Friday, July 22, 2016

Our Miller's and Their Relatives in Early Somerset County, Maryland

When our Miller ancestors came from County Donegal, Ireland to America, they first settled in Somerset County, the most southerly (and swampy) county in Maryland.

In 1684, a John Miller (wife Isabel) acquired 300 acres known as “Enlargement” from John Emmett and his wife Hanna (see source below).  I believe this John is a relative of our ancestor, David Miller, probably a cousin.

"Enlargement” was situated on the east side of Chesapeake Bay about 1 ½ mile south of the Pokomoke River. (Somerset Co. Deeds, Liber L 1, p. 442.)

The first record of David Miller (father of our Abraham Miller and grandfather of our William) is in 1688 when David buys a parcel of land in Somerset County named “Spalding” (or Spaulding).  In the same year David Miller and the “Emitt’s” obtain cattle marks from
the court.  And in 1689 David's father-in-law, Ninian Dunlap, is mentioned in a Somerset County court record. While the exact location of Spalding is unknown, it is reasonable to assume that it was not too far from "Enlargement" (I'm still looking for the original land record regarding "Spalding."  If anyone has the link to it, I would truly appreciate it).

Our Miller's stayed in Somerset County about 8 years before moving north, presumably to find better farmland.

The following is from a GenWeb online article which might explain other reasons they wanted to move north.  Though it's dated several years after they left the area, I don't imagine things were much different when our Miller's lived there.

"This county [Somerset] lies very low, and the many rivers and creeks that empty themselves into the Chesapeake Bay abound in marshes, to a considerable extent. I was once led to believe it was one of the most unhealthy counties in the world; but from what cause I know not. It appears to have more aged people in it than I am acquainted with... The manner of those people living, is nearly as follows. They rise before the sun, and generally drink one or two drams, that is, one half peach or apple brandy, the other water with honey and sugar, and eat a piece of biscuit, then breakfast on cold meat with homony and as much coffee or tea as fills up the remainder of the stomach. The most of those persons I am acquainted with, and they generally labor (although not bound to do so, for they in general have pretty good) from breakfast to dinner, which is about 2 or 3 o'clock, they then dine upon good substantial food, such as beef, mutton, turkey . . . . . . those who live near the water, have a great plenty of shell and other fish. Their drink is cyder or strong toddy, perhaps no people drink less water. They smoak tobacco before and after dinner, which is their meal and retire to bed about 8 or 9 o'clock. It is requested by the writer of this, that some gentlemen will take the trouble of examining their several counties to see whether as great a number of aged persons can be found in two hundreds thereof, throughout" (emphasis added).  Source:


The John Miller listed above (born 1674) is said to have been in the “St. Martin’s area” by 30 March 1686.  He patented tracts Brent Marsh and Partner’s Contentment with Abraham Emmett [our David Miller's brother-in-law].  He was constable for Bogerternorton Hundred.  Sons: (1) John b. 1695, d. 1750; and (2) Joseph born 1700.  Below is a transcript of the original land record where John buys "Enlargement":

"This Indenture made the Ninth day of June in the Second year of the Reigne of William & Mary of England King & Queene Scotland ffrance & Ireland^ defenders of the Prodestant Religion And in the year of our Lord God one Thousand Six hundred & Ninety Betweene John Emmitt & Hannah his wife of Somerset County in the Province Maryland of the one Part And John Miller resident in y Said County & Province of the other Part Witnesseth That wherease the Rt: honr:ble Charles Lord & Proprietary of the Province of Maryland & Avalon Lord Baron of Baltemore &c by his Deed of Graunt undr: the great Seale used in the Said Province of Mary(land) for granting of Land there bearing date at the Citty of St: Maryes the first day of June in the 12th:year of (the) Dominion &c Annoge: Dom: one Thousand Six hundred Eighty and Seaven for the Consideration there-  thereto mentioned Did grannt unto the Said John Emmett a Certaine Tract of Land Called the enlargement Scituate Lieing & being on the east Side of Chesepeake bay and on the Southeast Side of Pocomoke river about one mile & a halfe off the river beginning at a Corner hiccory belonging to A mulbery Grove from thence North thirty degrees west one 
hundred perches to a marked white oake Thence east Thirty degrees North Sixty perches to another white oake marked Thence South thirty eight degrees east one hundred Sixty Seaven perches to a marked white oake thence South thirty four degrees west three hundred & eighty perches thence North fifty four degrees one hundred and four perches binding upon George Truitts Land to a white oake marked thence North thirty Six degrees east binding upon Mulbery Grove to the first hiccory Containing & layd out for three hundred Acres more or Lesse according to Certificate of the ~ Survey thereof taken & returned into the Land office at the Citty of St: Maryes bearing date the Eighteenth day of September Annoqe. Dom: 1684 & there remaining upon record for three hundrerd acres as aforesaid Together wth: all rights Proffitts bennefitts & Priviledges thereunto belonging royall mines excepted To have & to hold the said Tract of Land to him the Said John Emmett his heires & assignes for Ever undr: the rents and Services in the Said Grannt reserved relacon there unto being had more fully & more at large it may & doth appear Now this Indenture further Witnesseth That the Said John Emmitt and Hannah his wife for divers good Causes & valuable Considerations them thereunto moveing but more especially for & in Consideracon of Seaven Thousand pounds of Tobacco unto them in hand paid by the said John Miller before Sealing & delivery hereof the receipt whereof & of every part and parcell thereof the said John Emmitt & hannah his wife doth hereby acknowlege and thereof doe fully freely Clearly & absolutely acquitt exonerate & discharge the Sd. John Miller his heires executrs: & administrators for Ever by vertue of this Indenture have given granted bargained & Sold enfeofed & Confirmed And by these presents doe give grant bargaine Sell enfeofe and Confirm unto him the Said John Miller his heires & assignes for ever all that Tract of Land before mentioned Called the enlargement Scituate and bounded as aforesaid Together with all the rights proffitts bennefitts & appurtenances thereunto belonging Royall Mines excepted To have and to hold the same & every part & parcell thereof to him the said John Miller & to the only proper use & behoofe of the Sd: Miller his heires executors: administrators: & assignes for Ever without any Mortgage Condition redemption use or Limitacon to recall alter Charge or determine the Same The rents & Services due to the Lord or Lords of the fee alwaies excepted & foreprized And the Said John Emmett and Hannah his wife for themselves theire heiress executors administrators & assignes doe Covenant promise & grant to and with the Said Jno: Miller his heires executrs: admrs. & assigness & to & with Every of them by these presents in Manner & forme following That is to Say That they the Said John Emmett and Hannah his wife now are & both of them is and Standeth Lawfully ~ possessed and Interrested of and in the Said Tract of Land Called the Inlargement with all wholy & Singularly appurtenances thereof And that they the sd: Jno: Emmitt & hannah his wife have good right full power & Lawfull Authority in themselves to give graunt bargaine aliene Sell Convey assigne enfeoff & Confirme the said Land & pr:misses with the and Every of the appurtenances unto him the Sd: Jno: Miller his executrs: administratrs: & assignes in manner and forme as aforesaid And that he the said Jno: Miller his heires executors administrators & assignes Shall & Lawfully may from time to time and at all times for Ever hereafter standmp amply perfectly firmly Lawfully and effectually Seized and possessed of and in the premisses and the appurtenances And Shall or may peaceably and quietly have hold occupy possess the Land aforesaid Called enlargement Together with all wholly and Singularly the ~ Commodities hereditaments and appurtenances thereof in any wise appertaining without the Lawfull Lett Suit trouble interuption or disturbance of any person or persons whatsoever And also free & Clear & freely & Clearly acquitted exonerated & discharged or otherwise Sufficiently & well Saved & kept harmless of and ~ from all and all manner of former & other bargaines Sales guifts Graunts Leases estates rights Tyles Joyntures Dowers fines forfeitures mortgages Statutes recognizances Judgemts: execucons Rents ~ Annuities Charges Burthens Incumbrances whatsoever had made done or Suffered or to be had made ~ done or Suffered by the Said John Emmitt or hannah his wife or either of them their or either of their heires Executors administrators or assignes A by any other person or persons whatsoever And also that they the Said John Emmit or Hannah his wife or the heires executors administratrs: or assignes of either of them Shall & will from time to time and at all times hereafter at the reasonable request & at the only Cost & Charges in the Lawe of the said John Miller his heires executors administrators or assignes make doe acknowledge execute & Suffer or Cause to be made done acknowledged executed & Suffered...... all & every such further & other Act & Acts thing & things device & devices assurance & assurances in the Law whatsoever for the further & more ffull perfect "  (Source:

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