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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 125   View pdf image (33K)
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QUEEN ANNE'S COUNTY

The beginnings of Queen Anne's County lie in the mysterious period when the center of
Eastern Shore local government was found on Kent Island. Since some account of this period
is given in the chapters on Talbot and Kent Counties, it is not necessary here to repeat the
story. We begin, therefore, with the Act of Assembly setting up Queen Anne's County,
Chapter 3 of the Acts of 1706. This same act provided for a commission to choose a convenient
place for erecting- a courthouse and otherwise setting up a new county government.

Courthouse at Queenstown

The next year another act was passed providing for the seating of the county government
at the new town to be erected on the land of John Hawkins on Coursey Creek.1 Normally,
authorization to build a courthouse is found in the act erecting the county or in a special act,
but in this case authorization is contained in a few words lost in a long bill for the erection
of ports and towns. It may be for this reason that the General Assembly found it necessary
three years later to pass a confirming act, the text of which follows:

Whereas there is in Queen Anns County in this Province at Queens Town a good
and sufft Court house well built made use of and found to be usefull and servicable
to that County for holding the County Court of the said County and though perhaps
some Doubts may arise whether the builders Connivers [contrivers] or Justices of the
County had suff' authority for the building of the said Court house and for Raising and
Levying tobacco on the Inhabitants of the said County for the defraying the Charge
thereof.

Be it Enacted by the Queens most Excellent Majty by and with the advice and
Consent of her Majlys Councill and Assembly of this province and the authority of
the same that all such Doubts be forever unquestioned and that all the builders Con-
trivers and Levyers of Tobo for the building of the house afd be for their building
Contriveing and Levying afd for Ever Indemnified and Saved harmless by Virtue of
this Act and that the Court House as now built and Employed and two acres of Land
whereon it is built and scituated forever hereafter deemed adjudged and Esteemed the
Very true Court house and County Court house Land of Queen Anns County any
former Act Statute Law Vote of the Delegates of the Generall Assembly warrt & ordr
of the Councill petition of parties or any thing or things Else to the Contrary notwith-
standing.

Provided that the Justices of the said County make or tender full and satisfactory
payment for the said Lot to him or them it is Due to.2

What is of special interest to us here is that in fact Queenstown had become the county
seat and that by 1710 at the latest a courthouse had been built. Unfortunately, we know
nothing else about the structure. It must have been fairly sturdy, however, for there are no
subsequent acts authorizing its repair nor are there any for its enlargement, which indicates
that its size was adequate. We hear nothing further of it, as a matter of fact, until the Con-
vention of 1776, which provided for the first elections under the new State Constitution. The
elections were to be held at the several county seats except for four counties. Queen Anne's
was one of those excepted, and there the election was ordered to be held at Chester Mill,
"where George Hanson now dwells." 3 Frederic Emory theorized that this indicated dis-

1 Ch. 16, Acts of 1707.
2 Ch. 7, Acts of 1710 ; Arch, of Md., XXVII, 570-71.

3 Proceedings of The Conventions of The Province of Mary-
land, 1774-1776, p. 363.

125



 

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The County Courthouses and Records of Maryland -- Part 1: The Courthouses
Volume 545, Page 125   View pdf image (33K)
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