Kent County Courthouse in the 18th Century Nevertheless, our Founding Fathers made the trip often. Portrait of Cecilius Calvert. The Kent County News has a long history, stretching back to the late 1700s. William Smith Our new site is still under construction. List of lawyers from Kent from Livingston’s Law Register. (built 1860) History of Kent Island written by Jennifer Gayman Ruffner KENT ISLAND IS THE LARGEST ISLAND in the Chesapeake Bay and was the location of the first European settlement in what is now Maryland. On May 24, 1774, Geddes sailed to Madeira. Among the best known of runaway slaves from Kent County was the author of “Life of Isaac Mason as a Slave.” Isaac Mason’s mother was a house slave of Hannah Woodland, and his father a freeman and one of Woodland’s overseers. Part III After burning the lower part of the town, the British set fire to a brick house at the top of the hill when a woman named Catherine (“Kitty”) Knight implored them not to burn the house as there was an old woman ill inside. On August 30th, 1814, James Frisby’s farm (no longer standing) on Great Oak Manor was raided by the British. Taverns or “ordinaries” played a key role not in only travel, but also in community and political life. All property owners were now taxed quantities of tobacco for the support of the Anglican Church and its clergy. Although The Kent County Railroad Company was chartered in 1856, with George Vickers as president, the first train did not pull into Chestertown until February 20, 1872, delayed by the Civil War and a lack of investors. At a second meeting on May 18th, the participants approved the Chestertown Resolves, which acknowledged their allegiance to King George III, but registered their sworn enmity to taxation without representation. Instead Colonel Reed learned of the surprise attack and was waiting when they arrived. When completed, the railroad was leased to the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore Railroad. Farming and Plantation Management Chestertown Middle School and Washington College, c. 1980, HSKC, Chestertown from the Chester River Bridge, ca. Establishments that welcomed residents and travelers in Kent County with a blazing fire and a stiff drink included the Rock Hall Inn, (which may have given the town its name), and Daniel Toas’ ordinary at the Head of Chester (Millington). Available online… Some farmers believed that slaveholding was necessary for their livelihood and feared slave insurrection. Also called Dougherty-Barroll House, Colonial Kent County  The Lathim House and Knocks Folly are in close proximity, so it is possible either (or both) of them may have been plundered by the British in 1813. Cecil Calvert 1790 Kent County Census In late April, the British reached Kent County. This story might have been confused with the documented story that Major Joseph Thomas Mitchell was taken by the British from his home, suspected of being the commissary general for Maryland. But their fiercest attention would be directed at the Chesapeake and, ultimately, the primary targets of Washington and Baltimore, the home port of privateers who had been harassing British ships in both the Atlantic and Pacific before and during the war. Kent County’s enterprising class of planter-merchant families, many now in their third generation, were not only skilled in maritime trade, but also were the first to lead Maryland planters away from the fluctuating market of soil-exhausting, labor-intensive tobacco, into a grain-based, more diversified economy. HSKC. An estimated 80 percent of the residents worked in the maritime trades. 1860 Kent County Census-Free Another Revolutionary veteran, General Benjamin Chambers of the heroic Maryland Battalion which had distinguished itself during the Battle of Long Island; Chamber’s son, Ezekiel; and James Edmundson Barroll, were among the many Kent County citizens who would stand bravely in the defense of their own soil during the summer of 1814. List of Kent County Marriages from 1654-1676. Agriculture transitioned as local canneries closed, and by the 1970’s many farmers turned from truck crops to corn, soybeans and other grains milled into broiler feed. Hynson-Ringgold House (built c. 1743) The community that grew as a result was named after Turner’s wife, Elizabeth Betterton. After the raid, Henry Waller sold his farm to Richard Frisby, whose home Farley was also burned. Source: History of Kent County Maryland 1630-1916 by Fred G. Usilton; 1916 - Transcribed by Veneta McKinney. This county was named for the English county of Kent.. Kent County is bordered by Cecil County (north), New Castle County, Delaware (northeast), Kent County, Delaware (southeast), Queen Anne's County (south). ” …  they made an attempt to land at the mouth of Still Point (Pond Creek), but were repulsed by the force collected on the shore; the firing could be seen and heard from Stoney Point,”  which was across the Bay in Harford County, reported the Daily National Intelligencer (Washington, D.C.). Harriet Tillson left the area, and her eventual location is unknown. 1830 Kent County Census The links below are to some of the catalog records of historic site surveys contained in our research library pertaining to this time period. Portal to finding land records from the Maryland State Archives website. I offered them Battle by advancing within one hundred yards of them, and giving them a sharp and galling fire for ten minutes which must have laid some of them low; they were extremely well mounted – smashingly dress’d in blue and long white feathers in their hats. Turner’s Creek was an active settlement at the turn of the 19th century with over 60 people. The files contain the inventory form, photographs and … Senator from Kent County, 1806-1813. Chestertown Firehouse Other Kent Countians were against secession, seeing it as a path to economic ruin. The James Adams Floating Theatre brought entertainment, romance, drama, comedy and intrigue to small towns from the Mid-Atlantic to Florida from 1914 to 1941, stopping at many Eastern Shore towns, including Chestertown, Crumpton and Betterton. Other members included Maryland Governor William Paca and wealthy planter-merchant Thomas Smyth. Discussion of George Vickers’ role in 15th Amendment debate begins on page 60. - History Associated Records. Kent County Lawyers, 1851 The War of 1812 in Kent County reflects this paradox: an all but forgotten war, but one in which residents and local militia faced some of the most defining moments in local history. Wheat was less labor intensive than tobacco. In spite of the claim that economic collapse would follow abolition, Kent County continued to prosper. The database "comprises 34,326 entries from Gust Skordas' Early Settlers of Maryland and Carson Gibb's Supplement to the Early Settlers of Maryland." Kent County Cemetery Records – C “Memorial of the Visitors and Governors of Washington College to the General Assembly of Maryland,” 1868. A rocket shell now on display at Fort McHenry was from the Waller Farm. Introduction: Marylanders protested the levy of unfair taxes under the Sugar and Stamp Acts by a distant English ruler and Parliament beginning in the 1760s. Full text of History of Kent County, 1630-1916 by Fred G. Usilton. Text of the debate over the 15th Amendment in the US Senate, from Great Debates in American History, (beginning on page 127). Chestertown Merchants advertisement All Rights Reserved. The fact that he was unsuccessful in this mission may have influenced his next two trips through Kent County. Colonel (Phillip) Reed, an old seventy sixer (Revolutionary War Veteran), happened to be on a visit to the neighborhood, he borrowed a musket and hastily collected about 20 armed with duck guns and muskets, they formed an ambuscade, and when the largest barge had fairly passed, opened a certain fire upon them, reported the Niles Weekly Register from Baltimore, before they escaped … in all possible haste – for though he (the enemy) rowed 24 oars when he entered the creek, he could man only 4 when he went out of it.”  While the  newspaper account indicates that Lt. Full text of handwritten census records. The 18th and 19th century homes and structures, community cultural and history-inspired events, historic small towns and museums, have made the county an attractive place to visit and live. He had a license to sell “good West Indian rum, good cider, and Madeira wine,” at a concession for the popular horse races at Downs Crossroads. 8 Oclock set out for Rockhall where we arrivd in two hours & 25 Minutes. Although Maryland never seceded, Union soldiers occupied the State throughout the war, a source of great tension. If you are a resident, however, we hope you will not only become a member, but join us at our events and activities, or consider volunteering. They had  landed at Skidmore – which would become known as Parker Point –  and were moving in shore. Many wheat fields gave way to orchards and, after a peach blight, to vegetables and berries. “The Yule Log:” Remembering Christmas in 18th-century Kent County,” reminiscence by Peregrine Wroth, 1858. Lathim House (built c. 1760) After Breakfast & abt. Traveling in the colonies was rough; early roads were often no more than wide, muddy paths and few ferry crossings offered shelter to the traveler from whipping winds and rain. As the 170 British marines moved ashore, along with British sailors, American pickets exchanged fire, alerting the rest of the militia. Many Marylanders felt the same way: when William Smith, the founder of Washington College and then of St. Johns in Annapolis, proposed to the Maryland legislature that the two colleges receive state support as the University of Maryland, Republicans refused, declaring they would not support the education of the sons of the elite with taxpayers money. Wheat shipments from the Chester River district equaled those of the entire western shore above Annapolis, and Chestertown alone exported two and one-half times more wheat than what was produced on the rest of the Eastern Shore. Although roads were poor, the shortest route between Virginia and Philadelphia brought travelers through the county, across from Annapolis on the Rock Hall ferry. The first court was held in the home of Joseph Wickes on Eastern Neck, and the first courthouse erected in the town of New Yarmouth in 1679. During the first year of war, American forces and their commanders blundered their way through humiliating engagements with the highly trained British regulars. 1850 Kent County Census-Free Beginning with a simple timeline of our history that connects users to additional information and topics, this section of the Historical Society of Kent County website will expand as we discover new links and research materials; write new material about the people, places and stories of our county; and add new items to our collection and online catalog. The Republican War Hawks of the House of Representatives were strong advocates for war. Agriculture during Revolution “A Study of the Effect of Federal Policies on Border State Unionism in Kent County, Maryland, 1861-1865,” senior thesis by Brandon P. Righi, Washington College. Women on the Farm “She looked like the Titanic when she came into the …river,” a resident was quoted in the New Bay Times. Kent County was in a period of political transition. In an anonymous report to the Maryland Gazette, the gathering condemned Great Britain. At the end of the 20th century, the population and the economy of the Eastern Shore had been forever transformed. Patents were granted on Eastern Neck, Grays Inn Creek, and Langford Creek. America’s canning industry, centered in Baltimore by the mid-19th century, spread to and flourished on the Eastern Shore. Introduction: After the founding of Chestertown as a port in 1706, Kent County became firmly established as a center of farming, trade, travel and culture within the region. Current information about Kent County from the US Census Bureau. “The Rockfish Capital of the World” once boasted several large retail establishments, including Hubbard’s Pier, as well as numerous related industries. Full text of handwritten census records. Kent County was founded in 1642 and became established as a hub for trade in the Chesapeake Bay region, eventually becoming a major contributor towards American efforts in the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812. They escaped to Wilmington in November 1855 and eventually reached Philadelphia with the assistance of Underground Railroad conductor Thomas Garrett of Delaware. Kent Island is the largest island in the Chesapeake Bay and a historic place in Maryland. Kent County citizens and local militia were tested and stood their ground with ingenuity and determination during the burning of Georgetown, the rescue of the Kitty Knight House and the Battle of Caulk’s Field. 1900 Kent County Census Although his seat in the Senate was challenged by Charles Sumner of Massachusetts, leader of the radical forces in the Senate, Vickers was sworn in just in time to cast the deciding vote against impeachment. Kent County Cemetery Records – B After the article was published, Bowers was lured from his house by a mob that stripped, tarred and feathered him in front of his pregnant wife. Henry Highland Garnet Look for additional resources to be added to this website in the near future. Nicholson was the brother-in-law of Francis Scott Key, author of “The Star Spangled Banner.” Some histories suggest that Key gave a copy of the poem to Judge Nicholson, and it was he who suggested setting it to the familiar tune, “Anacreon in Heaven” and had the poem printed on broadsides. Kent Island was within the Calvert proprietorship and became “Kent County” in 1642. Following the war, the steamboats continued to connect Eastern Shore farmers and residents with urban markets. Lt. Col. Philip Reed, Commander of American Forces at Caulk’s Field, who was later promoted to General is buried in this church’s cemetery. Provides access to over 471,000 historical documents that form the constitutional, legal, legislative, judicial, and administrative basis of Maryland’s government. Smyth financially supported the cause of Revolution at the expense of his own financial stability. Carvill Hall, also known as Carvill's Prevention or Salter's Load or Packerton, is a historic home located at Chestertown, Kent County, Maryland.It is a 2 1 ⁄ 2-story Flemish bond brick house, with exterior corbeled brick chimneys at each gable end. He first became an abolitionist while still a high school student in New York City, where he formed the Garrison Literary and Benevolent Association. Drawing from 1907 Bird’s Eye View of Chestertown showing the oldest section of the Kent County, HSKC. Brief biography of the Lt. The Maryland proprietary system offered generous land grants to settlers in exchange for a fee. Neither nation respected the rights of the U.S. as a neutral nation. Its supporters essentially believed that whites and blacks could not live together peacefully. The new company prospered, and B.S. John Cadwalader & George Washington, The Story of Friendship– Benjamin Kohl. Philip Reed and Caulk’s Field After an “Act for the Service of Almighty God and the Establish of the Protestant Religion” established the Church of England as the official Faith of Maryland in 1692, the vision of religious freedom for Catholics, Quakers, Puritans and Presbyterians of the colony began to erode. List of burials at select Kent County cemeteries. Also unclear is whether this was an attempt by the black man to betray the militia or to deceive the British. American shipping and trade had been severely hindered by war between England and France. Francis Scott Key observing the bombardment of Fort McHenry. In a region in which family history is so important, it is ironic that the family life of the enslaved residents was so tenuous. Their work was published in multiple issues of the Society’s Key to Old Kent. Lt. In reality, he was a militia contractor for Kent County. Rose Hill, c. 1760 List of Army and Air Force casualties from Kent County during World War II. Like slaves, they were bought and sold at auction, and any runaways were hunted down and punished. Another naval hero, Lambert Wickes of Eastern Neck escorted Benjamin Franklin on his diplomatic mission to France, becoming the first naval officer to carry the American flag into European waters. The Delmarva Peninsula supplied as much as one-fifth of the wheat and flour and one-half of the corn received in Philadelphia in 1774. Happy visitors were transported from the noise and crowds of the city into dreamland. “Kent County” in Maryland’s Colonial Eastern Shore: Historical Sketches of Counties and of Some Notable Structures by Swepson Earle, Craftsmen in Colonial Kent Letter of Thomas Smyth to Thomas B. These acts were repealed, only to be replaced by more fees and restrictions on trade imposed under the Townshend Acts and Tea Act. The Eastern Shore had begun to settle into a new era of relative isolation. After the war, he was forced to sell Widehall, abandon the building of River House, (both on Water Street in Chestertown) and move back to Trumpington, his family’s estate on Eastern Neck. He became such an anchor in the community that he helped found College at Chester in 1782 and allowed the college to use his name. The Chester River runs to the north of Some accounts indicate he was held in England for several years. Among the most beloved of the Bay steamers, the Emma Giles was built for the Tolchester Line in 1887 with money raised on condition that she be named for the backer’s daughter. By this date, Courthouse at New Yarmouth functioned on Eastern Neck. Civil Rights in Chestertown Along with the steamboat and the railroad, this new technology completely changed the market for both the farmers’ crops, and the watermen’s catch. Early 20th century images of the firehouse in Chestertown, HSKC. Charles Peale, the father of artist Charles Willson Peale, was an instructor there during this early period. Kent County Courthouse Drawing of the armory and market house from Martenet’s 1860 map of Kent County. At only four miles wide, the main waterway of the bay is at its narrowest at this point and is spanned here by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Each week, we take a look back into history as it was documented in our pages. 15:1 (1920). The British practice of impressment was another motivation for war. A courthouse was erected, along with mills, a church (St. Peter’s, now gone), taverns and, in response to pressure from the Maryland Assembly, a port. Website of the Schooner Sultana, a reconstructed 1768 vessel on which educational programs about colonial history and local ecology are conducted. Christ Episcopal Church I.U. Colonel and U.S. Cecilius Calvert, the Second Lord Baltimore, studied Smith’s writings before he sent the Ark and the Dove in 1634 to establish a colony on land granted to him by the King at what is now St. Mary’s City. Early Christmas Traditions (The Quakers had been called to free their slaves as early as 1778.) This regular steamboat service between the Chester and Baltimore provided local farmers and watermen with a reliable form of transport for their perishable produce, rockfish, crabs and oysters. Kent County, Maryland (Map It) was created on December 30, 1637 from unorganized territory. Circuit Court for Kent County, MD. The Battle of Caulk’s Field provided a rare victory of militia over British forces, lifting the morale of Americans far beyond the borders of Kent County. Despite the difficulty in researching the overall experience of African Americans in Kent County, the following link illustrates what some historians have uncovered. Lord Baltimore’s claim held. It was Frisby who constructed the c. 1815 dwelling. For the next 50 years she carried freight and livestock, while offering elegant and luxurious accommodations for her passengers. In 1706, Chestertown was founded under the Act for the Advancement of Trade and the Erection of Ports and Towns. The railroad arrived in Kent County soon after the Civil War. Historical Society of Kent County 301 High Street P.O. Chestertown was a regular stop on his travels between Mount Vernon, Virginia, and Philadelphia. For this reason, merchants and militia commissaries alike hailed the formation of the Maryland State Navy, which went into service by the end of 1776. Further measures are in contemplation, in consequence of a late and very alarming act of parliament. Between 1746 and 1776, more than one-quarter of all immigrants to this area were convicts. Race Relations: A Report on Integration in a Maryland Town List of Kent County Marriages from 1699-1715. 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