carried away public records. The landing in Cecil County was made after a fearful period of
thirty days at sea and the loss of half the army's horses. Who would have thought of devoting
even one cart and two horses to the hauling of Cecil County land records to Philadelphia?
Again, why were they subsequently removed from Philadelphia to New York and how were
When Judge Clayton made his dedicatory address he was misinformed about the losses of
Land Records, for there are only insignificant gaps. But subsequent to his speech, when the
time came for transferring records to the new courthouse, great losses of the older materials
were suffered. It is possible to know this because the inventory made by the Historical
Records Survey of the WPA a few years earlier still exists in manuscript at the Hall of
Records. The discrepancies between what is listed there and what is now extant is dismaying.
As in the case of St. Mary's, Charles and some other counties, it is possible that Cecil
County records, or at least some part of them, have been dispersed rather than lost. On March
11, 1963, as this book was being readied for the press, we received two volumes from Mr. J. N.
Ewing of Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One volume was an original Land Record, Liber F.L. No. 13
August 9, 1748-June 8, 1753. This volume has antiquarian value only because we already had
a transcript. But this is not true in the case of the Judgment Record for 1733-1741 of which
no other copy is known. It may be hoped that other finds of this kind will occur from time
LAND RECORDS, 1674-80, 1698-1726, 1732-45, 1748-62, 1764--. 1693, 1696 in Judgments,
1709-17. Also contains Judgments, 1769. Most volumes indexed. C.H. 1674--. L.0.1949--,
microfilm. H.R. 1674-1792; 1674-1949, microfilm.
LAND RECORDS [Originals that have been transcribed], 1674-79, 1702-09, 1716-23, 1732-45,
1748-62, 1764-74, 1799-85. 1713-16 in Judgments, 1800; 1723-26 in Judgments, 1717-18.
INDEX TO LAND RECORDS, 1674-1810, 1838-50. Liber index. H.R.
INDEX TO LAND RECORDS, 1674--. Campbell, 1674-1918. Cottco Universal, 1918--. C.H.
1674-. L.O. 1850-1948, microfilm. H.R. 1674-1956, microfilm. 1850-97.
CHARLESTOWN DEEDS, 1742-1920. C.H. 1742-1920. H.R. 1742-1920, microfilm.
LAND COMMISSIONS (LAND DIVISION RECORD BOOK, DOCKET), 1724-75, 1781-
1875 includes Commissions to Divide Estates, 1799-1875. Each volume indexed. C.H.
1803-75. H.R. 1724-1803.
TAX SALE RECORDS, 1904--. Each volume indexed. C.H.
TAX SALE DOCKET, 1935--. C.H.
PETITION AND CONDEMNATION, 1924-39. Proceedings in condemnation of land for
roads. Indexed. C.H.
PLAT BOOKS, 1922--. See also Land Records. C.H.
3 Mr. Ira D. Gruber, Fellow of the Institute of Early American
History and Culture, and specialist in Admiral Richard Howe has
this interesting explanation of this act of his brother Sir William
Though I did not know that Sir William had taken the
Cecil County land records with him to Philadelphia, I think
I can provide a plausible — if not a well-documented — explana-
tion. Cecil County was, according to Joseph Galloway's testi-
mony (Parliamentary Register XIII, 434), notoriously dis-
loyal; hence the few Loyalists of Cecil County probably
persuaded Sir William to take the land records with him for
safekeeping so that the rebels could not destroy the Loyalists'
claims to land in Cecil County. Sir William may have obliged
in hopes of showing the Loyalists the good intentions of the
British government. He was certainly capable of sacrificing
military operations to political objectives.
Please remember that this explanation is simply an ama-
teur's guess....... (Letter to the writer Nov. 26, 1962)