It is unknown when Talbot County was originally founded. The County is located in the heart of Maryland‘s Eastern Shore, We do know it existed by February 12, 1661, when a writ was issued to its sheriff. It was initially divided into nine Hundreds and three parishes: St. Paul’s, St. Peter’s and St. Michael’s. When the Quakers arrived in 1682, they constructed the Third Haven Friends Meeting House which is one of the oldest churches in the United States. By the late 1700s, the town had grown so large that Maryland’s legislature authorized construction of a courthouse, at which time Easton was deemed the “Colonial Capital of the Eastern Shore.” In 1710 the first Courthouse was built on what would become the town of Easton. It is believed that this town was named after the town Easton in Somersetshire, England.
A lot of history happened in and around Easton. In 1747 it was the first place to enact Tobacco inspection laws which enabled Maryland to control the quality of exports; established multiple inspection points to ensure export of only quality leaf, and set clerical and proprietary officers’ fees. On May 11, 1790, Easton Maryland Herald and Eastern Shore Intelligencer became the first newspaper on Eastern Shore, published by James Cowan.
The most notable historic figure who lived in this area was Frederick Douglas. He was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in February 1818. He had a difficult family life. He barely knew his mother, who lived on a different plantation and died when he was a young child. He never discovered the identity of his father. When he turned eight years old, his slave owner hired him out to work as a body servant in Baltimore. At an early age, Frederick realized there was a connection between literacy and freedom. Not allowed to attend school, he taught himself to read and write in the streets of Baltimore. At twelve, he bought a book called The Columbian Orator. It was a collection of revolutionary speeches, debates, and writings on natural rights. When Frederick was fifteen, his slave owner sent him back to the Eastern Shore to labor as a field hand. Frederick rebelled intensely. He educated other slaves, physically fought back against a “slave-breaker,” and plotted an unsuccessful escape.
My maternal 6x Great Grandfather Thomas William Ford Jr was born in Easton on December 8, 1735. He is one of 3 sons born to Thomas Ford Sr. and Bridget Griffith. He married Sarah, last name unknown, in 1754. They had one daughter named Esther born April 18, 1755. Thomas and Sarah were Quakers and they belonged to the Third Haven Meetinghouse. Not much more is known about them nor their loves but I haven’t given the search to fill in all the blanks. Thomas died December 16, 1776, in Easton and his place of burial is unknown.
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