What is a Hundred?
A hundred is an old English subdivision of a county. Although the origin is somewhat shrouded in mystery, basically it was a tract of land large enough to provide a hundred men to serve the king's wars. In American colonies that hundred men would have been known as militiamen.
The name was used in many colonies but survived in America only in Delaware, probably because there the counties were all established so early-by 1680-that little reorganization was needed. In New England, the newer English term, town, replaced hundred, and in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, the term township was adopted. Most states today are divided into counties, then into Ward, Township, Parish, Precinct, or District.
For Delaware, the origin is cited in a letter written in 1682 by William Penn, the newly appointed Lord Proprietor of the province of Pennsylvania and the counties on the Delaware. Penn directed that from this point forward, settlements be divided into sections of 100 families; each family would have an average of about ten members (including servants). The first use of the term Hundred in official records relating to the Delaware colony dates to 1687, when reference is made to "a list of taxables of north side of Duck Creek Hundred."
Whatever its origin or intended significance,
Delaware is the only state in which hundred exist in the United States and possibly in the world. Other states such as Pennsylvania, Maryland and Virginia once used hundreds as a county division but the only remaining evidence would be an occasional location with its name ending in "hundred". Maryland had stopped using the hundred by 1825. Some of the hundreds in Cecil County, MD were North Milford (containing Elkton), South Milford, Elk Neck, Back Creek, East Nottingham and Susquehanna.