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Snowden, “The Iron Master,”44


a Baltimore (Anne Arundel) County landowner and 1733 settler


of Old Monocacy. Of transportation is written: “In 1716 Francis Marsh, a London merchant was paid £2 by the Treasury for each felon he transported …The merchants made a handsome income from the sale of these convicts on their arrival. Up to £10 a head was paid in the plantations with the added bonus of returning with cargoes of tobacco for sale in England.”45


I searched the land records for Prince George’s County from 1696 to 1726 for the


location of Richard Snowden’s property. His name does not appear in this county until 1718 when he is listed as a witness to an indenture dated 15 April 1718 for 124 acres of land sold by John Walsh to John Medcalfe.46


Arundel County (Anne Arundel County was adjacent to Prince George’s County). This Richard Snowden was in the Upper House of the Maryland General Assembly and he appears frequently in the “Archives of Maryland.”47


In other land records in 1722, he is listed as a merchant of Anne


as this Richard Snowden for both James and his brother William Spurgeon were listed as taxpayers in Monocacy Hundred of then Prince George’s County in 1733.48


Apparently the Spurgeons moved to Monocacy at the same time It would seem they


had proved themselves industrious to Snowden and he had invited them to move to the open land he was heading for. The listing of them as taxpayers shows they would have been considered freemen having worked off their indentures. The usual term of indenture was 7 years, after which, a person became a freeman and could participate in colonial affairs as well as have the privilege of the vote. They must have been working tobacco farmers for in 1734, at Prince George’s County August Court, John Nelson, Sr., Constable of Monocacy Hundred, produced a list of those, “Those [persons] who had no tobacco burnt in Monoccosea Hund. Aug. 1734” ac- cording to law. Among those persons were, “… James Spurgeon, William Spurgeon ....”49 Tobacco was a labor-intensive crop requiring year-round attention. Because they could not afford slaves, small leaseholders were limited in the amount of the crop they could grow and harvest. Tobacco was also a luxury crop whose market in far away England forced these small farmers to rely on middlemen and their wealthier neighbors for shipping and trading. Because of this economic vice they found themselves in, most of these tenants remained in relative poverty. The Maryland historian, Arthur Tracey, on two file cards found at the Carroll County, Maryland Historical Society in Westminster, lists land transactions involving the Spurgeons and local landowners for Antietam Bottom land:50


44Effie Gwynn Bowie, “Across the Years in Prince George’s County,” (Richmond, Virginia, 1947), Garrett & Massie, Inc., p. 439. 45 David T. Hawkings, “Criminal Ancestors,” (Wolfeboro Falls, NH, 1992), Alan Sutton Publishing, p. 196. 46Elise G. Jourdan, “The Land Records of Prince George’s County, Maryland 1717 to 1726,” (Westminster, Maryland, 1991), Family Line Publications, p. 16. 47I searched the index for all 72 volumes of the “Archives of Maryland, Proceedings and Acts of the General Assembly of Maryland,” (Baltimore), at the University Research Library at UCLA, but found no reference under several possible spellings for Spurgeon, though many references to Richard Snowden could be found. 48“Maryland States Papers No. 1, The Black Books,” ¶ 272 in the Calendar; “Western Maryland Genealogy,” Vol. 1, p. 139; Grace Tracey & John P. Dern, “Pioneers of Old Monocacy,” (Baltimore, 1987), Genealogical Publishing Co., p. 369. 49“Prince George’s County Court Records,” V.98: “Notes From The Records of Old Monocacy [Maryland],” (Hamstead, Maryland, 1958), pp. 36, 119, 121. 50“Spurgeon Quarterly,” Issue 33 (June 1993), p. 127. These references filed for Prince George County, Envelope 175, Sheet 98, & Envelope 137, Sheet 98.


© 1993 Spurgeon Family History by Dr. Gary Alan Dickey, 1546 Devonshire Avenue, Westlake Village, CA 91361 • p. 19


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