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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Chestertown in Kent County, Maryland — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

A County Seat

 
 
A County Seat Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2012
1. A County Seat Marker
Inscription. Establishing a county government is the first step for people building a stable community and a strong trade economy.

The first Kent County Courthouse was located at New Yarmouth, a 17th-century settlement abandoned when county lines were changed in 1706, That year, a new county seat was established at Chestertown (then known as "New Town") and its courthouse was built on this site. In 1860, the old colonial courthouse was torn down and replaced with the current building; its construction date can be seen above the door.

In early plantation days, tobacco was the common medium of exchange. It took 55,000 pounds of tobacco to rebuild the courthouse after a fire in 1719.

A complex Legacy

Country records house here span 350 years. They include land deeds, wills, court decisions and certificates of freedom given to manumitted slaves.

The Courthouse hosted public meetings at pivotal moments in American History. In 1774 patriots met to protest importation of tea from Britain. During the Civil War, General (and future U.S.president) James A. Garfield delivered a pro-union speech here; disgruntled locals expressed their own views by pelting him with eggs and rotten vegetables. The building has a darker legacy. Slaves seized to pay their masters' debts were once auctioned off on the
A County Seat Marker image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2012
2. A County Seat Marker
granite steps at your right. In 1892. 24-year-old James Taylor, a black man, was dragged from a cell by a mob of local whites and lynched nearby.

This Church Made History

As Chestertown grew, so did the need for a larger church. In 1772, parishioners built a new Anglican house of worship on a lot deeded from courthouse land. Chester Parish Church, as it was called, made religious history in 1780, when, in the spirit of Revolution, clergymen met here and renounced the term "Church of England" in favor of "Protestant Episcopal Church" -- a name later adopted throughout the United States. In 1882, the building was substantially remodeled and consecrated under its current name, Emmanuel Church.
 
Location. 39° 12.546′ N, 76° 3.95′ W. Marker is in Chestertown, Maryland, in Kent County. Marker is on Park Row. Click for map. Marker in front of the Old Kent County Courthouse. Marker is in this post office area: Chestertown MD 21620, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Common Cause (a few steps from this marker); White & Black, Blue & Gray (within shouting distance of this marker); Tercentenary Celebration (within shouting distance of this marker); Civil War Monument
Freedom Papers image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2012
3. Freedom Papers
Freedom papers for a Kent County slave (detail), 1830s. Image Courtesy Starr Center.
(within shouting distance of this marker); In Memory of More Than 400 Prominent United States Colored Troops from Kent County (within shouting distance of this marker); In This Church (within shouting distance of this marker); This Monument Honors the Area Veterans (within shouting distance of this marker); On This Site Stood the Courthouse (within shouting distance of this marker). Click for a list of all markers in Chestertown.
 
Categories. African AmericansChurches, Etc.Colonial EraWar, US Revolutionary
 
Quill Pen and Docket Book image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2012
4. Quill Pen and Docket Book
Kent County Clerk's quill pen and docket book, circa 1839. Image Courtesy Mark Mumford.
Emmanuel Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2012
5. Emmanuel Church
Emmanuel Church image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2012
6. Emmanuel Church
Kent County Courthouse image. Click for full size.
By Allen C. Browne, December 28, 2012
7. Kent County Courthouse
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. This page has been viewed 376 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. submitted on , by Allen C. Browne of Silver Spring, Maryland. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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