Baltimore County, Maryland: Trader and Ordinary Licenses, 1830-1832


Author: Ports, Michael A.
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: iv 112 pp.
ISBN: 9780806356549


The work at hand is Michael Ports’s second foray into the early 19th-century records of Baltimore County, Maryland. Several months ago, we published his 1804 Tax Assessment, Baltimore County, MD, a worthy effort to substitute for the missing 1800 federal census for that county. Mr. Ports’s new book is a transcription of occupation records, namely licenses registered with Baltimore County by traders and “ordinaries.” Traders in 1830-33 are best understood today as wholesalers, and the word “ordinary,” even in 1830, was an antiquated term for a tavern keeper.

Baltimore County Trader and Ordinary Licenses, 1830-1832 will appeal to genealogists and historians alike. If you are on the lookout for an ancestor who might have worked in one or both of these trades, you will find over 1,000 indexed references indicating, in the case of traders, the date of the license, the licensee’s name and address, and the amount paid; and in the case of ordinaries, the licensee’s name, year licensed, turnpike mile post where the tavern was located, and its equivalent location in contemporary Baltimore County. Fortunately, Mr. Ports is every bit as interested in conveying the nature of these trades in the 1830s as he is in the identities of those who worked in them. Hence, the reader will find ample discussion of the kinds of goods traders dealt in, the sources of their customers, the development of the turnpike system by the Maryland legislature that prefigured the licensing of taverns, the different classes of taverns, and interesting landmarks along the turnpikes that still survive, such as the Milton Inn in Sparks, Maryland. All of which make Baltimore County Trader and Ordinary Licenses, 1830-1830 a most interesting read, as well as a source of buried genealogical data.

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