Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

     To understand fully the lives of our ancestors, researchers need to know about their place of habitation, including the events swirling around them that affected their lives—in other words, the history of the area. This is especially true of the regions in America that were settled very early, since knowledge about the formation of counties and boundary changes is fundamental to locating records pertinent to genealogy. Individuals seeking forebears in the Old Line State will find much helpful data in the reprint of Oswald Tilghman’s two-volume set, HISTORY OF TALBOT COUNTY, MARYLAND, 1661-1861. When it was created in 1661, the Eastern Shore county of Talbot included the whole of Queen Anne’s County, all of Caroline County east of the Choptank River, and the southeastern part of Kent County.

     Because it deals with the “worthies” of Talbot County, Volume I consists of biographical sketches concerning nearly fifty notable citizens. The articles, which are often quite lengthy, usually go into great detail about the individual’s business, political, or religious activities. Appearing in the text are reproductions of letters and other documents that furnish insight into the person’s life and affairs. Prominent surnames include BACON, BANNING, BEASTON, BENSON, BOZMAN, BUCHANAN, BUTLER, CALLISTER, CHAMBERLAINE, CHRISTISON, CLAIBORNE, COATS, DICKINSON, D’HINOJOSA (the last Dutch governor of Delaware), GIBSON, GOLDSBOROUGH, HAMBLETON, HAMMOND, HARRISON, HOLLYDAY, KERR, LAY, LLOYD, MARTIN, MASON, MORRIS, PERRY, STEVENS, TILGHMAN, and THOMAS.

     Volume II relates the history of Talbot County from its seventeenth-century settlement to the beginning of the Civil War. Scattered throughout the narrative is a variety of records that supplies genealogical information. Examples include lists of the names of men who received the earliest land grants, officers of the county court, burgesses in the provincial assembly, parishioners who owned church pews, owners of town lots, jurors, postmasters, teachers, trustees of the Poor House, slave owners in 1790, Quakers who manumitted (freed) slaves, participants in the American Revolution and the War of 1812, and presidents of the Board of Agriculture.

     Additional valuable material for genealogists is the chapter about Talbot’s geographical names. For instance, the author states that Harris’s Creek takes its name from William Harris, whose will was probated in 1698. Bruff’s Island obtained its name from Thomas Bruff, a silversmith, who came to Maryland from London about 1665. The Wye River received its name from Edward Lloyd, because it reminded him of the river of that name in his native Wales. These geographical names give clues as to where individuals resided in the county or their place of origin in Europe.

     Tilghman packs a wealth of genealogical and historical data into his books. Although HISTORY OF TALBOT COUNTY, MARYLAND, 1661-1861 was originally published in 1915, the material is still relevant. Researchers tracing their roots in Maryland’s Eastern Shore will want to check the work for useful information about their families.

     The soft-cover set totals 1,204 pages. Both volumes contain some illustrations, a dedication, and footnotes. Volume I has a foreword and an index to proper names while Volume II has a preface but no index. Priced at $110.00, buyers should add the cost for postage and handling charges. For U. S. postal mail, the cost is $8.00 for the set; for FedEx ground service, the cost is $10.00 for the set. It (item order #5790) may be purchased by check, money order, MasterCard, or Visa from Clearfield Company, 3600 Clipper Mill Rd., Suite 260, Baltimore, Maryland 21211-1953. For phone orders, call toll free 1-800-296-6687; fax 1-410-752-8492; website at

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