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History of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present online

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ofl3cers, and as to all such vacant lands in contest
between the proprietors and not now possessed by
or under either of them on both sides of the said
River Susquehanna, south of the respective south-
ern limits in this paragraph before mentioned, the
temporary jurisdiction over the sainr i> aiinid to be
exercised by the proprietor of Mai \ land, lii- ^^ov-
ernor, courts and oflScers, wiilmui im iii,li(c io
either proprietor, and until the houiiiiai\s shall be
finally settled, ■'ith. That the respective proprietors
shall be at free liberty to grant out, on the common
and usual terms all or any vacant lands within the
said Provinces of Pennsylvania and Maryland in
contest between the said proprietors ( that'is to sav
within their own respective sides of the said several
limits mentioned in the last foregoing paragraph).
I For the which lands and the profits of the same also
' each proprietor shall accoont to the other, who may
be adjudged to be the proprietor thereof, upon the
final determination of the boundarys between the
j two . provinces. 6th, That all prisoners on both
j sides on account of being concerned in any riots or
j disturbances relating to the bounds, or for any act
or thing done thereat, or for any other act touching
j the rightsof either said provinces in relation to their
i bounds, be forthwith released and discharged on
I enterins: into their own respective recognizance in
a reasonable sum to appear and submit to tryal when



called upon by further order from His Majesty.
7th. That this be declared to be a provisional and
temporary order to continue until the boundarys
shall be finally settled, and be declared to be with-
out prejudice to either party. 8th, That His Maj-
esty be most humbly moved to discharge so much
of the order of the 18th of August, 1 737, as varys
from the agreement, and that the several other pe-
titions of complaint now depending before His Maj-
esty in council, relating to any disturbances, may
be withdravirn by the respective petitioners.

To which propositions the proprietors of each
province signified their consent before the commit-
tee, and declared their readiness to carry the same
into execution, if your Majesty shall be pleased to
approve thereof; and the committee, considering
that the agreement may be a proper expedient for
restoring peace and tranquility between tlie said
provinces, and for preventing any of the like dis-
tiu'bances for the future, do therefore agree humbly
to lay the same before your Majesty for your royal

His Majesty this day took the said report inio
consideration, and in order to preserve peace &
tranquility between the said provinces, and to pre-
vent any like disturbances for the future, is pleased,
with the advice of his Privy Council, to approve of
the said agreement entered into between the pro-
prietors of the said respective provinces; and His
Majesty is hereby pleased to order that the proprie-
tors of the said respective provinces of Maryland
and Pennsylvania do cause the said agreement to
be carried into execution; whereof the said proprie-
tors, and all others whom it may concern, are to
lake notice and govern themselves accordingly,

J. A. Vernon.

This Royal Order, as wiJl be seen, pro-
vided that as to all vacant lands iu contest
the proprietors .... "not now
by, or tinder, either of them, on
the east side of the River Susquehanna, down
so far south as iifteen miles, and one quarter
of a mile south of the latitude of the most
southern part of the city of Philadelphia,
and on the west side of the said River Sus-
quehanna, down so far south as fourteen
miles and three quarters of a mile south of
the latitude of the most southern part of the
city of Philadelphia, the temporary jurisdic-
tion of the same is agreed to be exercised by
the proprietors of Pennsylvania, and their
Governor, Courts and oflScers, until the
boundaries shall be finally settled." The
agreement of 1732 fixed the boundary on the
line of latitude fifteen miles south of the
southern part of Philadelphia, and provided
that titles to lands granted by either, and
which were "cleared, occupied and pos-
sessed" before the fifteenth of May, 1724
should be protected. The date of the?e set-
tlements appears to have been fixed by the
date of the agreement made in London be-
tween the proprietors on the 17th of May,
1724, " that no smrveys should be made on
either side in the disputed places till the
boundaries should be fixed, for which a time
was limited.'' The agreement of 1724, pro-

tected only occupiers of land at that time,
and since it prohibited all new grants and
settlements it was reasonable to expect that
the agreement of 1732 would not protect
grants and intrusions in violation of it.*
And so it was written in the agreement of
1732. f So the matter was viewed by
Gov. Gordon in his letter to Gov. Ogle,
June 15, 1732, " we have always understood
here and so did your immediate predecessor,
his Lordship's brother, on our treating on that
subject, that the same convention should sub-
sist till the matter was further accommodated,
all which, notwithstanding the numerous set-
tlements made by those who forced them-
selves upon us from Ireland and Germany,
has been so punctually observed by our office,
that there has not been one survey made, as
is affirmed to me, by order of that office,
within the limits which it is conceived Mary-
land either could or would claim. "^ This

i view wasratified by the royal order. In pur-
suance of this order of his Majesty in coun-

; cil " provisional and temporary limits" were

i run between the provinces.


On the 5th of December, 1738, Gov.
Thomas acquainted the Council that he had
received a letter from Gov. Ogle of the 26th
of November, informing him that he had ap-
pointed Col. Levin Gale and JMr. Samuel
Chamberlain to run the line agreed upon,
and confirmed by his Majesty's order, as pro-
visional and temporary limits between the two
provinces. And that he had appointed Law-
rence Growden, Esq., and Mr. Richard Pete)-s,
as Commissioners, and Benjamin Eastbiu'n, as
surveyor, on the part of Pennsylvania, to
join them in running the said line.g

From the report it appears that the Com-
missioners met on the 5th of December, at-
tended by the Mayor, several Aldermen and
some of the principal gentlemen of Phila-
delphia, when the most southern part of the
city was ascertained, to the satisfaction of the
Commissioners on both sides, by the declara-
tion of the Mayor and Aldermen, by the orig-
inal draft of the city, by the situation .of the
dock, and other natural marks, and by the
testimonies of several ancient inhabitants, all
concurring that a certain post, then showed
the Commissioners, stood in the most southern
part of the city. . It was unanimously agreed

I *II.Harrls, 367.

tlV Archives, 10.

JArchives, 331.

^Authenticated copies of the papers reLiiini; tothistrans-
actiuii were received fromEnglaud, accuiupanied with a hanil-
jomely drawn and colored map on parchment See lilhu-
graphed copy, reduce to hair size of the original.



to settle the variation of the compass by fix-
ing a meridian line by au observation to be
made when the pole star above the pole and
the first star in the tail of the Great Bear un-
der the pole should be in the same vertical
circle, or in a perpendicular line, one above
the other, and a meridian line was carefully
fixed according to that rule and being tried
by a theodolite in the possession of Benja-
min Eastburn, the variation was found by it
to be 5° and 25'. They commenced to run
the line with a westerly variation of 5^ and
'2')' and the line was run to a fence belong-
ing to Israel Pemberton, about two miles from
the place of beginning.

They met again on the 12th of April, and
the surveyors and chain carriers were quali-
fied by oath or aflirmation. They tested in-
struments at the post where they had begun
before, and found the theodolite of Mr. East-
burn to have the same direction and its vari-
ation no ways changed, and on the next day,
the 13th of April, met at Israel Pemberton's
fence, and all parties being satisfied, by the
marks that were left on that fence and on the
trees near it, that that was the place where they
left off on the llthof December, the surveyors
proceeded on the line. On the 22d of April,
at a distance of thirty-one miles due west
from the place of beginning, it was agreed
that the line was now run enough to the |
west for avoiding the large waters of Bran-
dywine and Christiana Creeks, and that the
surveyors should begin to set off the south
line of fifteen miles and a quarter. Then a
dispute arose co^cerning the manner of meas-
uring the fifteen miles and a quarter. The
Commissioners of Maryland insisted that the
line should be run on the surface of the
earth, without any allowance for the un-
evenness thereof, and the Commissioners for
Pennsylvania insisting that the said line j
should be an horizontal line, that is to say,
that the altitudes of the hills should be
taken and a full and just allowance made for
them. Both parties refused to run the line
in any other manner than what they had pro-
posed. The Commissioners of Maryland de-
clared their resolution to proceed ex ■parte.
On the next day being of the opinion that a I
separation of the Commissioners and the run-
ning of two different lines would be attended
with all the evil consequences for the pre-
vention whereof, his Majesty granted his
royal order, it was at last agreed that the
line should be run on the surface, and that
an allowance of twenty-five perches should
be made for the altitudes of the hills. On
the 4th of May, 1739, the surveyors pro-
ceeded on the west line to a field in the pos-

session of Robert Patterson, at the distance
of about a mile and a half from the river
Susquehanna, and on information that there
was nil place on the western side of that
river, but what would give great difficulty to
the surveyors in measuring the half mile
north, it was judged proper to set it otf, and
measure it at this place, that there might be
no delay to the work on that account, and ac-
cordingly the surveyors set ofif and measured
160 i^erches due north, and then turned a due
west line and proceeded thereon to a distance
of about a quarter of a mile from the river.
On the next day the surveyors proceeded on
the west line and ran the same to the western
bank of Susquehanna, to a hickory tree
which was ordered to be marked with four
notches on each side, and it was unanimous-
ly agreed that the west line down so far
south as fourteen miles and three-quarters
of a mile south of the latitude of the most
southern part of the city of Philadelphia,
should begin at that hickory tree. On the
6th of May, Mr. Gale informed the Commis-
sioners that he had, since he came to Phila-
delphia, on this line, received an account of
the death of a son, and that by a special
messenger, he had just now received a fur-
ther account that one of his davighters was
dangerously ill, and his wife and family in
very great distress on that occasion, and pro-
posed an adjournment to a further day, for
that he was rendered incapable to give such
attention to the proceedings on the tempo
rary line as his duty required, and therefore
declared he would proceed thereon no fur-
ther, and Mr. Chamberlain declared that he
apprehended he had no authority to proceed
otherwise than in conjunction with Mr. Gale,
and likewise declined going further with the
line. Whereupon the Commissioners of
Pennsylvania said that, as Col. Gale had on
Friday, the 27th of April, received the ac-
count of his son's death, and as they were
then apprehensive it would affect him so
much as to render him incapable of proceed
ing on the line, and might occasion separa-
tion of the Commissioners, they had at that
time written an account of it to their Gover-
nor, requesting his further orders, in case it
should prove as they feared, and had received
an answer from his Honor, that he had sent
them a new commission (in case of a separa-
tion of the Commissioners) to proceed ex
parte to finish the temporary line, for that
the peace of the government absolutely de-
pended thereon. The.y, the Commissioners
of Pennsylvania, therefore declared that they
could not adjourn, but as they judged it ab
solutely necessary for the peace of both gov-


erniiieDts, that the line should be forthwith
completed without any delay, and as they
had a commission for that purpose, they
would proceed ex paric and continue the west
line, so run as aforesaid to the marked hick-
ory tree, on the western bank of the Susque-
hanna, and extend it from that tree as far as
the peace of the government shall make it

The minutes of the proceedings of the
Commissioners of both provinces, while in
conjuQction, show that on the day before the
separation of Mr. Gale and Mr. Chamberlain
it was unanimously agreed that the west line
down so far south as fourteen miles and
three-quarters of a mile south of the lati-
tude of the most southern part of the city of
Philadelphia, as mentioned in the King's
order of Council to be the temporary limits
between the two provinces on the other side
of Susquehanna should begin at a certain
hickory tree on the western bank of the said
river, marked for that purpose by order of
the said Commissioners, with four notches on
each side. The Pennsylvania Commissioners
and the surveyors, making that hickory tree
the place of beginning, did on Tuesday, the
8th of May, run a due west line toward the
river Potomac, with the very same instrument
and variatioQ of 5- and 25' with which the line
on the east side of the Susquehanna, in con-
junction with the Maryland Commissioners,
was run, and causing trees that fell in or near
the line to be marked and blazed in the very
same manner as was observed in that line. The
surveyors proceeded from day to day, and
extended the line to tlie top of the most west-
ern hill of a range of hills called the Kit-
tochtinay Hills distant from the place of be-
ginning about eighty-eight statute miles.
And as this hill was one of the boundaries
of the lands purchased by the honorable pro-
prietors from the Indians, and no persons
were permitted to settle beyond that range of
hills, they judged the line to be run far
enough to settle the jurisdiction of the two
provinces, and to answer all the purposes of
their commission, and therefore ordered the
surveyors to end there, and several trees to
be marked with the initial letters of the
names of the honorable proprietaries, as is
usual at the close of boundary lines. The
Commissioners wrote the 6th of May, 1739,
to Governor Thomas, that the Maryland
Commissioners, joining with them, ascer-
tained the line to all intents and purposes,
and made it impossible for Lord Baltimore
ever to controvert it so far as it is run, or to
propose any other method of running the
remaining part than that which is taken by

them. They gained 110 perches at the end
of the west line, so that the line at the dis-
tance of fourteen miles and three-quarters
from Philadelphia, on the other side of the
Susquehanna, was but fifty perches more
north than the end of the Jersey line. Col.
Gale, as Chief Justice, had given thern a
warrant directed to the Sheriff and Constables
of Baltimore County and Prince George's
County, to take up any persons that should
offer to disturb them, and had promised to
send the Governor's special protection to a
place at the distance of thirty miles off by a
special messenger.*

The point or corner on the western bank of
the Susquehanna, to which the surveyors ran
on the 5th of May, 1739, described as a
hickory tree, and marked with four notches
on each side, and from which it was unani-
mously agreed that the west line down so far
south as fourteen miles and three-quarters of
a mile south of the latitude of the most
southerly part of the city of Philadelphia
should begin, is now in the State of Mary ■
land. The Temporary Line at that point
having been fixed seventy- two perches more
southerly than the present boundary line.
This is ascertained from several deeds and
surveys,f from which it appears that a tract
of land, called the Paw Paw Bottom, ex-
tending along the Susquehanna River — -449
perches — was surveyed on the 25th of De-
cember, 1753, to Alexander McCandless. and
for which a patent was granted to him on
the 31st of May, 17(30, recorded in Philadel-
phia. This tract of land, after the death of
McCandless, was conveyed by his executor.
James McCandless, to Thomas Cooper and
John Boyd, by deed of the 7th of February.
1767, containing 111 acres of land, situate
in Fawn Township. (Peachbottom Township
has been since erected.) According to the
patent, the tract began at a marked hickory
in the Temporary Line on the Susquehanna
River, and running from thence by the said
line, north eighty-five degrees west, thirty-
one perches to a marked hickory corner of
land, patented under Maryland, called Coop-
er's Addition, thence by several courses and
distances north to a marked black oak, a cor-
ner of land patented under Maryland, called
Elisha's Lot, thence by several courses and
distances north to a marked walnut tree, and
by a tract of land patented under Maryland
to John Cooper, called the Deserts of .•Arabia:
thence to two poplars on the Susquehanna
River, and down the river by the several

« I.\rchives, -S-diJ-oT.d.

fKindly furnished b}- Levi Cooper, Esq., of Pcichbotl.



courses thereof 499 perches to the place of
beginning — the hickory tree on the temporary
line. Adjoining this land of McCandless,
there was surveyed to Robert Gordon, on the
22d of July, 1771, a tract of land of which
Walter Robinson was entitled to part. The
draft of this land thus describes the lines : .
Beginning at a point corner of lands of Al-
exander McCandless along the Province Line,
north eighty-eight degrees, west 133 perches,
and on the south along the Temporary Line
north eighty-six degrees, west ninety-three
perches, and between the Province and Tem-
porary Lines south ten and a half degrees,
east seventy-two perches, adjoining the prop-
erty of Alexander McCandless. By the sur-
vey of George Stevenson, made the 20th of
December, 1753, from the Temporary Line,
which is fixed by the hickory tree corner,
there is a course north twenty degrees, east
fifty-eight perches to the supposed Maryland
line. And in a draft made by Thomas G.
Cross, Esq., on the 3d and 4th days of April,
1774, of the land patented' to McCandless, the
course and distance from the temporary Ipe
to Mason and Dixon's Line are north twenty-
one degrees, east fifty eight perches. The
discrepancy here may be owing to the uncer-
tainty of the position of the temporary line.
The older draft is to be preferred, because
the hickory corner for the beginning of the
temporary line was then a fixed point, and
since then the Pennsylvania Canal had been
constructed along the river, erasing that cor-

The temporary line, from the course of it,
as compared with the fixed boundary line,
would cross the latter before it went beyond
the limits of York County. The report of
the Commissioners, as above given, says
"that they gained 110 perches, so that the
line on the west side of the Susquehanna was
but fifty perches more north than the end of
the Jersey line."

The Maryland surveys were very early
made and lands patented. The Deserts of
Arabia, mentioned in the deeds, was patent-
ed to John Cooper on the 20th of May, 1724,
as being situate in Baltimore County. The
Deserts of Arabia and Elisha's Lot were sit-
uate one and two miles above the true
boundary line.

From the fancy of the early settlers in that
seotion, or by Maryland eustom, perhaps,
names were given to the respective tracts of
land taken up, such as those mentioned, and
Morgan'." Delight, Noble's Craft, Jones'
Chance, Walter's Disappointment, Cooper's
Pleasant Hills, Eager' s Design, Mary Lot,
Buck's Lodge Right, Stallworth Right,

Croomay's Intrusion, and other names, as-
signed possibly by public opinion of the ven-


Among the earlier tracts of land which had
been located north of the Temporary Line,
under Maryland warrant and survey, was that
known as Digges' Choice. The settlement of
this piece of land occasioned the first ques-
tion of title under the provisions of the Roy-
al Order. It became a source of angry con-
troversy, resulting in a tragedy, as in the
other instances of border troubles. "A petty
nobleman, named John Digges, obtained from
the proprietor of Maryland a grant of 10, ■
000 acres of land; it being left to the option
of Digges to locate said grant on whatsoever
unimproved lands he pleased within the juris-
diction of his Lordship. By the advice and
under the direction of Tom, a noted Indian
chief, after whom Tom's Creek is called, Mr.
Digges took up, by virtue of said grant, 6.822
acres, contained at present within the town-
ships of Conewago and Germany, in Adams
County, and the township of Heidelberg, in
York County. Hanover, which before its in-
corporation was a part of Heidelberg Town-
ship, was situated on the southeastern ex-
tremity of "Digges' Choice."*

The original warrant was granted to Mr.
John Digges, of Prince George's County, Md.,
on the 14th day of October, 1727, for 10,000
acres of land, and was continued in force by
sundry renewals. It was last renewed on the
1st of' April, 1732. On the 18th of April,
1732, there was surveyed, in virtue of the
said warrant, by Philip Jones, Deputy Sur-
veyor, under Charles Calvert, Esq. , Surveyor-
General of the western shore of the province
of Maryland, a parcel of land said to lie in
Prince George's County, called Digges' Choice,
in the backwoods, the quantity of 6,822 acres,
and the same was returned into the land of-
fice, by sundry courses, from one place of be-
ginning, viz. : At three bounded hickories,
and one bounded white oak, and one bound-
ed wild cherry tree, standing at the mouth of
a branch, which is commonly known by the
name of Gresses' branch, where it intersects
with Conewago, and running thence north.
The remaining courses and distances are not
given. Jones' certificate and return were ac-
cepted and recorded, and thereupon a patent
issued to John Digges, bearing date the 11th
day of October, 1735, at the annual rent of
£13, 12s, lid, sterling, payable at Lady Day
and Michaelmas. The tract fell four miles to
the northward of the Temporary Liae as run

*Glo9sbrenner's History of York County.


and returned in 1739, agreeably to the royal
order. Mr. Digges remained in quiet and un-
disturbed possession thereof. But numbers
of foreigners coming into these parts, and
lands thereby rising in value, he, by petition
on the 15th of July, 1745, applied to the of-
fice at Annapolis, under color of some error
in the survey, for a warrant to correct those
errors, and take up the contiguous vacancy,
and he obtained a warrant requiring the sur-
veyor of Prince George's County to add any
vacant land he could find contiguous to the
patented tract. In pursuance of this war-
rant, there was surveyed on the 1st day of
August, 1745, a parcel of vacant land contig-
uous to the patented tract, containing 3,679
acres, for which he paid a new consideration.
And on the 18th of October, 1745, a patent
issued for the same.*

.It appears, however, that Mr. Digges had
applied for a warrant to the land office of
-Pennsylvania. On the 18th of July, 1743,
Secretary Peters wrote to Mr. Cookson, that
Mr. Digges had an irregular piece of land at
Conewago, by a Maryland survey, and had
applied for such a quantity, all around it, as 1
might bring it within straight lines, but upon
such terms as the Secretary was not willing i
to grant a warrant. However, Mr. Cookson ,
might, at Digges' request, survey for the use j
of the proprietaries so much as he required —
the price to be left to them. On the 20th of
April, 1744, Mr. Digges wrote to the Secretary,
from Little Conewago, that he had waited at
that place to have his lands run round that
the vacancy might be reserved for the pro-
prietor's own use — and Mr. Cookson pro-
posed it now in a different manner, but
assured him he should have the preference
of any vacancy adjoining, with a request not

Online LibraryJohn GibsonHistory of York County Pennsylvania From the Earliest Time to the Present → online text (page 16 of 218)