Cove Hotel, Crisfield, May 27, 1872
ISAAC STERLING aged 82 years, having been duly sworn, deposes and says:
That he was 81 years of age last August; lived in Annamessex all his life. His father was Henry and his grandfather John Sterling. Has been all over the marsh between here and Cedar Straits on Watts' Island Tangier and Fox's Islands. Has fished all around the Islands from boyhood up. There are large pine stumps and many of them, around and between the said Islands. Off west, at Fox's Island, is full of stumps. Large stumps all over the marsh between here and Cedar Straits, especially in Borad Creek, at a place called the Prong, there are large pine trees lying there now from where I am told the middle ground is now Pocomoke Sound. At the north head land of Little Annamesses, on Jane's Island, I in my day have gathered peaches for high land near where the outer light house now stands at the Little Annamessex Bar. I was fishing with Nathan Bradshaw and old Capt. John Cullin; this was a long time ago, say fifty years.
Examined by Mr. Wise
Was born near Pocomoke Sound, 1 1/2 - 2 miles from here between Jenkin's Creek and Ape's Hole." Hance Lawson, the father of James Lawson, lived on the west of birthplace. His Land extended to Jenkin's Creek; Jenkin's Creek empties into the little Annemessex River. Old Littleton Tyler and Tommy Nelson lived lower down nearer Pocomoke Bay. This Tommy Nelson was called King Nelson, it being a nickname. He lived at a place called Mattias Creek--nobody lived there now. Tommy or King Nelson's father, was named Sacker Nelson or Zacker Nelson. He, "King" Nelson was very old when he died. Michael Somers I believe pretends to own the land where "King" Nelson lived. "King" Nelson left _____ children; three of his sons are dead, leaving children, who are now in this neighborhood. He has children living, William Nelson, Daughters Nancy and Betsy; these three are who are now living. He left a number of grandchildren who are now living in this neighborhood. Never knew in my lifetime the main land at Cedar Straits to be connected with Fox's Island. Fox Islands were the North Fox Island, Big Fox Island, the "Muddy Marsh," and there is another across the Big Thoroughfare. The Big Thoroughfare is between South Fox Island Watts' Island. Vessels have always at high tide, been able to sail between Watts' Island and Fox Island, at high water going into and out of Pocomoke and Tangier Sounds. Ephraim Sterling lived east of the place where I was Born when I can first remember the next family east was old Mr. Jacob Byrd, on the Pocomoke or on Ape's Hole side, and those were the only families living on the Sound when I can first remember. These lived near the mouth of Ape's Hole. Old uncle Travis Sterling lived a little higher up--I mean off the sound, on the land. The peach orchard of which I spoke, at the north headland of annemessex, was not an Island, but was a point running out from the high land of Jane's Island.
MR. McKEMMY TAWES was next called, next sworn and examined, deposes and says:
I am in my 77th year of age; shall be 77 next Christmas; was very deaf. My wife is a Daughter of Thomas called "old King" Nelson has heard "King" Nelson say that his father Zacker or Sacker Nelson, lived on Fox's Island at the time of the Revolutionary War; they burnt his house down during said war. John Mason lived there after Zacker Nelson bought of him and Middleton His son, lived there until within a few years past. Thos. and John Crockett bought it of Mason, and Thos. and Panner Crockett live there now--was told Tommy is dead. Heard old "King" Nelson say, that where they lived on Fox's Island, their well was a hundred and fifty yards out in the Sound. Don't know the age of "King" Nelson when he died, but he was very old. Heard him say he had eaten peaches at the north head-land of Little Annamessex near where the outer Light House now Stands. Have heard there was an earthwork for a battery thrown up at Jane's Island; has seen it himself; it is now washed away. I know where there was a smart ridge of land; never knew wheat to grow there myself, but have heard old people speak of it. No recollection of hearing "King" Nelson say anything of the washing away of land between Fox's Island and Watt's Island.
Cross examined by Mr. Wise.
My wife is still living, and I have heard her say she was born down here on the marsh where "Billy" Lawson lived, now vacant, between Somer's Cove and Jenkins' Creek on the Hummock. It is about three miles from that Hummock to cedar Straits. It is a good big Marsh. I don't know who claims the marsh now. Isaac Lawson--nicknamed Terrapin--bought the Hummock between Somer's Cove and Jenkins' Creek, and how much of the marsh he bought I can't tell. He bought it now over three or four years ago of old "Billy" Lawson's heirs. Old Billy Lawson bought it of Elijah Pruitt: don't know who Pruitt bought it from. Middleton Mason moved from Fox's Island to Onancock in Accomac, and there I don't know what became of him.
Marked separately by Mr. Wise and Jno. E Mowbray, Clerk.
MR. ABRAHAM SOMERS, next called affirmed and says:
I am very deaf. My name is Abraham Somers, and my age, tradition says, is 79; I was born in 1793; I was born in Sussex County Delaware. I came here when quite a baby; was well acquainted with old "King" Nelson; lived near him 3/4 of a mile off. Don't remember how long he has been dead. Have heard him mention the line of Virginia and Maryland. He showed me the tree on Smith's Island that was a mark of the line from Smith's Point. Has been over Smith's Island but the tree was cut down before I went there. I could see it from King Nelson's house when standing. It was said to be a gum, and stood in Butler Tyler's yard. I _____ is not washed away, and the land is now there. Don't know but the Stump may be there yet. He said the line ran by Watkins' Point.
Cross examined by Mr. Wise.
Butler Tyler I did not know, but I knew David Tyler, his brother, and knew a daughter of Butler Tyler named Nancy; the two brothers lived close together. King Nelson showed me the tree, and told me it was a line tree. This was said by King Nelson to be a mark of the line from Smith's Point to Watkins' Point.
Marked separately by Mr. Wise and Jno. E. Mowbrey Clerk.
CAPT. JOHN CULLIN, next called being duly sworn deposes and says:
I was 79 years of age the 13th of the present month. I was born in Annamessex, near where Hance Lawson, the father of James Lawson and grandfather of Hance Lawson, lived; have lived there, as my home, all my life, when at home, but been a great deal from home, having been for many years a seafaring man. I knew Tommy or "King" Nelson. Can't say when, but think he died about 1854 or 1855. Have heard him say a fence rail, and it would have reached across all the break-throughs between Fox's Island and Watts Island, and have walked across them all. I never when I was at John Nelson's, and when the Coast Survey had its sights or signal set up. He pointed to one on Fox's Island and said that was near where the line between Maryland and Virginia passed. It appeared to be pretty well on the west point of Fox's Island, near I presume, where a pine tree with a round top stands; there was but one tree. Never heard him say anything further about the line. Was never on Smith's Island but twice--only at harbor, was there with John S Handy and Henry Thomas, to lay off the first election district that was ever laid on that Island by Maryland.
(Here a memorandum of the record of time was shown him by Mr. Jones in June 1835.)
Don't recollect the bounds as laid off, Solomon Evans Thomas Tyler and another old Mr. Evans, described where the line was. I went with them to the church. They were notified that we were going, and we met at the church. Then I asked them to give me the line between Virginia and Maryland. I made my return according to the information they gave us. They told me that John Tyler at Horse Hummock lived in Maryland, and we made out report on the verbal description of the persons whom we examined. We did not go to Horse Hummock or any other point, but took the description at the church, and they all told me that John Tyler lived at Horse Hummock, and I thought and we all thought that Horse Hummock was "Drum Point." Never had the line pointed out to me at any other time, and thought the line across the Sound commenced at Horse Hummock, and never had any point shown me on this side of the Sound for the course of the line between the States. About March 1851, I, as Justice of the Peace, arrested a vessel called the Fashon, belonging to Severn Tyler, and John Tyler was aboard her as captain. Saw her dredging off the mouth of Little Annamessex, west of the mouth, at a rock called Fillby's, north of the Big Rock, but we were coming up the channel of the Sound (Tangier) when the boat saw us and became suspicious of our intent. They bore down the sound in a southwest direction, as if he wanted to go to Horse Hummock, which was John Tyler's home. From where we saw him dredging, he run about the arrest before we arrested the vessel. At the point of where the arrest was made he was, I suppose in Virginia waters. There were witnesses in the two civil cases, one of Severn Tyler and one of Leyburn Thomas, both witnesses. They were witnesses in the case of Severn Tyler vs me examined as to where the line between Virginia and Maryland was. Thomas Tyler was examined; don't recollect whether Hoffman was sworn. Tyler said that there was a cedar standing on the east side of Smith's Island, but that the marsh or point where the cedar stood was all on the east side of Smith's Island, but that the marsh where the cedar stood standing was all washed away, and that he and others went down on that side where he pulled up trees and carried them to the shore, and told them to examine and see whether that was not cedar, and it was pronounced to be cedar, and he sighted form where the cedar was and said the boat was arrested in Virginia. I asked him how it was, that when we laid off the election district that he said Horse Hummock was in Maryland and he made no answer, but turned away and would not answer me. He was the father of Severn Tyler, the owner of the vessel, and grandfather of John, the captain. I think that no witnesses for the defendant, or on my part, in the case of Severn Tyler vs. me (I am the same man, Jno. Cullin, against whom Judgment was had,) respecting the line of the two States of Maryland and Virginia.
Cross-examined by Mr. Wise.
I was absent much from home, having been a sea-faring man for many years, and all that I know about the line between Maryland and Virginia, either of my own knowledge or by tradition, I have stated. I think it was 1853 or 1854 when "King" Nelson told me what his father told him about the sate of the waters at the break-through between Watts' and Fox's Island; then at the time when he so told me the space between said islands was all broke through; the space is about five miles. I had known that space even since I was 15 or 16 years of age. It has been 40 years since I was at Watts' or Fox's island for 40 years. I was acquainted with Watts' Island from 1809 to about 1832; the last time I was there about 1832, it had washed away 75 yards in front of the house where old Robert Parker had a wharf. I think the high land had washed from 70 to 80 yards. The north end of the island had washed away a great deal, but I can't say how much. I cannot tell how much Fox's Islands have washed away. In 23 years, from 1809 to 1832, I think the south end of the south Fox's Islands have washed away from 40 to 50 yards. The small island just off the north end of Big Watts' Island had washed away very much; there were two break-throughs at the westernmost point of the north end creek had washed away very much; there were two break-throughs at the westernmost point and one at the easternmost point, which had washed away a great deal. When King Nelson informed me as I have stated about these waters between Fox's and Watts' Island in 53 or 54, I do not know how long before his father, Sacker Nelson, had died. I never knew Sacker Nelson. I know Josiah Parker on Watts Island; the son of Robert Parker; his age is about 82. He is my father's half brother, and I have not visited him for 40 years, nor he me in that time. In all my time I have never known Fox's Island to be connected with the main. I don't know and never did know Fox's Island well. When I first knew them there were first the north island called Green Harbor; 2nd going south Maggoty Hummock; next Doe's Hummack; next Slip Ledge; next Long Ledge; next Round Ledge, and these were the eastern Hummocks of the group of Fox's Island, and then on the west of the group is Big Fox's Island there is a little island between two through-fares and now Big Fox's Island I am told, is out by a break-through, and there is Muddy Marsh to the east of the lower Fox's Island; there were three muddy marshes, but there is but one now. I never Knew of a Island in the Pocomoke Sound called George's Island; There is what is called the middle ground--a sand bar over which a canoe cannot pass at low water. When King Nelson showed me where the line of the two States passed I think was in 1853 1854. If I have been understood as saying that King Nelson in 1853 or 1854, I think, or when signals were standing, when the Coast Surveyors had erected signals along the eastern coast of Tangier Sound, that he actually pointed to or actually showed me any signal on Fox's Island, I did not mean to be so understood, but I mean to say that he told me signal which was on Fox's Island was near the line of Virginia. He did not point to any signal on Fox's Island or show it to me, but I had seen one there, and we were talking about it, and he said that it was near the Virginia line. It was on the northernmost one of the group of Fox's Island. I never knew otherwise than this, that the signal there was near the Virginia line. Of my own knowledge I never knew where the Virginia line was. I had my ideas about it. I had my ideas from hearing that there was a direct line from Smith's Point to Chincoteague. I do not say that that line would cut any part of Smith's Island and I don't think it would. I laid off the line of the election district on Smith's Island in 1835, leaving a part of the said Island in Virginia, because the men on the Island told me where they understood the line to be. The one tree which was standing then on Fox's Island was on the northernmost Island of the Fox Island group. If there is but one tree, of a large size, standing now on Fox's Island, it must be on the northernmost Island, and on the north end of the northernmost Island. I do not know whether there is any tree at all now on the northernmost Island. If there is one large tree now standing on Big Fox Island, too large and too old to have grown there since 1853-1854, it must have been there in 1853 or 1854. I have never knew of any marked tree, or other mark or boundary between Maryland and Virginia on either of the Fox Islands or on the main land near Cedar Straits. I was never informed of any such mark other than as I have described, or as related to me by King Nelson. A copy of the report signed and sealed by Jno. S. Handy, John Cullin and Henry Thomas, dated June 18, 1835 made to the Levy Court of Somerset County by them land off on Smith's Island, has been shown to me, and it seems to be a correct report.
The report referred to above is as follows:
Commission from the ______ of Somerset (County) to John S. Handy, John Cullen and Henry Thomas of Somerset County in the State of Maryland; to lay off so much of Smith's Island as lies within the body of Somerset County aforesaid into a separate and additional district before the 1st of August 1835 Commission dated 1st April 1835. Return dated 18th 1835.
In pursuance of the said order we have reviewed, laid out and return as follows for said election district, to wit: Beginning on the East side of said island at a place well known by the name of "Drum Point;" thence westerly cross the bay to Kedge's Straits; thence by and with the sound to "Drum Point" to the beginning. And that we at the same time elected the Methodist meeting-house as the most suitable and convenient place of holding the elections in said district.
In witness &c., June 18th 1835
John S. Handy (Seal)
John Cullen (Seal)
Henry Thomas (Seal)
When I seized the Fashion in 1851, I supposed the Big Oyster Rock was in Maryland, When I seized her running from Fillby's Rock in a southwest course, and, as I thought, toward Horse Hummock, the home of John Tyler, I seized her at the north end or upper part of Big Rock. I then thought, when I seized her there, that she was in Maryland. In the civil case of Severn Tyler vs me, the damage and detention of the vessel, and the witnesses that were sworn in the case on the part of the plaintiff. I did not mean them who put the value upon the damage done to the vessel. Thomas Tyler, in the trial of the case of Severn Tyler vs. me, swore that the Cedar described by him stood some distance north of Hours Hummock--From that place above Horse Hummock he sighted across the sound and said the vessel was in Virginia. He did not say to what point he sighted. He, Thomas Tyler, was not examined as a witness in the case of Severn Tyler against me. He testified in the case prosecuted by the State of Maryland vs. the vessel Fashion, and stated what he did about the Cedar. When the vessel was cleared from the prosecution by the State, then Severn Tyler sued me about a year afterwards and recovered verdict and judgment against me, and Thomas Tyler, was not examined in that case. Thomas Tyler turned away and made no reply at the time, but did not admit that he ever had told me Horse Hummock was in Maryland. When I asked how he came to tell me that Horse Hummock was in Maryland when the Commissioners laid off the election district on Smith's Island, he neither denied nor admitted it.
According to my recollection, the verdict and judgment which were rendered in the case of Severn Tyler vs. me, in the civil suit, were rendered by consent, for damages and detention of the vessel. Mr. Crisfield, the counsel of S. Tyler came to me and said my case was a good one for the Legislature, and urged me to compromise--that he would do all he could for me. Judge Tingle, my counsel, coming together with Mr. Crisfield, also advised the same course. I recollect of no witnesses being examined except about the damage of the vessel. I recollect of no witness being examined about the detention of the vessel, and of no witness being examined except Southey Miles. There were no witnesses examined as to whether the vessel was dredging in the waters of Maryland or Virginia--none, according to my recollection. But witnesses were examined in the previous cases of the State of Maryland vs. the Fashion, and I was myself examined in those cases and stated what I have stated here, that she was seen to be dredging by me on Filly's Rock, and was seized by me on the upper part of the Big Rock, and the vessel was acquitted of violating the laws of Maryland by dredging in her waters, by the line spoken of as running from Smith's Point to Chincoteague, which I thought to be the line between Maryland and Virginia, I meant Chincoteague Island.
BENJAMIN LANKFORD, next called, being duly sworn, deposes and says:
I am 72 years of age, I was born in Annemessex, about 4 miles east of this place, near where I now reside, and I reside on the side of Pocomoke Bay, about 3/4 of a mile from the Sound shore. I lived on a tract of land known and called "Kirk's Purchase."
(Here the witness produced a paper purporting to be an extract from Liber 14, folio 185 or 261, state that the grant of Kirk's Purchase, dated the 10th 1871, lying near Watkins Point as shown by the copy hereto annexed.)
The tract of land called Watkins' Point lies on the east side of Ape's Hole Creek, near to the mouth of it once called Johnson's Creek. I have never heard of any tradition of any line and I heard they were running a sort of promiscuous line through here for Worcester County, but I never knew what line they run or where they made it.
Cross-examined by Mr. Wise.
I have heard of no line, except what I have learned for books from Jefferson's Notes of Virginia and from John V. L. McMahon's History, and he says about the same thing, that a line run from Cinquack to Watkins Point, and where Watkins' Point is I never knew, I don't think I ever heard of any tradition about a line run by Phillip Calvert and Edmund Scarborough. I didn't know of that line, but I may have heard of it. I had read John V. L. McMahon's History of Maryland before Lee came down to run the line which he run. I read a part of it, but never read it through in my life. I don't know where I got the tradition of Calvert and Scarborough's line.
Smith's Island, Horse Hummock, Mar 29, 1872
In pursuance of adjournment at the Cove Hotel, Crisfield, May the 27th inst., the Commissioners met at Horse Hummock, May 28th inst., and finding they had no one competent to administer an oath, they sent to Crisfield, to procure a Justice of the Peace or Notary Public, and met again at the house of Johnson Evans, at Horse Hummock, on Smith's Island, May the 29th inst., and proceeded to examine other witnesses as to the true boundary of Maryland and Virginia on Smith's Island. Present, Thomas K Whelton, Justice of the Peace of the State of Maryland, Hon. I D. Jones and Wm. J. Aydelott, Commissioners of Maryland and Hon. D. C. Jarnette, Col. William Watts and Hon Henry A. Wise, Commissioners of Virginia, May 29th 1872.
Examined by Mr. Wise
JOHN MARSHALL was first sworn and examined:
I am going in my 63rd year ever since the 18th day of the present month of May. I was born on Sykes' Island. I came to Smith's Island to reside when I was about 17 years of age and have resided on Smith's Island ever since. I have known the greater part of the old inhabitants of Smith's Island ever since. I knew Tommy Tyler, William Tyler, Elijah Evans, John Parks, John Evans, Jacob Bradshaw, Solomon Evans, at Cedar Straits, and Hampden Bradshaw and Littleton Bradshaw, his brother and others. These and other old people are now dead, except Mrs. Vina Bradshaw, widow of Jacob. The oldest man I now know of now living on Smith's Island is Mr. Teackle Evans, Who is I think close by 80 or 85 years of age, and the next oldest man is Mr. Ephraim Tyler, who keeps the Fog's Point Light House, and the oldest of the junior generation are Hainey Bradshaw, Severn Bradshaw, Francis Evans and Mrs. Maira Guy and myself and others. I was shown what was said to be the line between Virginia and Maryland on Smith's Island, say from 15 or 20 years ago by old Mr. William Tyler, and he and I were alone. He showed me a boundary stone running up from 3/4 a mile to a mile north of Horse Hummock, where Johnson Evans now resides, and where old Capt. Peter Evans lived at that time. He told me it was fixed there for the boundary stone between the two States of Maryland and Virginia. He told me he was carried to that stone and whipped by his grandfather. I think named Butler Tyler, to the best of knowledge, and that he was whipped there to make him remember that it was a boundary stone between the two States. This was about 15 or 20 years ago. The stone has not been moved to my knowledge since, but the ice may have moved it two or three feet, but I do not know that it has been moved it. I would say, from my knowledge of the movements of the ice, that it has moved it to the south, if it have moved at all. I was first called to notice the stone when the case of John Tyler vs. the State of Maryland was tried before the Circuit Court of Somerset County, in the State of Maryland in 1851. This case involved the case of the schooner Fashion of which Severn Tyler was owner and John Tyler captain, for dredging oysters in the waters of Maryland contrary to her laws. Witnesses were examined in the trial of that case as to where the line of Virginia and Maryland run across the Tangier Sound. I was examined myself as a witness in the case, and I heard the examination of witnesses in the case. The vessel I saw seized, and she was taken by the said Mr. John Cullen; I know not by what authority on the westerward part of the Great Rock. That rock lies about from east to southeast from this house. I did not see her in the act of dredging. That rock is a very large rock. It lies north of the Davidson and Lovitt line. I mean it is a large oyster rock called Great Rock. I don't think any portion of that rock lies north of an east line from the stone described by me. I have never been called to note that stone since, until called on by Mr. Wise and Mr. Aydelott, here present, in October 1871. At that time I showed that stone to these Commissioners and to Capts. Brown and Drummond and others. The same stone, which I showed to them at the same place I went to on Friday last, and saw it removed from its place, lying on the edge of the marsh, and a stake sticking in the place whence it was removed. According to the evidence of William Tyler in the aforesaid case in 1851, I have no doubt that that stone was a boundary stone between the two States. He testified in court that he was carried to that stone as a boundary stone, and whipped severely to make him remember that stone boundary. Mr Thomas Tyler also testified that he was carried to the stone and ducked to make him remember the stone it as a boundary. Mr. John Tyler also testified that he was carried to it and whipped at the same time. These were all that testified about the stone in that trial, and they are all three dead. Mr. William Tyler died about three years ago, and I am told his age then was about 80 years of age. Thomas Tyler died about 1864 I am told, and his age on his tombstone I am told is marked 91 years of age. So that he was about 78 years of age at the time he testified in said case. John Tyler died I am told 17 years ago last September. I don't know his age when he died, but am told he was between 60 and 70 years of age. So that he must have been about 61 when he testified. William Tyler was the son of David Tyler. Thomas Tyler was the father of David, and William and Thomas were brothers, and the sons of David Tyler whose father was David Tyler whose father was Thomas. John Tyler is said to have been the father of the last named Thomas Tyler who was the oldest I have ever heard of. Thomas Tyler, the son of John the elder, lived I am told at the home place on Drum Point, and that place has been, as long as I have known it, in the Tyler family, until purchased by my son John Wesley Tyler, and others in 1866. I know of but one Drum Point on Smith's Island but I am told there are two. I remember there is a Drum Point two or three miles north of this, on the northeast side of Smith's Island, but that point is not the Drum Point which I mean as the home of the Tylers. Where Wm. Tyler lived was called Drum Point, and where Thomas Tyler lived was called Black Walnut Point. These two points were adjoining lands, one to the other, Benj. Bradshaw lives on Drum Point --Wm. Evans lives there, also Wm. S. Bradshaw and Stuart Evans and John W. Marshall, my son lives on Black Walnut Point. These two points are near the middle of an east and west line across Smith's Island. This Drum Point is not far off from Tyler's Ditch, and on Sunday last, Mr. Ephraim Tyler, the keeper of the Light House at Fog's Point, north end of Smith's Island, told me that he could not be here to testify but sent word by me to the Commissioners that the line between the two States, as he was told by old Mr. Butler Tyler, his grandfather, I think, ran right through the yard of the home place, between the kitchen and the house, on Black Walnut Point. I don't know who Butler Tyler was. There are two ditches or canals, called Tyler's Ditch or Canal; one runs by Black Walnut Point and is the northern one, and the other I never heard called Tyler's Ditch until I heard the deed read from Elisah Crockett and wife to Richard and William Evans. Always before I had heard it called Parks' Ditch. The one north of this I have always heard called Tyler's Ditch. the southern ditch cuts the South Point marshes now--my son a part or share in it: we hold up to Parks Ditch; The southern ditch cuts the South Point marshes and how far these marshes ran north I don't know. I own half of Sanks' marshes, which are the southern part of Smith's Island nobody lives near it on South Point. The marshes west of South Point are called Hog Neck, north of Shanks' marshes, which are the southern part of Smith's Island. A house is now standing on Hog Neck where I am told, that the runaway marriages were held to and from Maryland and Virginia; by old uncle John Parks, who was a very old man and owned the place, that when couples ran away from Maryland to be married in Virginia they were married in the kitchen, and when they ran away from Virginia, to be married in Maryland, they were married in the dwelling House. John Tyler now lives in the dwelling house. I can now come pretty near where the kitchen stood. I have known old John Nelson who was the son of old Tommy Nelson, called King Nelson. John Nelson's children have always as far as I know, and as long as I have known them, lived in the lower part of Little Annamessex; I mean between Tangier and Pocomoke sloune and south of little Annemessex. They lived higher up a great deal than Cedar Straits. I live on Shanks' Island, and I have paid taxes in Accomac County, Va., ever since I have lived on Smith's Island. I first settle on South Point Island, close to Drum Point where Benj. Bradshaw lives, the creek just separating us a mile, more or less apart and then, as well as now, I paid taxes in Virginia. I have never known the time when Fox's Islands were ever joined to the main land north, and I have never heard of any such fact, and when I first came to Smith's Island I came through Cedar Straits in a canoe and flat sloop, and have known it ever since, having been through them, I suppose, a hundred times. I have also known what they told me were Fox's Islands. There is a neck of land between Big Fox Island and the main; it is an Island now, but whether it has been artificially cut through or not, I do not know. The passage between Watts' Island and Fox's Island has always, in my recollection, been open to vessels of six feet of water. The distance, I think, from Watts' Island to the lowest Fox Island is not more that three miles, and I have never heard any tradition stating that there was ever a time when one, with the aid of a fence rail, could walk from Fox's Island to Watts' Island. I don't know where Cow Ridge is except that I have been told that it is where Severn Bradshaw (now present) now lives, lying south of the Thoroughfare on Smith's Island; the Thoroughfare runs right by it; his house is not more than one hundred yards from his laining on the thoroughfare. I do not myself know of any place on Smith's Island called Horse Hummock, but I have heard of a place called "Oak Hummock," where Alex. Tyler now lives. I know where old man Jno. Parks lived; he is now dead. He lived from two or three miles south of the North Tyler's Ditch, which cuts through into the Thoroughfare. John Parks' land was conveyed over some 20 years to James Hoffman, who removed to Pungoteague Creek, in Accomac County, and he sold the same land. they tell me that 900 acres of the land was recorded in Accomac County Virginia, and the balance in Somerset County Maryland. I have never paid taxes in Maryland on land or other property, or for any purpose whatever. Old William Tyler told me that when Peter Evans lived here, at this place of Johnson Evans, called "Horse Hummock," that he (William Tyler) always paid the taxes in Virginia at Drummondtown, and Peter Evans who was my brother-in-law paid him, Mr. Tyler.
Cross-examined by Mr. Wise.
To prevent misunderstanding of what I have heretofore said, I will now state that my meaning as to the time when I first knew of the stone spoken of by me, was to say that I first knew of this stone 15 or 20 years before I was examined in 1851, in the case of John Tyler vs. the State of Maryland about the schooner Fashion. I now say that I was first told of this stone by William Tyler about the time of my first coming to Smith's Island. I was never told by Mr. Wm. Tyler anything about a Cedar I don't recollect it, and I was not present all the time of trial. And heard nothing at the trial of a cedar or cedar stump or root that I recollect. Nobody from Smith's Island testified in regard to the boundary between Virginia and Maryland, but the three Tylers. Peter Evans lived here at this place called Horse Hummock many years ago--say 25 years or more. He bought it of old William Tyler and Ailcey his wife for a mortgage debt, and sold it to John W. Marsh, who lives in Chesconnessex Creek, Accomac County, VA.--Horse Hummock, the place where we now are, is the place where Peter Evans lived, I think, but I don't know, that the deed from Wm. Tyler to Peter Evans was recorded in Accomac County Va.
(Here Mr. Jones read to witness first an extract of a deed from Wm. Tyler and Ailcey his wife to Peter Evans dated October 2nd 1842, and also a deed from Peter Evans and Triffany his wife, to John W. Marsh, dated October 3rd 1857, both deeds recorded in Somerset County Md.)
(Both deeds conveying tract of land called Horse Hummock, and reciting metes & bounds thereof, and describing the land as in Somerset County Md. And beginning at a well known bounder stone lying at the sound side about 3/4 of a mile to the north of the house, &c. (as shown by a copy hereto annexed as exhibits.)
By Mr. Aydelott.
I have no recollection of any Processioners coming on here to procession lands on Smith's Island from Virginia and the officers of Virginia have neglected to come on here for any purpose except when they wanted us to vote. I have never known a sheriff to come on here to collect taxes; they give us our list themselves and make us pay what they charge, and make us go to the main land to pay them. I have paid taxes in Virginia, and never to any officer of Virginia on Smith's Island.
Re-Examined by Mr. Wise.
I have always voted in Virginia except one time, and that was when I lived up on South Point, and then I did not know in which State I lived and voted in both. I pay the oyster tax in Virginia. Many of the people of Smith's Island pay their taxes on the oyster license in both States. Capt. Brown has granted licenses I believe to people on this island clear up to Cage's Straits, and voted for him up to February, 1844, when he left the House of Representatives of the Congress of the United States. Mr. Jones was elected in the adjoining district of Maryland in 1841 and 1843. I never voted for Mr. Jones, but did vote for Mr. Wise in 1841 and 1843 for the reason that I was in Virginia, and I then lived on South Point, Smith's Island.
JAMES T. EVANS was next called, sworn and examined:
I am 59 Years old. I live close to the place where I was born, on the same tract called "North End." This place very near adjoins, about two miles north of this, close on the Thoroughfare. I took out my license in Virginia, at Drummondtown, till they changed the Customs House to Cherrystone. I was well acquainted with old Tommy called "King" Nelson, and with old Job Parks called Jobey. They were two of the oldest men I remember of ever knowing. I think they said Tommy Nelson was 105 and Jobey Parks a little older. They told me they helped to run this line between Maryland and Virginia, and carried the chain. They said they went to Ragged Point, on the Potomac River, and run a southeast course five miles below Point Lookout, down the Potomac, until they got north of Smith's Point; From that five mile point they struck a course across the bar (the Chesapeake) to Smith's Island, at Mister's Thoroughfare, to a gum tree, and from the gum tree to Beaver Hummock, and put a stone on the Hummock at that point, and from Beaver Hummock between two cedars (and parts of the stumps are there now, and so is the stone,) to a point called the Barn, where also they placed a stone, which is said to be still there, and then an east course to old Jane's Island, where they said a peach orchard stood, leaving a part of Jane's Island on each side of the line, and now I can't say whether they said that they ran an east or easterly course from that point to Pitt's Creek on the Pocomoke River, but they said they ran an east or easterly course from that course to Pitt's Creek on the Pocomoke, which they placed as above stated. I have seen the gum tree of which I speak and recollect, it well; that tree stood on the south side of Mister's Thoroughfare, Beyond Pitt's Creek, they did not say anything about running the line. Besides this tradition there were other traditions about where the line was. Some said it was old Herne Island Channel; some said it was up as high as Troy Island in the Thoroughfare, and some said it was up as high as Cage's Straits, I was once a pilot with Blout, the Coast Surveyor about 16 or 17 years ago. He settled a large cedar boundary about ten paces on the sand shore at Ragged Point, on the south side of the Potomac, and I believe that post is still there. It was put down so very deep in the sand, I can't say how deep. The gum tree spoken of was then on the land of Marmaduke Mister; it is now Severn Bradshaw's land. The cedar post at Ragged Point was put on the land of Mr. Bowie, whose first name I don't recollect. Mr Blount exactly agreed with the statement of Tommy Nelson and Jobey Parks as to the line as far as Pitt's Creek. Mr. Nelson told me about this line, when I lived on Jane's Island about 36 years ago. counting by the age of my children. I then moved from Jane's Island to the upper house on Tangier Island, about 28 years ago, and Jobey Parks and I became acquainted after I moved to Tangier, and he told me this about the same time 28 years ago. Jobey Parks lived on Tangier, and was the father of Stephen Parks, now living. both Nelson and Parks stated that when the line was run there were a number of Officers and other persons engaged in the work, and they had barges, &c., with them--I was told by Nelson and Parkes separately, and along way apart from each other and at different times, and they agreed with each other. I have seen the stone at Beaver Hummock between two cedar stumps, when it was in one piece; it is now in two. I cannot say how big it was, but according to my calculation and that of others it weighed about a ton. When I saw it on the bank, before it went down the bank, it looked almost white. showing plainly from afar. There came a very hard freeze about 1832. I know by the death of Wm. Tyler, and there came a heavy storm which drove the ice under the stone and drove it out, and the stone was afterwards found in the water in two pieces. Beaver Island is where you found the stone, below Troy Island from 1/3 to 1/2 a mile. Nelson and Parks mentioned no other boulders of stone, and no other marks of the line to Pitt's Creek that I remember. I have heard old Mr. Johnny Parks say, the same who lived where John Tyler now lives, that the line went between his great-house and kitchen, and Butler Tyler claimed that it went between his two houses at Drum Point, between dwelling and kitchen. Marmaduke Mister said it was not so, for it went to the gum, for he saw Nelson and Parks when they helped to carry the chain.
Cross-examined by Jones.
Jobey Parks told me his age, and he said that he was over a hundred years old, and he was some older that Tommy Nelson. They told me they helped run the line between Maryland and Virginia, and it was soon after the Revolutionary War. When Tommy Nelson told them about running the line he lived on Jenkins' Creek close by the bridge--We were out fishing when he told me. He said they commenced at Ragged Point on the Potomac to run the line: they run southeast till they got five miles below Point Lookout, and then struck a strait east course across the bay to Mister's Thoroughfare to a gum tree, Jobey Parks said he was pressed by the British and kept by them until the year 1780. and it being very cold, they to get wood and he escaped and came to Deal's Island and walked across Manokin Sound to Flat Cape Shore. He traveled down to Dedar Straits, and then started to walk across the Tangier Sound on the ice to go to Tangier. He came to an air-hole or streak in the ice; he jumped and slided across and got to Tangier. In the spring he went and joined the American troops and served there till peace; and he and Tommy Nelson were in the same brigade, and they helped in this survey before he volunteered in the war, but he must have been grown. They both told me they were soldiers in the service, and were employed in running the line as spoken of before they were discharged after peace was proclaimed 1783. I don't remember that Parks and Nelson said they carried the chain all the way to Pitt's Creek or any further than Smith's Island, but they said they did carry it across Smith's Island, and did not tell me they were discharged from the survey before they got to Pitt's Creek. When I was employed with Blount, I was engaged in putting out buoys.--He said the line he run was the line of Virginia and Maryland. I don't remember, but I think Parks and Nelson had told me about the line before I was with Blount. I have no education and can neither read or write.
Re-examined by Mr. Wise.
I know where a Queens's Ridge is on Tangier Island; I know of no other place by that name. Piney Island is northeast of Queens's Ridge. I know Rich Hummock, and it lies a little north of Piney Island. I know old Herne Island and it is a little south of east from the south of Shank's Creek on Smith's Island.
(Here Mr. Wise read a copy of a commonwealth grant, signed by Beverly Randolph, Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, granting to Richard Evans 47 acres of land lying in the County of Accomac, Va., 27 acres thereof called "Queen's Ridge," and described by courses and distances also 5 acres thereof called "Piney Island,' described by courses and distances, also 7 acres the other part thereof, called "Rich Hummock," described by courses and distances, also 8 acres, the residue thereof, called "old Herne Island," described by courses and distances--sealed with the lesser seal of the said commonwealth on the 31st day of October Anno Domini 1791, and of the commonwealth the 16th, and certified by William P. M. Kellam, Register of the Land Office of Virginia, which copy is herewith filed and annexed to this deposition as an Exhibit XX.). See past_islands.htm.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
MR. DAVID TYLER was next called, sworn and examined:
I am 53 years of age the 29th of April 1872, born in 1819. I reside now upon the north end of this, Smith's Island not farther than a mile, say, from Fog's Point Light, I was born and raised on the land where Thomas Tyler, my father, lived, and resided there until I was 29 years of age. Thomas Tyler, my father, was the brother of William Tyler, and they were the sons of David Tyler, who was the son of Thomas Tyler, who was the son of John Tyler, the first of my family of whom I know anything, who came, I am told from England, and where he settled I don't know, but presume he settled on this island. David Tyler died, I think, when I was four years old. My father died in 1864, and William Tyler died in 1868. They thought there was a line across the lower part of this Island; they lived on a piece of land where their father and old Butler Tyler, their uncle lived. Butler Tyler owned all the land, I am told at Drum and Black Walnut Points; that he was the eldest male heir under the English law, and becoming infirm, he sold the whole of his land to his brother David. David had Thomas, John, Nellie, and Severn, William, Zipporah and Ann, four sons and three daughters, seven children, naming them as their ages ran. Benjamin Bradshaw lives at Drum Point; the next house is Wm. Evans, of Jas., next is Wm. S. Bradshaw; next, Stuart M. Evans, are all who are living at Drum Point; and Thos. Bradshaw, John Wesley Marshall, Peter J. Marshall, Benj. Marsh and John H. Bradshaw live at Black Walnut Point. The house of Butler Tyler, who owned all of the land, was on Black Walnut Point. I had heard my father, Thomas Tyler, say that the line run west from this piece of rock above Horse Hummock more than half a mile across the Island. I have seen that rock two or three times; it is out of the passway a little. I have known that rock 20 years I know. It was never moved within my knowledge since I first saw it. I heard them talk about it, and went and saw it. Wm. Tyler said that he was whipped there when small boy, to make him remember it was a boundary between the two states. I think but am not sure, I understood from them both that it was a southeast corner or portion of "Pitscraft." and also a bounder of this land.
Examined by Mr. Jones.
The same stone has been taken and held as the beginning boundary of this tract of land called Horse Hummock. John Tyler, my uncle, lived here, he died in 1834, Peter Evans bought it under a mortgage deed from John Tyler to Wm. Tyler. I was a small boy, and know but little of the business matters at that time. I cannot say when that stone was first called a bounder of this place called Horse Hummock. My father lived here more that 54 years ago; he removed from here about 1818, I think, and as I have heard, and he always held the stone as the beginning bounder of this land called Horse Hummock. I wrote one deed from Peter Evans and wife to John W. Marsh, dated in 1857, recorded at Princess Anne Md. in 1857, and the other was from John W. Evans and his wife to his father, Johnson Evans, in the year 1872, recorded I don't where. I never examined any other deed for this land. When Wm. Tyler gave Peter Evans a deed there was a right smart dispute about where it ought to be recorded. Evans wanted it recorded in both States. Tyler told him that was unnecessary, and it was recorded in Princess Anne and Evans got a copy and carried it to Drummondtown, the Court House of Accomac, and had it recorded there, as he told me. I have no knowledge of where any deed for this place called Horse Hummock, prior to this deed, were recorded. I never heard my father or uncle William say that this house, called Horse Hummock, was in Maryland, but acted as though it was. My father thought it was in Virginia, and I heard a strong argument between him and James Hoffman about where the line was, Hoffman insisted that all Smith's Island was in Maryland down nearly to old Herne Island, while my father contended that part of Smith's Island was in Virginia. My father thought that the boundary stone I have named north of this house was the line between the two States. My uncle William told Peter Evans that the deed to him was sufficient to be recorded in Maryland, and refused to give another deed, and Evans had a copy recorded in Virginia. I never put the quantity of the land, by naming the number of acres, in the deed I wrote. The persons residing in this house, within my recollection, I have known to vote in Maryland, and sent their children to the free schools of Somerset County. Four years ago a public road was laid out from this Kirtelage to the church on this Island, as a county road of Somerset County, Md. built at the expense of that county at a cost of about thirteen hundred dollars. I have no knowledge of the manner and cause of appointing my uncle, John Tyler, a Justice of the Peace of Maryland. There had to be two Justices of the Peace on the Island to certify deeds, and I believe my uncle and Solomon Evans were appointed at the same time. Solomon Evans lived at the north part of Smith's Island. I never knew Justices to be appointed on this Island before James Hoffman was elected a Justice of the Peace of Maryland by the people in 1853, and served two years. He then lived where John Tyler now lives on Hog Neck, and there is a piece of land, south of where John Tyler lives conveyed by Hoffman, or his son, to William D. Bradshaw, I think, and I took the deed and took the acknowledgement as Justice of the Peace of the State of Maryland, but I don't know where it was recorded.
(Mr. Jones here produced a copy of a deed dated the 11th day of May 1872, from John W. Evans and Polly his wife, to Johnson Evans, describing the lands as situated in Somerset County written by the witness, filed herewith as an Exhibit.)
The Witness then added that the stone mentioned to his affidavit is the same mentioned in this deed.
Crisfield, May 30, 1872
The Commissioners, pursuant to the adjournment of their meeting at the house of Johnson Evans, at Horse Hummock yesterday, Wednesday, the 29th inst., met this day at the Telegraph and Railroad office at Crisfield at 10 o'clock, A.M., and proceeded to take the depositions as follows. Present Thomas K. Welton, Justice of the Peace for the State of Maryland and of the County of Somerset, and Hon. I. D. Jones and Wm. J. Aydelott, on the part of Maryland and Hon. D. C. De Jarnett, Col. William Watts and Hon. Henry A. Wise on the part of Virginia, Commissioners.
CAPT. WILLIAM STERLING was first called, sworn and examined:
I was 61 years of age the 30th of November last. I was born at the old Sterling Place in Little annamessex and have lived there and near there ever since. I own land on the westward side of Ape's Hole Creek. and on the east side of the road leading from the Crisfield or Asbury Church to Ape's Hole, down the Hold. I was the son of John Sterling and his father was named Travis Sterling, and his father was named John Sterling, I think, but I am not positive. I recollect my grandfather Travis very well, having lived with him until he died. He was 85 years old when he died. He said he had always lived in Little Annemessex. I have heard him speak often about the condition of the Islands from Cedar Straits to Watts' Island, especially of the Middle Marshes. He said they were once an island, and the middle ground was once an island; neither was an Island in my recollection, both being washed away before my memory. I don't recollect anything of what he said about the other Islands of the Fox Island Group, but I know myself that they have washed away a great deal in my remembrance. Cedar Straits have not widened much, if any, in my remembrance, as there is but little tide through them. Fox's Islands have washed away some good deal, I can't say how much, on the western side, and remain about the same on the eastern side. I have been familiar with the water on the coast of Fox's Islands, and between them and Watts' Island, from my early boyhood. All on the western side of Fox's Island there are numerous stumps, I can't say how large, and on the Middle Marsh bar, between Fox's Island and Watts' Island, I have often fished and found large stumps. The shoals in three and four and five feet of water have stumps, but there are none in the channel, which, in some places in the north end channel, is fifteen feet water, I think it is all of that, but never measured it, and in the middle there is not so much depth of water, but it is 10 or 12 feet. I know that Watts' Island is a great deal smaller on the eastern side, being exposed to the northeast wind. I think on that side next the house it must have washed away in my recollection 50 yard. There is no washing on the north end of Watts' Island. There is a little Island on the north end of Watts' Island which has been there ever since I can remember, and may have washed a little, but not much, if any, but I never took much notice of the south end of Fox's Island. The south end of Big Watts' Island has washed considerably. there is a thoroughfare between Big and Little Watts' Island which I think causes that was, as there is considerable tide there, Old Robert Parker married my grandfather's sister, sister of Travis Sterling, and was my great Aunt. I was there three years ago.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
I did not see the line run some years ago by Lieut. Michler, now General Michler, but am informed and believe that it passed the house of a colored man named Severn Sterling, form 1/4 to 1/2 mile north of my store.
Examined by Mr. Aydelott.
I have never seen any boundary marks of the line between the two States of the Pocomoke River to the Tangier Sound, and I have never heard of any.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
I never searched for any such marks, and I don't know of any person who ever did; and I know of no traditions of any line or marks of a line run from Tangier Sound across the land to Pocomoke River. I don't recollect of ever hearing of a line run by Scarborough and Calvert across the land from Tangier Sound to Pocomoke River, and I don't recollect of conversing with Mr. Wise, in the fall of 1871, about the line run by Scarborough and Calvert, but I did converse with him then about the line run by Michler. I have never heard of any line run by the two States north of Cedar Straits, but all that I ever heard from the old people was of a line through Cedar Straits, and I don't know what course it was said to have run from the Straits. I do know Pitt's Creek and have been past it, and I have always been told that it was in Virginia but whether or not I do not know. I never landed at Pitt's Creek, but it is on the left bank of the Pocomoke River. I think that Pitt's Creek is northeast from Cedar Straits.
Re-examined by Mr. Jones
When I first knew Cherrystone Creek in the County of Northampton in the State of Virginia the eastward bay at the mouth was all fast land, and it is all washed away now except an island at the point below the woods.
Examined by Mr. Jones.
MICHAEL SOMERS was next called, sworn and examined:
I was 80 years old the 24th of this month. I was born in Little Annemessex and have resided there ever since. I was born on a tract of land called "Cherry Hinton," and resided there until some ten years ago, and then moved eastward on Ape's Hole Creek on a tract of land called "Frustration." "Cherry Hilton," nearly all of which I owned extends westward as far as the patent in your hand will show, and the patent certified by the Register of the Land Office of Md. exhibited herewith, dated the 20th day of April 1682, for a part of a warrant to Col. Wm. Stevens of Somerset County in the Province of Maryland, for ten thousand acres of land the 1st day of March A. D. 1680, describing the land called "Cherry Hinton," as lying between Annamessex River and Pocomoke Bay for 150 acres (a copy of which is hereto annexed,) then also a like copy of a tract of land called "Frustration" for 40 acres of land, assigned to Francis Martin by William Whittington warrant dated 20th of October A. D. 1694, and the patent dated the 10th day of March A. D. 1695, described a neck of land lying between Pocomoke Bay and Annamessex River and near to Watkin's Point, as shown by the copy of the copy hereto annexed--"Frustration," extended to Ape's Hold Creek. I have never run or seen the lines of "Frustration," but I have always heard that it ran to Ape's Hole Creek and not to the Bay of Pocomoke. The course from my house to Pocomoke Bay is southeast and east. I think an east line from my house would strike Syke's Island. I live about half a mile southeast of Lawson's Shells, where stands a windmill, and Lawson's stone house stands on the broad water of Ape's Hole Creek, The owners of the land west of "Cherry Hinton" are first Mrs. Cullin; who lived on a place called "Sterling's Good Luck;" it belonged to my father, and then there are Hamilton Moore's heirs; Mrs. Mason a widow and William Tyler, and that is about all, except the old Tyler family, the heirs of Littleton Tyler west and southwest. They live I think on a tract of land called "Price's Vineyard," but of that I am not certain. East of "Cherry Hinton" is a marsh where nobody lives. I own part of it. Travis Sterling owned part of it called Cedar Hummock, and belongs I suppose to his heirs. I own Oak Hummock, a part of it; also "Lapland" a part of that marsh. That marsh extends down to Pocomoke Bay. It is all marsh on the Pocomoke Sound or Bay. Northeast from where I live and on the sea side of Ape's Hole Creek, which I have understood used to be called Johnson's Creek. I don't know the names of the other land farther east on Pocomoke Bay. I have never heard any tradition of any line having been actually run by any surveyor across the lower part of Somerset County, between Tangier Sound and the right bank of Pocomoke River before that run by Lieut. Michler a few years ago--say in 1859. That line struck my house on Jane's Island, and that house stood on a sand beach always called Old Island Beach; now known by the name of Riggin's Island. The Light House now stands on the End of the sand bar which makes out from the said beach, immediately on the north point of the mouth of Little Annamessex River.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
I have heard of a line between the States of Maryland and Virginia which ran through Watkins' Point, but whether the tract of land which is mentioned in the patent referred to called Watkins' Point, is the point through which the sate divisional line passes or not I do not know. I have heard of a line which called on Watkins' Point. I don't know on which Sound Pocomoke or Tangier Sound, it was located, but certainly it was the general opinion with us that it was the point on Pocomoke Sound. I had heard of no other Watkins' Point. That is all the reason that I had for believing that was the point called for by the divisional line. I never knew any mark to be placed on that tract of land called Watkins Point on the Pocomoke Sound, as and for a divisional line between the two States, and I have never heard any tradition of a mark or survey being made on that tract of land for such a line, except as I have stated that I had heard of a State Line that was run or was to have been run to and from Watkins' Point. I don't know what the size of that tract is, but the patent exhibited will show.--Abraham Somers was my father, his father was named Benjamin Somers and further back I don't know. The name sometimes is spelled Summers. I spell my name Somers.--Horsey Somers of Accomac County Va, was own cousin to my father.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
MR. HANCE LAWSON was next called, sworn and examined:
I was 47 years of age the 31st day of last October. I was born on a tract of land called "Hill's Folly" between Little Annemesses River and Pocomoke Bay. I now reside at the same place within 200 yards of where I was born. I own part of a tract of land called "Bay Bush Hall," and part of a tract called "Agreement" adjoined "Hill's Folly" on the northeast, and "Bay Bush Hall" adjoins the same on the south. Some of Littleton Tyler's heirs of Hamilton Moore, and David Byrd and Thomas Byrd and widow Mason, and others live on "Bay Bush Hall," and not on "Price's Vineland," as Mr. Somers supposed.
(Here Mr. Jones exhibited a certificate from the Land Office of Maryland, signed by George C. Brewer, Register of the Land Office of the Western Shore, Maryland, for a tract of land called Hill's Folly, surveyed for John Hill the 18th day of August 1672, and patented to him the 24th day of June 1673, a copy of which is hereto annexed as an exhibit. It called for one hundred and fifty acres across on Back Creek, near the mouth of Little Annemessex River.)
MR. LAWSON continued and said:
This patent called in the patent Back Creek, now is called Jenkins' Creek.
(Mr. Jones then presented a copy of a patent for a place called "Bay Bush Hall," containing one hundred acres, dated the 16th of April 1682, warrant for ten thousand acres as already stated and herewith exhibited.)
MR. Lawson stated:
This was for the "Bay Bush Hall" already mentioned by him.
(Mr. Jones then presented a certificate of a survey dated the 1st of June 1683, and patented 1st of June 1685, for a place called "Mickle Meadow," containing three hundred acres, a copy of which is herewith exhibited.)
MR. LAWSON SAYS:
I know of a "Mickle Meadow" on Back Creek, which I believe to be that of this patent adjoining on the south side of Bay Bush Hall, and on the south side of the mouth of Back Creek. The Back Creek mentioned in the patent is now called Jenkins' Creek. The cedar Straits have washed away considerably, in my recollection on both sides; I mean the Straits have widened, say as near as I can, fifty yards, more or less. The little and big thoroughfares between Fox's Island and Watts' Island have widened considerably within my memory. I haven't been there for over two years, and the little has widened less than the great Thoroughfare. After passing Cedar Straits Marsh we come to Cedar Straits; then we come to a point of marsh, which is now an island. that was formerly attached to Big Fox's Island; then to big Fox's Island then to the little thoroughfare; then to an island of marsh, the name of which I don't know--it may have been Little Fox Island-- I don't know then the marsh continues, so that I cannot describe the Island of marsh and the little thoroughfare, I don't know haw far; but from the last island of marsh to Watts' Island is a considerable sheet of water, two miles wide, more or less, in which sheet I do not know whether there is an Island or not, but do not think there is an Island; and in this sheet of water is the middle channel and the north channel for Tangier to Pocomoke Sound. Since my earliest recollection, I know that the thoroughfare from Cedar Straits to Watts' Island have been gradually widening since my memory. I was generally acquainted with the old people who lived in this neighborhood and have died since my memory. I knew old Tommy Nelson, called "King," and he resided not more than a quarter mile from where I now live, on the north side of Back or Jenkins' Creek, I think his reported age was from 90 to 100 years when he died, but he did not know his own age, but he was a very old man. I think he died 15 or 20 years ago, and he was the son of Zachariah or Zaker Nelson. He was esteemed highly as a sober, truthful and correct man. I heard him say that his father lived on Fox's Island during the Revolutionary war; he said his father lived there; he told me that he lived on Fox's Island during the war. I never heard of his being a Revolutionary soldier. I know James T. Evans, an old man who stutters, on Smith's Island. I think that he once lived on old Jane's Island some 12 or 15 years ago. I know his general reputation on Smith's Island and elsewhere in this neighborhood, for truth and veracity--he don't at all it is more than No 1. and I don't think he stands very high for truth and veracity--he don't at all events with me, and not generally. I never heard any tradition of any line having been run, by any surveyor, across the lower part of Somerset County, between Tangier Sound and the right bank of Pocomoke River, before that run by Lieut. Michler a few years ago.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
I never heard of the character of Jas. T. Evans being impeached in any Court of Justice. I never knew any person but myself to impeach his character for truth and veracity on oath, and I did not know that I would be asked the question under oath. I have heard a great many (not under oath) say that he would tell untruths. I have heard David Tyler (Smith's Island) say so; I have heard Hainey Bradshaw say so, I don't remember the name of any other person, but have heard it generally reported by a great many; I mean, by a great many, several persons; I don't know how many; I don't know that I can name any others besides David Tyler and Hainey Bradshaw. I have never known him to be a witness in Court, and have never heard him testify in Court. In a case where he is not swayed by interest, I would believe him under oath. I don't know that the man would swear to a lie anyhow, interest or no interest, but have heard a number say that he would tell yarns, I don't know that I ever heard any one say that he ever told a malicious or mischievous lie--but, by yarns, I mean that I have heard he would tell untruths. I have never heard the tradition of a line run by Phillip Calvert, of Maryland, and Edmund Scarborough surveyor General of Virginia, across the land from Watkins' Point, or any point on Jane's Island, a straight and east line, across Pocomoke River. I never heard that they had run any line on the Eastern Shore between Maryland and Virginia, I have heard only of the Michler line.
I have no knowledge of any marks or information of any marks or boundary lines between the two States, from Tangier Sound across the Pocomoke River, I have heard rumors of marks of a line on Smith's Island. I have heard more about it since this thing came up. I have paid no attention to a boundary line to search for one, for I believed there had been no line established between the two States. I never heard of any marks of a line form the old people on Smith's Island. I have heard that John Marshall who lies on Shank's Island was in Virginia, and paid his taxes there.--I never searched for any marks or boundary anywhere. I mean a State boundary.
Examined by Mr. Jones
MR. WILLIAM NELSON was next called, sworn and examined:
I was 64 years old the 23rd day of last February. I was born just below here on Jenkins' Creek. I am the son of Thomas Nelson usually called "King" Tommy Nelson.---He died about 16 years ago. I don't know his age when he died. He didn't know it but he said it was from 90 to 100 years. I heard him say he was born on Fox's Island. His father's name was Sacker Nelson. He said that he lived with his father Sacker, on Fox's Island. I don't know how long.--In the Revolutionary War they remained there until they got their house burned down by the British. He told me that he and his father had to escape from the British by running into the rushes. After that they moved to the main, north of Cedar Straits. He first moved to a place called Matthews Creek.--He remained there until he bought a little lot a little higher upon Jenkins' Creek. He said that he was a stout boy, and nearly old enough to go into the service or army, and therefore had to skulk about as he was afraid they would take him away, to keep from being impressed by the British. I never heard him say that he was a soldier on either side in the Revolutionary war, but on the contrary, he said that he was not in the army. I have heard my father say that his father, Sacker Nelson, told him that he had seen the time when he could take a twelve foot fence rail, and walk all the way from the main land across Cedar Straits to Watts' island. I never heard my father say anything about a State line on Smith's Island.--I have never heard any tradition, from anybody, of any line having been run, by any surveyor, across the lower part of Somerset County, between Tangier Sound and the right bank of Pocomoke River, before Michler's survey. I am not much acquainted with James T. Evans, on Smith's Island; knew him when he lived on Jane's Island, but saw him very seldom, and heard nothing of his general character.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
I never heard of any line being run from Tangier Sound across Somerset County and Pocomoke River, by any one, surveyor or not, until Michler's survey. I was with him two days, from here to Jane's Island, near Benny Thomas' house, right back of which, about 100 yards, where the post put up by the Coast Survey was. I started with him (Michler) to go over to Smith's Island, but a storm prevented, and he did his work on Jane's Island. I am told the line came out here at James Tawes' house, a little north if it. That line was run before the Crisfield or Eastern Shore Railroad was constructed. I don't know whether that line touches the end of the railroad wharf or not, as I never sighted it. I never heard my father say anything about a State line on Big Fox Island running near a tree on that Island. My father never showed to me any tree on Big Fox Island running near a tree on that Island. My father never showed to me any tree (a gum or other tree) on Smith's Island, as a boundary tree between Virginia and Maryland, and I never heard him speak of such a tree. I have never heard of any State boundary marks on Smith's Island. I was not mistaken in hearing my father speak of Watts' Island for Fox's Island, when he said that his father told him that he had seen the time when, with a twelve foot fence log, he could walk all the way from the Main, at Cedar Straits, to Watts' Island. I suppose it is now five or six miles from Fox's Island to Watts' Island. I suppose it has been that distance ever since I could remember, only excepting the washing away. I think it has washed away about two hundred yards at the south end of Fox's Island. I don't know how much it has washed away on Watts' Island on the north end; I was never there but twice in my life; I know nothing about it. I have heard my father say that the washing away on the west side of Fox's Island was very considerable. In going with him in a canoe opposite where the house was, he showed me the place in the water where his father's well had been, and then it was 150 yard or more from the shore. My father had no education. My brother, John Nelson was the son of King Nelson and about 77 years when he died 5 years ago.
THOMAS W. DOUGHERTY was next called and examined:
I was 54 years of age the 22nd day of December last. I was born about 2 1/2 miles from this place, and resided in this neighborhood ever since I was born. I think Jane's and Cedar Island, south of Jane's which two Islands form the mouth of Little Annemessex have washed away all along the Sound shore, two hundred yards, in my remembrance. I have heard of no line run by anybody across the lower part of Somerset County, between Tangier Sound and Pocomoke River, except the line run by Michler. I have known James T. Evans, of Smith's Island; he is a cousin of mine.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
The southwestern point of Jane's Island is the north point of the mouth of Little Annemesses River; that point has washed away a good deal. I have heard Nathaniel D. Daugherty say that there was a peach orchard on the old Jane's Island, and as good a well a water as there was in my remembrance in Annemessex. This whole neck of land, consisting of several parts, including Jane's Island in my remembrance was called Annamessex, say from Kingston down to Cedar Straits or Pocomoke Sound. The Channel of Little Annemesses has not changed in my remembrance. I followed the water for thirty years up to the last three years.
THOMAS W DAUGHERTY.
Horse Hummock, Smith's island, May 31, 1872
The commissioners met at this place this day, pursuant to adjournment on yesterday at Crisfield. Present Thomas K Welton, a Justice of the Peace of the State of Maryland, and Hon. I. D. Jones and Wm. Aydelott, Commissioners on the part of Maryland, and Hon. D. C. Jarnett, Col. Wm. Watts and Hon. Henry A. Wise. Commissioners on the part of Virginia, and proceeded to take further testimony.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
FRANCIS EVANS was first called, sworn and examined:
I am 64 and in my 65th year of my age. I was born on Smith's Island on Rogue's Point which lies about a half a mile below or south of the thoroughfare, called Mister's Thoroughfare, towards the north end of the Island. My father was John and grandfather Francis Evans; they both lived there at the same place. I have heard some say the line between Maryland and Virginia was on the north part about a mile from this house, and others said it was below Horse Hummock. I have been shown a big stone last winter by James T. Evans at Beaver Hummock. I was shown a gum tree by Severn Bradshaw, when we were boys at Cow Hummock, which he said he was told was a line tree between the two States. The tree stood some time after that. I don't know how but I think I could go very near where it stood, as I have seen it often. I never examined it particularly for any marks. I can't say how old I was when I first saw it, but I can state how Severn Bradshaw come to show it to me. We are about the same year's children or the same age, and were on what is Cow Hummock, or Cow Ridge or Orchard Ridge, it was called by all three names. The gum was on Cow Ridge, or Orchard Ridge, now owned by Severn Bradshaw. The reason we were there together was, that we were fond of bird egging, and were at the trees; there were a good many trees on it then, and some around it now. It is cultivated now by Severn Bradshaw. I can't say how long the tree has been down; it was located rather at the lower end, but pretty much in the middle of the hummock. Severn Bradshaw did not tell me how he knew, I have heard other people talk of it as the line. I have also heard of and seen a slat like stone--a large stone in the water about 15 or 20 yards or more from the edge of the marsh on Beaver Hummock--in Mister's Thoroughfare on the north side of the thoroughfare, easterly from Troy Island, which is the one shown me by James T. Evans. I never was shown or heard of any tree or stump or stone or other mark of a State boundary line on the lower part of Smith's Island south of Horse Hummock, but I have seen Gum Island where it was said the "Gum," whether a tree or island was the name I don't know. It was the place of John Parks' residence.--I never saw any mark there. It is the place where John Tyler now lives. I don't know whether that place lies north or south of this place. I have heard there is a stone at Barn Point from those who live there. This I heard for the first time last winter.
Examined by Mr. Jones.
Severn Bradshaw told me that the Gum on Cow Island was a mark of the line between Maryland and Virginia; not that it was a line tree between man and man. Severn Bradshaw is here present and says he don't doubt my statement, but don't recollect the time, nor I, but it was more than 40 years ago.
MR. SEVERN BRADSHAW being present, desired to be re-examined in order to state matters which he forgot and omitted to state in his first examination.
There were two large gum trees, and the only two gum trees, on the island, one stood on the Orchard Hummock where I live, as described by me the other day, the other on Sassafras Hummock where Tubman Evans lived. I recollect both trees well. The tree where I live shown more visibly on the Chesapeake Bay side. We, on the upper part of the Island thought the tree where I lived was the State boundary line. The one at my house was marked with several notches on the south side; of this I am positive. Whether the one on Sassafras was marked or not I don't know. I don't recollect whether there were any notches on the north side of the tree at my house. Sassafras Hummock is northeast of Horse Hummock a considerable distance, and I can show it to you. It went by the name of Tyler's gum. Both trees are now gone. I omitted to state fully being hurried, all that I now recollect about what Tommy Tyler said in the trial of the Vessels Amelia Ann and Edington; in addition to what I have already said, he stated the line between the two states of Maryland and Virginia, his Uncle Butler told him, was run twice in his recollection; that he was said to be a hundred years old when he died, and he has been dead at least 45 years. I have seen him; was nearly grown when he died, and was at his funeral. Tommy Tyler said that Butler had told him that at one time the line ran through his yard at Black Walnut Point, and at another time it ran a little below Drum Point on Tyler's Creek making a difference between the two lines of about 3 hundred yards.--I do believe that one of the other of these two lines has been recognized by the people on this island for more than a century back.
Examined by Mr. Jones.
My father owned Orchard Ridge, where I live, and made a will and devised it to me, and I was the first who built a house on it. My father's name was Jacob Bradshaw. The gum tree stood south of my house about 125 yards. My father's will was recorded at Princess Anne, the county seat of Somerset County, Maryland. My father lied on another part of the same land, south of my house and the gum, at a place called the Forked Oak, and I know where it was said to have stood. It is about 4 1/2 miles northwest of this place. That place is open to the bay, and it is not washed away badly. The Orchard Ridge and Cow Ridge were once the same and are now separated by a small drain. The Orchard Ridge is on the east side and the Cow Ridge is on the west. They lie together nearly north and south at the western mouth of the Mister's Thoroughfare, which mouths into the bay. The "Forked Oak" was on Cow Ridge and a round cedar post, marked with four notches on each side, was placed where the oak was said to have stood, to mark a private boundary. About three or four years ago the cattle broke the post off by rubbing against it. My father always paid taxes in Somerset County, Maryland, and so have I--that is north of where Butler Tyler used to live all of two miles. Thirty or forty years ago there was scarcely any talk about the line of the two States in this Island. The taxes were small, and the oysters in the bay were not counted of great value, and were oysters in the creek, but since dredging commenced about 20 or 25 years ago, oysters have become valuable, and people began to look more closely after the line of the two States; my business was to get oysters where I could, in Virginia and Maryland and I was not interrupted. Since that time I cannot do so. A man can't tell nowadays, on this Island, whether he is in one state or the other. Mr father and I, and the people up there, voted and acted as if in Maryland. The first election district on this Island (called No. 12) was laid off 40 years ago, and before I was a voter, I think. That election was held at the old church where I live, by Solomon Evans and John Tyler, who lived at this place and John M. White. After a few years the district was abolished, and the voters had to go to Brinkley's in Annamessex. Then the election district on this Island was re-established in 1853, and is now District No. 7. The first and present district is of the same bounds, both including Horse Hummock, and the proprietors and residents of Horse Hummock, have been, from first to last, judges of election. I myself have been judge of election and clerk of election, and for four or five years past, officers of registration of voters on this Island, for Maryland, were David Tyler, Hainey Bradshaw, and Wm. Evans of Jno. Then John Evans' son of Johnson lived here at Horse Hummock and I think he was registered as a voter. I was register of voters last fall, and think John Evans, residing here, was registered and voted. There have been four school places on this Island--public school places of Maryland. The first was north of the Thoroughfare, one at Rogue's Point west northwest from here, and one at Oak Hummock, near Alex. Tyler's store, northwest of this place, and there was another on North End. North of this place was no school, either at Horse Hummock or south of it. Generally the children at Horse Hummock have attended school in the public schools of Maryland. There have never been any voters registered in Maryland south of Horse Hummock or due west of it. Some at Drum Point and some at Hog Neck have been registered in Maryland; none residing at Horse Hummock, and none have been registered as far south as Horse Hummock except those residing at Horse Hummock, I have considered the voters on the upper end of Hog Neck, as far south as John Tyler's residence, to be in Maryland.
Re-examined by Mr. Wise.
I do not know whether the proprietors of Horse Hummock voted in 1833, 1835, 1837, 1839, 1841, 1843 in Virginia, for a member of Congress or not. I believe that all the old residents on this Island used to think that Horse Hummock and this house we are now in, was in Virginia, but I don't know it. I know that some in the other, but I have heard the old people say generally that it was in Virginia. I have heard that old uncle Solomon Evans had John Tyler then living here, made magistrate about 1835. I have no knowledge of Horse Hummock ever being claimed for Maryland before that time. I am a member of the Methodist Church, and sometimes conduct the services at our church as an exhorter.
MR. BENJAMIN BRADSHAW was next called, sworn and examined:
I am 48 years of age. I was born just above where Alex. Tyler's store is. I now live near or on Drum Point on Tyler's Creek. I have found a stone at the mouth of a little creek near the Barn, a point so called I am told. The stone is in the water about knee-deep, about 40 odd feet, as measured by my canoe for the shore. It appears to be in pieces. It is jammed all together, and is so in the mud that I cannot say whether it is one stone or not. The whole, as it appears seems to be as big as this table--about three feet square; not exactly square, but rather diamond formed. Its color is light, but it is covered with mud. And I cannot say positively what its color is. The bottom is a sticky clay. There are stumps around it; some right big ones and some small ones; can't say of what wood. When Commissioners were her last fall we were talking about the stone at the church, and it was thought best to stake them off when found.--Day before yesterday Mr. John Tyler told me that you, Mr. Wise, desired to find it, and I searched for it yesterday and found it as I have described. I can't say how far it is down in the mud. It was knee deep from the top of the stone, but it will be nearly bare at low water today. The stone is the Mister's Thoroughfare south of Troy Island at Beaver Hummock I saw myself 25 years ago. I never was told or inquired whether it was a boundary stone or not. I know nothing about the line of the States. I have seen the Beaver Hummock stone often since I first saw it.
MR. STEPHEN T. DIZE was next called, sworn and examined:
I am about 29 years of age; born on Smith's Island at a place called North End, at where Layban Evans now lives, north of this place about 3 miles. Caleb Evans, Capt. John Evans and myself were catching terrapins the other day, and we came across a large stone in the water near Cow Hummock; now called Cow Ridge. I first saw it, and we examined it in about two foot of water--the tide up. I think it is from 6 to 8 feet long, and about 4 to 5 feet across it. It was full of oysters and moss. Could not tell what sort a looking stone it was. It was surely a Stone. It is about a northwest course from here, and a west course from the stone on "Beaver Hummock." It is just off Cow Ridge on the southern side of Mister's Thoroughfare, on a hummock above where Capt. John Tyler lives. I have got marks for it. I guess in fifteen or twenty yards of it in water. The stumps are about medium size. We were about the stone and stumps about a quarter of an hour. I know nothing of the State line; have heard some talk about it. All of our oldest people, I have heard say that it was somewhere about Mister's Thoroughfare. I don't know how that stone was sunk in the mud. This stone is about due west from the stone at Beaver Hummock.
Cross-examined by Mr. Aydelott.
I had no instrument by which to judge of the course. I was a seafaring man, and have always been following the water, and can use the compass as well as any man, and I can judge of the course. I judged by the mouth of the Potomac, and as east and west line cuts the mouth of that river and Mister's Thoroughfare. That thoroughfare is opposite on as east course the mouth of the Potomac. The stone at Beaver Hummock is near the south side of Mister's Thoroughfare and on the north side of Big Thoroughfare, at a place called the "Bottom." I have heard of a stone at the Barn Point many years ago, ever since I was a boy, but I have never seen it. The "Barn" and the stone I have lately found in "Mister's Thoroughfare" is about east, though I have never sighted the course by the compass. I can see the mouth of the Potomac from the mouth of the thoroughfare--both points of the river. I have sighted it before with a compass. I can write but little, and prefer my name to be written.
Stephen T. Dize
MR. JOHNSON EVANS was next called, sworn and examined:
I am 58 years of age. I have lived off and on, at Horse Hummock, about six years. I was born on this (Smith's) Island, and have been living thereon ever since. I bought this place called Horse Hummock, from John Marsh, he bought it of his father-in-law Peter Evans; Peter Evans bought it at auction at a sale under a mortgage deed for John Tyler to Peter Evans, about 27 years ago. Since I bought it I paid taxes in Maryland, and my son John, who was joint owner with me of the place, paid his taxes in Virginia. I have heard that John Tyler, when he owned it paid taxes in Virginia, but for the sake of being magistrate in Maryland paid his taxes in Maryland, Peter Evans paid taxes in both States, I am told. Old Peter Evans now lives at Chesconessix Creek, in Accomac County, Virginia. I have heard that Horse Hummock was always considered in Virginia until John or Jacky Tyler was appointed a Justice of the Peace in Maryland. I have heard for many years of a stone on the east side of Smith's Island about three-quarters of or a mile north of this house at Horse Hummock, at which, as I have heard, children John L. Tyler, William Tyler and Thomas Tyler, had been taken, when young, and one or more of them whipped, and one or more ducked in order to make them remember--whether between two states or two owners of land, I don't know. I can tell of the stone in the Mister's Thoroughfare. Capt. Horace Brown of the Tredagar Tug, sent me a paper, with a drawing of the two stones on it--of the one taken up by you Commissioners the other day, and of the thoroughfare stone. I had it and was looking at it (the paper) and Capt. Henry Dize came up, and I inquired of him whether he knew of any such stone. He replied that he did, and the following Monday morning he and Albert Evans and I went to the stone in the thoroughfare, and said when he first saw it, it was not broken; he went to it directly. When I saw it, it was broken in two pieces, about 18 feet apart; I think it was broken by the ice, but don't know. Last fall (in October) I went with Mr. Wise, Mr. Aydelott, Capt. Brown and Capt. Drummond and others, to the stone a mile or so above Horse Hummock, and showed it to them, and they sighted it by a compass. The same day we went to near the stone in the thoroughfare, but the water being very thick we could not find it then, but it was found last week and examined and replaced in the spot where it was taken from. That was the same stone at the same place where I saw it three years ago.
Cross-examined by Mr. Aydelott.
I have no knowledge of what the true boundary of Maryland and Virginia is, on Smith's Island. I have doubts that the stone removed the other day is the boundary stone of the two States, and don't believe it is now. I had my grandfather Parks say that at one time the State line ran between his house and kitchen, about eighteen feet apart, at the place where John Tyler lives, called Hog Neck, and that place is in a line with the stone which was removed the other day; but I was told afterwards that Tommy, called King Nelson, was on the island at the church, at one time and told the people there that the State line run through the Mister's Thoroughfare, I supposed that the stone and John Tyler's house would show the line between the two states; but my belief now is that the stone in the thoroughfare marks the line between the two States, because it is the big stone, and King Nelson stated the line run through the thoroughfare.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
MR. JOHN TYLER was next called, sworn and examined:
I am 43 years of age. I live in Hog Neck, at the place old Mr. John Parks lived, which is north of a west line from this place. I have always thought since I have lived there that I lived in Virginia. I paid taxes in both States, because I am called on to pay taxes in both, because the line, as I have always heard, runs through my yard. I have heard that from my earliest childhood. I have heard that, in old times, that was the place where runaway marriages were celebrated; the ones form Maryland married in the kitchen, which was in Virginia (it is gone now) and the ones from Virginia were married in the great house, that being in Maryland. None, have been celebrated there in my day. I know but little about the line. I have voted here on this Island, for candidates for office in Maryland. I went to the polls last fall here, voted for Mr. Commissioner Waters for Clerk of the Circuit court for Somerset County, Maryland. My name is on the register, but I never applied for registration at Tangier Island and Onancock. I was a Know-nothing then. I now take out my oyster license in Virginia. I saw the stone above Barn Point about 15 years ago. I never heard of the stone at Beaver Hummock until within the last few years.
Crisfield, Md. Monday, June 3, A. D. 1872.
The commissioners met at this place on this day, in pursuance of adjournment on Friday last. Present Thomas K, Whelton, a Justice of the Peace for Somerset County, Maryland, and the Hon. I. D. Jones and Levin L. Waters, Esq. Commissioners on the part of Maryland and Col. Wm. Watts and Henry A. Wise, Commissioners on the part of Virginia, Absent Mr. De Jarnette of Virginia, and Mr. Aydelott of Maryland. They proceeded to take the following depositions to wit:
Examined by Mr. Wise.
MR. HENRY DIES, of Crisfield Md., was called sworn and examined:
I am between 57 and 58 years of age; was born on Tangier Island, and lived there until February last except three years. In 1835 I think, I moved to Smith's Island. The name of my father was Daniel Dies; he died about 17 years ago aged about 70. My mother's maiden mane was Ester Parks, a daughter of Jobey Parks, who was my grandfather; he lived on Tangier Island. I moved to the place on Smith's Island called North End, southeast from the church, close upon the thoroughfare. I knew old Mr. John Parks, a brother of Jobey Parks, my grandfather; he was my great uncle. Mr. John Parks, lived on a place called Hog Neck, on Smith's Island; John Tyler lives there now. I have heard in times past, from the old people on Smith's Island, that when the people on that island desired to be married from the state of Maryland, that the Rev. Joshua Thomas, who was in those days a Methodist local preacher on that island, would meet them at that place and marry the couples of Maryland in the dwelling house of my uncle John Parks, and when any couples from Virginia desired to be married, he would meet them at the same place and marry them in the kitchen, that being considered Virginia. I do not mean the runaway couples, but those who were regularly married according to the laws of their respective States. I don't recollect of ever hearing of any gum, or other tree, at that place, marked or recognized as a State line. The house and the kitchen were from 20 to 30 feet apart, more or less. Joshua Thomas was the standing, well known clergyman who performed the marriage rites on that island. I have heard of his biography, published in Philadelphia, and written by Rev. Adam Wallace. I have handled the book. About 1835 to1849 I was gunning in Mister's Thoroughfare and ran my skiff on the top of a pretty large stone near the edge of Beaver Hummock marsh. I think, when I first saw it, it was in the water, and I saw but one piece, and when I saw it in the year before last it was in two pieces. The pieces were, I think, from ten to fifteen feet apart. It may have been that when I first saw it, there were two pieces then, but I saw but one then, and two afterwards, as I have said. The last time I saw them they seemed to have been broken the one from the other, for they looked to be of the same quality of Stone. I never saw the one or the two at low tide, when bare. Mr. Johnson Evans, of Horse Hummock, year before last brought to me a paper, which had a written description and drawings, in pencil of the shapes of these two stones, and inquired of me whether I knew where to find such stones. I showed him where they were and found both, but that was the first time when I knew there were two at that place. They are about south by east from Troy Island, about a half a mile. The only other stone, besides these two, that I knew of, is that lying from a half to three-quarters of a mile north of Horse Hummock house, at Cedar Hummock. I first knew of that last mentioned stone in 1840, I think. There was an old man named Jno. L. Tyler, I think; he said he was called on a line there, whether between the States or between private individuals, who claimed the land, I don't know, but he said he was a small boy, and he was too small to whip, and he was thrown into the creek, and thought they were going to drown him, to make him remember the boundary. He was then about 40 or 50 years of age when I heard his say this, but he as been dead all of 15 to 20 years. He was the father of Alex. Tyler, and lived at Oak Hummock, where Alex. Tyler now lives. It is near Black Walnut Point, to the north of it, and just by a wind mill. Drum Point and Black Walnut Point are pretty much all one. There is another Drum Point on the northeast end of Smith's Island. The line I have mentioned, the east and west line, which ran between John Parks' house and kitchen, would pass, say within one hundred yards from Parks' ditch, which is south of Tyler's ditch, and it would pass in, say, a quarter of a mile from Walnut and Drum Point, south of them.
Examined by Mr. Jones.
The place called Pittscraft, my old uncle Layban Evans, told me, laid south of Mister's Thoroughfare down to the Maryland and Virginia line. Cow Ridge, I think, as it was then called, laid east of Levin's Creek, which empties into the thoroughfare to get into the bay, and its mouth is about a mile from the bay. The Cow Ridge lies between Levin's Creek and the thoroughfare, to the eastward of Levin's Creek and south of the thoroughfare; it is a long ridge.
Crisfield, E. S. Maryland, June 4, 1872
The Joint Commission met this day at this place pursuant to adjournment on yesterday. Present Hon. I. D. Jones, Wm. J. Aydelott, Esq. Wn. Waters and Hon. Henry A. Wise and proceeded to take the following depositions.
Examined by Mr. Jones.
MR. EDWARD TAWES, first affirmed, was examined:
I am near 51 years of age. I was born in the lower end of Annamessex. From Jones' Creek down towards Cedar Straits and south of Little Annamessex River is called Little Annamessex, to distinguish it from the section north, between Big and Little Annamessex, which is called Great annamessex. I have lived in Little Annamessex ever since I was born. My first occupations were those of a mariner and catching and buying and selling oysters. I ran oysters first from York River and Cherrystone, and afterwards for Ape's Hole Creek and Little Annamessex River. From my earliest recollection to about six years ago the people of Pocomoke Sound at Ape's Hole have always oystered north of the channel of the Pocomoke Sound without being apprehended or disturbed. There never was any strict attention paid to where oysters might be caught on either side of the line between the two States. No one catching oysters was apprehended or disturbed until the dredging laws of the two states began to be enforced.
Tommy or "King" Nelson I have heard say that his father Zacker Nelson owned Fox's Island. He said that he, Tommy, was born on Fox's Island. He said his father told him the islands of the Fox's Island group were once nearly all joined together down to the southernmost point of those islands, now called South End. He said he told him he could have taken a fence log, and walked from Cedar Straits to the South End, so called. He also said that his father stated there was in his day a marsh island between the south end of Fox's Island and the north end of Watts' Island. He said it was washed away. I have fished around Fox's Island a good deal in the seasons. On Tangier Sound side they washed away a good deal; all the islands wash most on the west side.
I lived near "King" Nelson all my days, and in about 150 yards of him in his latter days. I have heard him say; about the time of the first taking of dredges in Pocomoke Sound, say about from 20 to 25 or 26 years ago, that the line between Virginia and Maryland ran right across Fox's Island, close to where old Johnny Mason's house stood, the father of Middleton Mason, who moved to Onancock in Virginia. He told me that the well his father used water out of, off his residence on Fox's Island was then at the time of his statement, about one hundred and fifty yards on the west side in the water. I have never heard of any tradition of a line run from Tangier Sound north of Cedar Straits to the west bank of the Pocomoke River; nor have I heard of any marks of any such line across the Little Annamessex Neck. I have heard only of the line named to me by King Nelson across Fox's Island.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
Tommy or King Nelson told me he lived on Big Fox's Island. It was on the western side of that island where the well was spoked of as in the water, and Johnny Mason, the father of Middleton, lived about the same place I think on Big Fox's Island. There is an island north of Cedar Straits and north of Big Fox's Island called Cedar Island Marsh. The Ledges and Muddy Marsh are to the east of Big Fox's Island. The southern island of Fox's group is called Little Fox Island. Both Big and Little Fox's Islands are now cut through by the waters, making as many as four islands where there were but two. The Big Thoroughfare, when I remember first, ran as it does now, between Little and Big Fox's Islands. I didn't catch oysters but bought them in Cherrystone and York Rivers. I never heard "King" Nelson say that with a fence log, that he could have walked from Fox's Island to Watts' Island say that his father said so. I have never heard of a line run over two hundred years ago across the Pocomoke from Tangier sound to the Ocean, by Scarborough and Calvert. I have heard of a line between Virginia and Maryland on the Eastern Shore, but not across Little Annamessex Neck. I have gone up the Pocomoke River, not very often though. I was never shown where the line crossed the Pocomoke. I know where Pitt's Wharf is on the Pocomoke. Sykes' Island is nearly, as I see from the Coast Survey Chart now shown me by Mr. Wise, due east from Cedar Straits, and the north part of Sykes' Island is north of Cedar Straits. Pitt's Wharf is higher up so called Pocomoke River, but I have heard that the line is somewhere near where the widow of John U. Dennis dec'd lives. I never heard of the Virginia and Maryland line crossing the Pocomoke River. but I have never heard of a line between Virginia and Maryland which touched the Pocomoke River.
Re-examined by Mr. Jones.
I have heard of Rock Hole Creek, which lies on the north side of Little Annamessex, and of Sandy Creek, which lies on the south side thereof, between it and Cedar Straits. I know nothing of Persimmon Hummock. I was never shown any State line marks on Fox's Island.
CLEMENT R. STERLING was next called, sworn and examined:
I am either 64 0r 65; born in 1807 1st of June; I think 65. Born down the lower end of Little Annamessex, and always lived in that neck. I know nothing of Virginia and Maryland line myself, and only what I have heard folks say. I always heard that the line run from Horse Hummock east to Watkins' point, across to Horntown of Chincoteague, of. somewhere there, according to what old people said. Michler was at my house seven days. I went with him to Ape's Hole when he run the line. Old man King Nelson, I never heard say anything about the line, but have heard him talk about Fox's Islands and how far he could come all the way from Watts' Island to Annamessex with a fence log and jump across it. I have heard him say there was a peach orchard on Jane's Island, at the north point of Little Annamessex, as far out as the bar, somewhere near where the Light House now stands. I can recollect back about fifty years, and that point has washed away about a half a mile in that time. I never heard of any line being run except by Michler, and he began at the seaside and came this way. I was with him at Somer's Cove and Ape's Hole landing.
Examined by Mr. Wise.
I was with him at Somer's Cove, whilst he was boarding at my house, and the line came but at James Tawes house, at the head of Somers' Cove, north of the dwelling, less than 50 yards north, down to the landing.
NOTE;-- Signed in the presence of the Commissioners, of which this is a copy.
CLEMENT R. STERLING
Examined by Mr. Wise.
JOHN SPENCE being next called, sworn and examined:
As far as I know and am informed, I am in my 77th year of age; I will be 77 on the 25th day of December next; my age is not recorded. I was born in Hog Neck, on Smith's Island; I was born in a house owned by my uncle John Parks, and on the land where he resided, and he resided where John Tyler now resides. Hog Neck ran up north to a creek call the Heard Creek, which used to be my boat harbor at the time of the British war. Hog Neck laid lengthwise the island, on the western side, east of Tyler's Creek, on the Chesapeake Bay. Tyler's Creek is called by that name up to Sheep Hummock, and thence it lies north up to Tyler's ditch. Parks' ditch lies to the westward of Tyler's Creek. David Tyler and Butler Tyler were the original owners of all the land of Oak Hummock, Horse Hummock clear down to Drum Point, where Alex. Tyler and John Wesley Marshall, Thomas Bradshaw, Steuart Evans, and one of Walter Marsh's sons and Benj. Bradshaw and Tubman Evans, who lives close to the gum, now live. From John Parks' house to Drum Point was near east by north from a half to three-quarters of a mile, as near as I can guess. John Parks was my mother's own brother, and my mother and father lived on his land, to the westward of his house on the Chesapeake Bay Shore. When I was quite a boy, a dispute arose about where the line of Virginia and Maryland run. They said that the law of Virginia forbade Marylanders from skiffing and gunning in Virginia, and several old people were called together to say where the line was. Richard Evans, Who lived at Kedge's Straits, and who was called King Richard, because he was best off, I suppose, John Parks and old man Jacob Bradshaw, who was quite a young man then, met at old John Parks' where young John Tyler now lives, and uncle John Parks' said that the State line ran between his dwelling house and his kitchen. I was then, I think, but am not positive, about 18 or 19 years of age. I followed the water and loved gunning, and had a skiff, and the noise scared the geese, and other wild fowl, of a night. My uncle got mad about my skiffing and Jacob Bradshaw had a fowling point called Fog's Point--where the Light House now stands--and that caused them to meet about my skiffing. There was some contention about the skiffing, and they came down upon uncle John Parks, on whose land I lived, about my skiffing, and they all agreed that was the line; neither one said that line between the house and kitchen was not the line. I stopped skiffing, and that line was always regarded by me, and respected by me, as the State line. I don't recollect of hearing about any marriages at the place, but the dwelling house was in Maryland and the kitchen in Virginia--and that line was always upheld by us on the island as the line between the two States. I know where Cow Ridge used to be. I always called in Battle Ridge. Old uncle Solomon Evans always owned the place. It lies to the north and eastward side of the Little thoroughfare, next to the Barn Cove and White's Cove. Terrapin Sands is still above, to the northward of that. The reason they gave it the name of Battle Ridge was, that some of the boys went down to dig a cow hold, and they got to disputing and fighting as I am told. There was no stone or tree, or other mark, on the line said to be at John Parks' house. I never heard of any mark of a State line except the gum tree where Tubman Evans now lives, and a stone to the mouth of the Little Thoroughfare, at the end of Otter Island, Otter Island is, say 100 strides for the main marsh of White's Cove, and Barn Cove is above, say half a mile, all on the sound side. I have seen the stone; it was not a free stone. and was not a flint stone. I think, but was like any other stone washed deep in the ground. I mean to say that it looked as if buried deep in the ground, and, by washing, had got rusty and mossy. It was not square or round, but was like a ridged coffin, and looked to be a pretty large stone. The old people always told me it was a State line stone. Horse Hummock, where the house stands, was always in Virginia as long as I remember. I left Smith's Island 27 years ago the 14th day of last November past. I lived north of John Parks' dwelling house, and always paid taxes in Maryland. I don't remember that John Parks ever paid taxes in Maryland. I don't remember John Parks ever paid any taxes; he would go from one house to the other, so they told me. South Point and Sheep Hummock, up to Fishing Creek, always paid taxes in Virginia. I can't say where the people who lived where Johnson Evans now lives, on Horse Hummock paid Taxes. Old man Jacky, or John Tyler, owned it until he ran through it. I have always heard of a stone about a mile or three-quarters of a mile north of Horse Hummock, on the east side of Smiths Island. the one I have described at Otter Island was put there to mark the state line, as they told me. The old man, Solomon Evans, who used to own the place I am telling you about, is dead. John Parks died before I removed from Smith's Island to Sykes Island, where I now live. I think he died about 31 or 32 years ago, to the best of my recollection. I think he told me a short time before he died he was 82 or in his 83rd year of age; he was a very old man. That is about all I know, and these things I have told are very plain in my mind, as plain as my fingers. I have seen the gum tree at Tubman Evans'; I can't say how long since I saw it last, and can't say whether it was cut down or rotted down.
Examined by Mr. Jones
Otter Island is about one-half or three-quarters of a mile north of Horse Hummock. As far as I can remember back John Tyler lived at Horse Hummock House. He lived there before Peter Evans, during the war of 1812. I can't say how long he lived there. He was a Justice of the Peace, and it is likely he was, and I think he was while he lived there. No family then lived south of JOHN Parks' dwelling on Hog Neck. There was Shanks' where John Marshall lives, Horse Hummock and one family on Fishing Creek.--Two families then lived at Shanks'--Billy and Dicky Evans. The old man's son Dicky lived at Fishing Creek. A Hoffman afterwards lived south of John Tyler. I have not been there for some years. When I have gone there it has been at the upper end to church. There was First John Parks, and all south of there were young Dicky Evans at Fishing Creek. Billy and Dicky Evans at Shanks' and Jacky Tyler at Horse Hummock, and these were all I remember south of John Parks' house at that day. Shanks' families were about two miles south of John Parks. I did not know any ridge called Dogwood, and have never heard of Pitcraft. I knew Tommy Tyler, son of David, and the land he lived on was called Drum Point, on Tyler's Creek. When lived on Smith's Island boating generally was our living, trading in oysters mostly.
Re-examined by Mr. Wise.
When I first began the boating business, there was but very little trouble about the places where we oystered. We first bought oysters at Nanticoke and ran them to Washington. The Yankees came in large vessels and gave higher prices, and drove us to the western Shore of Virginia. We bought and carried, but did not catch oysters generally.--Sykes' Island, as far as I can remember has always been in Virginia. It lies about due east from Ape's Hole. Rich Hummock is north of John Parks' house.
Mr. Mowbrey, the clerk, being called away, by consent of the Commissioners, Mr. Wise wrote the deposition of Clement R. Sterling in the absence of the clerk, who has since copied it, and it is therefore certified by me to be correct; the clerk and myself having read it over and compared it with the original by me.
HENRY A. WISE
Smith's Island, June 5, 1872
The Joint Commissioners have adjourned on yesterday to meet to-day on smith's Island, to visit two stones--one at the mouth of a creek of "the Barn" and another on the west side of the island, off the shore of the upper part of "Hog Neck," but the wind being very high and rendering the work impracticable on the island, they assembled to-day at this place. Present Hon. I. D. Jones, Wm. J. Aydelott, Esq., Col. Wm. Watts and Henry A Wise Esq. and they proceeded to read numerous patents of Virginia for land at and near the divisional line of Maryland and Virginia, as therein called for, of which the following were read and noted, to wit: patents.htm.
And then also proceeded to take the deposition of the following witnesses.
JOHN W. EVANS was first called, sworn and examined:
I was 34 years of age last April 1872. Born on Smith's Island where Benjamin Evans now lives. I was when a small boy shown a gum tree, which stood on the old Orchard or Cow Ridge. a little south of Mister's thoroughfare, where Severn Bradshaw now lives. I have often swung in a swing on that tree when quite a small boy, and was always told when swinging one way I was in Virginia and when the other way I was in Maryland. The tree is now gone, but the stump is there now, just the top of it is above ground. I searched for it last Saturday, found it and have brought some of its pieces to this place. I am positive that is the stump of the gum tree which I swung on, and which I was told was a line tree between the States of Maryland and Virginia in my early boyhood.
A stone was lately found as I am told by Stephen T. Dize, John A. Evans and Caleb Evans on the west side of the island, off the Orchard Ridge, near the north end of Hog Neck. I have not been at the stone, but it is now staked off in Chesapeake Bay with a flag on the stake. which I could see from the gum stump I have described, and the flag on that stone as shown to me is about a west course from the stump, as near as I can judge without a compass. Another stone has been found which I have seen at the mouth of a little creek through the marsh called Otter Creek I am told, south of the Barn Point on the east side of Smith's Island.--And the stone off Orchard Ridge and the gum stump and the stone near Beaver Hummock, described by other witnesses as near Troy Island bar, and the stone near Beaver Hummock. I paid taxes once in Maryland to Mr. Roach, the sheriff of Somerset County when I lived at Horse Hummock house, and he paid them back to me. There was another John Evans, and he meant to collect from him. I paid taxes for my half of the Horse Hummock in Virginia, and I now live north of Horse Hummock on a part of Orchard Ridge, now called Rogue's Point, which I bought about two months ago of Henry Dies, and the deed to me will be recorded in Accomac County, Virginia. The Rogue's Point where I live and bought from Henry Dies has always been taxed in Maryland, though it is I know recorded in Virginia. The stakes and flags have been put at the stones within the present week, since the Commissioners have been here. You can from one stone see two flags; from either end of the line you can see the next flag, but not the third, but from the centre you can see the flag at either end, and tell whether the three are in a straight line.
Signed in the presence of the Commissioners in the absence of the clerk.
JOHN W. EVANS
CHARLES W. MARSH was next called, sworn and examined:
I was 33 years of age last November. I live on Rogue's Point, Smith's Island, the first day I ever went to school, when about 9 or 10 years of age, I swung on the gum tree described by Mr. John W. Evans, and was told it was a line tree of the two States,. Maryland and Virginia, and I can corroborate what has already been related by Mr. Evans, both as to tree and stones. I can add only that I believe the original Hog Neck extended as High north as the stone found in the Chesapeake by Mr. Dies. the north end of Hog Neck has washed at least 100 yards in my day, and is now cut through by two small creeks.
Signed in the presence of the Commissioners in the absence of the clerk.
CHARLES W. MARSH
The two foregoing depositions of John W. Evans and Charles W. Marsh were written by me with consent of the Commissioners in the absence of the clerk, Mr. Mowbrey, who has copied the same correctly as above.
HENRY A. WISE
Crisfield, Md. June 6, 1872
Pursuant to adjournment the Commissioners met at this place this day and read the journal. and read and compared sundry copies of papers, &c., and according to an understanding on yesterday, when Mr. Aydelott was present, they adjourned to meet at Baltimore on Tuesday, the 3rd day of September next, and before adjournment it was unanimously ordered that John E. Mowbrey be allowed ten dollars a day for his services as clerk to the commission in taking the foregoing depositions.
JOHN E. MOWBREY