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Proceedings of the County Courts of Kent (1648-1676), Talbot (1662-1674), and Somerset (1665-1668)
Volume 54, Preface 35   View pdf image (33K)
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                      Somerset County.          xxxv

   covering a quarter of a century. The county records themselves attest that he
   was a most capable clerk. His will reveals the fact that before coming to
   Maryland he was a London mercer.
     The Somerset County records for the colonial period, the condition of which
   has been described in detail by Louis Dow Scisco in the Maryland Historical
   Magazine for December, 1927, are among the most complete and best preserved
   of the county records of Maryland. It is to be regretted that it is not possible
   to print here the court proceedings of this county down to the end of the third
   quarter of the seventeenth century, as has been done in the case of Kent and
   Talbot counties, but they are too voluminous to permit of this. At the end of
   the old Somerset liber (B. No. 1) of court proceedings here reproduced is to
   be found a list of the livestock marks recorded from 1665 to 1722. It has been
   thought advisable to print this list in full, although the entries included in it
   extend down more than half a century beyond the date covered by the court
   proceedings as here printed. Beauchamp began this record of livestock marks
   and later clerks continued to enter them in the same record book until 1722.
     It is only once stated in the court records where the court met. Before
   Somerset County was erected in August, 1666, we find recorded that the lower
   Eastern Shore court met on December 1 1, 1665, at the house of Thomas Poole,
   at Manokin. No later mention than this has been found for the period covered
   by this printed record, either before or after the establishment of Somerset
   County, as to where court sessions were held. On January 17, 1666/7, the
   court ordered “That A Tract of Land in the most Conveniente place for the
   whole Countie to be taken up for the Counties use & a house to be builded there-
   upon “. The record does not disclose whether this court order was promptly
   carried out or not. At this January 1666/7 session, the division of Somerset
   into five hundreds with the bounds of each was also ordered. These hundreds
   were Pocomoke, Annemessex, Manokin, Great and Little Manny, and Wicomico
   (pp. 652-653). Torrence, in his Old Somerset (pp. 502-510), discusses in a
   scholarly way the various places where the Somerset Court met during the
   seventeenth century. In the period covered by this record, 1665-1668, it is said
   to have usually met at “Poole's Hope” on the south side of the Manokin,
   the plantation of Thomas Poole. About 1670 there was a “court house” on the
   south side of the Manokin, probably at the town established at Deep Point. The
   Somerset records also show the establishment, September 16, 1668, of a town
   at Deep Point, to be laid out on a tract of land owned by Randall Revell on
   Revells Neck (pp. 721-723). This was doubtless where the court house
   was built.
     No county levies giving the number of taxables, by which the growth of
   population may be determined, are to be found in this printed Somerset record.
   In May, 1662, the number of tithables in what afterwards became Somerset
   County was stated to be about fifty, indicating a population of some 175 persons
   (Arch. Md., iii, 452). The increase in population after this, as shown by the
   land grants and live stock marks, was very rapid.
                                           THE EDITOR.

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Proceedings of the County Courts of Kent (1648-1676), Talbot (1662-1674), and Somerset (1665-1668)
Volume 54, Preface 35   View pdf image (33K)
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