The Town of Herrington: Unearthing the Origins of South County

The Town of Herrington: Unearthing the Origins of South County (HM1ILH)

Location: Tracys Landing, MD 20779 Anne Arundel County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 46.59', W 76° 34.032'

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During 2001-2004, Anne Arundel County's Lost Towns Project conducted excavations in the neighboring community of Leitch in search of the lost town of Herrington (c. 1660), one of Maryland's earliest legislated port towns. Established by the Maryland General Assembly, Herrington provided a strategic position for controlling the taxation of exported tobacco, a staple of this area's economy for more than 300 years. Its inhabitants were Protestant dissenters from England and Virginia with close ties to religious and political forces that influenced the colony and shaped the development of South County.

Archaeologists and volunteers discovered Herrington about a mile to the south on a high flat area overlooking a cove on Herring Bay, in proximity to fresh water springs and aligned with a roadway that may date to the 17th century. Excavations produced evidence of two earthfast or post-in-ground buildings and a large collection of colonial period artifacts. Extensive archival research identified one-acre size lots within this 100-acre settlement occupied by planters, merchants, and mariners. Further research is needed to determine why Herrington largely disappeared from the historical record by the early 18th century.

The Search
(Inscription under the map in the upper left) A 1671 map of the Chesapeake Bay documents Herrington's existence, but, unfortunately, not its exact location. This view is one of the earliest depictions of Anne Arundel County.

(Inscription under the photo in the lower left) Lost Towns Project archaeologists and volunteers sift excavated soil through wire screens looking for artifacts from the 17th century.

The Discoveries
(Inscription under the photo in the lower center) These darkened stains in the soil, called features, indicate where structural wooden posts once supported one of the towns earthfast buildings. Archaeologist dug through almost three feet of siltation to find them.

(Inscription under the photo in the lower center right) The project recovered a wide range of artifacts from the town site, including imported ceramics, architectural materials, oyster shells, and fragments of clay tobacco pipes.

(Inscription under the photo at the right top) Some Herrington inhabitants converted to Quakerism, while others were active members of St James, an Anglican parish founded in 1692. These surviving gravestones at the church belong to lot holder Christopher Birckhead and his wife Anne.
Leadership (Inscription under the family crest) Several Herrington lot holders held high ranking offices, notably Samuel Chew Sr., and Thomas Tench. Both were councilors to Lord Baltimore, as well as legislators and court justices.

Please contact, and to learn more about Herrington, heritage area resources, and historic preservation. Archaeological excavations funded by the Maryland Historical Trust and Anne Arundel County Government.

Signboard sponsored by Four Rivers: The Heritage Area of Annapolis, London Town and South County, Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, Anne Arundel County, Anne Arundel County Trust for Preservation, Herrington Harbour North, and Severn Graphics.

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Date Added Wednesday, December 31st, 2014 at 1:03pm PST -08:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 363863 N 4293141
Decimal Degrees38.77650000, -76.56720000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 46.59', W 76° 34.032'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 46' 35.4" N, 76° 34' 1.92" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)410, 301
Closest Postal AddressAt or near Old Deale Rd, Tracys Landing MD 20779, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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