used were 
hollow and shaped like two capital L's, with the horizontal 
jiart of one of them reversed and the upper parts of the two 
letters joined together ( J~l). These rails were fastened to 
the wooden sleepers by spikes driven through holes in the 
flange of the rail. Horse-power was used on this road for 
about two years after it was completed. One horse was at- 
tached to each car and the horses were changed at Glasgow 
and the Bear, which were the names of the two stations on 
the road. The first locomotive steam-engine used on the 
road was made in England. It was called the " Delaware," 
and was put on the road about 1833. After running about 
a year it was rebuilt and called the "Phoenix." 

The person employed to put this engine together, after it 
arrived at New Castle, had a building erected for the pur- 
pose, and after spending some weeks in it, the agents of the 
company learned that he was making a model of each part 
of the locomotive. Whether they let him complete the work 
of making an exact model of each separate piece, has not 
been ascertained ; but in the fullness of time he got it put 
together and started for Frenchtown. How anxious those 
interested in the success of the experiment must have been. 
They had procured this locomotive at great expense, and 
had been at much trouble in getting it put together ; but 
their trouble was only just begun — they had made no pro- 
vision to supply the screeching and panting monster with 
water, and had to serve it with this indispensable fluid, much 
after the manner of watering a horse, from the springs and 
wells along the road. It was several days making the first 

Some of the locomotives afterwards used on this road were 
built in New Castle. They were poorly constructed and 
would be considered of but little use at the present time ; 
but poor as they were, they were an improvement u[)on 
horse-power. There were no heavy grades on the road, and 


they made the trip from river to river in about an hour, 
and could have made it much quicker, but were limited to 
that time for fear of accidents if they went faster. The cars 
lirst used on this road were quite as different from those in 
use at present as the locomotives. The doors were at the 
sides of the cars, and each car had several of them. They 
would hold ten or twelve persons, and were not in the early 
days of the road accompanied by a conductor, the captains 
and clerks of the steamboats at either end taking the tickets 
and attending to this part of the business of the road. 

The business of the road began to decline rapidlv after 
the construction of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Bal- 
timore Railroad, and the two companies, by mutual consent, 
were united, the business on both lines being transacted 
under the name of the Philadelphia, Wilmington, and Bal- 
timore Railroad Company. This company continued a line 
of steamboats from Baltimore to Frenchtown, and also ran 
the cars from the latter })lace to New Castle, as late as 1853. 

The railroad from Wilmington to New Castle was com- 
pleted in 1854, and during that season the company con- 
tinued to operate the old road and carried passengers to 
Wilmington. But only a few passengers going to Cape 
May patronized the road, and the company discontinued its 
use after that time. Much of the bed of the Fsenchtown and 
New Castle Railroad is now under cultivation. When the 
company discontinued its use and took up the rails, the 
farmers resumed the use of their land, and grass and the 
waving grain took the place of the iron track of the iron- 
horse, and the quiet of agricultural pursuits and occupations 
succeeded the noisy activity and bustle incident to the 
operation of this great national thoroughlare. Strange and 
crude as this first attempt at locomotion by the use of steam- 
power was, as compared with the roads and locomotives now 
in use, the efforts of this company to transmit intelligence 
by means of signals along the line of the road, were stranger 


The first rude attempts at telegraphing were by means of 
black and white flags, which the operators raised upon 
poles twenty-five or thirty feet high. There were six of 
the^e poles or stations along the road, and when the train 
started from either end of it the operator or flagman at the 
station next to and in sight of the moving train hoisted a 
white flag, and so did all the others along the road. The 
white flags indicated that the train had started, and might 
be expected to arrive in due time. If the locomotive failed 
to move, which it sometimes did, the operator hoisted a 
black flag. Other positions and combinations of the flags 
indicated other things, and as it was only the work of a 
moment to raise the flags, intelligence could be transmitted 
from one end of the road to the other in the space of two 
minutes. At New Castle, instead of flags, frames about the 
size of peach baskets, covered with white and black muslin, 
were hoisted on the court-house steeple, and could be seen 
for a long distance. It was the duty of the telegraphic 
operators to pass along the track after each train and fasten 
down the tire that was used on the top of the wooden-sills 
that were at first used in the construction of the road. Tlie 
spikes nearest the ends of these bars would get loose some- 
times, and the iron bars had an ugly fashion of elevating 
themselves and causing trouble to the train. These erec- 
tions of the ends of the bars were called snake's heads, 
which, at a distance, they very strongly resembled. 

The company, in its palmy and prosperous days, ran two 
trains each way daily. Pine wood was used exclusively on 
the steamboats and locomotives. This wood was obtained 
from the lower counties of the Eastern Shore, and many 
small vessels were employed in transporting it to French- 
town. As many as twenty-five or thirty of these vessels 
were often there at the same time; this, with the arrival 
and departure of two steamboats daily, made the town a 
place of business and importance. 

The Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad 
Company is the outgrowth of several local companies. The 


Baltimore and Port Deposit Railroad Company was char- 
tered by the Legislature of Maryland, March 5th, 1832, and 
organized the next year, for the purpose of building a rail- 
road from Baltimore to Port Deposit. The Delaware and 
Maryland Railroad Company was chartered by the same 
body, on the 14th of March of the same year, for the 
purpose of building a railroad from some point on the Dela- 
ware and Maryland State line to Port Deposit, or some other 
point on the Susquehanna River. The latter company was 
not organized until April 18th, 1835, soon after which work 
was commenced upon this road and continued until April, 
1836, at which time this company united with the Wil- 
mington and Susquehanna Railroad Company, which had 
been chartered by the Legislature of Delaware, in 1832, for 
the purpose of making a railroad from the Pennsylvania State 
line, through Wilmington towards the Susquehanna River 
to the Maryland line. It was the original intention of the 
Wilmington and Susquehanna Company to terminate their 
road at Charlestown, but the Baltimore and Port Deposit 
Company having changed the eastern terminus of their 
road to Havre de Grace, the other company continued their 
road to Perry ville. The Legislature of Pennsylvania having 
chartered the Philadelphia and Delaware County Railroad 
Company in 1831, that company organized in 1835, and 
surveyed a route for a road from Philadelphia to the State 
line. In January, 1836, this company having occasion to 
apply to the Legislature of Pennsylvania for power to in- 
crease their capital, the title of the corporation was changed 
to the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad 
Company. This company soon afterwards obtained the 
right of way from the State line to Wilmington from the 
Delaware and Maryland Company, and the road from Phil- 
adelphia to Wilmington was opened on the 15th of January, 
1838. In the meantime, the road from Wilmington to 
Perryville had been opened on the 4th of July, 1837, and 
the road from Baltimore to Havre de Grace two days after- 


Although there was now but one line of road, it was the 
property of three companies : The Philadelphia, Wilming- 
ton and Baltimore Railroad, from Philadelphia to Wilming- 
ton ; the Wilmington and Susquehanna Railroad, from 
Wilmington to Susquehanna River; and the Baltimore and 
Port Deposit Railroad, from that river to Baltimore. These 
companies were consolidated in February, 1838, under the 
name of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Rail- 
road Company. 

Although the road was now in a condition for use, it was, 
as compared with modern roads, very incomplete. The 
track was constructed of iron bars nailed upon wooden 
string pieces called mud sills'*' which rested on the ground, 
and consequently were continually getting out of position. 
It was not until after the lapse of some years that tliis defect 
was remedied by the introduction of wooden ties. 

In May, 1836, a large number of Irish laborers who were 
employed in grading the roadbed near Charlestown, at- 
tended the fair at that place, and having imbibed freely of 
whisky, engaged in an old-fashioned Irish riot, which from 
the accounts given of it was the most bloody that ever oc- 
curred in this county. During the progress of the riot, the 
infuriated and drunken Irishmen made an attack upon a 
dwelling-house, in which some of the citizens had taken 
refuge, whereupon, the inmates baracadcd the doors and 
having some firearms, made a brave defense. It is said that 
after their shot was exhausted, the women cut their pewter 
spoons into slugs which were used with terrible effect. , The 
rioters were finally driven away from the town, and the 
next day the sheriff" summoned a military company called 
the Cecil Guards, composed of the citizens of Elkton, to his 
aid, and arrested some twenty-five or thirty of the rioters. 
Seven of them were indicted for riot, and tried at the Octo- 
ber term of court, in 1836. Two of them were convicted 

* This name was afterwards used by certain southern politicians to 
designate the lowest stratum of northern society. 


and sentenced to pay a fine of one dollar each, and be im- 
prisoned in tlie county jail for two years. Being unable to 
pay the fine, and having no friends, they were detained in 
jail until the sheriff's charges for boarding them became so 
large that the county commissioners, in order to get rid of 
them, paid the fine from their private purses, and the ]u*is- 
oners were discharged. 


Clergy of the Established Chui-ch — Their powers and duties — They in- 
cur the displeasure of the common people — What Rev. William Duke 
says of them — Presbyterian clergymen — Spiritual condition of the peo- 
ple — Introduction of Methodism — First Methodist society — Character of 
the early Methodist preachers— Rev. Francis Asbury visits Bohemia 
Manor — He refuses to take the oath of allegiance — Methodists favor the 
royal cause — Reti-ospective glance at the history of the Episcopal 
Church — North Elk parish — Rev. John Thompson — Rev. Joseph Con- 
don — St. Augustine parish — Progress of Methodism — Cecil circuit — 
Hart's meeting house — First Methodist meeting-house at North East — 
First parsonage — Bethel meeting house — Goshen — ^Revival at Betiiel — 
North Sassafras and St. Augustine parishes — Richard Bassett joins the 
Methodists — Rev. Henry Lyon Davis — Death of Rev. Joseph Condon — 
Rev. William Duke — His life and labors— Methodism supplants Episco- 
pacy — First Methodist society at Elkton — Methodism and Presbyterian- 
ism at Charlestown — Hopewell and Asbury — ^lethodist Protestant 

The clergy of the established church with very few excep- 
tions, adhered to the Royal cause during the long contro- 
versy between the mother country and the colonies, which 
ju'cceded the Revolutionary war. This was natural, because 
tlieir livings depended upon their loyalty. With the excep- 
tion of a few self-denying and godly missionaries who 
labored under the auspices of the Society for the Propaga- 
tion of the Gospel, they had always been the pampered 
favorites of the executive, who liad foisted them, in many 
cases, upon an unwilling people. For nearly a century be- 
fore the commencement of tlie Revolutionary war, an indis- 
criminate poll-tax had been levied for their support. Nor 
was this all that tended to make them unpopular and les- 
sened their influence among tlieir parishioners. By the act 
of 17G3, the vestries, of which the clergymen were ex ojjkio 



members, were enjoined to nominate, annually, four suitable 
persons, in each of the large parishes, for inspectors of 
tobacco. Of this number, two were to be selected by the 
executive, and, when once commissioned,' could be retained 
in office as long as was mutually agreeable to themselves 
and the vestry. 

The reason for vesting this power in the vestries may be 
found in the fact that the clergy were to be paid by means 
of promissary notes, issued by the inspectors for the value 
of the tobacco in their charge, and payable by them upon 
demand. By this act, the inspectors became, to some ex- 
tent, the bankers of the province ; and as their continuance 
in office depended upon the vestries, the lay members of 
which were generally the intimate friends and companions 
of the clergymen, it is easy to see that the latter were in- 
vested with a power and influence in secular affairs which 
was incompatible with the proper discharge of the duties of 
the clerical office. 

In 1756 when it was thought necessary to levy a per capita 
tax on the bachelors in the i~)rovince, in order to defray the 
expense incurred in prosecuting the French and Indian 
war, the vestries had been made the agents to effect its as- 
sessment. This mixing up of spiritual and temporal things 
was not calculated to increase the godliness of the clerg}', or 
to strengthen their allegiance to the Prince of Peace, under 
whose banner they were ostensibly enlisted, but whose 
teaching, there is reason to believe, many of them disre- 
garded, choosing rather to be votaries of the race-course or 
to follow a pack of hounds than to perform the irksome duties 
of the closet and the chancel. The clergy, until after the 
Revolutionary war, had never been amenable to any epis- 
copal authority on this side of the Atlantic ocean ; and it is 
more than could have been reasonably expected, under all 
the circumstances, that they should have developed a high 
degree of piety or experimental religion. Anderson, in his 
history of the Church of England, says that the acts of the 


Colonial Legislature had provoked the opposition of all op- 
posed to a religious establishment in Maryland, as early as 
the beginning of the eighteenth century, and that one of the 
crying evils, under which the church labored, was the aj)- 
pointnient of unworthy clergymen. Previous to 1720 (when 
the clergy were laboring under the auspices of the Society 
for the Propagation of the Gospel, and were subject to the 
Bishop of London) the better part of them wished a bishop 
for the colony, but failed to get one appointed, after many 

From a very early period in the history of the colony un- 
til the beginning of the Revolutionary war, the testamen- 
tary law of the province was similar, if not identical, with 
that of the mother country, which gave the ecclesiastical 
courts tlie sole authority to settle the estates of deceased per- 
sons. The chief officers of this court in Maryland, were 
called con;imissaries. From the nature of the case, they 
of necessity were always clergymen ; and being in no wav 
amenable to the people, as most of the other clergy 
were, they almost invariably incurred their displeasure and 
opposition by the zeal they manifested in behalf of the 
church and the aristocracy. 

In 1737, which was the time of the Border war, a petition 
from the commissary and clergy of the province was pre- 
sented to the King in council, stating among other things 
that the Quakers and other sectaries were dissatisfied with 
the established church, and that they had induced some of 
the inhabitants of Maryland to transfer the acknowledge- 
ment of the right of their lands from Maryland to Penn- 
sylvania. They therefore prayed that a regular clergy 
might be encouraged to reside on the borders and in the 
province of Pennsylvania, in order to overawe the sectaries 
and prevent a recurrence of this trouble. Nothing came of 
the petition, and the Quakers and Presbyterians of Notting- 
ham and elsewhere on the borders were not troubled with 
ministers of the establishment to awe them into subjection. 


Rev. Mr. Henderson was the first signer of the petition. 
He is believed to have been commissary at this time. 

The act of 1763, which fixed the compensation of the 
civil officers, and the poll-tax for the support of the clergy 
expired by limitation in 1706, and the feeling between the 
people and the proprietary government not being good, a 
controversy arose about how certain of the civil officers and 
the clergy were to be paid. The clergy in this case, as in 
every other, took the side of the government; and inas- 
much as a large majority of the people, composed of that 
part of them who belonged to other denominations and 
those who belonged to no religious society at all, were op- 
posed to the payment of a tax for the maintenance of a hie- 
arcliy that many of them despised, the clergy incurred the 
displeasure of the classes before referred to, and no doubt 
increased their desire for the severance of the ties that bound 
them to the mother country. In this case, as in many 
others, the zeal of the clergy injured the cause they espoused. 
Another cause of the unpopularity of the clergy of the es- 
tablished church may be found in the manner of their ap- 
pointment, which, however nicely it may have been used, 
savored too much of despotism, to have been satisfactory to 
the people, thirsting, as they then were, for the full fruition 
of the liberty they were destined a few years later to enjoy. 

The " patronage and advowson," which means the right 
to appoint the ministers for the various parishes in the 
state, was vested in tlie governor, who was generally ap- 
pointed by the lord proprietary, and being in no wise 
amenable to the people, too often set their wishes at defiance. 
The Rev. William Duke, published a pamphlet in 1795, on 
the state of religion in Maryland. Speaking of the condi- 
tion of society and the clergy of the Episcopal church at the 
time of the introduction of Methodism, he says: 

" They did not, generally, discover any religious zeal, or 
concern themselves either with the principles or morals of 
the people ; they were regarded very little in these respects 


even by their own hearers ; and what influence they pre- 
tended to, they maintained rather as scholars, gentlemen 
and men of affluence, than as Christian divines. When any 
of their hearers became seriously tlioughtful about religion, 
one would suppose it natural for them to consult their stated 
pastors; but when they remembered that these pastors in the 
course of so many years had not administered them any 
sufficient instruction, they resented the imposition, and ne- 
glected them in turn. They found the way they were in 
was not likely to issue in anything like the design of the 
gospel, and therefore did not hesitate to take the chance of 
a chang'3. One circumstance that argues this defect in the 
Episcopalian clergy, even to this day (1795), is the disrespect 
that they are treated with in man37- parishes, even by their 
own people. Ministers of other denominations are suffi- 
ciently censured or ridiculed by people of a different pro- 
fession ; ours are chiefly calumniated and harassed by their 
own. Churchmen not only exclaim against the impositions 
of the late establishment, whereby parsons were erected into 
little popes about the country, but they still see nothing 
sacred in the clerical character, and pass sentence upon the 
religious and moral principles of their own pastors with as 
much petulance as they would upon those of an infidel." 

In a sermon preached at the ordination of Mr. Asbury, at 
Baltimore, in 1784, by Thomas Coke, then superintendent 
of the Methodist Church, he uses this language : 

"The churches (Episcopal) had, in general, been filled by 
parasites and bottle companions of the ricli and great. The 
humble and importunate entreaties of the oppressed flocks 
were contemned and despised. The drunkard, the forni- 
cator, and tlie extortioner, triumphed over bleeding Zion, 
because they were faithful abettors of the ruling powers." 

Rev. Hugh Jones, who was rector of North Sassafras 
Parish for many years, there is reason to believe, was both 
aristocratic and haughty. He was a strong partisan of the 
lord proprietary, and died possessed of so much of this 


world's goods that, to put it as charitably as possible, he 
must have occupied much of his time in accumulating them. 
The records of North Sassafras parish disclose a lamentable 
want of virtue and morality among the people. Of the 
condition of St. Augustine parish at that time very little 
is known ; but it certainly adds nothing to its credit that so 
nmch of it was characterized by the name of Sodom ! This 
name may have been misapplied, or it may not have been 
deserved ; so let the veil of obscurity that has hidden the 
moral deformity that the name implies, remain and cover 
it from sight. 

The spiritual condition of the j)Gople of North Elk parish 
is better known, and has been sufficiently noticed in a pre- 
ceding chapter.* 

The Presbyterian churches, as before intimated, were in a 
weak condition at this time, caused by the emigration of 
many of their members to the South and West. Their in- 
fluence had also been lessened by the unhappy dissensions 
that arose among them from the preaching of Whitefield 
and his adherents. Another cause that lessened the religious 
influence of the clergy of this denomination was the part 
that many of them felt constrained to take in the contro- 
versy between the colonies and the mother country. Their 
form of church government was eminently democratic, and 
most, if not all of them, were the descendants of those who, 
in some form, had suffered for conscience sake on the other 
side of the Atlantic. Hence, it was not strange that they 
joined the crusade for liberty, and denounced the encroach- 
ments of the British Parliament with an eloquence and 
vehemence that would have done credit to tlieir founder. 

By this it is not to be understood that either the Presby- 
terian ministers or their congregations sacrificed their god- 
liness upon the altar of their patriotism, but that the 
commotion and turmoil which at this time shook society to 

* See pages 321 and 333, a,n%e. 


its very foundation, was not conducive to a high develop- 
ment of religion or morality. Their fault, if fault it can be 
called, was not that they loved the gospel less, but that they 
loved their country more ; and it is some consolation to 
know that if society lost a little in morality, it gained much 
in patriotism. 

From what has been said, it is apparent that the spiritual 
condition of the people was quite as deplorable as had been 
that of the people of the mother country when Wesley and 
Whitefield commenced their crusade against the formality 
and wickedness of the Established Church, and there was 
quite as much need of a revolution in church affairs as 
there was in the administration of the government. Much 
of the credit of effecting a reformation in the spiritual con- 
dition of the people belongs to the early Methodist mission- 
aries, though it must not be forgotten that "Whitefield, whose 
doctrine differed but little from that proclaimed by Wesley, 
had in some measure prepared the way. Richard Wright 
was the name of the first Methodist missionary who preached 
the gospel in this county. He had been received as a travel- 
ing preacher b}'^ John Wesley in 1770, and the next year 
came to Philadelphia, and shortly afterwards found his 
way to Bohemia Manor, where he was kindly received. 
Whitefield had been there a quarter of a century before, 
and there is no doubt that the impression he made by the 
fervent manner in which he proclaimed the gospel had 
much to do with the success of Methodism. Mr. Asbury, 
long after this time, spoke of his followers on Bohemia 
Manor as Whitefield Methodists, and remarked that " the 
Wesleyan Methodists were heirs to them according to the 

Mr. Wright organized the first Methodist society in this 
county at the house of Solomon Ilersey, in 1771, and it is a 
singular coincidence that its place of meeting was within 
the bounds of the Labadie tract, Mr. Hersey's house being 
near the mill that was then called Sluyter's and had 


formerly been called Van Bibber's mill, on a brancli of the 
Boheraia River, called Mill Creek, a short distance south- 
west of St. Augustine. This society was the first organized 
on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Its members afterwards 
worshiped at Bethesda chapel, which stood some distance 
west of where the present Manor church stands. The 
Methodists at this time, or very shortly afterwards, had an- 
other api)ointment at Thom})son's school-house, which was 
quite near where Bethel church now stands. This latter 
society was the germ that produced the Bethel church. 

The first Methodist })reachers were rigid disciplinarians, 
and very austere in their manners. They denounced 
slavery as being contrary to the law of God and an infrac- 
tion of the golden rule. They considered it their duty to 
" rise at four in the morning, and if not then, yet at five, 
and that it was a shame for a preacher to be in bed till 
six in the morning." They required their followers to observe 
the Friday preceding every quarterly meeting as a day of 
fasting. They discountenanced the manufacture of distilled 
liquors and threatened to disown their friends who persisted 
in making them. They were enjoined to avoid sui)crfluity 
in dress themselves, and to speak frequently and faithfully 
against it in all the societies. Until 1785, the Methodists were 
under the s])i ritual guidance and direction of John Wesley, 
who lived and died in full communion with the Church 
of England, and whose original intention was only to effect 
a reformation by infusing more godliness and piety into the 
daily lives and conduct of the members of that church. Ac- 
cordingly, at the meeting of the first conference, which was 
held in Philadelphia, in June, 1773, it was agreed by the 
ministers that they would strictly avoid administering the 
ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper, and would 
earnestly exhort all those among whom they labored, par- 
ticularly those in Maryland and Virginia, to attend tlie 
church and receive the ordinances there. Seven years after- 
wards the conference, which met in Baltimore, granted the 


j)i'ivilege to all tlie friendly clergy of the Church of Eng- 
land, at the request or desire of the people, to preach or ad- 
minister the ordinances in their " preaching houses or 
chapels." This was four years alter the connection of the 
church and state had been severed and it shows that the 
Methodists at that time, if they acted in good faith, which 
there is no reason to doubt, desired to live in amity and 
friendship with their .brethren of the late establishment. 
This good feeling was largely reciprocated by the better and 
more pious part of the members of th-e established church. 
Owing to this the new sect for some years after its first in- 
troduction flourished best in the strongholds of the episco- 
pacy, while it made little or no progress among the Presby- 
terians until many j-^ears afterwards, when the first ex- 
pounders of its doctrine had been succeeded by others, 
whose zeal was more according to knowledge, and whose 
motives were better understood. For the reasons before 
alluded to, the growth of Methodism was slow, and it is 
manifest that those who joined the new sect were actuated 
by pure motives and a sincere desire to improve their 
spiritual condition. 

Rev. Francis Asbury arrived in Philadelphia in Octobei', 
1771, and the next April visited Boliemia Manor to look 
after Mr. Wriglit, but met him near Wihnington on his way 
northward, and proceeded on to the Manor alone. Under 
the date of April 10th, Mr. Asbury states that some mis- 
chievous opposers had thrown the people on the Manor 
into confusion. The next day he notes in his journal that 
he had visited and conversed with an old man who was 
sick, but was prevented from praying with him, by the fact 
that two men came in, whose countenances he did not like. 
He probably met with two of the residents of that part of 
the Manor called Sodom. The next fall Mr. Asbury visited 
the Manor again on his way to Western Maryland. lie 
speaks of preaching at Plersey's and at the school-house on 
the Manor, and probably in going west crossed the Elk 
River at the ferry at Court-house Point. 


Tlie next society organized in the county was the one at 
Johntown, in Sassafras Neck, which, as stated by Mr. Led- 
num in his history of Methodism, was in 1773. This was 
seven years after the first society of Methodists had been 
organized in New York, and the whole number of Metho- 
dists in the several conferences of New York, Philadol})hia, 
New Jersey, Maryland, and Virginia, is put down in the 
minutes of the conference for this year at one thousand one 
hundred and sixty, five hundred of whom were said to be- 
long to the Maryland Conference. At this time there was 
only ten Methodist preachers belonging to these conferences. 
Previous to this time the new sect had made considerable 
progress upon the Peninsula, and had several appointments 
in Kent and New Castle, as well as in Harford Count}'. 

The i)eople of this county, as before stated, were much 
more loyal than their neighljors in DelaM'are, and the course 
pursued by Mr. Wesley, who strongly favored the royal 
cause, was not calculated to add anything to the poi)ularity 
of the ministers who then labored in this country under his 
direction, and all of whom, except Mr. Asbury, went back 
to England in 1777. Mr. Asbury was fined £5 for preach- 
ing in a private house in Anne Arundel County, in the 
autumn of that year, and the next spring took refuge in the 
house of Judge White, in Kent County, Delaware, where he 
remained in seclusion for nearly a year. He states in his 
journal that he left Maryland because he could not con- 
scientiously take the oath of allegiance to the State. This 
oath was as follows: " I do swear that I do not hold myself 
bound to yield any allegiance or obedience to the King of 
CJreat Britain, his heirs or successors, and that I will be true 
and faithful to the State of Maryland, and to the utmost of 
my power support, maintain, and defend the freedom and 
independence thereof, and the government as now estab- 
lished, against all open enemies and traitorous conspira- 
cies, and will use my utmost endeavors to disclose and 
make known to the Governor, or some one of the judges or 


justices thereof, all treasons or traitorous conspiracies, 
attempts, or combinations against this State or the gov- 
ernment thereof, which may come to my knowledge." This 
oath, much to the credit of the vestry of North Elk parish, 
was taken and subscribed to by them. 

Mr. Wesley, in a letter dated January 11th, 1777 (quoted 
in Tyreman's Life of Wesley), says: "I have just received 
two letters from New York. They inform me that all the 
Methodists there are -firm for the government, and on that 
account persecuted by the rebels, only not to the death ; 
that the preachers are still threatened, but not stopped; and 
that the work of God increases much in Maryland and Vir- 
ginia." Some of the native preachers on the peninsula 
were not as prudent as Mr. Asbury and his coadjutors. One 
of them, Chauncey Clowe by name, in August, 1777, which 
the reader will recollect was the time when the British fleet 
sailed up the Elk River, raised a company of three hundred 
tories in Kent County, Delaware, for the purpose of making 
their way to the Chesapeake Bay and joining the British 
fleet. But they w^ere all captured, and Clowe was hanged. 
Others of the native ministers on the peninsula were ac- 
cused of circulating the king's proclamation, which, no 
doubt was the proclamation issued in the king's name by 
Lord Howe in Elk Neck. 

Another cause that retarded the growth of the new sect, 
was the violent opposition it met with from the ungodly 
and wicked part of the population, who were, in many 
cases, encouraged by those whose rank in society should 
have induced them to have used their influence in favor of 
peace and good order, rather than to have encouraged the 
spirit of lawless persecution that prevailed. Mr. Duke states 
in his pamphlet, before quoted from, that at one time a tra- 
veling Methodist preacher could hardly show his face in a 
little tobacco port or court-house village, without running 
the risk of being ducked or mobbed or ludicrously set at 
nought. For this treatment, he says there could be no 


actual reason given, but Lis being a stranger or bis re- 
})roving tbcm for swearing. Anotber difficulty under wbicb 
tbe new sect labored, was tbat of unwortb y traveling })reacb- 
ers, wbo probably were led astray in many cases tbrougb 
ignorance. A few years after this time (in 1782) the con- 
ference took action in regard to disorderly preachers, and, in 
order to keep them in subjection, resolved to write at the 
bottom of each certificate thereafter issued : " This conveys 
authority no longer than you walk uprightly and submit to 
the direction of the assistant in-eacher." 

Now let us take a retrospective glance at the history of 
the Episcopal churches. In 1771 the vestrymen of North 
Elk i)arish gave notice that they intended to petition the 
Legislature for a sum not exceeding £900, to be levied in 
three years for building a chapel of ease near where the old 
chapel stood, and for making some alterations in the church. 
Ten years before this time Rev. John Hamilton and two of 
the vestrymen had reported that the chapel was not worth 
repairing. The next year notice was given of the intention 
of raising £500 for the chapel ; but owing to the unpopularity 
of the church and the other causes that have been already 
fully set forth elsewhere, the money was not levied. Rev. 
John Hamilton, who had been connected with the parish 
since 1746, died in April, 1773, and was succeeded by the 
Rev.William Thompson;^who was appointed curate by Gov- 
ernor Eden on the first of the following May. Mr. Thomp- 
son was to receive the whole amount of the poll-tax levied 
lor the support of the rector, and was to continue until 
his successor was appointed. He appears to have been popu- 
lar, and the vestry soon afterwards sent an address to the 
governor, "thanking him for his kind, fatherly, and tender 
care of them, and entreating him to perfect his pious and 
fatherly intentions towards them, by inducting Mr. Thomp- 
son into the parish," which was accordingly done on the 
23d of June, 1773. Mr. Thompson seems to have been an 
eminently pious and practicable preacher, and disposed to 


do all in his power for the spread of the gospel among his 
parishioners, for the next year he was ordered to pay An- 
drew Barrett fifty-nine shillings for building a tent at the 
place where the chapel stood. This is the chapel not far 
from Battle Swamp. Tradition says that he preached there 
in a tent with some success for several days. He was pro- 
bably incited to make this extraordinary effort by the ac- 
tivity of the Methodists, but the war came on, and the con- 
nection of the church and State being severed, the vestry, in 
1777, were obliged to raise his salary by subscription, and 
the same year gave him permission to preach at the Manor 
Church or somewhere in St. Augustine parish, every third 
Sunda}'. This subscription list is yet extant, and contains 
the names of Jacob and Zebulon Hollingsworth ; Benjamin 
and William Mauldin ; Jacob and Michael Lumm ; Phredus 
Aldridge ; William, James, and John Crouch ; Abraham 
Mitchell ; Stephen, Isaac and Nicholas Hyland ; Tliomas 
Russell ; John Ricketts; Samuel and Joseph Gilpin ; James 
Pritchard ; Nathaniel Ramsay, and many others, some of 
whom, a few years later, became identified with the Metho- 
dists. The amount of the subscription was £202 ISs., C)d. 

Mr. Thompson removed to North Sassafras parish in 1779, 
but the vestry of North Elk seem to have been loath to give 
him up, and wrote to him, proposing to raise £100 by sub- 
scription in silver, or its equivalent in continental money, 
if he would preach for them one Sunday in each month, 
and find a lay reader to officiate one Sunday in each month. 
Biit nothing came of the offer, and the next year they cm- 
ployed one Collin Furguson as a lay reader in the parish, 
every Sunday, and agreed to pay him £120 specie per an- 
num during the time he acted as such, Mr. Thompson 
agreeing to officiate once a quarter during said time. It is 
worthy of remark tliat twelve years afterwards Collin Fur- 
guson claimed that £40 of his salary as lay reader for tlic 
years 1780-81, was in arrears, and placed his claim in the 
hands of William Barroll, an attorney, for collection ; and 


tliut ail order was given on Mrs. Coudon, tlie widow of the 
Rev. Josepli Condon, for that anionnt. 

On Easter Monday, 1781, Mr. Joseph Coudon was ap- 
pointed lay reader, and continued to serve in that capacity 
with so much acceptability that he was chosen as their rec- 
tor in September, 1785. Meanwhile, in 1784, Mr. Coudon 
and Henry Hollingsworth had been chosen to re|)resent the 
parish in a convention held at Annapolis that year, to take 
into consideration the distressed condition of the church. 

It is apparent from what has been written, that North Elk 
parish was not in a prosperous condition during this time. 
The condition of St. Augustine parish was no better. The 
Rev. Joseph Mather, who had succeeded Rev. Hugh Jones, 
was rector of that parish at the time the Methodists came to 
the Manor, and remained there until 1774, when he resigned. 
He was succeeded by the Rev. Philip Reading, who was 
presented to the parish by Governor Eden, in 1774. He was 
an Englishman, and had been a missionary at Appoquin- 
imink (now St. Anne's, near Middletown), and is said to have 
been very successful there. He remained in charge of this 
parish, in connection with Appoquinimink, until 177G, when 
his churches were closed, and he is said to liave died of 
grief. The parisli was vacant for three years previous to 
1781, when it was taken in charge by Rev. William Thomp- 
son, who had charge of it in connection with North Sassa- 
fras, until the time of his death, which occurred in 1786. 
Mr. Thompson, unlike nearly all his brother ministers, was 
loyal to the cause of the colonies. This added to his popu- 
larity, and enabled him to maintain the supremacy of the 
Episcopal church during his life, in those parts of the 
county where the church people were most numerous, in 
consequence of which Methodism made little progress in 
this county until some years after his death. 

From the time of its introduction up to the year 1785, 
Methodism made great progress in Virginia and North 
Carolina, and in the lower part of the Peninsula as well as 


in Eastern Pennsylvania and Western Maryland, but seems 
to have made comparatively none in this county. Mr. 
Asbury, who was constantly employed in traveling from 
place to place, supervising the work of those under him, 
speaks of visiting Robert Thompson's, near Bethel, in the 
spring of 1780, and says he " spoke close to him, who had 
fainted in his mind, being now left alone." Mr. Asbury 
visited Mr. Thompson again in October of the same year, 
and remarks in his journal that " the old man is stirred up." 
From which it may be infercd that Methodism liad proba- 
bly retrograded, rather than advanced, in the southern jiart 
of the county, which was the only part of it into which it 
had, at that time, been introduced. 

The conference of 1785, agreeable to the wishes of Mr. 
Wesley, formed themselves into an independent church ; 
but this event, whatever may have been its effect upon 
Methodism elsewhere, seems to have had no perceptablc ef- 
fect upon the few detached appointments in this county. 

In May, 1787, Mr. Asbury visited Elkton, upon which oc- 
casion he preached to a large congregation. He states that 
he was received by the Rudulph family with great respect. 
This family were probably at this time members of the 
Episcopal church, for the next year Tobias Kudulpli was 
appointed delegate to rej^resent North Elk parish in a con- 
vention in Baltimore Town. They lived in the old brick 
house now standing on Main street tliree doors east of the 
court-house, which was built by Tobias Rudulph, in 17G8. 

The name of the Cecil Circuit appears for the first time 
ujjon the minutes of the conference in 1788, but it? exact 
bounds are unknown. There is reason, liowever, to believe 
that, in connection with the appointments in tliis county, it 
embraced much of the territory of New Castle County, and 
probably some of the northern part of Kent, in Maryland. 
John Smith and George Wells were the first i)reachers in 
charge. They were succeeded the next year by George 
Moore and Benjamin Roberts. That year tlie number of 


members in all the societies in the circuit is put^down in 
the minutes of the conference as follows : Two hundred 
and fifty-seven white and two hundred and fifty-two colored. 

Seventeen years had now elapsed since the introduction 
of Methodism on Bohemia Manor, and it is probable that 
there was preaching regularly in Elk Neck and'^at North 
East; for Mr. Asbury states, under date of October 15tli, 
1794, that he preached at Hart's Meeting-house on that 
day, and the fact of a house being there at that time seems 
to indicate that there had been preaching in that neighbor- 
hood sometime before. This is the first reference that has 
been found to this meeting-house, though there is a tradi- 
tion that the early superintendent preachers, when passing 
back and forth from the southern part of the county to their 
appointments west of the Susquehanna, preached to the 
people in that neighborhood under the shade of some large 
walnut trees that stood about two miles southwest of where the 
meeting-house now stands. Many of the first settlers in Elk 
Neck had been zealous churchmen, and an effort had been 
made to erect a chapel of ease in that part of the county 
while it was a part of North Sassafras parish. 

The descendants of the first settlers still adhered to the re- 
ligion of their fathers, which accounts for the alacrity with 
which they embraced the new faith. Owing, no doubt, to 
their strong predilections for the manners and customs of 
the Episcopalians, the Methodists of Elk Neck, until a com- 
paratively recent period, observed the Whitsuntide holidays, 
and every year had services upon Whit-Sunday and Mon- 
day, which were largely attended by their brethren from 
Delaware and other places many miles distant. 

Hart's meeting-house was the first one erected in the 
county north of the Elk River; and though it was in exist- 
ence as early as 1794, the society, there is reason to think, 
did not have a deed for the land on which it stood until 
seven years afterwards ; for the land records of the county 
show that, on the 21st of August, 1801, Samuel Aldridge and 


Miliceiit, his wife, in consideration of the great desire they 
had to encourage and promote the religious worship of God, 
and in consideration of the nominal sum of five shillings, 
sold half an acre of ground, which is descrihed as being on 
the great road leading from Turkey Point to Elkton, to 
Robert Hart, Thomas Hart, Charles Ford, Fredus Aldridge, 
and Zebulon Kankey, trustees of the Methodist society in 
Elk River Neck and their successors. It is generally be- 
lieved that Robert Hart gave this society the land upon 
which the first meeting-house stood, but this record seems to 
indicate very clearly that such was not the fact; and there 
seems to be no doubt that the meeting-house mentioned by 
Mr. Asbury, was built upon land donated by Mr. Aldridge 
and his wife. It was a small frame house, ceiled with boards 
and weather-boarded on the outside, and contained a quaint 
and curious old-fashioned pulpit. 

The next Methodist meeting-house erected in the counts- 
was at North East. It appears from the land records of the 
county, that on the 25th of October, 1794, Jacob Jones con- 
veyed an acre of land, which is described in the deed as lying 
to the northward of the road leading from North East Church 
toAvard Beacon Hill, to William Howell, John George, David 
Sweazey, Jacob Jones, John Ford, Robert Hart, and Samuel 
Aldridge, for the sum of £10, " in trust for the society of re- 
ligious people called Methodists, and their successors lorever 
thereafter, who were to have full power and authority to 
erect on the said land a house for the })ublic worship of 
God." This was the first land owned b}' the society at 
North East, and is the same now used for the cemetery. It 
is worthy of remark that Robert Hart was also a trustee of 
the church called by his name in Elk Neck. 

Mr. Asbury, under date of the 5th of June, 1795, says he 
"preached in North East witliin the frame of a church that 
was just begun." He no doubt referred to the first church, 
which stood near the centre of the cemetery. It was about 
thirty by forty feet, weather-boarded without and ceiled 



with boards within, and was removed bodily in the earlj' 
part of the present century to the lower part of the village, 
where it remained until 1837, when the house now in use 
was built, and it was sold to Hugh Brown. On the 12th of 
April, 1804, William Hunter sold a lot containing about 
half an acre, which is described as being a few perches to 
the eastward of the church and to the northward of the Metho- 
dist meeting-house near the head of North East River, being 
on the east side of the great road leading from the head of 
North East River to Turkey Point, together with the house and 
fencing thereon, to William Howell, Robert Hall, Nicholas 
Chambers, Sr., Abraham Keagy, and William Williams, the 
three former being citizens of Cecil County, and the two latter 
residents of New Castle County, to have, hold, occupy, and pos- 
sess forever for the use and convenience of a traveling preacher 
of the gospel, in or belonging to the Methodist church, in 
charge of Cecil Circuit. This deed was witnessed by Tobias 
and Martha Rudulpli, the former being at that time one of the 
associate justices of the county court. The latter was after- 
wards the wife of the Rev. William Torbert. This is the first 
parsonage in the county, of which there is any trace in the 
records of the court or the history of the church ; but there is 
no evidence that it was ever used as such, and in 1809 those 
of the trustees who resided in this county sold it to Thomas 
Cazier for $250. The trustees are called in the deed to Ca- 
zier the " trustees of Ebenezer Chapel," which seems to indi- 
cate very unmistakably that the meeting-house at North 
East was then called by that name. This chapel and par- 
sonage, though described as being east of the road to Turkey 
Point, stood west of where the main street of the village is 
now located, the road at that time being some distance west 
of where the street is at present. 

The congregation which worshiped in Tli^npson's school- 
house, which stood very near wljere Bethel Church now 
stands, erected their first meeting-house sometime previous 
to 1790 ; but like the congregation at Hart's, they did not 


obtain a deed for the land upon which it stood until 1805. 
In that year, Richard Thompson, then of Philadelphia, 
formerly of this county, conveyed the lot upon which the 
church stood, to John Curnan, Nicholas Chambers Sr., James 
RatclifF, Robert Guttery, and Tobias Biddle, " for the use of 
the Methodist Episcojml Church, according to the rules and 
discipline which from time to time may be agreed upon or 
adopted by the ministers and preachers of said church at 
their general conferences, and in future trust and confidence 
that they shall at all times permit such ministers or 
preachers as shall be duly authorized by the rules and dis- 
cipline of said church, and none others, to preach or expound 
God's holy word there, and on the further condition that the 
church organization should not be suffered to die by the 
failure of the congregation to elect trustees." In 1802 the 
Legislature passed an act in relation to the incorporation of 
Christian churches or religious societies, authorizing the 
male members of twenty-one years of age and upwards to 
draw up and have recorded a constitution or plan of gov- 
ernment; but the congregation at Bethel, it would seem 
from the foregoing extract, had not availed themselves of 
it. It is worthy of remark that Nicholas Chambers was also 
one of the trustees of the parsonage at North East. The 
first Methodist society that organized agreeable to the act of 
1802 was called Goshen, now Ebenezer. The organization 
was effected on the 15th of January, 180G. The title then 
assumed was the Goshen congregation or society belonging 
to the Methodist church in South Susquehanna Hundred. 
The first trustees were Caleb Edmundson, William Ty.son, 
James Thompson, Thomas Sproston, Thomas Janney, and 
Edward McVey. The rules and regulations were signed by 
the above-named trustees, and acknowledged before Samuel 
Miller and Jeremiah Baker, justices of the peace. Though 
this congregation is the first one of this denomination that 
effected an organization according to law in this county, 
there is reason to believe that it had no meeting-house until 


1827, for on the 18th of February, 1826, Thomas White sold 
an acre and nine perches of land to Thomas Janney, Caleb 
Edmundson, John Williamson, Elijah Reynolds, William 
Edmundson, Michael Trump, John Cameron, trusteees, in 
trust, that they should erect, or cause to be erected, thereon 
a house or place of worship for the use of the members of 
the Methodist Episcopal church in the United States. And 
on the 5th of November, 1827, Dr. James Beard sold to the 
same trustees a lot containing about an acre, adjoining the 
other one, on which a church had been built in the mean- 
time, " in trust that the said lot should be for the use of the 
members of the M. E. Church in the United States, to build 
thereon any house for the convenience and use of said 

Under date of May 27th, 1800, Mr. Asbury, writing of 
Bethel, says : " The people sung and leaped for joy of 
heart ; they have beaten down strong drink, and the power 
of God is come." The next day he says, " at the Manor 
chapel we had a great time ; my soul was divinely re- 
freshed." This brief entry in Mr. Asbury's journal, throws 
some glimmering light on the previous condition of the 
people on the Manor, and leads us to infer that they had 
formerly been addicted to the immoderate use of strong 

It seems proper at this point to refer briefly to the con- 
dition of North Sassafras and St. Augustine parishes. 
Rev. Mr. Thompson, who the reader will recollect was rector 
of these parishes previous to the time of his death, had 
been succeeded by the Rev. James Jones Wilmer in 1787. 
He was a grandson of Hugh Jones, and had been educated 
in England, but returned to America in 1773, and became 
chaplain of the First Maryland Regiment in 1777. ISIr. 
Wilmer left these parishes in 1788, and was succeeded by 
Rev. John Bisset, who had charge of North Sassafras from 
1790 to 1792. He was succeeded by Rev. George Ralph, 
who was in charge of that parish for nine months in 1793. 


He also had charge of Shrewsbury parish, in connection 
with Nortli Sassafras, and taught a school at Georgetown. 
He was succeeded in 1794 by Rev. Jeremiah Cosden, who 
was a native of the parish, and had been a Methodist 
preacher, on account of which he had much difficulty in 
being admitted to orders in the Episcopal church. He 
lived upon the glebe, which he cultivated, his parishioners 
keeping the buildings in repair, but contributing nothing 
to his support. Mr. Allen, in his manuscript history, re- 
marks that " he seems not to have been a very zealous 
churchman, and probably regretted leaving the Methodist 
church." Mr. Asbury, speaking of him in his journal, in 
1795, says : " He was always very generous, and did not 
serve us for money," and adds, " he did certainly run well." 
Mr. Cosden was succeeded by Rev. Joshua Reese, in 1801. 
Mr. Reese had been a physician, but had exchanged the 
practice of curing the body for that of curing the soul. He 
left this parish in 1802, having been in charge of it and 
St. Augustine for about a year. He was succeeded in the 
rectorship of North Sassafras parish in 1803, by the Rev. 
Henry Lyon Davis, the father of the late Henry Winter 
Davis, who the next year also took charge of St. Augustine 
parish. During part of this time, that is to say, from 1789 
to 1792, the Rev. Joseph Coudon had charge of St. Augus- 
tine, in connection with North Elk and St. Ann's, near 
Middletown. He died in 1792, and this .parish was vacant 
for two years, when Rev. Mr. Cosden took charge of it in 
connection Avith North Sassafras. The Rev. Mr. Davis 
seems to have had a nominal connection with St. Augustine 
during the time of his rectorship at North Sassafras. During 
the period between the years 1787 and 1808, there is reason 
to believe that Methodism increased quite as rapidly on the 
Manor and in Sassafras Neck as it did in that part of the 
county north of the Elk River. Its membership were no 
longer confined to the poor and the lowly, but some of the 
most eminent persons of that part of the county were found 


among them. Prominent among these was Richard Bassett, 
before referred to in connection with Boliemia Manor, wlio 
came to reside upon his plantation at Bohemia Ferry, about 
1795. He was one of tlie most infkienlial Methodists of 
that period. His house was the home of the poor, weary 
itinerants, who always found an open door and a hearty 
welcome. Mr. Asbury was in the kabit of stopping at his 
house frequently, and there is no doubt that it was owing 
to his instrumentality that the first camp-meetings in the 
county were held in a grove on his estate, about a mile 
north of Bohemia Bridge, in 1808 and the next year. 

These camp-meetings were a source of vexation and an- 
noyance to the Rev. Mr. Davis, who viewed the success of 
the Methodists with jealous eyes. Mr. Davis was a learned 
man and had been elected professor of the Greek and Latin 
languages in Dickinson College, when ho was only nineteen 
years of age. Being a learned man and zealous minister, he 
had no sympathy with the Methodists who had preached the 
gospel at Hersey's mill, Thompson's school-house, and Beth- 
esda Chapel, and had been so successful in making prose- 
lytes that there were none left to attend upon his own minis- 
trations in St. Augustine parish, the church at that time being 
closed for want of a congregation. In 1809, Mr. Davis, in a 
letter to the Bishop, says : " Already there have been several 
camp-meetings in the peninsula this summer. At this time 
there is one near Smyrna, Del. Next week one will be 
formed in this neighborhood, and another in Wye River in 
Talbot County. I am horribly afraid of tlie effort. Within 
the last two years the churcb has evidently declined in al- 
most every part of the Eastern Shore." This is rather a 
gloomy picture to be drawn by a zealous churchman, but 
no doubt it was a true one, and very probably Mr. Davis 
feared that owing to the zeal and success of the Methodists, 
the parish of North Sassafras would also fall into their pos- 
session. The history of that parish for the next fifteen years, 
and all the subsequent history of St. Augustine, show that 


the fears of Mr. Davis were well grounded, for so few were 
tlie church people and so little respect had the others for the 
old St. Augustine church that the}^ not only suffered it to 
go to ruin, but actu illy pulled it down and used the bricks 
of which it was constructed in building chimneys in tljeir 
houses and for other purposes, so that a quarter of a century 
later but very little if any part of the walls were standing. 
The chapel which stands near the site of the church was 
erected in 1841, mainly by the instrumentality of a few pious 
ladies of the neighborhood ; but so effectually had Metho- 
dism supplanted Episcopacy in the affections of the people 
of the Manor, that when the Bishop attended there on St. 
Patrick's day of that year in order to consecrate it — it being 
a storm}^ day — he was obliged, for want of an audience, to 
postpone the ceremony until the next autumn. 

The Rev. Joseph Condon, who, the reader will recollect, 
had been chosen curate of North Elk parish in 1785, was 
ordained two years afterwards, and the same year was in- 
stalled rector of that parish. The minutes of the vestry for 
1788, show that he had then been laboring faithfully in the 
parish for six years, and had received on an average only 
about £37 a year, though the subscription list for his sup- 
port amounted to upwards of £178. Probably part of what 
he did receive was the interest on the money obtained by 
the sale of the glebe which was disposed of in 1875, and the 
money placed in his hands, he being allowed to use the in- 
terest upon giving bond for the payment of the princii^ul. 
In 1788 he was allowed to labor part of the time in St. Au- 
gustine parish and Appoquinimink, Delaware, whicli he 
continued to do until the time of his death, which occurred 
April 13th, 1792, on his farm, now owned by Rev. James 
Mclntire, near Elkton. Mr. Condon was succeeded by Rev. 
William Duke, who took charge of North Elk parish, in 
1793, and the same year married Hettie Coudon, the 
daughter of the former rector. Mr. Duke was a native of 
Baltimore County, and was licensed to i)reacli by Kev. 


Francis Asbury, when he was only sixteen or seventeen 
years of age. His name appears upon the minutes of the 
first conference, held at Philadelphia, 1774, as one of the 
seven ministers wlio were that year taken on trial. The 
next year he was admitted to full membership, and re- 
mained in connection with the conference as a traveling 
preacher until 1779, when he ceased to travel, and subse- 
quently took orders in the Episcopal church, being impelled 
to do so by his opiiosition to the erection of the Methodist 
society into an independent church. 

Mr. Duke was a learned man, and was more of the stud- 
ent than the preacher. He was the author of several reli- 
gious and poetical works, the principal one of which Avas 
published wliile he resided in Elkton, in 1795. It was en- 
titled " Observations on the present state of religion in Mary- 
land," and was a valuable contribution to the religious liter- 
ature of that period. No person would imagine, however, 
after reading it, that the author had ever been a Methodist 
preacher, for he severely censures those who were instru- 
mental in obtaining the independence of the Methodist 
church, and intimates that the means used to effect that 
end were not very creditable. He also criticises the religious 
peculiarities and manners of the Methodists of that period, 
and, while admitting that in general they seemed to 
to seek an experimental knowledge of God, "appeals 
to themselves whether they do not, both by exfeSn- 
ple and express direction, excite the people to noise and 
uproar; and whether they do not avail themselves, not only 
of that noise but also of a confined air, violent gesticulations, 
and other circumstances calculated rather to surprise than 
inform the human mind; and whether they do not estimate 
their success in proportion to the disorder and tumult of 
their audience?" Strange language this, to be used by one 
who, a few years before, had been a zealous Methodist him- 
self, and yet there is no reason to think that he was not en- 
tirely sincere when he used it, for in this pamphlet he is 


more severe, if possible, in his animadversions upon tlie 
Episcopal churcli than he is upon the Methodists. 

The fact seems to be, that the early Methodists were both 
noisy and demonstrative, and Mr. Duke i)robal)ly left them 
and joined the Episcopal church because it was quieter and 
better suited his temperament. 

After being rector of North Elk parish for three years, 
Mr. Duke, in 1796, resigned and went to Anne Arundel 
County, but returned to Elkton the next year, and soon 
afterwards removed to Kent County, where he taught a pa- 
rochial school, but again returned to Elkton in 1799, and 
opened a school in Bow street, and during the next three 
years occasionally preached at North East, in his school- 
room at Elkton, and in the Episcopal church near the vil- 
lage of New London in Pennsylvania, and at the almshouse, 
baptizing and burying many. It was during this interval 
that he wrote to Bishop Claggett, May 3d, 1801, that he 
preached sometimes by special ap])ointmcnt at home, but 
never dreamed of doing anything more, " for," said he, " I 
have made my last effort with these people." In 1803 Mr. 
Duke was appointed professor of languages in St. John's 
College, Annapolis, and had charge of St. Ann's Church, in 
that city, until 1806, when, the college having been de- 
prived of its funds, he returned to Elkton, and the next 
year took charge of the academy there. In 1798 Mr. Duke 
pui Jiased the Belle Hill farm, which he owned for a num- 
ber of years. The acquisition of this property no doubt 
caused him to desire to be near to it, hence his oft-repeated 
and fruitless efforts to effect a permanent location in Elkton. 
This time he remained there until 1812, when he took 
charge of Charlotte Hall, in St. Mary's County, and became 
principal of the school there, but in 1814 returned to Elkton 
and continued to officiate as aforetime until tlie spring of 
1818, when he was appointed principal of the Elkton 
Academy. He died at Elkton in 1840, aged eighty-three 


So effectually had Methodism supplanted Episcopacy in 
North Elk parish that during the interval from 1801. when 
Mr. Duke ceased to minister there, until 1835, it was without 
a rector. Part of this time the vestr3'-house was used as a 
school-house, and in the war of 1812, the church upon one 
occasion was used by a company of soldiers which occupied 
it as a barrack while awaiting transportation to Baltimore. 

Trinity church in Elkton was organized in 1832 by the 
efforts of James Sewell, Henry Hollingsworth and a few 
others, and the same year Rev. William Henry Reese was 
installed as the first rector. The first church building was 
consecrated the same year. Mr. Reese was succeeded by 
Rev. Henry Lyon Davis, formerly of North Sassafras par- 
ish, who returned to this county in 1834. Mr. Davis re- 
mained in charge of Trinity church but a short time, when 
a vacancy of two years occurred, at the end of which Rev. 
Henry Williams took charge of Trinity in connection with 
St. Mary Ann's. Mr. Williams was succeeded by Rev. 
Robert Lloyd Goldsborough in 1841. Mr. Goldsborough 
was a very zealous churchman and under his rectorship the 
religious affairs of the parish assumed a much better con- 
dition than they had been in for many years. 

In 1835 a church was organized near Port Deposit, 
the members of which were allowed the use of the chapel 
lands near that place probably for the purpose or with the 
intention of erecting a church building. In 1839 the ves- 
try laid out the church land in North East, into building 
lots, and sold it at public sale, from which they realized up- 
wards of twenty-five hundred dollars. 

Though St. Mary Ann's church had been built nearly a 
century it had never been consecrated, and that service was 
j)crformed by the Right Reverend Bishop Whittingham, 
on the 3d of September, 1844. In August, 1845, St. 
Mark's chapel near Perryville, which was built on land 
donated by the Misses Gale, was consecrated, and the next 
year Rev. Richard Whittingham, Jr., was chosen by the 


rector as deacon and assistant minister there. Mr. ( !olds- 
borough occasionally held service in tlie neighborhood of 
Lord's Factory and in 1849, the subject of erecting a church 
near that place was contem})lated. 

The first society of Methodists in the vicinity of Elkton 
worshiped at the house of Richard Updegrove, which was a 
short distance east of the town and near the State line, in 
1799. The names of the members were John Pennington, 
Elizabeth Pennington, John Crouch, Cornelia Crouch, 
Richard Updegrove, Hannah Updegrove, Thomas Phillips, 
and Sarah Land. Tlie names of the probationers were 
Sarah Updegrove, John Hitchcock, and Rachel Coudon. 
This society probably removed to Elkton in 1801, for in that 
year it is called in the records of the quarterly conference 
the society at Elkton, Md. 

On the 20th of July, 1813, Levi Tyson, Richard Upde- 
grove, Benjamin Pearce, Robert Taylor, and William Kil- 
gore, trustees of the Elkton M. E. church, purchased half 
an acre of ground on High street, from Thomas Howard, for 
the sum of one hundred dollars for the use of the Mcthodi^^t 
Episcopal church in Elkton. 

Bishop Asbury states in his journal that he preached in 
Elk chapel, in 1815, and remarks that "this place, Elkton, 
has been founded about fifty years," and adds, "it may be 
visited by the Lord in the fourth or fifth generation; " from 
which it is plain that his opinion coincided with that ex- 
pressed by Mr. Duke some years before, and that the resi- 
dents of the town were no more inclined to profit by the 
preaching of the Methodists then than they were to profit 
from the preaching of Mr. Duke. 

From these facts, it seems plain that the chapel mentioned 
by Bishop Asbury, which is the old brick church on High 
street, now occupied by the Free Methodists, was erected 
about the year 1814. This chapel was subsequently en- 
larged, in 1842, by an addition to tlie north end of it, and in 
1827 George Jones, John H. Ford, Jesse Updegrove, Henry 


Jamar, Robert Johnston, Levi Tyson, and Samuel Wilson, 
who, at tliat time were trustees of the church, purchased 
from Levi Tyson the lot adjoining tlie church lot on the cast, 
for an addition to the graveyard. In 1820 Martha liudulph 
j)resented this congregation with a house and lot on North 
street, a short distance above the railroad, for the use of the 
minister in charge of Cecil circuit and his successors, reserv- 
ing certain rights and privileges in the house and garden 
for the use and convenience of Mrs. Elizabeth Sullivan, 
widow, and Miss Mary Sullivan, spinstress, who were then 
tenants in possession, the trustees agreeing to keep the })re- 
mises in "good order and neat and comely repair." This 
l)arsonage seems not to have been a convenient residence 
for the minister in charge of the circuit, and in 1824 Martha 
Rudulph,who was then the wife of the Rev.William Torbert, 
then stationed at Cambridge, reconveyed the property to 
the trustees, and so changed the covenants in the original 
deed as to allow them to rent the property, and api)ly the 
proceeds for the purpose of paying the rent of a house for 
the minister of Cecil circuit in the town of Elkton or else- 
where. The congregation continued to enjoy the use of 
this property until 1853, when they sold it to Stephen John- 
son, the heirs at law of William Torbert and wife, who were 
then deceased, joining with them in the deed. 

Rev Mr. Asbury frequently stopped at Charlestown, and 
sometimes preached there while upon his annual rounds 
visiting the churches, and it is pretty certain that the 
Methodists had preaching there at regular intervals in the 
early part of the present century. As early as 1792, the Pres- 
bytery of New Castle had sent supplies there to preach the 
gospel, and they had been so well received that the town 
commissioners, in 1801, appropriated one thousand dollars, 
which had been derived from the rents of the town property, 
and part of which was then in their hands, for the purpose 
of building a church for them, and actually had purchased 
a quantity of lime and other material to be used in its con- 


struction, when it was discovered that they had no legal au- 
thority to apply the revenue of the town for that purpose. 
They subsequently obtained the requisite authority from 
the Legislature and purchased a house and lot from Colonel 
Nathaniel Kamsay, primarily for the use of the Presbyterian 
congregation, but with the understanding that, if the house 
was not used by them, it might be us( d by other denomina- 

The Methodists worshiped in this house in common with 
the Presbyterians, until 1822, when the Presbyterians 
organized a congregation in Charlestown, and the subject of 
building a meeting-house of their own, began to be agitated 
by the Methodists, and the town commissioners having ex- 
pressed a willingnesss to appropriate two hundred dollars 
for that purpose, an act of the Legislature authorizing them 
to do so was obtained. But for some reason, probabl}- the 
want of means, the enterprise lagged until 1825, when the 
trustees, who were Joseph Benjamin, Thomas Richardson, 
Joshua Bennett, Robert Thompson,^ John Turner, John 
Wilson, and John Tomlinson, purchased a lot from Jolin 
White, upon which the first meeting-house was erected the 
same year. 

The Hopewell M. E. church came into existence about 
the time of the organization of the Goshen society. The 
first house of worship, which was a log building, was prob- 
ably built in 1810, upon a half acre of land which Davis 
Reed donated to the trustees in that year. The trustees 
were James Thompson, George Nelson, Ricliard Rutter, 
Joseph Coulson and John Brooks, all of West Nottingham 

The Asbury church was the outgrowth of tlic cliurches 
that surrounded it. The Methodists of the neighborhood 
in which it is located, worshiped for some years i>rcvious to 
the erection of the first church of tliat name, in Jackson's 
school-house, which stood not far from where tlie cliurch 
was built. In 1825, James Jackson, Robert Jackson, Racliel 


Jackson, Nanc}' Bell, Mar}^ Armstrong, William Davidson, 
John N. Y. Ryan and Elizabeth Ryan, the heirs at law of 
JVIary Carnahan, conveyed, for the nominal sum of five dol- 
lars, a lot containing half an acre of land to James Gal- 
braith, in trust for the use, interest and purpose of build- 
ing a church or house of worship, for the accommodation 
of the Methodist society. These facts seem to indicate very 
plainly that the Methodists of that neighborhood had not 
organized as a church at that time. Mr. Galbraith held 
this land until 1829, when he deeded it to John Jackson, 
William Patterson, Amos Eaton, William Dennison, Francis 
Segar, William Dennison (of William,) and Edward Jackson, 
in trust for the original purpose, from which it seems prob- 
able that the first meeting-house was built about that Hme. 

The other Methodist Episcopal churches in this county 
are the outgrowth of those, the early history of which has 
just been given, and however interesting it might be to trace 
their history, it is not within the scope of this work, and 
for that reason will be left for an historian of the future. 
^ The Methodist Protestant church was introduced into 
this county shortly after the organization of the first con- 
ference of that denomination in Baltimore, in 1829. The 
first church in this county, called "Shelemiah," was built at 
Bayview, about 1830. The first church building was used 
nearly fifty years and until 1879, when a spacious and 
handsome structure was erected in its stead. 

Meetings were held in the New Leeds church, which was 
afterwards purchased by this denomination, about the time 
that the church at Bayview was founded. 

The Methodist Protestants, now have a number of churches 
in the county, one of whicli is at Rowlandville, another be- 
tween Bayview and Charlestown, one in the eighth district, 
Moores cha{)el in the fourth district, and also a church at 


Miscellaneous information — Newspapers — Fisheries — Chrome — Granite 
quarries — Iron — Iron Works — Paper mills — Free schools — Population. 

Having traced the history of the county in the preceding 
chapters as well as the limited data extent would permit, to 
a period within the recollection of persons of middle age, 
this chapter will be devoted to a few miscellaneous subjects, 
which are of so much importance that they cannot be passed 
by unnoticed. 

Prominent amongst these matters are the newspapers, 
fisheries, manufactures, mineral productions, free schools, 
etc., the history of all of which can be impartially written 
at this time. This cannot be said of some other subjects 
quite as closely connected with the histor}' of the county as 
those just mentioned. Amongst the latter are to be found 
the history of the various political parties that have claimed 
the allegiance of the people during the last half century, 
and the action of the people during the late civil war. For 
the reason before intimated, the task of writing that part of 
the history of the county embraced in the subjects last 
before enumerated, will be left for another person, or at 
least deferred until a period in the future, when the lapse 
of time will have rendered the task less onerous, and more 
likely to be impartially performed. 

Though the people of this county were the equals in in- 
telligence and education of those of any other part of the 
State, and gave a generous support to institutions of learn- 
ing, as has already been shown, and though the peojjle of 
the State, from a very early period in its history, had enjoyed 
the advantages to be derived from the printing-press, it was 


not until after tlic lapse of nearly a century and a-half after 
the erection of tlie county that they could enjoy the privi- 
lege of reading a ne\vspa})er puhlished within its limits. 

The first newspaper published in this county appeared in 
June, 1823. It was called The ElMon Press, and was pub- 
lished weekly by Andrews & McCord, at two dollars a year. 
It was twenty-one by twenty-seven inches, and had for its 
motto, " Obedience to the people's choice," which indicated 
in some degree its character, for it was neutral in politics at 
first, and seems to have been devoted to the interests of the 
people so far as its limited size and circulation permitted. 
John McCord, the founder of this paper, came to Elkton 
from Lancaster City. He was a printer by trade, and was 
assisted in the editorial department of the paper by Samuel 
Stanbaugh, who afterwards became a prominent politician, 
and received the appointment of Indian agent or trader 
under ex-President Andrew Jackson. Some time prior to 
October, 1828, this paper passed into the possession of J. S. 
Green and Robert Carter. Mr. Carter had established the 
manufacture of paper in this county in 18 IG, on the site of the 
Cecil paper-mill, now owned and operated by his son, I. D. 
Carter, Esq., and the first proprietors of The Press having 
become indebted to him for paper, he took an interest 
in The Press to secure the debt. During the existence of 
this firm Mr. Green edited The Press. 

On the 18th of October, 1828, the firm of Green & Carter 
dissolved, Mr. Green retiring, and Mr. Carter forming a 
business connection with Charles F. Cloud. The duration 
of this firm is not known, but the paper had changed hands 
prior to March 7th, 1829, it being published at that time 
opposite the Court-house, on Gay street, by C. F. Cloud and 
J. W. Conkey, who subsequently removed the office to the 
old brick building, two doors east of the court-house. The 
continuance of the existence of this firm, like some of those 
which preceded it, cannot now be definitely ascertained ; 
but the paper was published by George W. Veazey in 


September, 1 832. During the latter part of the time this paper 
was in charge of Messrs. Andrews & McCord, it was run in 
tlie interest of the Democratic party, and in 1824, judging 
from certain communications and extracts from other 
papers, which are found in its columns, seems to have 
favored the election of General Jackson to the Presidency. 
In 1832, when it was publislied by George W. Veazey, it 
hoisted the name of Henry Clay for that position. 

The Elkton Press seems to have liad a sickly existence from 
the time of its birth, and never to have improved. Its death 
was probably hastened by the birtli of 21te Cecil Republican 
and Farmers' and Mechanics' Advertiser, a weekly journal 
which was started in Elkton on May 12th, 1832, by Richard 
r. Bayly. The size of this paper was twenty-one by thirty 
inches. It was published for a while "in the brick building 
nearly opposite to the court-house, lately occupied by W. H. 
Calvert as a hat manufactory " at two dollars per year. Mr. 
Bayly, the proprietor of this paper, continued to publish it 
as late as February, 1834, but it ceased to exist prior to 
August, of that 3'ear, at which time Tlte Central Cmiranl was 
the only paper published in the county. This paper was 
started in Port Deposit b}'^ L. A. Wilmer in March, 1833; 
it was twent3'-one by twenty-eight and one-half inches in 
size at first, but was subsequentl}' reduced to fifteen and 
one-half by twenty-one and one-half inches, affording a 
very limited amount of space for the elucidation of tlie 
multifarious subjects to which it was devoted. The sub- 
scription was two dollars at first, but was reduced one-half 
when the size of the paper was changed. 

Mr. Wilmer came from Baltimore to Elkton previous to 
(lie founding of The Covrant and worked as a printer on 
Tlic Elkton Press. After the deatli of The Couronf, he re- 
moved from Port Deposit to Philadel[)hia and connected 
himself with TJie Saturday Evening Post, a literary paper of 
much celebrity at that time. Mr. Wilmer was an anti-Jack- 
son man, but his paper, which was neutral, seems to have 



been too diminutive to have produced much effect upon the 
politics of the county, even if he had tried to do so. It was 
published as late as November, 1834; how much longer has 
not been ascertained. Mr. Wilmer was a very eccentric man 
and would sometimes dress himself in winter clothing 
in the warmest summer weather, when he wished to take a 
walk to the Far Creek of an evening. 

The Cecil Gazette and Farmers' and Mechanics^ Advertiser 
was started in September, 1834, by a Democratic Convention 
which raised the money by subscription to purchase the 
press and type for the new journal. It was published and 
edited by Henry Bosee, though the press and type were held 
in trust for those who had contributed to their purchase, by 
a number of trustees of whom Colonel William Mackey 
and Henry D. Miller, both of the fourth district, were a 
part. The paper was twenty-four by thirty-two inches in 
size and was published weekly in Elkton, at two dollars per 
year. In the issue of August 20th, 1836, it is stated that 
the paper had been purchased by Amor T. Forwood, who 
upon that day assumed its editorship. It continued to be 
published in his name for a few months, when it again fell 
into the hands of Mr. Bosee, in whose name it was published 
until February, 1841. 

The next journal that claims our attention was called the 
Cecil Whig and Port Deposit Weekly Courier. It was founded 
by Lynde Elliott at Port Deposit in July, 1835 ; was twenty- 
one by thirty-two inches, and was published every Saturday, 
at two dollars per year, or three dollars if not paid in ad- 
vance. It was devoted to the interest of the Whig party, 
but did not prove to be a success, and consequently did not 
live a great while ; how long has not been ascertained, but 
it probably gave place to the Elkton Courier, a strong Whig 
paper, which was founded by Charles F. Cloud, in August, 
183G. It was a weekly journal, twenty-two by thirty-one 
inches, subscription, two dollars per year. It was devoted to 
politics, literature, agriculture, the mechanics arts and gen- 


eral intelligence. Its office was on Gay street, in the Hol- 
low, opposite Bow street ; subsequently it was opposite the 
residence of Hon. Alexander Evans, and for awhile on the 
northeast corner of North and High streets. In a literary 
point of view it was far in advance of many of its prede- 
cessors, and for a time was edited by George R. Howard and 
also by Francis A. Ellis. During the time of the existence 
of The Courier, party spirit was both high and bitter, and 
sometimes culminated in personal rencounters in the streets, 
which were often productive of black eyes and bloody noses. 
At tliis time and for some years before, the Whig party was 
in a minority in the county, and receiving no share of the 
official patronage either from the national or local govern- 
ment, had hard work to sustain a county organ. In conse- 
quence of this The Whig party was without one for some 
time after the demise of the Elkton Courier, and on the Gth 
of August, 1839, George Keating commenced in Port Deposit 
the publication of The Port Deposit Back and Cecil County Com- 
mercial Advertiser. The size of this paper was twenty-six by 
thirty inches; it was published every Tuesday morning at 
two dollars per year, and was strongly Whig in politics. 
This paper, like most of its predecessors, had but a brief ex- 
istence. It was published as late as January, 1840; how 
much longer has not been ascertained. 

Mr. Keating was a strong "anti-Jackson" man, and being 
very pugnacious, was always ready for a fight. After the 
failure of The Itock, he removed to Baltimore, but subse- 
quently came to Havre-de Grace, where he publislied sev- 
eral papers, none of which were successful, in consequence 
of which he is said to have died in the Harford County 
almshouse in the early part of the war of the rebellion. 

The brief existence of most of the early journals of tlie 
county may be accounted for by the unsettle<l condition of 
its politics, which were in a chaotic or transition state for 
some years subsequent to 1824 ; from that time until 183G the 
Whig and Democratic parties were in course of formation, 


and, as has sometimes since been the case, many of the 
people knew not to which party they belonged. Hence, the 
support accorded to the journals of that day was small, as 
well as precarious. 

The Whig party being without an organ after the demise 
of the Port Deposit Rock, some of its leading members, pro- 
fiting by the example of their opponents seven years before, 
concluded to start a new paper, and the wherewithal to pur- 
chase the press and type was raised by subscription among 
the members of the party, and those at the head of the new 
enterprise purchased the press and the type ol the PortDeposit 
Rock, which they shipped on board of a small sailing vessel 
and brought to Elkton. The name of the new paper, the first 
number of which appeared on the 7th of August, 1841, was 
The Cecil Wliig. Its first editor was the late Palmer C. Ricketts, 
under whose management it continued until the time of his 
death,* which occurred on the 8th of March, 1860. The old 
log-cabin which was erected in the Hollow during the cam- 
paign of 1840 was used as the first office of TJie Whig. In 
1855, the paper having been enlarged the year before, its 
office was moved to the building on North street, now used 
by George W. Cruikshank, for a law office. It is not within 
the sco})e of this work to give an extended account of the 
early history of The Whig, nor to discuss the condition of 
the political parties that were contemporaneous with it, 
while it was under the management of its founder. It suf- 
fices to say that Mr. Ricketts was but twenty-three years of 
age when he assumed the responsible position of editor. 
The state of society and politics was somewhat different 
then from what it is now, but party spirit was none the less 
vindictive. In consequence of this, the bickerings and 
feuds which had existed among the local politicians of the 
Whig and Democratic parties culminated in the death of 

* Except from April to August, 1852, daring which time he edited the 
Baltimore Daily News, and 7/te Whig was edited by William J. Jones, Esq. 


Amor T. Forwood, a prominent democrat, in the fall of 1843. 
Mr. Forwood's death was the result of a long and bitter per- 
sonal controversy between him and Mr. Ricketts, which led 
liim to make an assault upon that gentleman, who, in self- 
defense, shot him with a pistol. Mr. Ricketts was tried at 
the October term of court in 1843, and acquitted. It being 
proved to the satisfaction of the jury that he acted in self- 

Mr. Ricketts belonged to one of the oldest families in the 
county, the founder of which it is believed resided in Sassa- 
fras Neck, and was a Quaker; he was much censured by his 
political opponents for the death of Mr. Forwood, but he lived 
long enough to win the respect and esteem of many of those 
who were once his bitterest enemies. He died respected by 
all, and deeply regretted by a very large portion of the com- 
munity in which he lived. 

The Cecil Gazette was neither popular nor prosperous 
under the management of Mr. Bosee, and in February, 1840, 
it was purchased by Thomas M. Coleman, who changed its 
name to The Cecil Democrat and Farmers' Journal and 
continued to publish it until the spring of 1848. When Mr. 
Bosee sold the Gazette he retained the press and type which, 
as before stated, were held in trust for those who furnished 
the money to purchase them. This led to a replevin suit, 
instituted by William Mackey and Henry D. Miller, who 
appear to have been the only surviving trustees. On the 
9th of May, 1842, the sheriff served the writ and delivered 
the property, consisting of the press and type, to the plain- 
tiffs, they giving bond for the value of the property if the 
suit went against them. In consequence of the death of Mr. 
Forwood and the failure of the defendant to employ other 
counsel, this cause resulted in a non-suit in the April term, 
1844. Subsequently, at the October term of court, 1845, 
Mr. Bosee brought suits against the representatives of Mes.srs. 
Mackey and Miller, who had died in the meantime, and 
also against their sureties on the bond. These suits were 


continued until April term, 1847, when one of them at the 
instance of Bosee was removed to Kent County, the parties 
agreeing to settle the others in accordance witli the judg- 
ment in the removed case. The cases that were not re- 
moved are at this time upon the docket of Cecil County 
court, the other one never having been tried in Kent. 

In 1848 Thomas M. Coleman started a paper in Elkton, 
called the Temperance Banner, which he continued to publish 
for two years, when he removed it to Baltimore, where he 
published it two years longer, and discontinued it probabl}' 
for the want of patronage. Mr. Coleman then removed to 
Philadelpliia and became reporter for the Daily Register, but 
subsequently connected himself with the Public Ledger, of 
which he has been city editor for a number of yeats. 

Henry Vanderford purchased The Cecil Democrat and 
Farmers' Journal from Mr. Coleman in 1848, and published 
it under that name until June 1st, 1850, when tlie Farmers 
Journal was dropped from the title, and the paper has ever 
since been published under the name of The Cecil Democrat. 

In 1865 Mr. Vanderford disposed of the paper to Messrs. 
Constable & Stump. 

Mr. Vanderford, who is a practical printer and a man of 
fine literary ability, had been connected with several jour- 
nals before he came to Elkton ; he afterwards established the 
Middletoivn Transcrii^t, and subsequently purchased tlie 
Democratic Advocate at Westminster, Maryland, now owned 
and edited by his sons. 

Messrs. Constable & Stump continued to i)ublish The 
Democrat w\\i\\ September, 1865, when Mr. Constable, sold 
his interest to George W. Cruikshank, the present proprietor, 
and the paper was published by Cruikshank & Co., until 
October of that year, when Mr. Stump sold his interest to 
John T. McCrery, and the name of tlie firm was changed to 
Cruikshank & McCrery. Mr. Cruikshank purchased Mr. 
McCrery's interest iji June, 1866, and continued to publish 
the paper until February, 1873, when Dr. R. C. Mackall 


purchased a half interest in it, which he retained until Jan- 
uary 1st, 1876, since which it lias been published by its 
present proprietor. 

During the campaign of 1855, when Know-nothingism 
was rampant in th6 State of Maryland, the late Charles H. 
Haines and William J. Jones published a small campaign 
paper, called the Union Reformer, which was printed at the 
office of TJie Whig. It was devoted to the interest of the 
Know-nothing party, and was published anonymously for a 
time, owing to which the postmaster refused to transmit it 
through the mails ; but this difficulty was soon obviated by 
})lacing the name of the imaginary firm of Smith & Co. at the 
head of its columns. After The Whig became fully committed 
to the Know-nothing party, the Union Reformer was discon- 

Early in the fall of 1856 John B. Rowan commenced the 
publication of a small weekly campaign paper, called the 
Jackson Picket Guard. It was devoted to the interest of the 
Democratic party, and advocated the election of James 
Buchanan to the presidency. It was edited with consider- 
able ability, and was printed at the office of The Cecil 

After the death of Mr. Ricketts, the Cecil Whig passed into 
the editorial management of James S. Crawford, who.edited 
it for a period of eleven months, prior to April, 1861, when 
it was purchased by Edwin E. Ewing, who in 1876 disposed 
of it to its present owner, Henry R. Torbert, Esq. The 
Chesapeake Chesapikc, or the fighting fish of the Chesapeake 
Bay, was founded in Chesai)eake city, in 1876, by Harry 
Moss who came to the Centennial International Exhibition as 
correspondent of the Vicksbury Herald. It was purchased 
by Dr. D. H. B. Brower, in the winter of 1878. Dr. Brower 
changed its name to the Chesapeake Record and continued 
to publish it until December, 1879, when lie removed to 
North East and started the North East Record, which is now 
published in that town by his son William G. Brower. The 


Rising Sun Journal was founded by W. H. Pennington 
& Bro., in 1879. It is a lively little sheet and gives 
evidence of attaining a good old age. 

The latest journalistic venture in this county, is the Cecil 
County News, which was started in Elkton in September, 
1880, by Dr. James H. Frazer, and which though yet in its 
infancy gives promise of a vigorous manhood. 

The fisheries of this county have long been one of its 
most important sources of wealth. There can be no doubt 
that the Indian tribes that Captain Smith found residing at 
the head of the bay, when he explored it, were attracted there, 
as their ancestors had no doubt been, from time immemo- 
rial, by the large quantities of fish they found in the waters 
of the bay and its tributaries, and the facilities that the 
numerous branches of the streams emptying into it afforded 
for the easy capture of the members of the finny tribe. 

The reader will recollect that when the warlike Susque- 
hannocks made the treaty with the English on Severn River, 
in 1G52, they reserved the country between the North East 
and Susquehanna rivers. Their reason for doing so, was no 
doubt, to secure the right of way to the rich fishing grounds 
at the head of the bay, and along the northern side of the 
Nort East River. In those days and until their passage was 
preveni-ed by the erection of mill-dams, the migratory fish 
were accustomed to ascend the streams as far as they 
found a sufficient depth of water to enable them to swim. 

The seines used a century ago were made of hemp or flax 
twine, which was spun on the old-fashioned spinning wheels 
then in use. They were generally not more than twenty or 
thirty yards long. Owing to the abundance of shad and 
herring a century ago, the demand for them could easily be 
supplied by seines of moderate length. Longer seines were 
not used until early in the present century, when the in- 
creased population and facilities for transportation produced 
a greater demand for fish than could be supplied by the 
short seines formerly in use. 


During the Revolutionary war efforts were made by the 
provincial government, with what success has not been as- 
certained, to supply the troops of the Maryland line with 
smoked shad and herring, as part of their rations, which in- 
dicates that the fishing business was one of importance at 
that time. 

The invention of the cotton-gin and the introduction of 
improved machinery for spinning cotton in the carl}' part of 
the present century, gave a great impetus to the fishing 
business, which reached the highest degree of success dur- 
ing the decade between the years 1820 and 1830. During 
this period, as well as before and afterwards, many of the 
residents of Lancaster and Chester counties were in the 
habit of annually visiting the fisheries along the Susque- 
hanna and North East rivers, during the fishing season, 
to obtain their supply of fish which they took home and 
salted away for use during the intervening time between one 
fishing season and the next. The Dutch farmers of Lan- 
caster County came in their large Conestoga wagons, many 
of them for long distances, along miserable roads, tlirougli a 
rough and hilly country. They brought their own provisions 
and food for their teams with them and frequently would be 
absent from home for a week. Most of them, and indeed 
nearly everybody else who went to the "Jishcn," were in 
the habit of imbibing more freely of ardent spirits than 
was consistent with perfect sobriety. People who would 
have scorned the thought of being drunk at any other time 
or place, were in the habit of having a spree when they 
went to the " Jishcn." The well-to-do Dutchmen were by 
no means the only class that visited the fisheries. They 
were also visited by the poorer classes, who haik'd the 
first run of herring with delight, and who, if tliey had no 
better or swifter means of conveyance, would go in c»x-carts 
for long distances to share in the annual piscatory harvest. 

The Charlestown fair, that was originally intended for a 
more legitimate use, during the latter part of its existence, 


was held about the close of the fishing season. Many of the 
hands employed at the fisheries were hard cases, and they 
resorted to this fair to have a spree and spend the money 
they had earned during the fishing season. These annual 
drunken routs probably did more than anything else to in- 
jure the reputation of that long-established and historic 
village, which was benefited, rather than injured, when the 
annual fair was discontinued. In 1807, it was estimated 
that sixteen thousand barrels of shad and herring wtre an- 
nually cured and packed in the county, and that $18,000 
worth were sold fresh. In 1819, two thousand seven hun- 
dred barrels of herring were caught at a shore on North 
East River in twenty-six days, b}' making one haul a day. 
The proprietor of this shore then stopped fishing, having 
filled all his barrels. A few years later, thirty-three thou- 
sand shad were caught at one haul, at Bulls Mountain. 
About 1820, three hundred hogsheads of herring were 
caught at one haul at Spesutia Island. The sein used upon 
that occasion was of great length, and about one hundred 
men were employed at the fishery. So great was the quan- 
tity of fish caught at tliat haul that it was impossible to la7id 
them in the ordinary manner, and the fishermen were 
obliged to buoy the cork-line of the sein by fastening it to 
boats placed at a convenient distance from each other, and 
land a part of the immense haul with scoop nets. Herring 
sold that year as low as ten cents a hundred. As early as 
1810, the supply of fish so far exceeded the demand for them 
that many thousands of them annually went to loss, and 
were left upon the shores of the Susquehanna River and the 
head of the bay, where they became such an intolerable nui- 
sance that the Legislature, in 1810, passed a law compelling 
the proprietors of fisheries in the afore-named places to re- 
move the fish and off"al from the shores, within ten days 
after the end of the season, under a penalty of a fine of five 
dollars; in case of failure to remove them, within five days 
after being notified, a fine of twenty dollars was inflicted. 


Large quantities of fish were used in the early part of this 
century for manuring the farms of those wlio lived near 
enough to fisheries to apply them profitably, for, owing to 
the expense of hauling them they could only be used with 
profit near where they were caught. 

Tlie next most important source of wealth in the county 
are its mineral productions, which consist of chrome and 
granite. The former is found in great abundance, in the 
form of what is technically called sand chrome, along the 
streams and low lands in that part of the county extend- 
ing about a mile south of Mason and Dixons Line, and 
from the Little Elk to the Octoraro. At what time this 
valuable mineral was first discovered is not known, but it is 
highly probable that its existence was known to John 
Churchman, who owned much of the barren land upon 
which it is found, near the Octoraro. Its value first began 
to be developed about 1830, in which year, and subsequently, 
Isaac Tyson, of Baltimore, leased many hundreds of acres 
of the chrome lands and began to mine sand chrome exten- 
sively. During the succeeding twenty years, many hun- 
dred tons of chrome, most of which was obtained in this 
county, were annually shipped from Port Deposit to Balti- 
more. Owing to the insignificant royalty, per ton, paid by 
Tyson and his successor, the Tyson Mining Company, the 
mines, though a source of inexhaustible wealth to the 
lessees, were of but trifling value to the owners. 

Magnesia also abounds in the barrens along the Octoraro, 
and in the eighth district, but it is not of sufficient impor- 
tance to be mined successfully. 

Large quantities of iron ore, as before stated, were for- 
merly obtained near the iron works at Princii)io and North 
East, and there is reason to believe, from examinations re- 
cently made, that Red Hill, near Elkton, contains inex- 
haustible deposits of ore of a superior quality, as do also 
some of the hills in the upper part of Elk Neck. By the 
census of 1880, the amount of capital invested in iron manu- 
factories in this county, consisting of the blast furnace of 


George P. Whitaker, on the Principio Creek, and the rolling- 
mills and forges of the McCullough Iron Company at Row- 
landville, North East, and Westamerell, was $550,000. 

Next to iron, the manufacture of paper is the most impor- 
tant industry in this county. The brothers, Samuel and 
William Mecteer, were the first to introduce the manufac- 
ture of paper into this county. They were the proprietors 
of the Providence Paper-mill, on the Little Elk, in the early 
part of the present centur}'. 

In 1816, the late Robert Carter purchased the site of the 
Cecil Paper-mill, on the Little Elk, now owned by his son, 
I. Day Carter, and soon after erected a paper-mill there. He 
subsequently purchased the mill formerly owned by the 
Cecil Manufacturing Company, and also carried on the 
Marley orLedger mill, at whicli the paper now used in the 
office of the Philadelphia Ledger is made. Mr. Carter was 
the first to introduce the improved method of manufactur- 
ing paper by machinery, and did more than any other per- 
son to develop this important branch of business in this 

By the census of 1880, the total amount of capital in- 
vested in the manufacture of paper in this county is $200,- 
000, which is divided among Charles H. Wells & Co., the 
l)roprietors of the Cecil mill on the Octoraro ; the Ledger 
mill ; the Providence mill, owned by William M. Singerly, 
])roprietor of the Philadelphia Record, and I. Day Carter, 
l)roprietor of the Cecil paper-mill, on the Little Elk. 

Granite of superior quality abounds in the north-western 
l)art of the county, particularly along the Susquehanna and 
Octoraro. The granite quarries of Port Deposit were opened 
in 1829 by the proprietors of the Maryland Canal, and have 
been worked ever since, except during a few years of great 
financial depression. In prosperous times they afford em- 
ployment to several hundred })ersons, and liave added much 
to the prosperity and wealth of the town. 

In the winter of 1850 an effort was made by a few of the 
leading citizens of the county, amongst whom were Francis 


A. Ellis, Hon. James McCauley, and the late Samuel S. 
Maffit, afterwards comptroller of the State treasury, to in- 
duce the legislature to establish a free-school system for the 
county. With this end in view, a convention was called, 
which met in Elkton in the winter of that year, and at an 
adjourned meeting emdodied the views of the members in 
a bill which was sent to the representatives of the county in 
the Legislature then in session, with a request that tlie l)ill 
should be enacted into a law. This request was granted, 
and the bill passed, with this proviso : that the law should 
be submitted to a vote of the people of the county in the 
following A'[ay ; and if not sanctioned bj- a majority of them, 
it was to be inoperative. A majority of the people voted 
against the' law, and the old system of jirivate or subscrip- 
tion schools, which had been in use from time immemorial, 
continued until 1859, when the first free-school system for 
the county was put in operation. This system was subse- 
quently modified, and finally superseded by the free-school 
system of the State, in 1872. 

Inasmuch as many of the younger part of the commu- 
nit)'^ know nothing of the system of education that pre- 
vailed when their grandparents were school children, it is 
proper to state, that in those days, when the jieople of a 
neighborhood needed a school-house, they held a meeting 
and raised the means to build it by voluntary contributions, 
many of which consisted of building materials and labor. 
The house was placed under the control of trustees, elected 
by the contributors, who were invested witli power to em- 
ploy teachers ; prescribe the studies to be persued by the 
pupils ; and to supervise the teachers and schools. Many 
of the teachers were Irishmen, and though generally well 
educated and full}- competent, not a few of them were ad- 
dicted to periodical sprees, during the continuance of whidi, 
for days at a time, the pupils enjoyed a holiday. The 
school-houses were generally small and uncomfortable, be- 
ing poorly ventilated in summer, and more poorly wanned 


in winter. Provision was made b}' the State for the educa- 
tion of children whose parents were too poor to pay the 
teachers for their tuition, the charges for which, varied from 
one dollar and fifty cents to two dollars and fifty cents per 
scholar, per quarter of seventy-two da3^s. Sometimes the 
patrons of the schools agreed to board the teacher, in such 
cases he moved around among them, from house to house, 
spending a few days with each family. The text books in 
use, during most of the time the subscription schools were 
in existence, were very different from those now used in the 
public schools, and required much hard study in order to 
be understood, but owing to this when their contents were 
once mastered they were never forgotten. Notwithstanding 
all these disadvantages, it is questionable whether the old 
system was not productive of more good than the one now 
in use. The teachers of the olden times were rigid disci- 
plinarians, and enforced their commands with commenda- 
ble promptness, and inflexible justice ; hesitating not in 
some few cases to chastise the parents as well as the child- 
ren, wdien the former dared to infringe upon their preroga- 
tives. The branches usually taught under the old system 
were few, notwithstanding which their paucity of number, 
was fully compensated by the thoroughness with which they 
were required to be mastered. 

The strictest attention was given to the morals and de- 
meanor of the p)upils, in consequence of which, the virtues 
of patience, perseverance, and obedience, were highly de- 
veloped. The word " teacher " was not used in connection 
with schools; and "school-master" had a meaning that the 
Young America of the present has never realized. 

At this time there are seventy-six white and thirteen 
colored schools in the county. The value of school property, 
including school-houses and furniture owned by the school 
commisioners, is $03,000, about $50,000 of which has been 
accumulated since 1868, besides which several houses used 
for school purposes are rented by the school commissioners. 


Owing to the fact that no pains were taken to preserve 
the returns of the assessors previous to the Revolutionary 
war, it is impossible even to approximate the number of in- 
habitants in the county for many years previous to that 
time; but by a