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Land Office and Prerogative Court Records of Colonial Maryland
Volume 415, Page 90   View pdf image (33K)
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rogative Court for the last thirteen years of its existence, submitted
a memorial to the General Assembly. After stressing his own
familiarity with the records and pointing out that the considerable
unfinished business of the Court necessitated frequent reference to
the records, he requested that they be returned to his custody. Ac-
cordingly, an act was passed requiring him to remove the records
of the Court from Upper Marlboro to some safe place in Anne
Arundel County at least nine miles from Annapolis.32 He was
ordered to hire a room in which to house them and to keep them
stored in chests or trunks so that they might readily be moved if
the Governor and Council so ordered. Since Vallette was so anxious
to obtain the records, it seems reasonable to assume that he fulfilled
the requirements of the law although no clue as to the location of
the storage place can be found. In any case, on November 27, 1778,
the Governor and Council ordered "that all the Books and Papers
belonging to the Commissaries Office, be removed to the City of
Annapolis under the care of the Register of Wills for Anne Arundel
County,"33 whose office at that time was located in the State House.
A few months later, in March 1779, a law was passed ordering
that the Prerogative Court Papers dating from 1760 and belonging
to estates which had not been finally settled be sorted and packed
and delivered to the several Registers of Wills.34 The rest of the
papers were similarly distributed in 1783 when the officer having
custody of them was ordered to record all unrecorded original papers
and sort out, list and pack all original papers for each county.35
Then he was to notify the Registers to send for them. As a result,
the original papers of the Prerogative Court have since then been
located in the offices of the Registers of Wills for the various

The volumes had meanwhile remained in the custody of the
Register of Wills for Anne Arundel County. In 1823, a resolution
of the General Assembly authorized him to remove the records to his
"fireproof office in the courthouse of Anne Arundel County."36 There
the records remained until 1904, when the Register was directed by
law to deliver all the records and indexes of the Prerogative Court

32 Proceedings of the House of Delegates, 1777, f. 292-293; Recorded Laws

of Maryland, Liber O. R. No. 1, 1777-1778, f.. 8 (June 1777, ch. 9).
33 Arch. Md., XXI, 255.
34 Kilty, Laws of Md., March 1779, ch. 15.
35 Hanson, Laws of Md., April 1783, ch. 9.
36 Laws of Md., 1822, Res. No. 44.


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Land Office and Prerogative Court Records of Colonial Maryland
Volume 415, Page 90   View pdf image (33K)
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