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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 111   View pdf image (33K)
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Along with Washington County, the delegates to the Constitutional Convention meeting
on September 6, 1776, created its twin, Montgomery County, out of the territory then included
in Frederick County.1 The exact date for the creation of the new county was set for October
first, following, but in fact little local government was possible before the election of officers
which was scheduled to be held December 18 "at the house now occupied by Charles Hunger-
ford." 2 The Convention had named commissioners for purchasing the necessary land and
erecting a courthouse thereon, but until this project was finished the court chose to meet at
Leonard Davis's Tavern.3 Its first meeting at Davis's Tavern occurred May 22, 1777; the last,
March 9, 1779.4

The term of court which opened August 10, 1779, was held, according to the clerk at
"the courthouse," indicating that for some reason Leonard Davis's place was no longer con-
sidered suitable. What this "courthouse" was is revealed by a proposal found in the records
of the same term of court as follows:

Thomas Owen Williams files in Court here the following proposals, to wit, August
the 14th 1779. Proposals made by Thomas Owen Williams to the Justices of Mont-
gomery County Court—To have the House they sitt in—The upper and lower floors
to be laid Doors and Windows convenient to the House The Windows to be Glazed the
lower walls to be filled in with Brick one fireplace above and one below Stairs two
Rooms above Stairs to be Seated for Jurys Tables and Benches to hold Court the
present Gaol to be fill'd in and made secure with a Stove at the Season of the Year
when required the whole to be compleatd by November Court next and received and
approved of by Court for three years Kent free Witness my Hand the Date above—
Tho O Williams Upon reading which proposals and consideration thereon by the
Court here had the same was Approved by the Court And Ordered that the said
Thomas Owen Williams enter into Recognizance himself in the Sum of two thousand
pounds Current Money with two Sureties in the Sum of one thousand Pounds Current
Money each for the due and faithful compliance of him the said Thomas Owen Wil-
liams with the same proposals so offered and accepted of by the Court. Whereupon the
said Thomas Owen Williams present here in Court acknowledges himself to owe and
stand justly indebted unto the State of Maryland in the sum of Two thousand Pounds
Current Money and Elisha Owen Williams and William Robinson likewise present here
in Court acknowledge themselves to owe and stand Justly indebted unto the said State
in the sum of one thousand Pounds Current Money each which Sums they and each
of them yielded and granted should be made and Levied of their respective Bodies
Goods and Chattels Lands and Tenements for the use of the said State In Case he the
said Thomas Owen Williams shall not well and truly comply with the proposals filed
by him and accepted by the Court as aforesaid.5

In addition to the improvements mentioned in this proposal, the court also found it
necessary to erect a new whipping post, stocks and pillory, for which Benjamin Ray was paid
out of the levy for 1780." How long the court met in this converted house is not known, but
it seems to have been there still in early 1783, for in the assessment of that year the same

1 Proceedings of the Convention of the Province of Maryland
held at The City of Annapolis, in 1774, 1775 & 1776, Baltimore,
1836, p. 242.
2 Constitution of 1776, Article 61. The location of this
"house" is far from certain ; see Martha S. Poole, "Early Rock-
ville Taverns," The Montgomery County Story, Vol. I, No. 3
(Publications of the Montgomery County Historical Society) .
3 Court Record, 1777-1781, f. 2, Ms. This tavern was owned
by the Willsons ; it was rented to Hungerford, who kept it

only until 1775 when it was taken over by Leonard Davis, son-
in-law of Joseph Wilison. (Roger Brooke Farquhar, Historic
Montgomery County, Baltimore, 1952, p. 194.)
4 Court Record, 1777-1781, ff. 2, 211, Ms.
5 Montgomery County Court Record, 1777 to 1781, f. 290, Ms.
6 Levy Books, Montgomery County, Montgomery County Court-
house. For this and other valuable information I am indebted
to Miss Martha S. Poole.



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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 111   View pdf image (33K)
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