The 1608 records of Captain John Smith's exploration of the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers indicate that the town of Nottingham was located near the former site of an American Indian village called Wosameus. formerly known as Mattapany Landing, Nottingham occupied fifty-five acres along the Patuxent River, about five miles south of Charles Town (Prince George's County's first County Seat from 1696-1721). The town of Nottingham was a bustling eighteenth century port which hosted British and American soldiers in the War of 1812, and is now a quaint river front community whose name carries a rich history.
In 1706, the Maryland General Assembly passed "An Act for the Advancement of Trade". The act named five new towns in Prince George's County: Mill Town, Queen Anne Town, Aire, Upper Marlborough and Nottingham. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries ocean-going sailing ships docked at the wharves that lined the shores of Nottingham. Merchants opened stores that sole West Indies rum, muscovado sugar, and European and East Indian goods. Multitudes of slaves were imported from Africa and sold at Nottingham to provide labor for the local tobacco plantations.
Ships bound for Europe collected vast quantities of tobacco at Nottingham. In 1747, the legislature passed the Tobacco Inspection Act, which mandated the grading of tobacco and designated Nottingham as the site for an inspection house. Between 1791 and 1801 over 8,340 hogsheads (one hogshead holds 400-500 pounds) of tobacco were shipped out of the town.
By the turn of the 18th Century, large cargo vessels began to bypass towns such as Nottingham. Sail powered boats gave way to bay steamers. Nottingham survived much of the nineteenth century with the help of the Weems steamboat line that supplied the town with staple goods and carried farm produce to Baltimore. Some businesses such as the Woodfield Canning Factory were established during the twentieth century but Nottingham declined considerably by the 1930s. By the late 1900s, the population had declined to 50 or 60 residents and Nottingham faded from the map. Today, very little remains of the once important Patuxent River town.
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