Newsletter of
The Maryland State Archives
by  Pat Melville 

As usual for the colonial period, most information about roads in Prince George's County appears as short entries in the court minutes, as recorded in (Court Record) in series C1191. The books contain the administrative and judicial minutes and the recorded criminal and civil proceedings of the county court. Normally, the clerks placed the minutes at the beginning of the record for each court term, followed by proceedings of the cases being heard. In addition, two other sets of records of the Prince George's County Court contain relevant documents pertaining to transportation, specifically (Levy Book), 1734-1765, in series C1245 and (Road Papers), 1747-1754, in series C1292. All three series of records were sampled in order to demonstrate the types of available materials. 

The first (Court Record) has been transcribed and published as Court Records of Prince George's County, Maryland, 1696-1699, American Legal Records, Vol. 9 (Washington, DC: American Historical Association, 1964). Extracts from all volumes of (Court Record) appear in R. Lee Van Horn, Out of the Past:
Prince Georgeans and Their Land (Riverdale, MD: Prince George's County Historical Society, 1976). Targeted abstracts are found in Patricia Abelard Andersen, "Petitions, Constables and Overseers of the Roads in Frederick County Before 1748," Western Maryland Genealogy, Vol. 18, No. 1, pp. 33-47. 

The earliest entry concerning roads contained the list of overseers appointed in April 1696: James Brooke for Mount Calvert Hundred, George Jones for Matapony Hundred, James Mullican for Collington Hundred, Thomas Davis for Patuxent Hundred, Francis Durham for Piscataway Hundred, and Francis Prisly for
New Scotland Hundred. During the next annual appointment process the judges designated two overseers for each hundred. 

By 1726, the court had divided each hundred into two or more overseer precincts, a term not encountered in other county court records. The precincts were described as portions of a hundred, such as upper, lower, or middle. As settlements moved north and west, new ways were devised to designate an overseer area.
The minutes for November 1739 list the area from the top of "Shannandore" Mountain to the top of "Kitockton" Mountain and another from the latter mountain to Monocacy Wagon Road near Thomas Beatty's. 

In 1740, the court appointed 50 overseers and, in 1747, it needed 71 to cover the county. After Frederick County was erected out of Prince George's in 1748, the number of overseers dropped to 34. 

Occasionally, overseers failed to perform their maintenance duties. In 1757, Samuel Brashears, describing himself as a resident of Collington Hundred for 40 years, complained about the overseer neglecting to maintain the road going past his land. The justices granted his request to revive the road. The next year, John Loggins

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