Emergence of the town of Elkton, 1781–1788

Source numbers are hyperlinked to a list of references provided at the end of this page.

  The war being over, the people of the county begun [sic] 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 accordance 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 first 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. [1]

  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. [1]

  Some of the justices of the court at first refused to assent to the removal of the seat of justice to [Charlestown]. It is highly probable that they were influenced in some way by a desire and a belief that the Head of Elk would ultimately be selected for the county seat. The justices seemed to have been equally divided upon the subject of the removal of the county seat, for, on the 11th of March following, half of them met at the court-house at Court-house Point and the other at Charlestown. [1]

  A new commission of the peace was received, which had the effect of restoring quiet. ...
  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 pervaded it. This was produced by the demoralization incident to the Revolutionary war and the disorganization consequent upon the transition from one form of government to another. [1]

  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. William Wye, 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. [1]

  Robert Alexander, before-mentioned, who took refuge 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 Legislature, by the act of 1780, confiscated the property of all 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. ... Clement Holliday and Nathaniel Ramsay, commissioners appointed to take charge and dispose 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. About £6,000 were realized from the sale of Alexander's property.
  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 purchaser of a considerable quantity of this land adjacent to the town ... Joseph Gilpin, Tobias Rudulph, Henry Hollingsworth, and Thomas Huggins 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 market-house or court-house, the town commissioners agreeing to build the former within three years after the sale. [1]

  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. ... 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. ... 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 expense to maintain and which it seemed impossible to discontinue while they were needed in order to afford the proper facilities for attending court.
  Owing to the difficulty of obtaining the means, on account of the scarcity of money causes by the depression of business during the Revolutionary War, and probably because there were many persons favorable to the removal of the seat of justice to the Head of Elk, no public buildings except 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 through their instrumentality that the removal of the seat of justice from Charlestown to Elkton, which now began to be agitated, was effected. [1]

  "Know all men by these presents that we, the hereafter subscribed, being moved by motives of Piety and Christian Benevolence to erect a house for Public worship in the village of Elk, do hereby bind and oblige ourselves to pay, or cause to paid, into the hands of Messrs Joseph Gilpin, Tobias Rudulph, Zebulon Hollingsworth, Henry Hollingsworth, 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 following conditions, viz.: That each of us the subscribers, for every three pounds by each of us respectively subscribed and duly paid, shall at the 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 particular regulation, in any of which elections or determinations a majority of votes and council as usual is to be decisive and binding; and said number of trustees or commissioners, 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 principally 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, according to the true intent and meaning thereof, we do bind ourselves respectively and each of us, our respective heirs, executors, and administrators. In full testimony whereof we 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 Rudulph £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 Methodism prevailed to some extent in the surrounding country, ...the enterprise proved to be a failure, and the contemplated house of worship was never built. [1]

  Laws of Maryland.
  Chap. XX.
  An Act for the removal of the seat of justice from Charles-town to the Head of Elk, in Cæcil county.
  Preamble: WHEREAS it appears to this general assembly, that a great majority of the inhabitants of Cæcil county, by petition, have prayed a removal of the seat of justice from Charles-town to the Head of Elk, and it also appearing that no public buildings are erected at Charles-town, except a gaol, and that no considerable improvements, or increase of the value of property, have been occasioned in consequence of the courts of justice being held there for four years last past: And whereas the inconvenience and expence of public ferries, in said county, may be obviated by such removal:  And whereas it appears also, that the inhabitants in general of said county can, with greater ease and expedition, convene at the Head of Elk on court and other public business;
  Commissioners appointed, &c.: II. Be it enacted, by the general assembly of Maryland, That Messieurs Joseph Gilpin, Tobias Rudulph, senior, Zebulon Hollingsworth, Joseph Baxter and Edward Oldham, or the major part of them, be, and are hereby appointed commissioners to execute and perform the several trusts and powers reposed in, and required of them by this act, and be and are hereby authorised and empowered to treat and agree with undertakers or workmen to build and finish a court-house and public prison, with a good yard, and other conveniences thereto, on that lot of ground at the Head of Elk which was purchased from Clement Hollyday and Nathaniel Ramsey, commissioners for the sale of confiscated property, as by deed of trust to Messieurs Joseph Gilpin, Tobias Rudulph, Henry Hollingsworth and Thomas Huggins, for the use and benefit of the inhabitants of Elk-town and Cæcil county, bearing date the first day of September, one thousand seven hundred and eighty-three, will more fully appear, and which deed is hereby declared to be valid and good in law for the use and purposes therein mentioned, any defect in said deed to the contrary notwithstanding.
  Justices to levy money for building a court-house, &c.:
III. And, whereas it may be too burthensome at this time to the inhabitants of said county, to levy on them in one year a sum of money sufficient to defray the expence of building the court-house and prison on the lot aforesaid, Be it enacted, That the justices of Cæcil county shall, and are hereby authorised, directed and required, to assess and levy, on the property and taxable inhabitants of said county, at the time of laying of the public levy, a sum of money not exceeding twelve hundred pounds current money, that is to say, three hundred pounds yearly for four years, for the purpose of erecting the public buildings aforesaid, which said assessments, so as aforesaid to be made and levied, shall be collected by the sheriff of said county in the same manner as other county charges are by law collected; and the said sum and sums of money, when so as aforesaid collected, shall be paid by such sheriff to the said commissioners, or the major part of them, or their order or orders, who are hereby authorised and required to receive and apply the same to the uses and purposes of building a court-house and prison for the said county on said lot, and other charges incident thereto, as by this act is directed.
  When finished, courts to be held therein, &c.: IV. And be it enacted, That after the building and finishing of the said court-house to be built as aforesaid, Cæcil county court shall be held in such new court-house, according to the practice and usage of other county courts, and such new court-house and prison shall be used, taken, held and deemed, to be the proper court-house and prison of Cæcil county.
  After April, courts to be held at Head of Elk, &c.:
V. And be it enacted, That from and after the tenth day of April next, until the said new court-house shall be finished, the several courts, elections, and other public business directed b law to be held at the seat of justice in Cæcil county, shall be held in such place at the Head of Elk aforesaid, as the justices and judges of said courts and elections may think most convenient.
  Clerk to remove books, &c.: VI. And be it enacted, That the clerk of Cæcil county court, for the time being, shall, at some convenient time before the tenth day of April next, remove, or cause to be removed from Charles-town, all the books, rolls, papers, and other records belonging to the said county court, to the Head of Elk aforesaid, and there safely deposit, keep and preserve the same in some convenient house, and the justices of the said court shall direct and cause a list of all the said records and books to be signed by the clerk of the said county, and entered upon record among the proceedings of the said court.
  Sheriff to remove prisoners, &c.: VII. And be it enacted, That the sheriff of Cæcil county for the time being, may at any time at his pleasure remove all or any of his prisoners from the gaol at Charles-town to any gaol he may think fit at the Head of Elk aforesaid, and there, until the said new prison shall be finished, keep and detain them according to law, and at his own peril, but that the removal of them as aforesaid, shall not be deemed any escape in law, whereon to charge the said sheriff. [2]

  The removal of the seat of justice from Charlestown was violently opposed by its citizens who did all in their power to prevent it, ... 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 November session, 1786, passed an act authorizing and appointing 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. [1]

1787-04 to -05
  One of the conditions upon which the public lot was purchased, required the inhabitants 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 Main and Bridge streets, directly opposite the Episcopal church. There seems to have 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 thereon of a school-house or house of worship for the promotion of literature and the Christian religion. This was the origin of 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 curious 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 town, whose salary was not to exceed thirty pounds, current money, was to have supervision 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. [1]

    George Washington dined at the head of Elk, and lodged at Wilmington. Mr. Corbin joined him, and took a seat in his carriage to Wilmington. [3]

  Laws of Maryland.
  Chapter XXXI.
  An Act to remove the market-house at the Head of Elk, and establish the same, and for the advancement and regulation of the said town.
  Preamble: WHEREAS it has been represented to this general assembly, that a market-house hath been erected by the inhabitants of the Head of Elk, on a lot of ground sold by the commissioners of confiscated British property to Joseph Gilpin for public use, and that by an act passed at the last session, entitled, An act to remove the seat of justice from Charles-town to the Head of Elk, a court-house and gaol are directed and ordered to be built on the same lot, and that the same is too small for so many public buildings: And whereas Jacob Hollingsworth, by deed, bearing date the twelfth day of May, seventeen hundred and eighty-seven, hath given and granted a lot of ground for a market-house in the town aforesaid, provided that a market-house shall be erected thereon within the space of two years, and thereafter be upheld, maintained and used, by the inhabitants of the said town, as a market-place; and a large majority of the said inhabitants have prayed, that the market erected on the lot first mentioned may be removed and erected on the lot given for that purpose by Jacob Hollingsworth, and that a market might be held thereon on every Tuesday and Saturday for ever hereafter, and also that there may be held, on the same place, general markets for the sale, barter or exchange, of all sorts of produce, the growth or manufactures of this, or any of the United States, on the first Tuesdays, and the day after, of April, June, October and December, annually, for ever thereafter; and that proper regulations for the said market might be made, and commissioners appointed to carry the same into effect;
  Market-house to be removed, &c.: II. Be it enacted, by the general assembly of Maryland, That it shall and may be lawful for the commissioners herein after mentioned, or any of them, as soon as they, or a majority of them, shall think proper, and they are hereby directed, within the time limited by the grant from Jacob Hollingsworth as before mentioned, to cause the market-house to be removed as the said inhabitants have prayed, that as soon as the same shall be done and completed, from and after that time every Tuesday and Saturday shall be set apart, appointed and held, as market-days in the town aforesaid, and that all victuals and provisions whatsoever brought to the said town for sale, (upon those days before ten of the clock in the morning) shall be sold or offered to sale in the said market-place, and not elsewhere.
  Penalty on persons buying out of market, &c.: III. And be it enacted, That no person shall buy, or cause to be bought, of any person or persons bringing to the said town, and within one mile thereof, or having brought any kind of victuals or provisions whatsoever to the said town for sale before ten o'clock in the morning on the said days of the week, at any other place whatsoever but at or in the said market-house to be erected as aforesaid, under the penalty of fifteen shillings current money for every such offence.
  On servants, &c.: IV. And be it enacted, That if any servant or slave shall offend against this act, by buying any kind of victuals or provisions brought into said town on the said market-days before the hour of ten o'clock in the morning, or which any person shall be bringing into the said town for sale on the said market-days, at any place whatsoever other than the said market-house, (after the same shall be erected) the master, mistress, overseer, or owner of such servant or slave, shall be fined the sum of fifteen shillings current money for every such offence, if the said offence be committed with his or her knowledge.
  On persons selling, &c.: V. And be it enacted, That no person whatsoever, bringing or sending, or having brought or sent, any provisions or victuals to said town for sale on the market-days aforesaid, shall sell, or cause to be sold, the said victuals or provisions so bringing or sending, or brought or sent, as aforesaid, at any place in said town, or within one mile of the same, before ten o'clock, other than in or at the market-house, when erected as aforesaid, under the penalty of fifteen shillings current money.
  On slaughtering cattle, &c.: VI. And be it enacted, That if any person shall hereafter slaughter or butcher any cattle kind, sheep or hog, on the said public lot, he, she or they, so doing, shall forfeit and pay the sum of ten shillings current money for every such offence.
  On putting horses under market-house, &c.: VII. And be it enacted, That if any person shall, after the said market-house shall be removed and erected on the lot aforesaid, put their own or any other person's horse or horses, mare or mares, gelding or geldings, carriages or lumber of any kind, into or under the said market-house, on any pretence whatsoever, he, she or they, shall forfeit and pay ten shillings current money for every such offence.
  VIII. And, whereas heretofore at sundry times the commissioners of confiscated British property, and others, owners of lands lying and situate between the two principal branches or forks of Elk river, have laid off, sold and conveyed, many small portions or lots of land, now improved by buildings, and held, possessed and inhabited, by sundry traders, mechanics and manufacturers, and, to suit the convenience of the purchasers, and to advance the price of the lots so by them sold and conveyed, did, previous to such sales, lay of sundry streets lanes and alleys, whereon the said lots respectively bounded:  And whereas no law, conveyance, or express grant, has secured the free, quiet, and perpetual use and right of and in the said streets, lanes and alleys, to the purchasers, owners and possessors, of the lots bought as aforesaid, and it is reasonable that such purchasers, owners and possessors, and every other person, should be quieted in the free and uninterrupted use of the streets, lanes and alleys, laid out as aforesaid:  And whereas Henry Hollingsworth, for the benefit of the inhabitants aforesaid, and promotion of literature and the christian religion, hath by deed, dated the twelfth day of May, in the year of our Lord seventeen hundred and eighty-seven granted unto Joseph Gilpin, Joseph Couden, Jonathan Booth, Tobias Rudulph, senior, Zebulon Hollingsworth, Thomas Huggins and Daniel Robinson, and their successors chosen annually by the housekeepers of the town called Head of Elk, on the Easter Monday annually, a certain lot of ground containing one acre more or less, under the metes and bounds as in the said deed is contained and expressed, for a school-house, or house of worship; and it is the intention and request of the said Jacob Hollingsworth, Henry Hollingsworth, and others, who have sold and given lots aforesaid, that the grant aforesaid, and all streets, lanes and alleys, should be confirmed and established by law for the uses in the several grants aforesaid mentioned, and for which they have been laid off; Be it enacted, That all the lots, streets, lanes and alleys, that have been laid off, sold and conveyed, given or granted, by the commissioners of confiscated British property, and others, which are situate within the forks of Elk river, and heretofore called the Head of Elk, and all the lots, streets, lanes and alleys, which hereafter may be laid out by the commissioners hereafter appointed, and their successors, shall be reputed, held and esteemed, a town; and that the state of Maryland, Jacob Hollingsworth and Henry Hollingsworth, and others, to whom the right of soil in the said streets, lanes and alleys, and lots aforesaid, did belong and appertain, shall for ever hereafter be barred from having or holding the same, unless the inhabitants of the said town shall cease and decline to use them for the purpose for which they were granted; provided nevertheless, that the commissioners, or their successors, shall not make any street, lane or alley, or lay off any lots, save where they have been heretofore made and laid off by the direction of the commissioners of confiscated British property, and others who have laid off and conveyed lots, or which shall be done with the free consent and approbation of the owners of the lands which shall or may hereafter be laid off into lots, streets, lanes and alleys.
  Commissioners appointed, &c.: IX. And be it enacted, That Joseph Gilpin, Jonathan Booth, Zebulon Hollingsworth, Henry Hollingsworth and Tobias Rudulph, junior, be and are hereby appointed commissioners to survey and lay out all lands, or parcels of lands, heretofore [etc. etc.[4]

  The court met for the first time at Elkton, on the 11th of June, 1787, at the public house of John Barnaby. ... 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 residences. Most of the old, substantial brick buildings had been erected before the Revolution, and it is probable they were the only buildings of any importance in the place until long after it became the seat of justice. [1]

   As late as 1795, Isaac Weld, an English traveller, had this to say about his observations of Elkton:

  "Twenty-one miles from Wilmington is a dirty, stragling [sic] place called Elkton, consisting of ninety indifferent habitations, 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." [1]

  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 extraordinary document, which favors this view of the case: 
  "For the encouragement and promotion of conviviality and good fellowship, on this 19th day of September, 1787, upon motion, it was unanimously determined that for every birth that hath been since the first day of September, instant, 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 gentlemen of Elkton.
    "John Murray, President.
    "Attest,    "John Partridge, Sec." [1]

  The Legislature, in 1787, passed an act making provision for the maintenance of the poor and providing for the erection 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 many others of that period, was not well adapted to the purpose intended, and by a supplementary act passed in 1788, it was enacted that the trustees should have power to purchase land not exceeding two hundred 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 tobacco, and a pair of spectacles, valued at £3 11s. 8d., and cash in the chest, consisting of English, French and Spanish gold and silver coins, to the amount of £84 13s. 4d., making £88-1/4, which was decreased by the deduction of two other bequests to £58-1/4. 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. [1]

  On the 11th of June, 1788, the trustees of the poor met in Elkton, and received £48 16s., partly in Spanish milled dollars, 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 the 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 conjecture. [1]

  On the 13th of June, 1788, the trustees of the poor purchased 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 practicable, 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 getting 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 institution, at a salary of £40 a year. [1]



Johnston, George. History of Cecil County, Maryland. Elkton: published by the author, 1881 (pp. 322ff). Extracts transcribed by Alison Kilpatrick.


State of Maryland. "1786, Chap. XX: An Act for the removal of the seat of justice from Charles-town to the Head of Elk, in Cæcil county." Laws of Maryland, 1785-1791. Vol. 204, pp. 159-60. Baltimore: Maryland State Archives. Online at msa.maryland.gov (accessed 2015-12-16).


United States Government. George Washington Papers, 1741–1799. Library of Congress. Online at https://memory.loc.gov/ammem/gwhtml/gwhome.html (accessed 2015-12-09 to -17). Synopsis and extracts by Alison Kilpatrick.


State of Maryland. "24th May 1787, Chap. XXXI: An Act to remove the market-house at the Head of Elk, and establish the same, and for the advancement and regulation of the said town." Laws of Maryland, 1785-1791. Vol. 204, pp. 227ff. Baltimore: Maryland State Archives. Online at msa.maryland.gov (accessed 2015-12-16).

Please cite your sources.

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Return to Local history timelines index page.

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© Alison Kilpatrick, 2015. All rights reserved.
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"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there."—Lesley Poles Hartley (1895–1972), The Go-Between (1953).

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© Alison Kilpatrick 2014–2019. All rights reserved.