An American Family History

Maxwell's Conclusion

Maxwell's Conclusion
Maxwell's Conclusion
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Baltimore County, Maryland was founded in 1659 and included most of northeastern Maryland. The original county included parts of Cecil, Frederick, Harford, Carroll, and Baltimore Counties.

Maxwell's Conclusion was on Gunpowder Neck in Baltimore County, but is now in Harford County, Maryland and Rickett Point Road led to Rickett Point. It is just south of Edgewood. Rickett Point and Sprye's Island which was part of Maxwell's Conclusion have washed away.

Oliver Spry patented a 640-acre tract of land known as Sprys Inheritance in 1658. Sprys Inheritance and the island passed from Oliver Spry to his daughter Mary Strandsby in 1683 as part of Maxwell's Conclusion a tract of 1,623 acres.

In 1731 James Maxwell the Elder had Maxwell's Conclusion resurveyed after his father's death so that it could be divided for his sisters: Phillisyanna Day, Eliza Ricketts, and Elizabeth Waltham (Mrs. Thomas).

In 1754 a division of Maxwell's Conclusion was finally made between the three daughters, heirs of James Maxwell.

The Maxwell-Day house was built on a small peninsula that jutted out into the Gupowder River. It was probably built shortly after Phillisyanna inherited her third of Maxwell's Conclusion.

1783 Assessment of Maxwell's Conclusion in Harford County, Gunpowder Upper and Gunpowder Lower Hundred
Thomas Strong - 200 acres. (son-in-law of Benjamin and Eliza Ricketts)
John Day, Jr.- 200 acres.
John Day, Sr. - 314 acres.
Lambert Wilmer -200 acres (son-in-law of Benjamin and Eliza Ricketts)

John Day's will, was written December 15, 1782 and probated February, 1784. It named Maxwell's Conclusion. He was Phillisyanna Maxwell Day's husband.

August 15, 1797 Thomas Contee foreclosed the mortage on Maxwells Conclusion that Joseph Strong, Thomas Strong, James Strong, William Strong, Eleanor Strong, Sarah Biddison, and Jeremiah Biddison had made.

In 1807 deed Charlotte Waltham deeded one third part of Maxwell's Conclusion including a small island known as Spryes Island to Samuel Rickets.


The first European settlements in Maryland were made in 1634 when English settlers created a permanent colony.



from Maryland Historical Magazine, Volume 13 edited by William Hand Browne, Louis Henry Dielman

. . .All of these lands [which belonged to Godfrey Harmer], which lie adjacent to one another at the foot of Gunpowder Neck. . .

A resurvey of the entire lot was made in 1731 for James Maxwell, eldest son of Colonel Maxwell, and called Maxwell's Conclusion. In the plot of the resurvey the location of the ancient tracts is shown.


from Maryland Historical Magazine edited by William Hand Browne, Louis Henry Dielman

All of these lands, [that belonged to Godfrey Harmer] which lie adjacent to one another at the foot of Gunpowder Neck, excepting Upper Ollives, which lies in Bush River, descended to the Maxwell family through Mary Harmer, daughter of Godfrey Harmer, who married (1st) Benjamin Gundry and (2d) Colonel James Maxwell (Patents, Liber E. I. No. 4, folio 187).

A resurvey of the entire lot was made in 1731 for James Maxwell, eldest son of Colonel Maxwell, and called Maxwell's Conclusion. In the plot of the resurvey the location of the ancient tracts is shown.

In the year 1754 a division of Maxwell's Conclusion was made between the three daughters, heirs of James Maxwell, one of whom [Phillisyanna] had married John Day son of Edward, another Benjamin Ricketts and the third Thomas Waltham (Baltimore County Land Records, Liber B. B. No. I, folios 303-338).

The part assigned to Thomas Waltham et uxor is described as beginning "at the mouth of a gut between two plantations, one called the Old Fort, the other called Frame Point, and running from thence with Chesapeake
Bay to the mouth of Gunpowder River, etc."

The part assigned to Benjamin Ricketts [husband of Eliza Maxwell] et uxor is described as beginning "at a locust post . . . standing in a marsh . . . and running thence south and by east 166 perches to Chesapeake Bay, then with said Bay to the mouth of a gut lyingbetween two plantations, one called the Old Fort, the other Frame Point."

The courses of the three divisions of Maxwell's Conclusion are the same, except for the division lines, as the original courses of the tract, following the bay and the river. The "gut lying between two plantations" is therefore easily located on the plot of the original Maxwell's Conclusion as in the centre of a point projecting into Chesapeake Bay.

Comparing the plot of 1731 with the modern map of the Maryland Geological Survey and making allowance for the loss of the land between Rickett's Point and Spry's Island, we observe that the point in question can be no other than Fort Point (Ford Point) and the gut no other than Fort Point Gut which makes up into Monk's Marsh at Fort Point

We have only then to locate "Frame Point" and the site of the "Old Fort Plantation" is determined: The land called Hopewell Marsh surveyed for Oliver Spry June 11, 1667, is thus described:

lying on the west side of Chesapeake Bay . . . adjoining to the southward of the now dwelling plantation of the said Oliver Spry, beginning at a marked white oak standing at the end of a marsh and running along the marsh east south east 100 perches by a line drawn from the end of the east south east line and running south south west over the marsh into a point called Frame Point 160 perches to a marked red oak standing by a marsh, from the said red oak by a line drawn and running north north west 100 perches unto the first marked tree containing ... 50 acres,

Referring now to the plot of Maxwell's Conclusion on which, as we have already said, the original surveys are marked, we observe the following: that the " now dwelling plantation" of Oliver Spry, mentioned in the survey of Hopewell Marsh is the land called Middle Ollives laid out in 1659, and that it lies back of Fort Point and evidently includes the hill since known as Whittaker's Hill and the fine spring called Whittaker's Spring which issues below Whittaker's Hill in the midst of Monk's Marsh, the marsh which runs across the neck at this place between the bay and Gunpowder River.

And we also observe that the course of the land called Hopewell Marsh which runs into Frame Point runs away from Fort Point towards the point now known as Robins Point. We are therefore furnished with the proof that the plantation called The Old Fort Plantation lay on the north side of Monk's Marsh behind Fort Point and along Chesapeake Bay including probably Whittaker's Hill and embraces the land which was Oliver Spry's dwelling plantation in 1667.

It seems not improbable that the "old fort" was built by Spry and Harmer at the time of their first settlement in Gunpowder Neck in or not much later than 1659.

On November 3, 1668, Richard Windley et uxor conveyed to Oliver Spry Windley's Forrest at the head of Gunpowder River (Liber I. R. No. P. P., folio 71) and on November 1, 1670, Godfrey Harmer and Mary his wife "of Baltimore County in Gunpowder River" conveyed to Roger Hill the same tract (Liber I. R. No. P. P., folio 89). Spry therefore died between these dates.

In another deed dated August 1, 1670, Harmer calls himself "of Gunpowder River" (Liber I. R. No. P. P., folio 84), and he so described himself in his will February 12, 1673. In all probability the plantation on the bay shore was abandoned shortly after Oliver Spry's decease.

In the division of Maxwell's Conclusion in 1754, to which we have referred above, the middle division is described as without improvements. This is the division lying immediately north of Monk's Marsh. The uppermost division—that lying about Day's Point in Gunpowder River—is described as the "home plantation." In all likelihood the Old Fort Plantation had been abandoned by the family as a place of residence since the death of Oliver Spry.

For the name of Fort Point Gut see the will of Samuel Ricketts, Jr., February 14, 1823 (Harford County Wills, Liber S. R. No. 1, folio 36):

... I do also give unto my son Thomas Ricketts the second division, that is from the line running from the new meadow to Conoway's gut up the bay shore to the mouth of Fort Point Gut, then across to Monks Marsh Gut on Gunpowder River the three above divisions are all known by the name of Maxwells Conclusion. . . .

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©Roberta Tuller 2020
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