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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 118   View pdf image (33K)
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Large windowe at Each Gable End of the upper Roome Instead of the dorment
windowes in Calvert County Court house with Rales banisters formes & tables in the
place of Judicatory in the Clarks Office and in the upper Roome as in Calvert County
Court house. Inconsideration of which the Said Justices doe agree to give the Said
Robert Brothers fifty thowsand pounds of tobaccoe twenty five thowsand to be paid
the next Levye the other Moyetoy the next yeare Following the Said house to be built
at Charles towne At the place Appointed by the Justices of the Said Court And to
Finish the Same between this and the twenty fifth day of December next Glazeing &
plaistering only (Excepted) in Forfiture of one hundred thowsand pounds of tobaccoe4

Unhappily, Mr. Brothers was no more efficient than any of the other courthouse con-
tractors of this period; consequently the building was not ready in time.5 Tempers became
short—another normal characteristic of courthouse building. The exchange of March 1697/98
will indicate just how exasperated the parties were:

Coll: Hollyday these few Lines are to Acquaint your Honr: that I am in good
health & I am getting downe the Frame as fast as possible wee Cann but I have had a
verry Sick family which hath been a great Hinderance to me but next week with Gods
Leave you may Expect me over no more att Present but your Loveing Freind to
Serve you.

Robert Brothers

Upon which it is ordered by this Court that if the Said Robert Brothers doth not
bring over the Frame of the Court house to Charles towne by the 15th: day of Aprill
next that then Coll: Hollyday doth prosecute the Law agt: the Said Robert Brothers
upon the breach of Covenants for not performing his Contract Conserning the building
the Court house at Charles towne According to Articles of Agreement made between
the Said Coll: Hollyday and the Said Robert Brothers and that the Justices here
present will Stand Abide and Assist the Said Coll: Hollyday in the procecution of
the Same &c.6

The new deadline of April 15 must have been met approximately, for the clerk recorded
the following at the beginning of the minutes of the court session of June 28, 1698:

The Court Immediately Adjourned into the New Court house and there Satt as

First Courthouse at Upper Marlboro

Succeeding justices "Satt" here until the county seat was removed to Upper Marlboro.
Even then, in the petition of several inhabitants of Prince George's County to the General
Assembly, praying that the county seat be removed, it was not alleged that the courthouse
was in disrepair, which was so often the case, but only that Charles Town was inconvenient
to two-thirds of the inhabitants. The petition was granted and the justices of the court were
authorized to sell the old courthouse and prison, to buy two acres of land in Upper Marlboro,
and to build a new courthouse thereon, all of which was to be paid for by a tax of five pounds
of tobacco per poll for one year.8 The total cost is difficult to establish, especially since it was
noted in the petition that there had been some contributions on the part of individuals who
were especially interested in moving the county government.

But when the interior of the courthouse was still incomplete these funds had been
exhausted and there was nothing for it but to appeal again to the General Assembly. By
virtue of an act of August 1721,9 the justices of the county were empowered to levy twelve
pounds of tobacco per poll on all the inhabitants of the county for this purpose and for the
construction of a prison which had not previously been provided for. On March 28, 1721, the
justices of Prince George's County met at Charles Town and immediately adjourned to Marl-

4 Ibid., f. 189.
5 That a start had been made by March 23, 1697/98 is proved
by a report of that date by a legislative committee: "A new
Court house is building in Prince George's County without any
Chimney the Records att present are kept att the Clk: house
till the finishing of the Court house and then to be lodged
there." (Arch, of Md., XXII, 102-03.)


6 Court Proceedings, Liber A, f. 298.
7 Ibid.. f. 316.
8 Ch. 7 ; Arch, of Md., XXXVIII, 239.


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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 118   View pdf image (33K)
 Jump to  

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