Category Archives: Queen Anne’s County Maryland

The renting of the enslaved

Col. John Tilghman (b. 1785 – d. 1866)
MSA SC 5496-37789
Property Owner, Queen Anne’s County, Maryland


John Tilghman was born on March 8, 1785 to Judge James Tilghman and his wife Elizabeth Johns. He married Ann Tilghman, with whom he had three children: Matthew Ward (b. circa 1817), James, and Lloyd (b. circa 1823).1 His second wife, Anna Catherine Tilghman, was a cousin of his deceased first wife. Anna Catherine bore him another three children: John Henry, Mary Elizabeth, and Ann Catherine.2

In 1811, he bought over 450 acres of land from Peregrine Tilghman in Queen Anne’s County, including parts of the tracts called Cheshire and Tilghman’s Recovery. Tilghman lived in or near Poplar Grove, north of Corsica Creek. He owned property on the south side of the creek and later appeared on J.G. Stong’s 1866 map of Queen Anne’s County.3

The Poplar Grove Collection of papers includes many of John Tilghman’s papers, including receipts and letters. Several 1838 letters from the attorney and judge Ezekial Forman Chambers suggest that Tilghman not only conducted business with Chambers, but had also formed a friendship.4 Numerous other business correspondances in the collection reflect Tilghman’s experience as a slave holder. Series 13 contains lists of slaves’ names, receipts for related purchases, and sales of individuals within the region.

However, the most fascinating documents recount Tilghman’s ambitious experiment with renting slaves to plantations in Louisiana and Mississippi. Beginning as early as 1830, he began to send enslaved blacks from the Eastern Shore through his southern agent, Spencer M. Grayson, a resident of Natchez, MS.5 Grayson had extreme difficulty negotiating costs and provisions with the local plantation owners, Samuel Clement being the one most commonly referred to. Tilghman receives letters from both men, where they air their respective grievances about the other man, including Grayson labeling his rival ” a scoundrel”.6 For his part, Clement claimed that ” Jerry came to my plantation begging me to keep him … for he could not nor want not stay with Mr Grayson.”7 This was undoubtedly a stressful arrangement for John Tilghman, who could do little to settle these local squabbles from his Maryland residence. The last piece of correspondance with Grayson came in 1835, after which Tilghman only rented slaves to planters in adjacent communities.

Excerpts from correspondence between Spencer Grayson aand John Tilghman

February 7, 1833

Capt. Clement is a resident of the State of Louisiana, but has a plantation in this state, Mississippi also, one in Louisiana. Since the passage of the laws in Louisiana in inhibiting the introduction of slaves into that State. I have thought it hazardous to your interests to hire the negroes to Clement, when he ??? the intention of ??? them in Louisiana. He never had my permission at any time to take the slaves into Louisiana, but ??? to the legislation of Louisiana on the subject of slavery, I did not forbid them being taken out of this state, because then I apprehended no danger. Soon after the law prohibiting the further introduction of Negroes into Louisiana had passed, one year hire of the slaves to Clement ??? The negroes were then in Louisiana & upon the application of Clement to hire them again, I thought the law did not apply to negroes in the State at the time the law passed.  In this I was correct to a certain extent.  But upon a more full examination of the law, I find that no slaves but those actually owned by citizens of Louisiana and, there at the time the law passed are exempt from its operation.  More than one month previous to the expiration of the hire of the negroes for the last year [paper torn]I informed Capt Clement of my opinion[paper torn] & ??? him as soon as the time of hireshould end, to deliver the negroes to me.  This he has refused to do and now holds them on the other side of the river in Louisiana against my express order.  Capt Clement has informed me that he has written to you on the subject and expects daily an answer giving him permission to retain the slaves.  That you ??? be aware of the reasons why I have refused to hire the negroes to Clement, I have made the above statement to you.  The conduct of Clement I deem extremely reprehensible and disho[illegible] presuming from the character of the man & knowing him to be capable of any thing, that he may have communicated by letter to you some false and improper statements I beg that you will enclose to me a copy of any letter that he may have written to you on this subject.  His conduct in regard to this transaction is a matter of notoriety here & if any further information is ??? can be easily had.  I intend to take ?considerate? steps to force the delivery to me of the slaves, and, for the future will see that no such man as Clement gets the possession again.  Your early reply to [paper torn is respectfully requested


Sm Grayson

To Col John Tilghman Chestertown Md

I believe that the Captain Clement mention in the letter is Captain Samuel Clement of Mississippi and Louisiana.

Close relations of the slaves and indentured servants

Close relations of the slaves and indentured servants

Run away in April last from Richard Tilghman of Queen Anne’s County in Maryland a Mulatto slave, Named Richard Mol- son, of Middle stature, about forty years old, and has had the Small Pox, HE IS IN COMPANY WITH A WHITE WOMAN NAMED MARY, WHO IS SUPPOSED NOW GOES FOR HIS WIFE; AND A WHITE MAN NAMED GARRETT CHOISE, AND JANE HIS WIFE, which said White People are servants to some Neighbors of the said Richard Tilghman. The said fuga- tives are Supposed to be gone to Carolinas or some other of his Majestys Plantations in America. Whoever shall apprehend the said Fugatives and cause them to be committed into safe custody, and give Notice thereof to their Owners shall be well rewarded. The white man has one of his fore fingers disabled. Whoever shall carry them to the Sheriff of Philadelphia shall have Twenty Pounds current money paid him or them or shall convey the Molatta to the said sheriff shall have Ten Pounds, or whoever shall convey the Molatta to the said Richard Tilghhan shall have Fifteen Pounds reward. — The American Weekly Mercury (Philadelphia) , Aug. 11, Aug. 25 and Sept. 1, 1720.


FREE AFRICAN AMERICANS OF MARYLAND AND DELAWARE by Paul Heinegg stated that        ” During the colonial period in Maryland and Delaware: Over 600 free, mixed-race children were born to white women by African-American men. Fewer owned land than did their counterparts in Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina.They had closer relations with the slave population than did their counterparts in Delaware, Virginia and North Carolina. Although some claim Native American ancestry, the evidence indicates that most are direct descendants of mixed-race children of white women.”


white indentured_whipping

In 1661 Maryland enacted a law declared that “divers free-born English women, forgetful of their free conditions, and to the disgrace of our nation do intermarry with Negro slaves,” and to deter these “shameful matches” the law provided that women who so marry, and their off-spring, should themselves become slaves.

In 1692 Maryland enacted a law which punished white women who had children by slaves by selling them as servants for seven years and binding their children to serve until the age of twenty-one if they were married to the slave, and till thirty-one if they were not married.

In 1715 and 1728 the Maryland General Assembly made the mixed-race descendants of white women who had children by slaves subject to the same punishments as white women. They were sold as servants for seven year terms, and their children were bound until the age of thirty-one. However, if they had a child by a free person, they were usually charged with fornication and received the same sentence as if both partners had been white: a fine or lashes, and their children were bound until the age of twenty-one (for boys) and sixteen (for girls) [Archives of Maryland, 30:289-90; 36:275-76; Laws of Maryland, 1715, chapter 44, section 25, cited by Wright, The Free Negro in Maryland, 27-8].

Free Mixed Race Children of White Women Listed In Inventories of Maryland

Queen Anne’s County Maryland

Aldridge, Campbell, Cornish, Davis (2 children), Flamer, Gibson, Green, Hall (2 children), Harding, Hawkins, Hopkins (2 children), McDaniel (2 children), Miller, Morgan, Natt (2 children), Nicholson, Pritchett, Reed, Roberts (2 children), Robinson (2 children), Scott, Simiter (2 children), Southwood, Stewart, Suitor, Webber, Whittam. 35 children. Also: unnamed child left at Benjamin Denny’s, Chance, Dazey, Hoy, Lang, Lewellin, Neuth, Sarah, Sheahea. Total: 44 children.
Court records before 1709 and 1720-1727 did not survive.


Somerset County Maryland

Armwood, Barton, Bass, Buley, Butler, Cambridge, Conner, Dogan, Donaldson (2 children), Downs, Duffy, Fortune (3 children), Frost, Hodgskin, Jervice (2 children), Johnson, Magee (4 children), Miller, Nutt, Redding, Richards, Roach, Roberts, Shaver, Walker, Winslow. 32 children. Also: Blackbourne, Gloster, Heather, Jones (2 children), Leopard, Logan (2 families), Smith, Tiror. Total: 43 children


1. Eliza Downes, born say 1708, was the servant of Sarah Dashiell of Stepney Parish on 15 March 1725/6 when the Somerset County court ordered that she be sold for seven years for having an illegitimate child [Judicial Record 1725-7, 97]. She may have been the ancestor of

i. Paddy, “N.” head of a Muddy Branch, Little Creek, Kent County household of 4 “other free” in 1800 [DE:31].

ii. James, “N.” head of a St. Jones Hundred, Kent County, Delaware household of 8 “other free” in 1800 [DE;46].

iii. James, head of a Little Creek, Kent County household of 7 “other free” in 1800 [DE:40].

iv. Isaac, head of a Dover Hundred, Kent County household of 3 “free colored” in 1820 [DE:35].

v. Charles, (Negro) head of a Caroline County household of 7 “other free” in 1810 [MD:194].

vi. Ben, “Negro” head of a Caroline County household of 7 “other free” in 1810 [MD:195].

vii. Daniel, “Negro” head of a Caroline County household of 5 “other free” in 1810 [MD:195].


Prince George’s County

1. William Downs, born say 1765, was a “free negro” head of a Prince George’s County household of 8 “other free” in 1800 [MD:303]. He was probably the father of

i. Robert, born about 1792, obtained a certificate of freedom in Anne Arundel County on 3 September 1816: aged about twenty four years .. . brown complexion … free born and … raised in the County [Certificates of Freedom 1810-31, 89].




Members of the Flamer family were

i. John1, born say 1717, a “Molatto” servant man having “eleven months and 15” to serve and valued at 4 pounds in the inventory of the Queen Anne’s County estate of William Hernsley on 28 October 1737 [Prerogative Inventories 1737-1739, 45-6]. He had an illegitimate child by Elizabeth Grinnage in September 1736 [Judgment Record 1735-9, 344, 382]. He may have been identical to Jonathan Flamar who owed 994 pounds to the Queen Anne’s County estate of Solomon Clayton (who died in 1739) [Prerogative Inventories 98:18-22].

1        ii. Rachel, born say 1720.

2        iii. Judith, born say 1722.

1.    Rachel Flamer, born say 1720, a “poor old Woman,” was supported from public funds by the Queen Anne’s County from 12 December 1775 to 1787. She was called a “poor molatto woman” by the court when it approved her allowance for 1777 [Surles, and they Appeared at Court, 1774-1777, 65, 80; 1779, 1782, 1785, 1786, 1787, 35, 53, 89, 96, 117]. She may have been the ancestor of

i. William, a “Molatto” servant man having “eleven months and 15” to serve and valued at 4 pounds in the inventory of the Queen Anne’s County estate of William Hernsley on 28 October 1737 [Prerogative Inventories 1737-1739, 45-6].

2.    Judith Flamer, born say 1722, was the servant (no race indicated) of Mark Hargadine of Saint Paul’s Parish in March 1745 when the Queen Anne’s County court convicted her of having an illegitimate child named John in 1742 and another child in 1743. In August 1750 she confessed to having other children on 10 June 1747 and 10 December 1748 [Judgment Record 1744-6, 161-2; 1750, 40-2]. She was a spinster living in St. Paul’s Parish when she received 30 lashes and was ordered to pay four-fold the value for stealing a hog worth 40 pounds [Criminal Record 1751-9, n.p.]. She owed the estate of Thomas Kendall 4 pounds, 19 shillings on 10 August 1756 [Prerogative Inventories 73:243]. She was the mother of

i. John2, born on 10 October 1742, a “black” taxable in the Upper Hundred of Kent Island, Queen Anne’s County in 1776 [MSA 148], married to Sherry Grinnage‘s daughter Sarah on 1 November 1790 when Sherry gave her 5 pounds currency by his Caroline County will [WB JR B:168-70].

ii. ?Ann, mother of William and John Flamer (no race indicated) who were with George Sweat on 26 January 1774 when the Queen Anne’s County court ordered him to bring them to court [Surles, and they Appeared at Court, 1774-1777, 41], perhaps identical to the “Molatto girl named Nan” who was valued at 16 pounds in the inventory of the Queen Anne’s County estate of William Hernsley on 28 October 1737 [Prerogative Inventories 1737-1739, 45-6].

iii. ?Solomon, head of a Queen Anne’s County household of 9 “other free” in 1790 [MD:99] and 9 in 1800 [MD:341].

iv. ?William, head of a Talbot County household of 1 “other free” and 3 slaves in 1800 [MD:506].


1.    Ann Pritchard, born say 1748, was a spinster living in Queen Anne’s County on 10 May 1767 when she had an illegitimate “Molatto” child by a “Negro man.” The court ordered that she be sold for seven years after she completed her service to James Sudler [Judgment Records 1766-7, part 1, CD image 100]. She was probably the mother of the five-year-old “Mulatto” girl serving until the age of twenty-one when she was listed in the Queen Anne’s County inventory of James Sudler on 8 April 1773 [Prerogative Inventories 113:199]. She may have been the ancestor of

i. Silas Pritchett, manumitted by Solomon Barwell in Kent County, Delaware, on 20 October 1786 [Delaware Archives RG 3555.55], head of a Kent County, Maryland household of 5 “other free” in 1800 [MD:63].