Calvert County, in Southern Maryland, was an original Maryland county established in 1654. The Provincial Land Office of Maryland was responsible for distributing land from 1634 to 1777 on behalf of the Lord Proprietor. The Lord Proprietor’s rent rolls and the debt books, the means by which the Lord Proprietor kept track of the rents due him, both commence in 1715 (though some are no longer extant). The surviving rent rolls consist of entries for each tract of land patented, the name of the person for whom the land was originally surveyed, the present owner, acreage, and rent. Alienations, or subsequent sales and leases of the piece of land, are also included. The debt books’ great value is that they enable the researcher to track land ownership over various years in cases of intestate estates, land inherited by women, and land that is not specified in a will.
This volume spans the period 1753-1764, with breaks for the years 1759 and 1760. The information is presented in tabular form: liber and folio citation, with any pertinent date; name of the person paying the taxes; and name of the tract of land and amount of acreage. From the Calvert debt books entries, several interesting facts have emerged: The county had a Free School established by 1753; and the towns of Lower Marlboro and Hunting Town were established communities there by 1753 and 1754, respectively. The leading landowners in Calvert County for this period were the Mackall family and Thomas Reynolds. Some county landowners were inhabitants of the following Maryland counties: Anne Arundel, Charles, Prince George’s, and St. Mary’s.