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Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County, 1658-1666
Volume 53, Preface 66   View pdf image (33K)
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                             CHARLES COUNTY


             The present Charles County was erected, April 13, 1658, by order of the
           Governor and Council (Arch. Md. iii, 341). This county is not to be confused
           with what is often spoken of as Old Charles County, a narrow strip along
           the south side of the Patuxent River to which the Lord Proprietary in 1650 had
           given the name Charles County, but which disappeared in 1654 when the land
           included in the old county was absorbed into the newly created Calvert County.
           The records of Old Charles County were also doubtless merged with the Cal
           vert County records, but all have long since been destroyed by fire, so need
           not in any way concern us here. In 1695 Prince George's County was carved
           out of the new Charles County on the north.
             Charles County possesses a more complete series of court proceedings than
           does any other Maryland county. In this series there are only one or two small
           breaks of a year or so from the foundation of the county to the end of the
           Colonial period, or f or that matter, to the present day. This volume (LIII) of
           the Archives comprises libers A and B of the court records covering the nine
           year period from 1658 to 1666. It would be desirable to carry the Charles
           court series down to the seventies, as has been done in the case of Kent, Talbot
           and Somerset counties, but owing to their bulk, to do so would require devoting
           at least one additional volume of the Archives to this county, which is not now
           possible. The importance of the Charles County Court minutes depends not
           merely upon their completeness as a county record, but also because they fill
           the gap from March 5 to December 11, 166o,. for which all the Provincial and
           other county records of the Province are lacking. Why the Charles County
           entries for this period were not also . .  razed and torn from among the
           Records , as ordered by the Governor and Council sitting as the Provincial
           Court, December 11, 1660, cannot he explained (Arch. Md. xli, 379). This
           was the period of the Fendall  rebellion  or  defection , of which the Pro
           prietary wished to erase all record.
             In the preceding pages of the introduction to this volume comment has
           already been made UpOn some of the more important legal, civil, historical,
           social, and personal aspects of the entries to be found in the Charles County
           records. Little has been said, however, of the personnel of the court itself and
           of the court officers, so a l)rief mention of some of them may be of interest.
           The number of justices serving on the court at any one time varied from five
           to eight. The court sat fifty-five times during this nine-year period, or on an
           average of about six times a year. During this time twenty-two different indi
           viduals appear as justices, not including Josias Fendall, a Charles County man,
           who when governor nearly always presided in his own local court, which as
           governor he had the right to do in any county court, a right shared with the
           Governor by other members of his Council. Apparently a warm supporter of
           the Proprietary interests, upon the restoration of the Province to Cecilius Calvert
           by Oliver Cromwell, Fendall was appointed Governor by the Proprietary on
           July 10, 1656. For reasons not very clear, his feelings toward the Proprietary
           changed, and in 1660 he staged his ill-timed  revolution  or  defection  in
           Charles County against Baltimore, and was for a short while a fugitive, although
           


 
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Proceedings of the County Court of Charles County, 1658-1666
Volume 53, Preface 66   View pdf image (33K)
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