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Tobacco in Maryland

When England's favorite pirate, Sir Francis Drake, returned home from the West Indies in 1586, after years of antagonizing and plundering Spanish galleons, he brought back a shipload of captured tobacco. Smoking suddenly became the rage of England. Sir Walter Raleigh, the flamboyant and colorful rogue of Queen Elizabeth's court, made smoking fashionable among the nobility in the late 1500's. Spain's New World colonies filled the orders for tobacco to appease England's newly acquired habit.

But upon Queen Elizabeth's death in 1603, James I came to the throne. James found Sir Walter Raleigh's tobacco smoking as disgusting as his politics, and had him beheaded. Raleigh could be considered the first martyr for smokers.

James I launched a passionate anti-smoking campaign, declaring tobacco unhealthy, unholy, and a totally unsuitable habit for a civilized society. The general public heeded not King James' declarations, and smoking became even more extensive.


Colonists soon discovered tobacco to be the highest paying crop per acre. Colonial agriculture was primitive but exceedingly profitable. The annual tobacco crop brought in as much money as all the other American exports totaled. Family farms grew into plantations. Slaves from Africa slowly replaced indentured servants.


Upon their arrival in 1634 the Marylanders quickly hopped onto the tobacco bandwagon, which the Virginians had started. Borrowing seeds from John Rolfe's now famous sweet-scented variety, they busily cultivated the tidewater area. Even though the tobacco market went through a series of depressions until after the Revolutionary War, it maintained and stimulated the growth of Maryland and other states throughout the colonial period.

In August and September, loads of "hands" of tobacco are hauled to the tobacco barn for curing.

After a couple of months of hanging in the barn, when the tobacco is completely dried, it is hauled to a nearby warehouse for auction.

Today the State and Federal governments are paying tobacco farmers to stop growing their crop. You rarely see a field of tobacco now. Farms are being replaced by subdivisions. But the tobacco leaf still appears on the Calvert County flag.

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George Copper, Sr Estate - 486 acres
** "Lords Gift" 300 acres + 4 acres = 304 acres
** "Williams Lott" 100 acres + 82 acres = 182 acres

"Lords Gift"

300 Acres located in Kent County, Maryland between Grays Inn Creek and Langfords Bay.

The original survey is dated 13 Dec 1694 and the original patent is in the name of John Hinson (Hynson) dated 10 Aug 1695.

John and Ann Hyson deeded 300 acres called "Lords Gift" to their daughter Mary and her husband, William Glanville.  [KELR M:13]

William and Mary Glanville sold 300 acres called "Lords Gift" to George Copper 27 Nov 1701 for a certain quantity of tobacco.  [KELR M:111a] [This is George Copper, Sr and Mary Moss]

George Copper sold 50 acres of  "Lords Gift" to John Cleaver 10 Mar 1714 for 5000 pounds of tobacco.  [KELR  JS#X:310][BC1 pp56-58]

In 1746 George Copper, Sr wrote his will.  At that time he still owned 250 acres called "Lords Gift".  In his will he gave 100 acres on the West Side to his son William.  He gave 50 acres on the East side with the dwelling to his son Charles.  He gave the remaining 100 acres to his son George, Jr.  [WB 3 pp 248-250]

George Copper, Sr died Nov 1754.  His wife, Mary Moss, died sometime previous to that date.

1756 William (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) and wife Margaret deeded the 100 acres of “Lords Gift” to William's son, William, the eldest (son of William and wife #01 Mary Dunn). [JS28 pp 228-230)

1758 William, the eldest (son of William and wife #01 Mary Dunn) sold the 100 acres of “Lords Gift” to his Uncle Charles (son of George Sr and Mary Moss). [JS29 pp 23-24] 

In 1758 Charles Copper (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) owned 150 acres and George Jr (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) owned 100 acres and the Cleaver family owned 50 acres of the original 300 acres called “Lords Gift”.

In December 1758 George Copper Jr (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) died.  In his will he left his property to his son Cyrus who turned 11 years old on 14 Dec 1758.  The lands were to be held by George’s wife, Rebecca, until Cyrus reached the age of 21.  In case Rebecca died the lands were to be held by George and Rebecca’s son, George Copper III.

In May 1759 William Copper (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) died.  He did not leave a will.  He had, prior to his death, disposed of his 100 acres of “Lords Gift”.

In 1759 Charles Copper (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) owned 150 acres and Cyrus Copper (son of George Jr and Rebecca Davis, @ age 11) owned 100 acres and the Cleaver family owned 50 acres of the original 300 acres called “Lords Gift”.


1764 Michael Cleaver sold the 50 acres of “Lords Gift” to Thomas Ringgold for 5 shillings.  Also in 1764 the court ordered Thomas Ringgold to sell the 50 acres of “Lords Gift” to Charles Copper (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) for 102 pounds current money. [DD1 pp 493-496] [This paperwork is hard to read and hard to follow as if some of the information is missing]

In 1764 Charles Copper (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) owned 200 acres and Cyrus Copper (age 17 yrs) owned 100 acres of the original 300 acres of “Lords Gift”.

1775 Charles (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) willed the plantation (the 204 acres in his possession) (there was a resurvey in 1771/72 which added another 4 acres) to his sister Mary Leatherbury (dau of George Sr and Mary Moss) during her widowhood; then to his nephew William, the younger (son of William and wife #02 Elizabeth Worrell); then to Charles, son of his brother William; then to Philip, son of his brother George Jr [Will Bk 5 pp 203-206]

1775 Charles (son of George Sr & Mary Moss) died a widower with no children.  All of his siblings had preceded him in death, except his sister Mary Copper Gleaves Leatherbury.

1775 Mary Leatherbury (dau of George Sr and Mary Moss) if living & still a widow would be the owner of 200/204 acres and Cyrus Copper (son of George Jr and Rebecca Davis) would be the owner of 100 acres of the original 300 acres of “Lords Gift”.

We do not know at this time (2012) when Mary Leatherbury died or if she remarried.  William Copper, the younger (son of William and wife #02 Elizabeth Worrell), apparently died with no heirs.

1783 Charles Copper was taxed for 211 acres of "Lords Gift".
1783 Philip Copper was taxed for 100 acres of "Lords Gift".

1785 Cyrus Copper (born 1747) died in Alexandria, Virginia leaving a wife and 2 young daughters.

1801 Philip G Marsteller and his wife Christiana Copper (one of the heirs of Cyrus Copper (born 1747)) sold property in Kent County, Maryland that had been owned by her father, Cyrus Copper, to William Brice and James Eagle.  This apparently ended the Copper ownership of that portion of “Lords Gift” that had originally been inherited by George Copper, Jr (born 1704).

 1803 Charles Copper (son of William and wife #02 Elizabeth Worrell) died leaving a will.  In the will he left “Williams Lott” to his son Charles; 5 acres to his son John; 4 acres to his son Henry; the remainder of his land to his son William (born ca 1780).  The remainder of his land would include about 211 acres more or less of “Lords Gift”.

1854 William Copper (born ca 1780) died leaving a will.  In his will he left that portion of “Lords Gift” that he owned to his nephew Cyrus Copper (born 1835).

1892 Cyrus Copper (born 1835) and his second wife, Mary E Frazier, sold “Lords Gift” to Walter E Hadaway; ending the Copper ownership of those portions of “Lords Gift” that had originally been inherited by William Copper (born 1702) and his brother Charles Copper (born ca 1716).

Lords Gift 1
Lords Gift 2

These two pictures of the “Lord’s Gift” & "Williams Lott" land area are
shared by Craig & Marcia Copper taken on their May 2001 trip to Kent County, Maryland.

 

Lords Gift
Taken from the corner of Martin Wagner Rd and Edesville Rd

Also Lords Gift
Taken from Edesville Road

These two pictures of the area are shared by Linda Hunley
taken on her May 2010 trip to Kent County, Maryland.

 

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"Williams Lott"

1706 George Copper (this is George Copper Sr & Mary Moss) was granted 100 acres known as "Williams Lott", land bordered by "Lords Gift" (in the possession of George Copper), George Lumley Land, Henry Morgan Land, and Wedge Land.  [Patent filed under “Cooper”] [Land Office - Patent Record - PL #, pp 87-88 & Prerogative Court - George Copper Sr Will - #29, pp 353-354]

It is my understanding that George Sr would have obtained this patent in payment for bringing into Maryland two persons (50 acres per person).  The papers I received do not give a clue as to what two persons this might have been.  So, who were those two persons?  One could be himself but that is doubtful since he had been in Maryland since at least ca 1688 (age 19 years), and this patent was done in 1706 -- Six years after his marriage to Mary Moss and 5 years after his purchase of "Lord's Gift".
My guess would be that they were indendured servants whose passage he had paid and who then were to work for him for a specific period of time.

The 100 acres became 182 Acres when it was resurveyed 12 Oct 1743 for George Copper, the original Patentee. [Land Office - Certificates, Patented, KE - #628]
. In the legal description for the resurvey it states that 10 acres were cultivated and enclosed with a very old fence - there were 23 bearing apple trees in an orchard and 20 cherry trees - 1 old house with rough plank floor, clap board partition & chimneys - 1 10 foot square house - 1 very old house 15 foot square.

1754 George Sr willed 50 acres on the East end of "Williams Lott" to his son Charles and the remaining 132 acres to his son George Jr. [Will Bk 3 pp 248-250]


In December 1758 George Copper Jr (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) died leaving a will.  He left his property to his son Cyrus who was about to turn 11 years old.  The lands were to be held by George’s wife, Rebecca, until Cyrus reached the age of 21.  In case Rebecca died the lands were to be held by George Jr and Rebecca’s son, George.

1775 Charles (son of George Sr and Mary Moss) willed his 50 acres of "Williams Lott" to his sister Mary Leatherbury (dau of George Sr and Mary Moss) during her widowhood; then to his nephew William, the younger (son of William and wife #02 Elizabeth Worrell); then to Charles, son of his brother William; then to Philip, son of his brother George [Will Bk 5 pp 203-206]

1775 Mary Leatherbury (dau of George Sr & Mary Moss), if living and if she did not remarry, would be the owner of 50 acres and Cyrus Copper (son of George Jr & Davis) would be the owner of 132 acres of the 182 acres known as “Williams Lott”

We do not know at this time (2012) when Mary Leatherbury died or if she remarried.  William Copper, the younger (son of William and wife #02 Elizabeth Worrell), apparently died with no heirs.

1783 Charles Copper was taxed for 50 acres of “Williams Lott”
1783 Philip Copper was taxed for 132 acres of “Williams Lott”

1785 Cyrus Copper (born 1747) died in Alexandria, Virginia leaving a wife and 2 young daughters.

1801 Philip G Marsteller and his wife Christiana Copper (one of the heirs of Cyrus Copper (born 1747)) sold property in Kent County, Maryland that had been owned by her father, Cyrus Copper, to William Brice and James Eagle.  This apparently ended the Copper ownership of that portion of “Williams Lott” that had originally been inherited by George Copper, Jr (born 1704).

 1803 Charles Copper (son of William and wife #02 Elizabeth Worrell) died leaving a will.  In the will he left their portion of “Williams Lott” to his son Charles (born ca 1786).

1808 William (born ca 1780) who had inherited “Lords Gift” is found selling “Lords Gift” and also selling “Williams Lott” that belonged to his brother Charles.  During William’s life time he bought back and resold portions of his inheritance more than once.  He did not appear to own any of “Williams Lott” at the time of his death in 1854.  Therefore, This apparently ended the Copper ownership of that portion of “Williams Lott” that had originally been inherited by Charles Copper (born ca 1716).

 

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