Talbot County Free Library

History of Talbot County 1661-1861
Origin of Talbot Geographical Names

Choptank River takes its name from a tribe of Indians that inhabited both shores of this stream before its settlement by the English. They were men of large stature. In the Academy of Natural Sciences in Baltimore, there are several skeletons of these Indians (taken from an Indian mound at Sandy Hill on the Choptank near Cambridge) that measure nearly seven feet in height with skulls of unusually large size.

Miles River, or St. Miles River, is a corruption of Saint Michaels, its original name. In colonial times all grants of land from the Lords Baltimore were in the shape of leases subject to small and merely nominal ground rents, reserved by the Proprietary, and payable annually at Michaelmas, the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels, which in the calendar of the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches occurs on September 29; hence St. Michael was considered to be the patron saint of colonial Maryland, and as such was honored by the river being named for him.

The change of name was due to the fact that the Quakers, a large colony of whom were among the earliest settlers in Talbot County, having no reverence for saints, persisted in dropping the word saint and calling the river Michaels River, which readily became corrupted into Miles.

As early as 1667, six years after the laying out of Talbot County, may be found in the Proceedings of the Provincial Council of Mary- land, a commission issued by Charles Calvert, Esq., Captain General of all the forces within the Province of Maryland, to George Richard- son as captain of 0 troops of horse that shall march out of "Choptanck and St. Miles rivers in Talbot County, aforesaid upon any expedition against any Indian enemy whatsoever," etc.

At the same time, a similar commission was issued to Hopkin Davis, as Captain of foot in Choptanck and St. Miles rivers. So we find authority for St. Michaels and Michaels, St. Miles and Miles; take your choice.

Wye River, which forms the northern boundary of Talbot County, was given this name by Edward Lloyd, the Welsh emigrant who took up large tracts of land along its southern shores, before the laying out of Talbot County. He named it for the beautiful winding Wye, noted for its sinuosity, whose source is near that of the Severn, rising almost at the summit of Plinhimmon, a mountain Wales it forms the boundary between the shores of Brecon and Radnor in South Wales, ere it enters Herefordshire, England, and thence flowing through this county, Ross and Monmouth, falls into the Severn near Chepstow. To the Lloyd homestead, which has continued in the possession of the Lloyds of Wye for nine generation he gave the name of Wye House.

The Tred Avon River doubtless takes its name from one of the many Avon rivers in Old England, most likely from the Lower Avon that empties into the Bristol Channel.

Of the thirteen Eastons in England, the most important town of that name is situated about one mile from the head of the Lower Avon. Easton, Talbot's county seat, being just one mile from the headwaters of the Tred Avon River, is supposed to have been named for this English town.

In colonial days there were many merchant vessels trading between Oxford, Maryland, and Bristol, England, near which Easton, England, is located and from which section many of the early settlers of Talbot County emigrated.

Edge's Creek takes its name from James Edge, who in 1755, was assessed on over 700 acres of land,lying principally in Deep Neck.

Plain Dealing Creek was so called from the name of a tract of land of 200 acres, surveyed December 5, 1663, for Joseph Win slow, and bordering along the west shore of this creek.

Harris's Creek took its name from William Harris, of the Clifts, Calvert County, who in his will probated May 2, 1698, devised to his two sons Joseph and Benjamin, lands in the lower part of Talbot County.

Peach Blossom Creek. George Robins of Banbury, England, who emigrated to America in 1670 settled in Talbot County on a tract of land at the head of the eastern branch of the Tred Avon containing 1,000 acres, which was surveyed for Job Nutt, January 31, 1660, and called by him, Job's Content. Mr. Robins planted on this estate the first orchard of peach trees that was ever planted in Talbot County. These trees he imported from England, through his lifelong friend Peter Collinson, the then world-renowned naturalist and botanist,. which. had been procured by him from Persia. When this peach orchard was for the first time in full bloom it presented such a novel sight, that the neighbors for miles around came paddling up the creek in their dug- out canoes to Mr. Robins' homestead to catch a sight of the beautiful pink peach blossoms, which were at that time such a curiosity that the name of Job's Content was changed to that, of Peach Blossom and that romantic name, which was at the same time given to the creek, has been perpetuated for over two centuries down to the present time (1914).

Boon's Creek took its name from one of Talbot's earliest settlers, John Boon, who owned almost all of the land bordering along both sides of this creek, which later, a few years prior to the American Revolution, came into possession and ownership of Samuel Chamberlain who built the colonial mansion thereon, and gave to it the name of Bonfield.

Pickering's Creek, in Miles River Neck , a branch of the Wye River, takes its name from Francis Pickering, who owned a tract of land at the head of this creek, now known as Forrest Landing. In a deed from Francis Pickering et al to Edward Lloyd dated November 9, 1758, this creek is called Long Tom's Creek. Who this long Tom was, will probably ever remain a mystery.

Leed's Creek, in Miles River Neck, was named for the Hon. John Leeds, Jr., a native of Talbot County, who died -in March, 1750, eighty- five years of age. He was one of the "ye worshipful commissioners and Justices of the Peace for Talbot County" 1734-38, and clerk of the Talbot County Court from 1738 till the beginning of the War of the Revolution.

Island Creek was so called from the fact that a small island stood directly at the mouth of this creek, which has entirely disappeared, but was still visible a half century ago -within the memory of persons now (1914) living.

Glebe Creek takes its name from a tract of land lying along the south side of this stream which was devised by Thomas Smithson in 1714 to St. Michaels Parish for a Glebe for the support of the rector.

Nelson's Point, at the lower end of Broad Creek Neck, and so called on all the United States Government charts, and also upon the Mary- land geological maps, was never the correct -name of this point. It is properly Elston's Point, and takes its name from Ralph Elston, who patented "long Neck" a tract of land at the extreme southern end of Broad Creek Neck, containing 200 acres, and which was surveyed for him March 12, 1664. His name is perpetuated down to the present time (1914) by one of his descendants William Elston Shannahan, a prominent merchant of Easton.

Benoni's Point, which originally extended nearly out to the light- house opposite the mouth of Tred Avon River takes its name from Benoni Banning, one of Talbot's earliest settlers, who owned this point of land. He removed to Virginia, and was in a Virginia regiment in the American Revolution and was wounded in the battle of King's Mountain, N. C.

Pecke's Point, spelled Peck's Point on all maps and government charts, which is on the north side of the Tred Avon River about one mile above Oxford, takes its name from Benjamin Pecke, a lawyer who owned a tract of land which included this point, at the lower end of Hall's Neck. He died in 1709. His son, Benjamin Pecke, Jr., who died in 1729, gave the silver communion service to Christ's Episcopal Church in St. Michaels.

Ship Point, at the mouth of Trippe's Creek, was so named from the fact that a ship yard was located there where many sailing ships were built by Thomas Skillington who died in 1699. He devised to his son Kenelm Skillington, "Turner's Point (the former name of this point) in Hambleton's Neck," as the lower end of Bailey's Neck was then called.

Mr. Thomas Chamberlaine had several vessels built at this ship yard. In 1700, the ship "Elizabeth" was built for him there, to trade between Oxford and Liverpool "by Gilbert Livesly which was manned by 24 guns and 96 men. In the "Records of Port Oxford" written by the sons and grandsons of Mr. Thomas Chamberlaine, in the possession of the Maryland Historical Society, these ships are frequently mentioned.

Clora's Point, which is improperly spelled on the United States Government maps and charts Clora's Point, was so called from one Clora O'Dora, who became the owner of a tract of land in Island Creek Neck of 600 acres, fronting on the Choptank River and extending from the waters of Island Creek to those of Dividing Creek, by virtue of a deed therefor dated June 18, 1666, from Edward Lloyd to the said Clora O'Dora and John Marks, whose interest shortly thereafter passed to O'Dora, being a part of Edward Lloyd's original tract of 3,050 acres called "Hier Dier Lloyd." Although he gave to Clora's Point a name which has continued to adhere to it ever since, he actually owned this tract of land less than two years, for on June 8, 1668, by deed of that date, he conveyed it to John Ingram.

Wade's Point, on Eastern Bay, below Claiborne, is so called from its first owner Zachary Wade, one of Claiborne's Kent Island colonists, who crossed over from Kent Island to Talbot in 1758 and took up a tract of 400 acres upon which he settled.

Howell's Point, on the north shore of the Choptank River about three miles below Cambridge, took its name from Howell Powell, one of the early Quaker settlers in Talbot County who owned a tract of land ad- joining the Dickinson estate "Crosiadore."

Tilghman's Point, at the mouth of Miles River, took its name from Matthew Tilghman, the patriarch of the Maryland colony, who owned Rich Neck Manor, of which this point is the northern extremity. This fine estate adjoins the village of Claiborne and is now, (1914), the attractive homestead of Henry H. Pearson, Jr.

Chancellor's Point, in Bolingbrook Neck on the Choptank River, is located at the southern end of the tract of land called "Woolsey Manor," containing 1000 acres, which was originally surveyed for Philip Calvert, Esq., who was sometime Chancellor of the Maryland Province. Hence his land was, and continues to be, called Chancellor's Point.

Jamaica Point was so called from the name of a 250 acres tract of land upon which this point is located called "Jamaica," which was surveyed May 18, 1666, for John Richardson.

Deep Water Point, on the Miles River, was in colonial times known as "Feast Landing," because of fish feasts having been held on the hard, sandy beach there. In a certificate of survey made in 1737 by David Davis Barrow, Surveyor of Talbot County, it is stated: "The State of Maryland, set. February 20th, 1787: By virtue of a special warrant of Proclamation granted out of the Land Office unto Matthew Tilghman, Esq., of Talbot County, bearing date the 15th day of December, 1786, to resurvey a tract or parcel of land called 'The Feast Landing' containing 161/2 acres of land, 'which a certain George Gleaves had heretofore surveyed and laid out for him the 21st of March, 1773, as may appear, etc. I humbly certify that I have by virtue of the aforesaid warrant carefully resurveyed for and in the name of him the aforesaid Matthew Tilghman, Esq., the aforesaid tract or parcel of land according to its respective metes and bounds, and find it to contain sixteen acres and one quarter of an acre of land. Seven acres and three quarters of an acre of which land to be taken away by St. Michaels river, which I have by virtue of the aforesaid warrant excluded, and have by virtue of the aforesaid warrant added to the aforesaid tract six acres and three quarters of an acre of vacant land and have reduced the whole into one entire tract now called Deep Water Point, etc."