John Perins in Maryland Before the Indian War

John Perrin or Perins is the first person in this narrative to be a certain ancestor of mine. Important information about him is uncertain or unknown; in this section I begin the description of what I know, proceeding chronologically. The next section will continue the narrative starting with the Indican War. Finally I will conclude with my personal speculations regarding the origini of this man.

In these two sections I will wrte "Perins" when I am referring to the subject of this and the next section. I will use the word "Perrin" whenever a name is recorded with that spelling in an official document I reference.

Background: Central Maryland in 1732

Before introducing John Perins in 1737 I have a lot of background to establish. Bear with me.


Best to start with the geography of central Maryland. The map below should help with orientation.

overview map

General topography of Central Maryland and adjacent Pennsylvania and Virginia

This portion of Maryland lies in the Great Valley, an ancient shoreline which extends from Pennsylvania to North Carolina through Maryland and Virginia. The bedrock of the Great Valley is Cambrian and Ordovician limestone, rock easily carved out by water. Underground streams and sinkholes can result. In the Maryland portion of the Great Valley the Conococheague and Antietam Creeks drain its west and east sides. The middle portion of the Valley is quite flat and does not have good surface drainage; its only stream, Marsh Run, does not possess a real creek bed until its last mile to the Potomac.

The hills to the east of the Great Valley were known locally as South Mountain; those to the west as North Mountain.

Colonial Government

Until 1749 all of central Maryland was part of Prince Georges County which stretched from the Patuxent River westward through the valleys of Rock Creek and Monocacy Creek (site of present day Frederick, Maryland), across South Mountain and finally the Great Valley. The County seat, Upper Marlboro, lay on the Patuxent, a full 60 miles east of present Hagerstown as the crow files. In 1749 the new county of Frederick was formed. Finally in 1776 the Great Valley portion of Frederick County became Washington County.

As the frontier portion of Maryland did not produce tobacco, it did not fit well into the economy of the colony. Since tobacco was used as currency, dealings on the frontier were often by barter, with IOUs more common than cash. Taxation was particularly tricky; not only were there standard taxes to collect, there was the squirrel and crow tax. This levy, enacted in 1728   was to be paid annually with either three squirrel scalps or three crow's heads. Failure to submit the required numbers of vermin meant a fine of two pounds of tobacco.

The Maryland colonial Land Office was much more efficient than its counterpart in Pennsylvania. It sold land warrants to individuals for a specified number of acres; these warrants would allow a person to survey land and submit the survey to the Office for a patent on that land. The Office could refuse to patent a tract if the land was already taken, or if filing fees were not paid. In colonial times it was common for landed individuals to request a resurvey of their land, a proccess not requiring an additional warrant, to take up contiguous land not already patented.


Indian presence in central Maryland was documented only obliquely. Traders such as Israel Friend lived among them as early as 1722 . In 1727 he received a deed from the Indians for land at the mouth of Antietam Creek:

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Att the request of George Beall the Following Deed was Enrolled November the Twenty Seventh Anno DM. Seventeen hundred and thirty whereas be it known to all Manner of persons to whom it may concern That We Cunnaw cha ha la, Taw we Maw, Capt. Sivility, Toile Flangee, She Hays, Callakahahatt, being Kings and rulers of the Five nations for naturall Love and we bar to our Brothers Israel Friend we give unto him...

Friend's deed was witnessed by Humberston Lyon, another early pioneer. The signers of the deed included Captain Civility, a Susquehannak chief from Conestoga. Civility later wrote to the Governor of Maryland concerning frontier settlements; although whether he was referring to the area contested in Cresap's war, or to present day Maryland, is not entirely clear:

To Your Excellency the Governor living in Annapolis with Great Care These

January the 12, 1731/2

To your Excellency of Maryland and Esqr Lloyd, and if it please You Sir I Captain Civility makes bold with these few Lines, for I am heartily sorry to hear as Maryland should deprive us of that Spot of Land as we have held hitherto for I certainly did hear as their Intention is to take it from Us if possible but I hear You intend to come and run Land out above Andahetem, and I heartily desire you not to do it for You have already run Land out at Cohungaruto and put your family to live there which We are very much disturbed and I would have you not to press too much upon Us for We have give no body Land yet but Israel Friend at the mouth of Andahetem and I shall consider with the rest of my Brothers what to do for as We are but Indians You must not think to force Us out of Our own No more at present but We remain Your Servants all the five Nations

   Captain + Civility
   Toyl HT Hangue

Although there was no legal white settlement in Maryland west of the Monocacy River in 1734, European presence was sufficient to conceivably interfere with Indian movements north and south. Samuel Blunston, Justice of the Peace in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania wrote to Governor Gordon of Pennsylvania in August, 1734 to explain the following incident :

About a month Agoe a party of the Six Nations, Warriors, came to the Connoi Town in their way to the Southward, & in the name of the rest, five or Six came to my house & Brought a List of forty, the number going to war. They told me they wanted a paper to take with them through Virginia, to Show the Inhabitants that their Intentions towards the English were peaceable, which paper I supose they Intended to be for the passport mentioned in the Governour of Virginia's Letter; made Nessessary by the treaty, (tho' this I knew not Before,) upon their Application to me I advised them to wait upon thee who only had the Right & power to give them such a paper; but that they said was so far out of their way they could not goe & Insisted upon Something from mee, So Considering if I denyed them a paper they would go without, I rather Chose to write to Edmd Cartlidge a few lines to this Effect, "that forty of the Six Nation's Indians Intending to go to the Southward, Desired a Certificate from me to Show the white people that their Intention was not to do them any hurt, but to pass peaceably along, & that they need not be afraid of them," And I desired Edmund Cartlidge to let them know they must Suffer no Violence to be used towards any person, nor that they shd not forceably take any thing, And that if He thought propper he might give a Certificate of their peaceable Intentions, which they proposed by sending one person Before to Show the Inhabitants that they might not be frighted. If in this I acted Amis or Inadvertantly I shal be Sorry, for I Intended it for Good.

Stories told in the nineteenth century described Indian activity at the mouths of Antietam and Conocoheague Creeks in the 1730s :

At the mouth of Antietam, a small creek on the Maryland side of the river [Potomac, or Cohongoruton], a most bloody affair took place between parties of the Catawba and Delaware tribes. This was probably about the year 1736. The Delawares had penetrated pretty far to the south, committed some acts of outrage on the Catawbas, and on their retreat were overtaken at the mouth of this creek, when a desperate conflict ensured. Every man of the Delaware party was put to death, with the exception of one who escaped after the battle was over, and every Catawba held up a scalp but one. This was a disgrace not to be borne; and he instantly gave chase to the fugitive, overtook him at the Susquehanna river, (a distance little short of one hundred miles,) killed and scalped him, and returning, showed his scalp to several white people, and exulted in what he had done.
      "Another most bloody battle was fought at the mouth of Conococheague, on Friend's land, in which but one Delaware escaped death, and he ran in to Friend's house, when the family shut the door, and kept the Catawbas out, by which means the poor fugitive was saved.

Settlement, 1734 - 1736

While technically illegal, there is ample evidence that Europeans were settling in central Maryland by 1733-34. The names of these folks come from three sources.

Monocacy Hundred in 1733

The first extant list of the occupants of central Maryland is a list of taxables in Monocosie Hundred, 1733 . It includes 109 names plus three slaves. While most of the people on this list live east of our area of interest, I can separate out the names of some people known to later live west of South Mountain:

Edmund Cartledge Thomas Cherry William Clarke James Coburn
Redmond Falling Charles Friend John Friend Nich. Friend
Humburston Lyon Edward Nickolls John Nichols Robert Ratcliffe
John Royal William Searwell, Jr. William Sheppard, Junr. James Spurgeon
John Stull William Shoarwell William Spurgeon John Upton

Blunston Letter, 1734

A petition written to Samuel Blunston and dated the 28th day, 5th month (July) of 1734  reads:

Mr. Samuel Blunston Sr. this is to let you understand that the Inhabitants about the great Marsh where Edmund Cartledge does live have met and made a general Conclusion for to get grants from you for to settle any where upon the Waters of Conehecheegoe and likewise upon the Waters of Andiatom on the North side of the line that George Noble and John Smith did run.

Joseph Hickman Edward Parnell John Dobkin James Conron
John Hodge Redman Fallen James Gill Thomas Cherry
John Williams William Clarke William Varnell Thomas Owen
Charles Friend Abraham Fish James Hendrica William Sherwell
Peter Hart Humbleston Lyon Thomas Oncall Nicholas Hammon
Richard Spencer Samuel Baldwin John Surfurance Samuel Owen
Francis Hickman Joseph Hickman Jun'r John Stull Edmund Cartledge Jun'r
John Nicholas Edward Nicholas John Gosedge Neils Friend
John Friend John Gladin Charles Smith John Ryle
James Coborn William May John Sawphorus James Williams

I have not been able to conclusively find where the Noble & Smith line ran; it may have approximated the later Mason & Dixon line, or perhaps been further south. So why did these people petition the Pennsylvania authorities for permission to obtain land grants? Since this was the time of the Pennsylvania - Maryland boundary dispute, and since the area was west of the Susquehanna, no one actually knew for certain which colony they would be in. In 1734 Maryland was not issuing many warrants for land in the far west to ordinary people, instead it surveyed large land grants such as Conococheague Manor (for Lord Baltimore) and Chews Manor (for Samuel Chew, son in law of Philemon Lloyd, Secretary of the Colony) ). Therefore people already in the land had every reason to fear that Maryland would never sell them land, but to make it necessary for them to rent as tenants.

Many of the signers on the 1734 petition came from families originally found in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. The trading escapades of Edward or Edmund Cartledge were discussed in the last section; both he and his son signed the petition. James Hendrica was probably James Hendricks; this name as well as the names William Clarke, William Sherwell and Samuel Baldwin are also found in the 1718 tax records of Conestoga, Lancaster County.

Tax Records

The first volume of Prince Georges County tax records includes information from the years 1734 - 8. While incomplete for 1734 - 5, there are a few pieces of information of interest from that time. Edmund Cartledge served on a jury for two days in September, 1734 . Edmund Cartledge, Edmund Cartledge, Jr. and Umbertson Lyon all received payments of several hundred pounds of tobacco for killing wolves .

In 1736 the sheriff was instructed to collect fines from those people who failed to pay the squirrel and crow bounty in 1735. In this list of 169 names I can identify thirteen persons who were known to live in central Maryland :

Humbertson Lyon Joseph Hickman Edward Nicholls James Coburn Neale Friend
James Kendrick John Upton John Stull William Spurgin William Sheppard Sen.
Robert Ratcliffe Redmond Folling William Chapline

. The first ten names listed above occurred as a group within this list; similarly, the last three names were grouped together. This suggests to me that when these lists were compiled for the sheriff, the names were grouped by locale. This ordering apparently occurs in the lists compiled for the sheriff in later years as well, and will prove helpful in my analysis.

Settlement on the Potomac and around the Great Marsh

From the three sources cited above I see two foci of early settlement in central Maryland. The first focus is the Potomac River. The Spurgeon brothers, fresh from their time as indentured servants, settled just upstream from Antietam Creek. More about this family later. Charles Friend, the son of Israel Friend, settled with his family at the mouth of Conocoheague Creek. Both the Spurgeons and Friend would buy or patent land later, but their presence was noted on a map drawn in December, 1736 for Lord Farifax of Virginia (More information on the people shown here can be found in the article "New Look at an Old Map" reprinted here).

Mayo's 1737 map

Portion of "Map of the northern neck in Virginia", 1736/7, William Mayo, surveyor

Please note the "Waggon Road to Philadelphia" on this map. This road was a continuation of the road from Lancaster to York, Pennsylvania. In Maryland it passed through Frederick, turned west and crossed South Mountain, then went south to the Potomac River. Its full route can be seen in the map above. William Sheppard, and later Van Swearingen , ran ferries at the Potomac crossing.

The other focus of settlement was the "great Marsh" which was undoubtedly the upper portion of present day Marsh Creek. Edmund Cartledge, at this point retired from his fur trading days in Pennsylvania, was responsible for the survey of Fountain Rock in 1737 . While not patented, this location can be found in the 1877 Washington County atlas at the village of St. James . The actual spring named Fountain Rock is now on the southern edge of the campus of St. James School. Later land tracts, such as Marsh Head, surveyed for Redmund Follens in 1737 , and Water Sink, surveyed for Joseph Tomlinson in 1739 , delineate by virtue of their names the original extent of the Marsh. These tracts may be appreciated in the more detailed map below.

Fountain Rock was not patented, perhaps because its metes and bounds intruded upon Conocoheague Manor. A similar fate may have befallen the Hickman family .

1737 - 1738

After 1736 the extant squirrel and crow tax lists became much more complete. Each year included 1) a list in alphabetical order of the people deficient in paying the tax and 2) a list prepared for the sheriff, in semi-geographical order, of the people still needing to pay. With these lists it is possible to identify the arrival of newer settlers to the Great Marsh area.

Joseph Chaplin

Joseph Chaplin, born 1709, had officially settled in central Maryland by 1735, as he is in the tax levy list shown above. He deserves special mention as he is the first member of the privileged class to physically settle in the region. Joseph's ancestry dates back to the Jamestown colony in 1610; the family moved to Maryland by 1651 . Joseph was born in eastern Prince Georges County in 1709 to William Chaplin and Elizabeth Travers. He came west a bachelor, marrying Ruhamah Williams in 1741 . Her father, William Williams, was a Presbyterian minister in the frontier: his behavior was probably eccentric, as in 1745 across the Potomac in Frederick County, Virginia he was fined £4 and costs for "joyning in the holy bonds of matrimony several persons, he being no orthodox minister" and an additional 26 shillings for "behaving indeciently before the court" .

Joseph Chaplin patented Rush Bottom in 1734 . This property, located at the mouth of Antietam Creek, is not where Chaplin's name is located on the 1736 map of the Potomac shown immediately above. Indeed, that map has has two sites for Chaplin, both labelled with his father's name. Joseph ultimately lived at Piles Delight, land surveyed in 1734 for Richard Sprigg , son of a Maryland legislator who grew up in the same township as Chaplin .

Unlike most of the other people living in frontier Maryland, Joseph Chaplin did possess three or four slaves according to the 1746 tax list for Antietam Hundred .

The Enochsons

The Enochs (Enoch, Enochs or Enochsson) family first appeared in the Prince George tax levies in 1736; John and Gabriel Enoch were listed for collection along with (in order) :

Gabriel and John Enochs were sons of Enoch Enochsson . He had married Susanna Friend, daughter of Niels Friend, and had lived in Ridley Township, Chester County, Pennsylvania until 1725 before settling in Raccoon Creek, New Jersey. It seems likely that Gabriel and John settled just to the east of their Friend cousins, as the 1737 survey for Astills Delight   began at a "bounded red oak standing on the South side of a branch called Enochsons branch within a mile of Conogosheige Creek". Gabriel and John would survey Enochsons Lott   and Enouchsons Delight in 1739 and 1741/2 respecitvely; these contiguous properties are located on the map below.

There is one other family in the various tax levy lists above that was related to the Friends and the Enocchsons in Ridley Township, Chester County. John and Edward Nichols were the sons of Amos Nichols, who had married Sarah Friend, another daughter of Niels Friend. In addition John Nichols married Anna Enochson, sister of Gabriel and John Enochson. It is not clear if John or Edward Nichols ever patented land in central Maryland. But later testimony by Matthias Nichols in a case involving the watercourse of Enochson's Creek showed that a Nichols family probably lived on the Enochson property until about 1750 . An Edward Nichols ultimately rented land in the southeast corner of Conocogeague Manor in 1753 ,leaving by 1765 . It is quite possible that this Edward Nichols is the same person who Thomas Perrin sued in Lancaster County in 1732.

1737 Levy Records

The 1737 levy lists are the first appearance for John Perins. In the alphabetical list of those persons deficient in paying that tax he is listed as "John Perns" ; I believe this is a transcription error made when copying the original list to the levy book. But it may easily reflect an unfamiliarity with that previously unknown surname. When the lists were made for the sheriff to collect, the following order of names occurred :

This portion of the levy list clearly is of people living in the Great Marsh region; the names Royal and Clark go back to the Blunston letter above. Here the Enochson brothers John and Gabriel are present along with Henry Enochs (Enochson), their cousin from Kingsessing, a Swedish settlement on the west bank of the Schuykill River next to Philadelphia .

John Pedons in this list is most certainly John Perins. This spelling does not occur at any other time in central Maryland, and I will argue later that this is a phonetic rendering of Perins' name. But the association of Perins with Henry Enochs and John Upton is reinforced by another event in late 1737.

Death of a Salesman

Prince Georges County filed the following document, dated October 24, 1737, with the Prerogative Court of Maryland :

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Know all Men by these Presents, That We Henry Enoch, John Upton, and John Perrin of Prince Georges County Planters are held and firmly bound unto the Right Honourable the Lord Proprietary of this Province, in the full and just Sum of Three hundred Pounds Sterling Money of Great-Britain, to be paid to His said Lordship, his Heirs and successors:

This document appointed Henry Enoch as administrator (executor) for the estate of Samuel Finley, deceased. Enoch as well as Upton and Perins were liable for a three hundred pound bond if he did not perform this task within a year. Below is a photograph of the signatures from the original document.

Signatures from Samuel Finnly's Administration Bond

Four months later Henry provided more information to the Court .

Henry Enoch & Joseph Metcalf of Prince Georges County Planters being duly Sworn severlly depose & Swear tht they were at the late Dwelling house of Samuel Finnly late of the said County Merchant Dec'ed on the Sixteenth day of October last past & that the said Finnly then lay sick in bed & desired this Deponent Henry to mind what he the said Finnly was then going to say And afterwards said Henry afsd I leave all I have to Johny Aldridge or words to that effect Which words the Dep. Joseph heard the said Finnly speak. That there was no other present when the said Finnly spoke the said words but these Deponents And that he the said Finnly died of that sickness with four or five days after speaking the said words And that the best of their judgement & Apprehension the said Finnly at the time of speaking the said words was perfectly in his Senses

Sworn to Feb 2 1737 [1737/8] before me D Dulany Commsr.

Signed Henry Enoch, Joseph Metcalf (his mark)

The above deposition was taken at the Instance of Joseph Chaplin to avail as much as in law & Justice it might, which to that end I hereby order to be Entered in the Porceedings of the Perogative office

Feb 2 1737 D Dulany Commsr

(This statement is very helpful. The estimated date of death for Finley is October 20. Only four days later the fisrt administration bond was filed in Maryland at Upper Marlboro in Prince Georges County. The trip from the Great Marsh to the county seat, fifty miles, in four days is as fast as I would expect on the frontier. I would argue that only Henry Enochs made the trip, and that he signed the names of Upton and Perren on the document himself. Certainly the three signatures seem to be the same style of writing.)

On the same date that Enoch deposed Finley's will he relinquished his position as administrator for the Finley estate , giving it to Joseph Chaplin. I imagine Chaplin pointed out to Enochs that he could not administer an estate when he was one of the two persons who had actually heard Finley's will. The wording of the Court document implies to me that Chaplin specifically wanted to clear up any confusion.

Samuel Finley was originally from Chester County, Pennsylvania. He paid taxes there from 1718 until 1732 ; in 1736 he was deficient in the crow's head tax in Prince Georges County. After his death there were parallel estate proceedings in Pennsylvania and Maryland. On October 29, 1737 brother Robert Finley filed to administor Samuel's estate in Pennsylvania . Samuel's Pennsylvania inventory consisted of 124 yards of linen and 36 deer skins, plus some cash. The Maryland estate inventory included household goods, another 180 yards of linen, 23 horses (including 5 colts) and other livestock . His list of debtors showed that Henry Enochs was his biggest creditor; Finley owed him £35; . All of this suggests that Finley was a trader; perhaps Enochs had been financing him.

Little is known about Johnny Aldridge or Allred; he was a minor of Chester County  who petitioned their Orphan's Court to have Joseph Chaplin become his guardian. Second witness Joseph Metcalf later patented land (the 1739 survey states that it was "by ye Side of a little Spring within half a mile of ye Waggon Road that goes from Stulls Mill to ye Mountain" ), but nothing more is known about this man.

John Upton, the other guarantee for Henry Enoch's administration bond, was in western Maryland as of 1733 . There is more to say about Upton later; for now this document links Enochs, Perins and Upton to the same place, much as the 1737 squirrel and crows levy lists did above.

1738 - 1739

master map

Central Washington County, Maryland in 1739
The probable extent of the Great Marsh is shown in light blue
Roads are as established much later

The year 1738 is the last year I have seen of the squirrel and crow tax lists. John Perins can be found in both the alphabetical (as John Perron ) and collection (as John Perins ) lists.

The most significant event for 1738 occurred not in the frontier but in Annapolis. Immediately after Maryland lost the boundary war with Pennsylvania the issuance of warrants for western Maryland land increased. First to benefit from this change in policy was Thomas Cresap whose initial warrants totalled 1300 acres . (You may tire of hearing about Cresap, but his flamboyant life resulted in a lot of published information about this part of the world which I will continue to cite. He ultimately settled at the forks of the Potomac, at the site of an abandoned Shawnee Indian village called Oldtown. Please see the next section.)

The Land Office also issued warrants to the person who had spearheaded the "Chester County Plot", Charles Higginbothom (300 acres). Other early recipients of warrants were George Bond (300 acres ), John Charleton (600 acres ) and James Henthorn (300 acres ); they all were participants in the "Chester County Plot" . Finally, others living in the Great Marsh now succeeded in buying warrants, for example John Upton (100 acres ).

Petition to form a County, 1739

In early 1739 a petition was circulated in the region around the Great Marsh requesting the formation of a new county. The records of the House of Assembly in Maryland show that this petition was received in May, 1739 and subsequently not acted upon . I have transcribed it below . The original resides at the Archives of Maryland, and a low resolution scan of a copy from there can be viewed here.

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To his Excellency Samuel Ogle Esq Governor of Maryland and To the Hon'ble: the Upper and Lower Houses of Assembly now Convened ____

The Petition of the Subscribers hereof Freeholders and Inhabitants of the back Parts of Prince Georges County ____________

Most Humbly Sheweth.

The first person to sign this petition was Charles Higginbotham; judging from the script he also wrote it. The 89 signatures extend to the back of the document, and I include here a portion of that page.

Portion of 1739 petition signatures

Portion of signatures on page two of the 1739 petition

The signature of John Perins in the middle left column is particularly clear. Note that his writing is not refined. As I will continue to stress. the signature includes a final "s", and only one "r". Aside from Finley's administration bond above, this spelling is how Perins signed his name in all the documents that I have physically or digitally observed .

The text of the document has some peculiar wording, but there are some interesting points made.

Land Patents

1739 did prove to be a turning point in the settlement of central Maryland. Applications for land warrants were approved at a rate three times greater than in 1737-8. The people who received warrants in 1738 started surveying land. Thomas Cresap submitted surveys for 1200 acres in three parcels on June 14, 1739 . While typically survey approval by the Land Commission took six to twelve months, his were approved in 2 days. His first land lay on the Potomac between Antietam and Conocogeague Creeks, but he later patented land at an old Shawnee village site near the forks of the Potomac, a placed called Old Town . Here he settled; more about this place later.

Similar behavior was shown by the other Chester County Plot participants. Higgenbotham (now an honorary Captain of the Maryland militia) surveyed three 100 acre tracts: Dutch Folly April 5,1739 , Charltons Fancy April 19 , and Charlemount April 20 . In 1740 he sold both Dutch Folly and Charltons Fancy , settling on Charlemont for his residence.

Interestingly, Higgenbotham had surveyed Charlemount once before, on November 7, 1738 ; that survey was rejected as being too large. Its survey began "at the head of a plane called Uptons Meadow". While the 1739 survey for Charlemount did not include this description, it must have impinged upon Upton's land, for when he submitted a May 4, 1739 survey to patent It Is Well  it was rejected by the Land Commission. As Upton's survey stated the land was "on the South Side of the Eastern branch of the great marsh of Cogonocege and below the Dweling house of the said upton", and that "on this Land is one loggd dwelling house & a dry fundement and two small Corn Fields under tenie" it seems at the least unjust that Higginbotham would make a land grab such as this. Upton probably left the region at this point, as he resurfaced in Frederick County, Virginia. By 1742 he had a mill on the South Fork of the Potomac in present day Hampshire County, Virginia   and was appoiinted a constable of the newly formed Frederick County, Virginia in 1743 .

One other Chester Plot member deserves mention at this point: John Henthorne, also spelled "Hawthorne". He surveyed Saint John, 100 acres, on Feb 8, 1729 ; the survey began at "Hickory Saplin Standing on a hil to the East Side of the Waggon Road that Leeds from potomack river by Stulls mill & near Capt. Higenbothams". Henthorn also patented 100 acres of land at the mouth of Tonoloway Creek in 1739 called Hawthorns Rest ;.

John Perins surveyed Perrins Adventure (100 acres) on November 20, 1739 . The warrant for the land was assigned over from Richard Snowden by an agent on August 29, 1739; it was presumably purchased from him. Below is a complete transcription of the patent, which I include only for completeness.

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Know ye that for and in consideration that John Perrin of Prince Georges County in our said Province of Maryland hath due unto him one hundred acres of land within our said Province whereof an Assignment for that Quantity from Richard Snowden part of a warrant for thirteen hundred and sixty nine acres granted the said Snowden by renewment the sixth day of June seventeen hundred and thirty nine as appears in our Land Office upon such conditions and terms as are expressed in our conditions of plantations of our said province bearing date the fifth day of April sixteen hundred and eighty four and remaining upon Record in our said province together with such alterations as in them are made by our further Conditions bearing date the fourth day of December sixteen hundred and ninety six

Resurveys of Perrins Adventure , Charlemount and Saint John were performed later in the decade. All of the resurveys were performed by Thomas Cresap who had become the principal surveyor for the region. With resurvey the tracts were contiguous and can be accurately plotted below.

Precise location of Perrins Adventure and adjacent properties

Map detail: Early land tracts along the Great Marsh. First surveys are outlined in dashed lines
Dotted yellow line: Chew's Manor; dotted purple line: Conocoheague Manor

Accurate location of these properties on a modern road map is possible as modern deeds  give a location for Perrins Adventure relative to current roads. Then a later "fill in" tract called Number Four from 1769 showed where Perrins Adventure intersected with Conocoheague Manor (the original survey for Perrins Adventure only stated that the land was near the end of Chews Manor). The resurveys of Perrins Adventure and Charlemount overlapped. This overlap was resolved in a later agreement filed in 1806 , so the placement of these two tracts next to each other seems certain. Charlemount and Saint John may be placed courtesy of another later "fill in" tract called Number Two.

The nearby tract, Water Sink, patented by Joseph Tomlinson in 1739  can be placed from later deeds . As the later Resurvey of Water Sink in 1753 corrected its western border with Chews Manor   the positioning of Chews Manor is accurate as well.

There are two other properties shown on the above map. The survey for Number Four delineated the eastern edge of Conocoheague Manor up to a property named Good Fortune. This, plus the contiguous Neglect, were patented by Catherine Mallot in 1755 after the death of her father Theodorus Mallot. I haave placed Fountain Rock on this map on the basis of a later resurvey of Peter's Delight in 1791 .

Now is a good time to mention some hints about geography contained in the land records. The southern portion of the Resurvey of Watersink was sold to Christian Eversole in 1755   who by 1769 had built a mill on the property . Another tract of land, Hallums Look Out, which was surveyed between Perrins Adventure and Watersink, also refers to this portion of the Marsh, as its survey began "at a bounded Hickory Tree standing on the North Side of Carters Marsh on ye east Side of the Great Marsh" The original survey for Charlemount stated that its beginning line was about fifty perches east of the "Deep Spring" . I can imagine that spring at the top of the smaller middle lobe of the Great Marsh. While building in the marsh may have been foolish, the marsh may easily have been seasonal and would have provided settlers with well watered meadow for cultivation or grazing. In contrast, a later survey for Dry Fountain referred to "the Barrons between Capt. Charles Hikenbothams and Antiatum" , implying to me that the land between the marsh and Antietam Creek was not particularly desirable.

1740 - 1749


While several of Perins' neighbors are represented on the above map, several more who arrived in the 1730s and 1740s deserve mention. Along Antietam Creek John Stull built his mill very early , his patented property Whiskey  showing good use of the stream. Downstream from him were William Kelley (Tower Hill)  and John McCoy (Neglect) ; the location of these tracts is illustrated above.

Arrival of the Lazears

Leasing of the Conocoheague Manor land began in 1737 with Van Swearingen, Senior leasing over 300 acres   but after that year there are very few leases recorded for the next decade. I speculate that there was enough empty land outside of the Manor to make leasing there not as desirable to settlers. One exception was a lease to Joseph Lashier (Lazear) in 1745 . This lease, for lot number 55 (120 acres) cannot be specifically placed on a map. But lot number 53, originally leased to Edward Nichols in 1753, can be located since the lease was recorded as a deed plus survey in Frederick County . The survey began at the most eastern point of the boundary between Conocogeague and Chews Manors, placing it within a stone's throw of Perrins Adventure.

More information can be found about the Lazear family in their appendix.

Legal Activities

There are only two more records for John Perins dating from the 1740s. On June 21, 1740 Perins received payment of a debt owed him by the estate of Robert Ratcliffe . Ratcliffe had been taxed in Monocosie Hundred in 1733  ; the survey for his land in 1737 began at a walnut tree "Standing in the Edge of the Great marsh & near the mouth of the Spring that the s'd Rattclif now lives by " . This would make Ratcliffe a neighbor.

The second record was an estate inventory of the John Roberts by Thomas Kelley & John Perrin in 1747 . This John Roberts may or may not be the same person who signed for Thomas Perrin when he applied for a trader's license in 1724 in Pennsylvania. He was listed on the tax list for Monocosie Hundred in Prince Georges County in 1733  but never surveyed any land. His estate inventory included a still.

1750 - 1755

By 1750 western Maryland had experienced significant change. The town of Frederick on Monocacy Creek had been established in 1745, reflecting a surge in population for that region. In the west there had been consensus with the Six Nations as to the limit of western settlement, in the form of an agreement in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1744. To quote the natives :

We are willing to renounce all Right to Lord Baltimore of all those Lands lying two Miles above the uppermost Fork of Potowmack or Cohongoruton River, near which Thomas Cressap has a hunting or trading Cabin, by a North-line, to the Bounds of Pennsylvania.

In 1751 there was a new map of western Maryland and Pennsylvanis that reflects the changes occuring since 1736. It still showed the "old Waggon Road to Philadelphia" that crossed the Potomac at the "Spurgent" residence, but gave precedence to a newer Waggon Road which crossed the Potomac upstream at Williamsport. To the west from Conocoheague and North Mountain there were people living at Little Tonoloway Creek. More about one of them, Charles Polk later. At Old Town Col. Thomas Cresap had settled.

Armstrong map 1751

Central Maryland in 1751

The path between Charles Polk's residence (labelled "Pope" on the above map) and Old Town was traversed by young surveyor George Washington in March, 1747. The journal entry below begins when they were stuck at the Medicinal Springs on the Virginia side of the Potomac .

Fryday 18th We Travell’d up about 35 miles to Thomas Barwicks on Potomack where we found y. River so excessivelly high by Reason of y. Great Rains that had fallen up about y. Allegany Mountains as they told us which was then bringing downy. melted Snow & that it would not be fordable for severall Days it was then above Six foot Higher than usual & was rising we agreed to stay till Monday we this day call’d to see y. Fam’d Warm Sptings we camped out in y. field this Night Nothing Remarkable happen’d till sonday y. 20th.

Sonday 20th finding y. River not much abated we in y. Evening Swam our horses over & carried them to Charles Polks in Maryland for Pasturage till y. next Morning.

Monday 21st We went over in a Canoe & Travell’d up Maryland side all y. Day in a Continued Rain to Coll. Cresaps right against y. Mouth of y. South Branch about 40 Miles from Polks I believe y. worst Road that ever was trod by Man or Beast.

New County Government

In December, 1748 Frederick County was formed from Prince Georges and Baltimore counties ; it comprised the Monocacy Valley as well as present day Washington County and further west. On March 1748/9 the first county appointments included Joseph Chaplin and Henry Munday as judges. Joseph Chaplin became one of four county representatives to the Maryland Assembly and Thomas Cresap was appointed justice of the peace . John Perrin was appointed grand juror March, 1748/49; March, 1751 and November, 1753 .

I can speculate that Perins was selected for grand jury duty on the basis of a recommendation from Higginbotham. He was also associated with this neighbor on other legal documents:

Estate Inventories

Perins became involved with several other neighbors' estates in this period. For some of these people I do not have additional information.

The last estate inventory Perins conducted in this period was that of Charles Higgenbothom himself on June 19, 1754 . Higginbotham's estate inventory included three wigs, an unusual item of clothing for the frontier .

Western Activities

John Perins started to become active on the frontier in the early 1750s. He first received a warrant for 300 acres of land in April, 1752 . In 1754 it was used to patent two tracts west of Tonoloway Creek, Flint's Chance and Long Looked For for a total of 200 acres.

Flint's Chance was patented by Joseph Flint; John Perins signed over 50 acres of his warrant to Flint on October 22, 1753 "for a Valuable Consideration" .

Know all Men by these Presents that I John Perryn of Frederick County in the Province of Maryland for a Valuable Consideration, I do Hereby Assign, Confirm, and Make over unto Joseph Flint of the aforesaid County and Province Fifty Acres of Land being Part of a warr't Granted to me out his Lordships Land office for Three Hundred Acres Barring Date Twenty Seventh Day of April Anno Domini 1752 ___ As Witness my Hand and seal this 22 Day of October 1753

1753 signature

John Perins signature from 1753

Joseph Flint may have originally come from the Rock Creek region of Maryland. He was cited for "riotous behaviour" along with Thomas Cresap in Pennsylvania in 1735 . He witnessed the sale of Conquest to Cresap in 1745 . By 1752 he had already patented three tracts of land in Town Creek north of Oldtown, using warrants obtained by Thomas Cresap . I think it was likely Flint had a commercial relationship with Cresap . Flint ultimately settled at Flints Chance and accumulated over 800 acres of land west of present day Hancock by 1783 .

Long Looked For, surveyed in November 1754 , was located two miles from Little Tonoloway Creek on Long Run. Its shape fits nicely into the upper valley for this stream, as shown on the map in the next section. The land would not be great for farming, but as it stood right on the footpath to Oldtown it could be well situated for a commercial enterprise.

Flint and Perins appraised the Charles Polk estate on January 27, 1754 . Charles Polbg (Polk or Polke) was the son-in-law of Edmund Cartledge; he initially had worked as an Indian trader based in Conestoga Township, Lancaster County. He moved to the Little Tonoloway region on the Potomac by 1737 . Polk did not own any land in the region until 1746, when he bought Hawthorns Rest  from James Henthorne.

The sum of all of these activities suggests to me that John Perins intended to participate with Flint in trading or some other sort of venture in the frontier. John's participation may have been through his son Edward,given that Edward Perrin later became constable of the Linton Hundred.


John Perins appeared in central Maryland around 1737; while he was not one of the earliest settlers to the region he did arrive before the area was officially opened to settlement. His association with Henry Enochs is suggestive but does not prove that Perins knew him before moving west. But unlike Enochs, who would not settle down until ten years later at the forks of the Capacon River in Frederick County, Virginia , Perins patented land early. By the 1750s Perins was active in county government and started to show interest in western expansion, possibly as a trader of sorts. This thread will become more significant in the next section where the remainder of Perins' life is outlined.