Historical Documents

The links on this page will open the selected document in a new tab or window. Most of these transcribed documents also contain images of the original documents, courtesy of the Maryland State Archives, which is a wonderful resource.

  1. There appears to be an interesting “mystery” concerning the signature on this document — it would seem (by personal observation only) that it was the practice to have the landowner sign his patent in the left column under where the clerk had recorded the landowner’s name, the acreage of the land tract being patented, and the name the landowner was giving his land. On this “Golloway” patent there appears to be a reasonably clear signature of “James” that is also clearly in a different handwriting style than that of the rest of the document. Yet in all other documents that the site administrators have observed, James Sr. merely signs with an “X”. We can offer no facts or speculation as to the reasons for this anomaly — it only leaves the question of whether James Sr. was literate or not.
  2. The choice of names for these first two properties, “Golloway” and “Isle Of Aaron”, lead to some interesting speculation that James Sr. was possibly of Scottish ancestry rather than Irish. The west coast of Scotland has “Galloway” and the “Isle Of Arran”, both familiar stomping grounds of Clan Donald folk. It is true that the west coast of Ireland has “Galway” and the “Aran Islands”, but it seems very unlikely that “Galway” was accidentally expanded into “Golloway”. It is very easy to see how “Golloway” could be contracted into “Galway”; but again, the reverse seems highly unlikely. The same holds true for “Isle Of Aaron” (Arran) and “Aran Islands”. So James Sr.’s name choices for his properties would seem to indicate an interest in the west coast of Scotland, from which it is reasonable to infer a Scottish connection rather than an Irish one.
  3. There appears to be no mortgage release recorded for “Bite The Biter”, nor is this property mentioned in James Sr.’s will. Therefore, it would appear that James Sr. defaulted on his mortgage and thus lost “Bite The Biter”. This was perhaps intentional given the timing of the due date on the mortgage — 25 January 1753 — and that although the Resurvey On “Golloway” was performed in January 1752, the actual filings were not made until February 1753. Also, “Bite The Biter” does not appear to be co-located with the rest of James Sr.’s properties; it has been estimated that it was located a little distance away from all the other properties. Finally, its very name is suggestive.
  4. This is an attempt to overlay the original James Sr. property surveys onto a recent Maryland map. Several neighboring properties were also utilized. In general, only small corrections had to be made to the original surveys to make everything fit. The family cemetary is indeed located where indicated as witnessed by personal observation on a visit to the area. Its location in a corner of the original properties makes excellent sense, as James Sr. and family were farmers and good crop land was not to be wasted.
  5. Unfortunately, the project administrators do not have a copy of the original will document currently. The wording of the will almost seems to indicate that bestowing the “Preston’s Lott” tract to his eldest son William was an afterthought; although William was the only child to be guaranteed a cash bequest. Reference: Maryland State Archives Indexes.
  6. This is an attempt to show how James Sr. divided his property in his will among his five sons and his eldest son William’s two eldest sons, James and Joseph, who were probably James Sr.’s oldest grandsons and believed to be at least 21 years of age at the time the will was executed in order to be legally included in the will.
  7. This is taken from Michael Joseph O’Brien’s “The Irish in Montgomery and Washington Counties, Maryland, in 1778”, 1925 Journal of the American Irish Historical Society 24 (1925), pp. 157-161. Montgomery County was formed on from lands that had at one point or another been part of Charles, Prince George's, and Frederick Counties. Washington County was also formed on by the division of Frederick County. Francis McDaniel is mentioned as kindred in James Sr.’s Estate Inventory dated . References: Maryland State Archives Indexes [1], [2], and [3]. Francis was tracked by the site administrators in the census data in Frederick County always near James Sr.’s family until about 1820 A.D., when he seems to have vanished without a trace. He could not be found in Maryland, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, or Kentucky, all places where James Sr.’s descendants had migrated. Who E. McDaniel and Henry McDaniel are is unknown to the site administrators; although it should be mentioned that William’s son Redmond had a son named Henry. Perhaps a namesake for the Henry that took the “Patriots’ Oath”? Whether the John, Joseph, and Redmond listed are William’s sons, brothers, or nephews is unknown to the site administrators. This reference, if accurate in terms of national origins, obviously swings back to an Irish origin for James Sr.