Cecil County, on Maryland’s Eastern Shore, was created from Kent County, Maryland, in 1764. Durham County, Maryland, existed from only 1669 to 1672. The territory of what was Durham County, Maryland now occupies the southern half of Kent County, Delaware, and northern half of Sussex County, Delaware This volume is the latest in the ongoing series Abstracts of the Debt Books of the Provincial Land Office of Maryland, by Vernon L. Skinner.
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.
Mr. Skinner’s 30th volume in this series pertains to Cecil and Durham counties and spans the period 1734-1766, with breaks for the years 1735-1737 and 1762-1765. The information in this series 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.
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