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A History of Printing in Colonial Maryland: 1686-1776 by Lawrence C. Wroth
Volume 435, Page 4   View pdf image (33K)
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A History of Printing in Colonial Maryland

made for the "Payment and Assessmt of the Publiqe Charge of this Prov-
ince." Therein, among many others, is found this item, "To Wm. Nutt-
head Printer five Thousand five Hundred and fifty pounds of Tobaccoe."1
In view of his earlier history in Virginia, and of his later history in Mary-
land, the simple and natural assumption in reading the item which has
been quoted is that when the Province paid William Nuthead for services
rendered, and designated his trade in the act of payment, those services
had been performed in the practise of the trade therein specified.

In the following month, No vember 1686,"William Nuthead of St. Marys
Citty Printer" took up three hundred acres of land, known thereafter as
"Nutheads Choice," lying in Talbot Countyand "to beholden of the Man-
nor of Baltemore." The annual quit rent for the property was named as
twelve shillings sterling, but the conditions under which the warrant had
been granted were not specified in the certificate of survey. A short six
months after the date of his warrant, on April 4, 1687, for a sufficient sum,
the amount of which was not disclosed, "William Nuthead of St. Marys
Citty Printer" sold or made perpetual assignment of his plantation in Tal-
bot to one Edward Fisher, and with its sale "Nutheads Choice," together
with its new owner, becomes of no further interest in this narrative.2

THE FIRST RECORDED ISSUE OF THE MARYLAND PRESS,

THE "PROTESTANT DECLARATION" OF 1689

William Nuthead's earliest printing activities have not been kept in re-
membrance. In spite of the fact that he was a resident of St. Mary's City
and in the pay of the Provincial government certainly as early as 1686, it
is necessary to pass over the ensuing three years to the riotous days of the
"Protestant Revolution" before there is found an issue of his press which
has been recorded by name. The circumstances out of which arose the pub-
lication in question give it a singular interest in Maryland political history.
After overturning the Proprietary government in July 1689, Colonel John
Coode and seven others of the leaders of the Revolution drew up a manifesto
entitled "The Declaration of the Reasons and Motives for the Present Ap-
pearing in Arms of their Majesties Protestant Subjects in the Province of

lArchives of Maryland, 13:131. The assumption will be permitted that William Nulhead, a printer, compelled
to forego his trade in Virginia in the year 1683, and William Nuthead, a printer in the pay of the Maryland gov-
ernment in 1686, were one and the same individual Whether the assumption be allowed, however, is of compara-
tively small importance in the ensuing relation of the activities of William Nuthead, the first Maryland printer.
It should be said too, that although he is variously known as Nulhead, Nuthead, Nutthead and Nothead, his
name certainly was not "Roughead" as it is given in the number of the Virginia Magazine of History and Biogra-
phy previously referred to.

2Land Records, Liber 22, folio 295, ms. in Land Office, Annapolis, Md. The parcel of land described lay in what
is now Caroline County, then a part of Talbot.

[4]


 

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A History of Printing in Colonial Maryland: 1686-1776 by Lawrence C. Wroth
Volume 435, Page 4   View pdf image (33K)
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