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Penn-Calvert Dispute

Compiled by Jim Moyer  8/9/2015, updated 2/24/16

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Look here for events celebrating and commemorating the Mason Dixon Line.

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The Penn-Calvert Dispute and Anglo-Dutch Wars

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In 1629,  agents of the Dutch West India Company  negotiated with the  Nanticoke tribe to purchase land on Cape Henlopen near present-day Lewes, Delaware. A new colony named Zwaanendael was established 1631 by David Pietersz de Vries

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On June 20, 1632, King Charles I granted Cecil Calvert, 2nd Baron Baltimore a charter for land along the Chesapeake Bay. The northern boundary of the charter was the 40th parallel, and the eastern boundary was the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. However, the charter only granted the Calverts the right to “uncultivated” lands.[4] The colonists arrived in Maryland in 1634, but made no attempts at surveying the northern border or colonizing the area along the Delaware Bay.

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The English objected to the colonization attempts of both Sweden and the Netherlands and Maryland sent a delegate to New Amstel in 1659 However, it wasn’t until 1664 when the English would formally act against their colonial rivals. That year King Charles II granted his brother James, the Duke of York, the New York area and the Delaware area inhabited by the Swedes and Dutch.

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In 1681, William Penn was granted a charter for Pennsylvania by Charles II.  above the 40th parallel.

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In August 1682, James, the Duke of York, who later became King James II deeded to Penn, those lands cultivated before the original Maryland grant in 1632, land which James had conquered from the Dutch,  consisting of the Twelve-Mile Circle around New Castle and  lands south, to Cape Henlopen. Though James had deeded these lands to Penn, James himself did not formally receive a charter to the Delaware lands until March 22, 1683

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The discovery that the Twelve Mile Circle did not actually intersect with the 40th parallel, and that the parallel was actually north of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania’s major city caused a big big problem.

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On May 10, 1732, Calvert and the Penns signed an Article of Agreement which reaffirmed much of the 1685 ruling, but adjusted Pennsylvania’s southern boundary below the 40th parallel …

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CRESAP’S WAR 1730-1738

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In 1726, the English born Quaker minister John Wright and two associates with their families settled near the river and moved from C. They’d been coming to the birding swarms along the Conejohela Flats since 1724 and then officially applied for a ferry license in 1730.

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Thomas Cresap, opened a second ferry service at Blue Rock, about four miles south of Wright’s Ferry.

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Maryland granted Thomas Cresap title to 500 acres along the west bank of the river, much of which was already inhabited. Cresap began collecting quit-rents (an early form of property tax) for Maryland.

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Pennsylvania authorities at Wright’s Ferry began to issue “tickets” to new settlers which, while not granting immediate title, promised to award title as soon as the area was officially opened to settlement

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October, 1730, Cresap was attacked on his ferry boat by two Pennsylvanians. The target of the attack was actually Cresap’s workman who was wanted by a Lancaster county landowner for reasons not entirely clear (possibly debts). This workman was captured by the Pennsylvanians and carried forcibly away.

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November 25, 1736 Sheriff Samuel Smith raised a posse of 24 armed “non-Quakers” to arrest Cresap  who wouldn’t come out of his cabin and put his cabin on fire.

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Hostilities escalated between Cresap and the settlers. Both colony’s militias  and courts got involved.

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May 1738  King George II,  compelled negotiation of a cease-fire.

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Thomas Cresap, later became very involved in the early days of the French and Indian War after having moved eventually to Old Town Maryland near Cumberland Maryland and was often in contact with young George Washington.  Thomas’ son, Michael became very involved in Lord Dunmore’s War.

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Cresapwarmap

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MASON DIXON LINE

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April 1765, Mason and Dixon began their survey of the Maryland–Pennsylvania line.

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October 11, 1767 their Iroquois guides refused to go any further, having reached the border of their lands with the Lenape, with whom they were engaged in hostilities, 233 miles (375 km) from their starting point.

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In 1779, Pennsylvania and Virginia agreed “To extend Mason’s and Dixon’s line, due west, five degrees of longitude.

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In 1784, surveyors David Rittenhouse and Andrew Ellicott and their crew completed the survey of the Mason–Dixon line to the southwest corner of Pennsylvania, five degrees from the Delaware River

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A side note about the science of this, from the Wikipedia link :

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This surveying was a team conducted not only with Indian Guides and various helpers, assistants, but also with the British Royal Society, particularly Henry Cavendish, who figured out why return measurements back to a starting point were always off.

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Henry Cavendish realised that this may have been due to the gravitational pull of the Allegheny Mountains deflecting the theodolite plumb-bobs and spirit levels

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Mason-dixon-line 400px-Delaware-wedge_svg

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Also Meanwhile,

Maryland Virginia  Border Dispute Too

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Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe to Lord Fairfax

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and for same letter above see this link on Md Gov Horatio Sharpe’s letters

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Lord Fairfax to Maryland Governor Horatio Sharpe, September 24, 1753

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Still debate persists after the 1746 Fairfax Stone 

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