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Volume 471, Page 23   View pdf image (33K)
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Generally speaking, the municipal records of Maryland have not
been very well preserved, so we were very pleased to acquire the
records of Charlestown in Cecil County. The town was originally
laid out under the provisions of Chapter 23 of the Acts of 1742 and
subsequently incorporated by Chapter 32 of the Acts of 1786. Located
at the head of the Chesapeake Bay, the town was a shipping point
of considerable importance during the Revolution. Thereafter, the
rapid development of the port of Baltimore diverted all but a trickle
of shipping from Charlestown and its once brilliant prospects faded.
Today it has a population of less than a thousand. The town served
briefly as the county seat of Cecil County from 1782 to 1787.

Some of the minutes of the Town Commissioners are missing, but
the record is sufficiently complete to give historians a fairly good
insight as to what the town government did and how it functioned.
Conveyances of town lots were recorded in special volumes kept for
that purpose by the Clerk of the Circuit Court. By arrangement with
the Clerk, the originals were transferred to our custody and replaced
with microfilm copies.

The assessment records of Dorchester County that are listed below
have been microfilmed by our Records Management Division. The
originals, which are fairly complete from 1852-1911, were considered
of sufficient importance to be transferred to our Archival Division.
The earlier Assessment Books may be presumed to have been lost in
the Courthouse fire of May 9, 1852. By some chance a number of
the Alphabetical Lists, which furnished only the name of the taxpayer
and the amount he was assessed, survived the fire. The early lists,
which date back to 1831, are incomplete, but from 1849 through 1905,
there is scarcely a break in this series.

In our Thirty-second Annual Report, we announced the transfer
of a number of valuable records from two basement rooms below the
county jail of St. Mary's County in Leonardtown. Subsequent explora-
tions of these subterranean depths have produced additional material,
which is listed below. The long delay between transfers was planned
in order to allow the local authorities time in which to give the rooms
a much-needed spraying with pesticide. The pesticide was effective in
destroying the roaches and other insects making their homes among
the records. Unfortunately, it was almost equally effective on the two


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Volume 471, Page 23   View pdf image (33K)
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