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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 117   View pdf image (33K)
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When Prince George's County was erected in May 1695,1 the commissioners for the new
county named in the act were instructed to be ready to undertake the government of the
county by the following April 23, St. George's Day. The records of the county court open
exactly on that day when the court met for the first time. The place of meeting was Mount
Calvert, a small settlement on the tract of the same name, which had been granted to Philip
Calvert in 1652 and erected into a Manor in 1657. For some reason the justices of the court
were not satisfied with this name and so by court order at their first meeting they changed it
to Charles Town, a most unusual procedure." The village retained this name long after the
county seat had been removed and until, in time, it had disappeared altogether.

It has not been possible to determine what served as the first courthouse in Charles Town.
It may have been a private dwelling or an inn, but this is not certain. In any case, the sheriff
was ordered to erect before the next (June) meeting of court the usual cage, pillory, whipping
post and stocks.3 At the June meeting, an order in council was read designating the church
at Mount Calvert as a proper courthouse. But apparently the sheriff had not acted on this
order when the court met next, July 25, 1696, because he was then ordered to clean out
the old lumber and shingles in the church and to furnish the space thus made available with a
table, chair and other necessities for the court; and he was told to have all of this ready for
the session of court scheduled to meet August 25, following. Presumably this was done for
we hear nothing further of it.

Courthouse at Charles Town

It was not until June 24, 1697, that any steps were taken for the erection of a real
courthouse to serve the county. On that day the justices of the court entered into an agreement
with Robert Brothers, carpenter, to erect a frame building for 50,000 pounds of tobacco, half
to be paid at once, the other half to be paid when the structure was finished. The agreement
gives not only the necessary building details but it also has interest because of the frequent
references to the courthouse of Calvert County which furnish details of that building other-
wise unknown to us. The text of the agreement follows:

June the 24th: 1697.

A mutuall Agreement between the Justices of Prince Georges County and Robert
Brothers Carpenter &c.

I Robert Brothers doe Agree with the Justices of Prince Georges County that hee
is to build a five and thirty foot house in Length and twenty two foot wide to be a
Substantiall framed house with Locus or Ceder grunsells the Remainder of the frame
to be Oake with two doores in the front with folding Shutters Between the Doores two
transum windowes of Six Lights Each to be Sett one on Each Side of the place of
Judicatory & the Lower Roome to be in the Same forme & Method as Calvert County
Court house only the place of Judicatory to be one foot one halfe higher then Calvert
County Court house is to build an office in the Same forme as Calvert County office the
buigness of the houses only Excepted the Stares & upper Roome to bee in the Same
manner & forme as Calvert County Court house is in the difference of the buigness of
houses (Excepted) to be well Lathed and plaistered above Staires and belowe with one

1 Ch. XIII, Acts of 1695, May Session.
2 Court Proceedings, Liber A, f. 7, Ms.

3 Loc. cit.



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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 117   View pdf image (33K)
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