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Kent County Maryland

Welcome to Maryland American History and Genealogy Project we are in the process of building new State and County pages for the states where the coordinator has moved on to other projects. Kent County County is looking for a new Coordinator would you be interested? If so please contact Webmaster. Many of the present coordinators are always willing to give help and suggestions to newcomers, you can learn, I did and that was after 60!! Read our About Page and see what our requirements are, pretty easy!

Court House At Chestertown

Kent, with an area of 315 square miles, was named after the English shire from whence came many of its early settlers, who saw in its smiling landscape a replica of the fairest county of England. Kent claims the distinction of being the oldest county on the Eastern Shore. The first settlement within the present limits of Maryland was made on Kent Island in 1628 by Protestants from Virginia under the leadership of William Claiborne. Calvert claimed the island as part of his grant, and the contention was not ended until 1647, when Claiborne was dispossessed.

The Maryland Proprietary, having established his authority over the island, in 1650 organized Kent County, it then embracing the upper Eastern Shore. Kent is a peninsular, lying between the Sassafras and Chester Rivers, its eastern border being the Delaware line and its western boundary the Chesapeake Bay. With its standing timber, fertile soil, game, fish and many natural advantages, under the liberal policy of the Proprietary, Kent soon became a flourishing colony, with a population consisting of Protestants, Catholics and Quakers. And presently Negro slaves were brought into the county. In 1864 about one-fourth of the population were colored people.

The soil of Kent yields a great variety of crops, and agriculture is the leading occupation of the people; although the fishery interests are extensive. A paper mill, basket factory, phosphate factory and other manufacturing plants are located at Chestertown, the county seat (population, 3,008). Canneries, mills, and other plants are numerous in the county.

The people, though conservative, are progressive. They have promoted railroad and steamboat communication with Baltimore and Philadelphia. During the ante-Revolutionary period Kent was active in opposition to the oppressive measures of Parliament. It is not commonly known that Chestertown, then a port of entry, had a "tea party" of her own, a small cargo on the Geddess brought into the Chester for the neighboring counties, being seized and thrown overboard by the indignant citizens.

In the War of 1812 the British under Sir Peter Parker landed a force in Kent for an important military operation. The enemy was met by a body of local militia under Col. Philip Reed (a Revolutionary officer and United States Senator 1806-13) and driven back to their ships with heavy loss, Parker being among the killed.

Washington College (founded, 1782), which has a normal department, is at Chestertown. Rock Hall, Betterton, Millington, Edesville, Galena, Still Pond, Kennedyville, and other thriving towns are in Kent.

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Source: History of Maryland, by L. Magruder Passano, Wm. J.C. Dulany Company, 1901.

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