Newsletter of
The Maryland State Archives
Vol. 16, No. 19
October 28, 2002
the draughts of Mercers Branch to the new bridge over Severn Run just below Sumerland's mill and then to the main road that went around the north side of the Severn River where Isaac Hall lived. 

Richard Snowden filed a petition in November 1721 to have a road built by him and his neighbors through the woods in a fork of the Patuxent River declared a public facility. The justices designated two men to view the road and report their findings. Snowden or another individual with the same name appeared in court thirteen years later to request the establishment of roads to a planned iron works on the Patuxent River. Public roads were needed from the head of the Patapsco River at Elkridge Landing to the iron works and from there to Indian Landing at the head of the Severn River. A road from the works to Bell Town on the Eastern Branch of the Potomac River already existed. Two men were appointed to lay out the roads and direct the overseers in clearing them. 

In June 1747, Charles Connant filed a petition regarding the road going through his plantation to Mark Job's fishing house. With the consent of his neighbors, he had cleared another road that was closer to Mt. Pleasant by one half mile. Most people were already using this route to go to Mt. Pleasant to roll tobacco to a landing and to reach the ferry. Connant wanted the new road declared public and the old one closed and the court gave its consent. 

Bridges were important components of the colonial road system in Maryland. In January 1703/04, John Howard was clearing a road from his plantation

(continued on Page 2)

Page 2
The Archivists' Bulldog
ROADS (continued from Page 1)

to the main road and could not complete the work because of two streams. He wanted the court to order the overseer to build bridges over the streams, and the justices agreed. During the March 1747/48 court term, Richard Snowden applied for a contract to rebuild three bridges over the Patuxent River - near Hyats, between William Richardson and John Gaither, and near Richard Green's mill. Snowden's application was approved, but wasconditional upon an agreement from the Prince George's County Court to pay one half the costs. 

By 1760, a contract to build or repair a bridge included a provision obligating the builder to maintain the structure for 10 years. In August 1767, Henry Hall posted a bond for such a contract for a twelve foot wide bridge over the Patuxent River from the landing below Jeremiah Crabb's at Queen Anne Town and another bridge over a stream below Kilkenny. 

Sometimes the county court found ways to recover the costs of road construction. In March 1703/04, the justices ordered the  overseer to sell the dead trees along the main road from John Batty's to Pig Point. His instructions included a directive to clear a road through the plantations of Solomon Sparrow and Samuel Lane, avoiding branches and gullies as much as possible. 

Maryland law specified the annual listing of public roads by the county courts. In Anne Arundel County, only one such list appeared in the court minutes. In August 1734, the justices declared twenty-two roads as public, including the following: 

     · Annapolis over the Severn Bridge to the 
       Patapsco Ferry 
     · Annapolis to the South River Ferry 
     · Elk Ridge to Indian Landing 
     · South River Ferry to the Bay Side Road that 
       leads to Fishing Creek 

     · Severn Ferry to Long Bridge by the Chapel 
       to the Mountain 
     · head of Road River Hundred to the Queen 
       Anne Ferry 
     · Henry Ridgeley's to the landing at 
       Patapsco at the mill 
     · Catlins old fields to Carrolls Manor

In subsequent years, the court clerk periodically recorded supplemental lists of roads. As shown above, most lists described a road as going from one point to another. Occasionally, a lengthy description can be found as when a road was declared public in November 1740: from Snowdens Landing, at the head of South River, by a school house, to the southern corner of Ann Green's cornfield, then with the field to Snowden Taylor's tobacco house along the ridge to the Great Branch, then to Wilmotts quarter and up Long Jack's old field through Linthicum's or Fowler's tobacco ground, leaving the tobacco house on the right, then through Thomas Linthicum's plantation, then with the road as now used to the main road that goes from Capt. Bell's dwelling house to the Patuxent Bridge. 

As a reminder, this article illustrates the types of information available in the court minutes recorded in Anne Arundel Court (Judgment Record) in series C91. 


On October 15, the Guide to Record Collections in Calvert County, Maryland by Pat Melville was presented to the Board of County Commissioners by Harry Wedewer, President of the Calvert County Heritage Commission, and described in greater detail by the author. 

(continued on Page 3)

The Archivists' Bulldog 
Page 3
(continued from Page 2)

The Heritage Commission, as a major component of the highly successful History Day program in the county school system, perceived the need for a guide to assist teachers and students in finding locally available records. The resulting publication describes the many resources found within the county. Copies are being distributed throughout the school system and to county libraries and institutions housing record collections. Plans are underway to make the Guide electronically available through the Commission's web site. 

The Guide is general in nature, giving the researcher an overview of each manuscript collection by providing the date span, quantity of material, media, location, and brief description of content and available indexes or other finding aids. 

In her presentation to the County Commissioners, Pat highlighted specific discoveries, collections, and institutions. She began with the minutes of the Commissioners, that date from 1890 and are located in the courthouse. 

The Grover Collection at the Calvert County Historical Society contains the business, political, and personal papers of three generations of the Grover family, including Pete Grover, a former county commissioner. The earliest records in this collection are found in an account book used by Thomas R. Grover, a farmer and county surveyor, who was born in 1818. One of his account books includes birth, marriage, and death information of family members for the years 1735-1845 and birth and death data for slaves for the years 1765-1838.

The most widely known politician from Calvert County was Louis Goldstein whose personal papers, along with memorabilia, are housed at Jefferson Patterson Park. Also available there are 4.5 million archaeological artifacts, many of which can be made available for research, including representative samples online. 

Newspapers can be an important tool for historical research but difficult to use because of the lack of indexing. Dedicated individuals associated with the Calvert Marine Museum Library are helping to remedy this situation by compiling an index of articles from the Calvert Journal that involve events, persons, and maritime matters in the 1st Election District. The work is completed for the years 1876-1890. 

There are a surprising number of photographic resources available in the county, including: 11,000 photographs and postcards concerning mostly boats, shipyards, and other water related activities at the Calvert Marine Museum Library, 2000 photographs and postcards concerning mostly the railroad and the resort in Chesapeake Beach at the Chesapeake Beach Railway Museum, and 30,000 slides concerning archaeological sites and artifacts and historic buildings and sites at Jefferson Patterson Park. 

The Calvert County Historical Society uses its Subject Files to house miscellaneous items, small collections, and research notes donated by patrons and researchers. This eclectic collection provided a most intriguing discovery  - two court dockets, dated 1828 and 1834. The first question was how did these books escape the courthouse fire of 1882. Close examination of the records furnished an explanation. The dockets were kept by individual judges for their own use, not by court clerks as official records. Upon leaving office the judges probably took the books home. Normally dockets contain only a brief outline of actions taken and papers filed in a court case. The two records at the Historical Society contain more detailed text about the litigants and the matters in dispute. 

Undoubtedly, there are other such historical treasures among the many collections denoted in the Guide. All it takes is time and perseverance to find them, using the Guide as a tool.