Delmarva Settlers

Somerset County Tithables
Local Laws of Somerset County, relating to Public Officers, &c. 18th & 19th century.

The Judge of the Circuit Court. – By the act of 1854, ch. 189, stealing trees for hoop poles is made felony, and the wanton destruction of property, a misdemeanor, to be punished with fine or imprisonment, at the discretion of the court. See Dorchester county, page 100, for the act of 1790, ch. 3.

The Clerk of the Circuit Court – is not to issue a license to sell ardent spirits within 1 1/2 miles of Salisbury, without a written order from the judge, given on the recommendation of 12 respectable citizens, by the act of 1834, ch 119. By the act of 1854, ch. 4, he may issue a license to a citizen of the county, to catch oysters with scoops or drags, in waters not less than 21 feet deep, and distant 200 yards or more from the shore, upon the payment of $15: provided he makes oath the he has been a citizen of the State one year, and a resident of the county 6 months, and that the license is for his own use- for which his fee is 50 cents. The amount of said licenses he is to pay over annually to the Treasurer of the School fund by the 1st Monday in June, &c., by the act of 1856, ch.161. See Anne Arundel county page 75, title "Clerk," for the act of 1852, ch. 288. By the act of 1849, ch. 15, he is to keep a separate record book to record short copies of the judgments of Justices of the Peace, of $50 and upwards, which are liens upon lands – for which his fee is 25 cents each. By the act of 1839, ch. 75, heis to record the proceedings of County Commissioners, in relation to roads, landing places, &c.


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Colonial Remedies

The Sheriff – is paid 25 cents per day for boarding prisoners, by act of 1836, ch. 174. He is to serve State writs of subpoena, issued by the County Commissioners, and charge the usual fees therefore, by the act of 1842, ch.245.

Jurors – are paid $1.50 per day, and 6 1/4 cents per mile mileage, each day, - return travel not to be computed – by the act of 1832, ch. 112.

Witnesses – residing in the counties of Somerset and Worcester, are paid 75 cents per day, and 5 cents per mile mileage, each day, - return travel not to be computed – by act of 1832, ch. 113.

The Judges of the Orphans' Court – are paid $2.50 per day, by the act of 1821, ch 144, and the same mileage as jurors, by the act of 1839, ch. 102. By the act of 1854, ch. 220, all sales of lands or negroes or personal property, of over $400, made by order of the court, are to be advertised in the county newspapers.

The County Commissioners – are paid $1.50 per day and the same mileage as jurors, by the act of 1838, ch. 109. By the act of 1820, ch. 49, they are to meet the 1st Monday of April, to hear appeals, make transfers, &c., and may sit as long as necessary, not over 20 days, of which public notice is to be given. By the act of 1853, ch. 332, they are to levy annually for the support of the ferry at Sharptown, which is to be free to the citizens of Somerset and Dorchester counties. By the act of 1833, ch. 151, they are to regulate ferries, provide ferry boats, and appoint ferrymen, who give bonds, &c. Other acts relating to ferries are, 1822, ch. 148; 1832, ch. 284. By the act of 1854, ch. 220, they are to publish annually the items of the county receipts and expenditures, in a county newspaper for three weeks. By the act of 1841, ch. 245, they may appoint three persons in each election district, to act as judges in cases of dispute about fences; whose award for damages by stock, &c., including their per diem of $1.00, may be collected as other debts; and they are to transmit the certificate of their qualification before a Justice of the Peace to the Clerk of the Court, within 20 days. By the act of 1842, ch. 234, they are authorized to issue the State writ of subpoena, to require persons to testify in cases where official information is wanted by them. The Clerk to the Commissioners is paid $300 per year, by the act of 1838, ch. 109. By the act of 1856, ch. 71, they may build a new jail at a cost of $12,000. Other acts relating to the commissioners are, 1838, ch. 109; 1837, ch. 87.

The Primary Schools. – The general act of 1825, ch. 162, has been amended as follows: By the act of 1842, ch. 199, the State Treasure is to pay the State school fund to the order of the County Commissioners, who appoint annually in May, three trustees in each school district, to one of whom they are to pay the district’s appropriation of said school fund. Said trustees are to have the entire management of their schools respectively. By the act of 1853, ch. 417, the County Commissioners are to levy 5 cents in the $100, to be paid over to Trustees of Primary Schools, proportionately. By the act of 1847, ch. 258, the trustees of adjoining districts may unite their schools, and may employ a teacher by the aid of a subscription, which is to be first paid before the receipt of the school fund. Pupils may be sent to the school most convenient, whether a resident of said district or not. The inhabitants of the school district created by the act of 1854, ch. 8, elect their 5 trustees on the 1st Monday in May annually. Former acts are, 1816, ch. 256; 1830, chs. 14, 100; 1833, ch.59; 1837, ch. 303; 1838, ch. 394; March, 1841, ch. 62; 1841, ch. 308; 1843, ch. 330; 1846, chs. 258, 281.

The Trustees of the Poor – are appointed – three in number – in April, or at the next meeting of the County Commissioners thereafter, and are paid $2.00 per day, by the act of 1840, ch. 235. They are to make an annual statement to the commissioners, under the act of 1845, ch. 208. Their duties are prescribed by the acts of 1826, ch. 26; 1822, ch. 52; 1817, ch. 56; 1793, ch. 24; 1785, ch.57; 1845, ch. 42; 1849, ch. 24.

The Collector of Taxes – is authorized to enforce the payment of county taxes, by distress or execution, after 20 days notice, &c., in the same manner as for State taxes, by the act of 1845, ch. 296.

The Justices of the Peace. – By the act of 1849, ch. 415, judgments for $50 and upward are made liens upon lands and real estate in the county, if a short copy is filed and recorded in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. They have duties prescribed by the act of 1839, ch. 103, imposing a fine of $10 to $20 upon persons for knowingly purchasing oysters for manuring land, after the 1st of April; also, under the act of 1839, ch. 123, by which parties not making division fences after 30 days’ notice, are liable in an action of debt for the expense of making said fence, by the complainant; also, under the act of 1834, ch. 155, providing for the recovery of fines, by Supervisors of Roads, from citizens for violations of the road laws; also, under the act of 1845, ch. 296, imposing penalties for assaulting collectors of tax; also under the act of 1818, ch. 153, imposing a fine of not over $50 for keeping wears, or for throwing ballast in the rivers of creeks of Somerset county; also, under the act of 1837, ch. 100, relating to wild fowl. By the act of 1854, ch. 4, authorizing a license for dredging of oysters, they have power to issue a warrant to any officer, civil or military, to make arrests of vessels, &c., for violating said act. By the act of 1856, ch. 330, single justices may bind out apprentices in Somerset county in the same manner as if said binding was by two Justices of the Peace. By the act of 1856, ch. 36, they are to deliver their dockets to their successors in office.

The Supervisors of Roads. - The act of 1798, ch. 38, prescribes the mode of repairing roads in this county. Other acts are, 1799, ch. 5; 1801, ch. 83; 1820, ch. 49; 1823, chs. 73, 123; 1834, ch. 155.

Judges of Election – are paid $2.00 per day by act of 18–, ch. –, and return judges the same mileage as jurors, by the act of 1839, ch. 102.

The Wood Corder, &c. – is appointed under the act of 1830 ch. 138 and 1831, ch. 126, which prescribes his oath of office. His fee for services under this act is 6 1/4 cents per cord.

Election Districts. – The acts of 1856, chs. 41 and 117, create election district No. 14, or Lawson’s district, &c.

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Somerset County Officers.

County Seat. – Princess Anne.

Judge of the Circuit Court.
    Hon. Thos. A. Spence.
Clerk. – Levin Woolford.
Deputies. – Joseph Sudler, R. M. Parsons.
Sheriff. – Wm. J. Brittingham.
Deputies. – Mason Abbott,
    Benjamin F. Coulbourn,
    Wm. Howard.
Crier. – Joseph C. Bush.
State’s Attorney. – James U. Dennis.
Auditor. – S. C. Long.
Terms of Court – are held on the second
    Monday in January and July, and first
    Monday in April and October. – 1856, ch. 110
Judges of the Orphans’ Court.
    Robert R. Ballard, Princess Anne.
    Alexander Donoho, Whitehaven.
    Robert H. Elligood, Forktown.
Resister of Wills. – Samuel W. Jones.
Deputy. – Alfred H. Jones.

County Commissioners.
    John W. Carew, Princess Anne.
    George W. Hitch, Salisbury.
    Issac T. Marshall, Rehoboth.
Clerk. – Alfred M. Miles.
Collector of Taxes. – Wm. J. Brittingham.

Surveyor. – William F. W. Miles.

Road Supervisors. 1 – Alf. English.*
2 – G. B. Venables.*
3 – Wm. Mezick.*
4 – T. Shores, sen.
5 – F. T. Brown.*
6 – Jno. Dashiell.*
7 – H. Toadvine.*
8 – B. E.Gibbons.*
9 – W. Roberts.*
10 – Henry Vetra.
11 – G. A. Maddox.
12 – Fr. Evans, w.
13 – J. B. Twiford.*

Executive Appointments.
    Coroners. – William L. H. Maddox,
    Jas. Benson,
    L. L. Waters.
Inspector of Lumber, &c. – Matthias Taylor.

Somerset County Laws scan


Justices of the Peace.

1. I. K. Wright, u.,
    Lemuel M. Mills,*


Bar’n C. Spring.

2. Jas. M. Jones,*
    Seth B. Dashiell, u.



3. M. D. Wainwright,*
    John W. Davis,
    Edwin Dashiell,



4. Gabriel H. Rowe,
    Wm. J. C. White,


Princess Anne.

5. John Miller,*
    Issac Gibbons,



6. Daniel Benson,
    Colmore M'Cready,
    J. B. Stevenson,
    Wm. H. C. Long,



6. Lemuel Malone,*
    James Stevens,*



7. Robt. H. Corbin,*
    Wm. Costen,


Princess Anne.

8. John W. Staton,*
    Theo. Brewington,*



10. – Levin Ross,



11. Henry S. Maddox,
      Wm. J. H. Tull,


Princess Anne.

12. – David Tyler, w.,



13. J. Robertson of El.,*
      Richard P. Darby,*



1. E. W. Waller.*
    J. W. Cantwell.*
2. Marc. Bounds.*
    G. Twilly, u.
3. L. A. H. Walt’r.u
    G. E. Wingate, u
4. W. M’Dorman.
5. John H. Bell.*
    J. W. Warwick.
6. H. F. Johnson.
    B. T. Colbourn.
    Josh Matthews.
    Jno. Robertson.
7. J. Brewington.*
8. Robert King.*
9. J. W. Morris.*
    L. R. Dorman.*
10. James Green.
11. Is. H. Parks.*
12. Wm. Evans, w.
13. W. J. Wetherly*
    S. B. Cooper.*

Trustees of the Poor.
    James Brittingham
    James H. White.
    John S. Crockett.

Election Districts
1 – Barren Creek
2 – Quantico
3 – Tyaskin
4 – Dames Quarter
5 – Princess Anne
6 – Brinkley’s
7 – Trappe
8 – Dublin
9 – Salisbury
10 – Hungary Neck (Mt. Vernon)
11 – Potatoe Neck (Fairmount)
12 – Smiths Island
13 – Sharptown

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