(Source: "The Archivist's Bulldog", Oct. 28, 2002 ; the Newsletter of the Maryland Archives)

draughts of Mercers Branch to the new bridge over Severn Run just below Sumerland's mill and then to the main road that went around the north side of the Severn River where Isaac Hall lived. 

Richard Snowden filed a petition in November 1721 to have a road built by him and his neighbors through the woods in a fork of the Patuxent River declared a public facility. The justices designated two men to view the road and report their findings. Snowden or another individual with the same name appeared in court thirteen years later to request the establishment of roads to a planned iron works on the Patuxent River. Public roads were needed from the head of the Patapsco River at Elkridge Landing to the iron works and from there to Indian Landing at the head of the Severn River. A road from the works to Bell Town on the Eastern Branch of the Potomac River already existed. Two men were appointed to lay out the roads and direct the overseers in clearing them. 

In June 1747, Charles Connant filed a petition regarding the road going through his plantation to Mark Job's fishing house. With the consent of his neighbors, he had cleared another road that was closer to Mt. Pleasant by one half mile. Most people were already using this route to go to Mt. Pleasant to roll tobacco to a landing and to reach the ferry. Connant wanted the new road declared public and the old one closed and the court gave its consent. 

Bridges were important components of the colonial road system in Maryland. In January 1703/04, John Howard was clearing a road from his plantation

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to the main road and could not complete the work because of two streams. He wanted the court to order the overseer to build bridges over the streams, and the justices agreed. During the March 1747/48 court term, Richard Snowden applied for a contract to rebuild three bridges over the Patuxent River - near Hyats, between William Richardson and John Gaither, and near Richard Green's mill. Snowden's application was approved, but wasconditional upon an agreement from the Prince George's County Court to pay one half the costs. 

By 1760, a contract to build or repair a bridge included a provision obligating the builder to maintain the structure for 10 years. In August 1767, Henry Hall posted a bond for such a contract for a twelve foot wide bridge over the Patuxent River from the landing below Jeremiah Crabb's at Queen Anne Town and another bridge over a stream below Kilkenny. 

Sometimes the county court found ways to recover the costs of road construction. In March 1703/04, the justices ordered the  overseer to sell the dead trees along the main road from John Batty's to Pig Point. His instructions included a directive to clear a road through the plantations of Solomon Sparrow and Samuel Lane, avoiding branches and gullies as much as possible. 

Maryland law specified the annual listing of public roads by the county courts. In Anne Arundel County, only one such list appeared in the court minutes. In August 1734, the justices declared twenty-two roads as public, including the following: 

     · Annapolis over the Severn Bridge to the 
       Patapsco Ferry 
     · Annapolis to the South River Ferry 
     · Elk Ridge to Indian Landing 
     · South River Ferry to the Bay Side Road that 
       leads to Fishing Creek     
· Severn Ferry to Long Bridge by the Chapel 
       to the Mountain 
     · head of Road River Hundred to the Queen 
       Anne Ferry 
     · Henry Ridgeley's to the landing at 
       Patapsco at the mill 
     · Catlins old fields to Carrolls Manor

In subsequent years, the court clerk periodically recorded supplemental lists of roads. As shown above, most lists described a road as going from one point to another. Occasionally, a lengthy description can be found as when a road was declared public in November 1740: from Snowdens Landing, at the head of South River, by a school house, to the southern corner of Ann Green's cornfield, then with the field to Snowden Taylor's tobacco house along the ridge to the Great Branch, then to Wilmotts quarter and up Long Jack's old field through Linthicum's or Fowler's tobacco ground, leaving the tobacco house on the right, then through Thomas Linthicum's plantation, then with the road as now used to the main road that goes from Capt. Bell's dwelling house to the Patuxent Bridge. 

As a reminder, this article illustrates the types of information available in the court minutes recorded in Anne Arundel Court (Judgment Record) in series C91. 

Virginia Gazette (Parks), Williamsburg , From June 15 to June 22, 1739.

   Patuxent Iron Works in Maryland, June 12, 1739. RAN away last Night from the said Works, two Servant Men: The one named Thomas Sands, aged about 26 Years, a middle siz'd Man, has pretty long, black curl'd Hair, he squints more with his Left Eye than the other, and has a down Look. He had, when he went away, two blue Jackets, one of them with Horn Buttons, one Pair of Oznabrig Trowsers, one old check Shirt, one Pair of white Thread Stockings, one Pair of English Shoes, or Pumps or both, one Pair of Negros flat Shoes, one red Bird-ey'd Handkerchief, and one old Castor Hat, torn on the Brim. The other named William Cole, a middle-siz'd Man, aged about 24 Years, something shorter than the other, a full Face, and of a reddish Complexion. He had, when he went away, one blew Pea-jacket, one blew under ditton, one red ditto, one Pair of Oznabrig Trowsers, one Pair of Leather Breeches under them, one Castor Hat, one Worsted Cap, one white Shirt pretty much worn, two Oznabrig ditto, one red Bird ey'd Handkerchief, one Pair of grey Worsted Stockings, one Pair of good English Shoes, with a Pair of large white Metal Buckles, and one Pair of Negros flat Shoes: The said Servants may have several other Cloaths which I have not seen; I expect they will pass for Sailors, they having been brought up in that Employment. Whoever will apprehend the said Servants, and bring them to the said Works, shall have three Pounds Current Money, paid them for each Servant, besides what the Law allows, and reasonable Charges allowed by the Subscriber, if taken up in Maryland; if taken in Virginia, shall have Five Pounds Reward for each Servant, besides what the Law allows, and all reasonable Charges, as aforesaid. Richard Snowden.
(Source: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu)