The Province of Maryland 1632–1767


Map Code: Ax01693

The famous Mason-Dixon line originated in a dispute between ferrymen. John Wright, a Quaker preacher and keen bird-watcher settled on the Susquehanna River in 1724, opening his cattle-powered ferry across the river. Its presence attracted a cluster of Pennsylvania Dutch families to the area. In 1730, a Yorkshireman, Thomas Cresap decided to open a rival, Blue Rock Ferry, a few miles downriver. Cresap acted, unofficially, for Lord Baltimore, scion of the family that held the Royal Charter for the Province of Maryland since its foundation in 1632. With a band of henchmen, Cresap began issuing Maryland titles to land already occupied by Pennsylvanians, and raided and terrorized settlements that did not meet his approval, until he was captured and imprisoned. The dispute was finally settled by King George II, upon which the Penns of Pennsyvania and Calverts (Lords Baltimore) sunk their differences in the eponymous line surveyed by two Englishmen, Charles Dixon and Jeremiah Mason.

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